Beef Rendang

6 Servings
Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes

Beef Rendang is a spicy, creamy, comforting Malaysian stew made with flavorful beef, coconut milk, macadamia nuts, curry leaves, and spices.

A meaty, warmly spiced curry dish like Indian Lamb Curry or this Beef Rendang are perfect Dinner Recipe when you comfort food with lots of flavor. Serve this rich Asian Beef Recipe over Steamed Rice for a filling meal with international flair.

Sabrina’s Beef Rendang Recipe

Beef Rendang is primarily a Malaysian and Indonesian dish. However, the popularity of rendang has spread, and like many other favorite Asian food dishes, it’s enjoyed in many parts of the globe. Despite its widespread popularity, it was still a wonderful experience to enjoy an authentic Beef Rendang recipe in the heart of Malaysia.

I’ve created this recipe to cook Beef Rendang that tastes like the amazing dish I had there. The rich beef mixture is thicker than most stews because a majority of the coconut milk liquid cooks away. However, it’s still a rich and creamy mixture that’s perfect for serving over rice so it can absorb all the flavorful curry sauce.

What is Beef Rendang?

Rendang is a traditional Malaysian dish of meat braised and slow cooked in coconut milk and a special rendang spice paste made of Asian flavors like ginger, curry, turmeric, garlic, and lemon grass. You cook it for so long that most of the liquid cooks out so it is basically a slow cooked dry curry filled with rich deep flavor and caramelized, tender beef.

Beef Rendang ingredients laid out separately in prep bowls


  • Spice paste: Beef Rendang gets a majority of its flavor from the delicious and unique spice blend. To make the paste combine red onion, 4 cloves garlic, fresh ginger, chopped turmeric leaves, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper, and macadamia nuts. By blending the nuts and spices together, you can create a smooth paste perfect for marinating the chuck roast.
  • Beef: You’ll want 3 pounds of boneless beef chuck roast for this recipe. Cut the meat into 2-inch chunks of beef before marinating.
  • Coconut milk: Fresh coconut milk acts as the cooking liquid for this recipe. Most of the coconut milk liquid evaporates during the cooking time, but the rich flavor and creamy texture remain.
  • Fresh ingredients: Finish flavoring the Renang curry with makrut lime leaves (also known as kaffir lime leaves), curry leaves, and a stalk of lemongrass cut into 1-inch chunks. Let the leaves and lemongrass stock cook with the dish to flavor it, but be sure to remove them before serving.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Dutch Oven: You’ll want a good sized dutch oven, 5 or 6 quarts, to hold all the beef and sauce ingredients. A dutch oven is great because you can sear the meat and cook it for a long time in the same big pot. If you want to cook it low and slow, you can also pop it in the oven as long as the lid is oven-safe.
  • Chef’s Knife: A large, sharp chef’s knife is great for chopping up the herbs, aromatic veggies, and breaking down the chuck roast. It’s easier to cut the meat when it’s cold, so keep it in the fridge while you prep the fresh marinade ingredients.

How to Make

Time needed: 3 hours and 45 minutes.

  1. Spice Paste

    Add the red onion, minced garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, kosher salt, black pepper, and macadamia nuts to your food processor. Then pulse the spice paste ingredients until they’re smooth.Beef Rendang marinade paste ingredients in food processor before blending

  2. Marinate the Meat

    Add the spice paste to the beef chunks, and shake to coat. Then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and leave the meat to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge.Beef Rendang collage of adding marinade to meat

  3. Cooking Process

    Add the coconut milk to a large dutch oven. Stir in the marinated beef with the marinade. Turn the stovetop heat to medium. Bring the spicy coconut milk mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low to simmer. Add the makrut lime leaves, curry leaves, and lemon grass. Continue cooking the Rendang for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. As you cook Beef Rendang, most of the cooking liquid will evaporate.Beef Rendang preparation collage of cooking meat in milk with seasonings

  4. Finish and Serve

    Following the cook time, remove the lime leaves, curry leaves, and lemon grass from the pot. Then stir the beef until it browns to dark brown and the sauce thickens. Serve the Beef Rendang over steamed rice.Beef Rendang collage of cooked beef before and after garnish in pot

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can prep Beef Rendang ahead of time. It needs a couple hours to cook through properly and caramelize the meat, so you can marinate the beef overnight so it’s ready to throw on the stove after work. It is also good the next day, just reheat it on the stove over low heat, adding a bit of coconut milk or broth if the sauce is too thick.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Beef Rendang
Amount Per Serving
Calories 688 Calories from Fat 495
% Daily Value*
Fat 55g85%
Saturated Fat 34g213%
Trans Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 18g
Cholesterol 156mg52%
Sodium 976mg42%
Potassium 1078mg31%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 47g94%
Vitamin A 32IU1%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 75mg8%
Iron 9mg50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cooking Beef Rendang Tips & Tricks

Use a Cheap Cuts of Meat

Recipes where you braise beef then cook it over low heat for hours are perfect for less expensive and tougher cuts of meat like chuck roast, bottom round roast, or top round steak. The longer cooking time, simmering in sauce, allows the meat to break down until it’s super tender. This dish would even be good with cuts like beef lung or beef tongue. 

Don’t Rush the Cooking Time

This dish is meant to be cooked for a long time, so you don’t want to increase the heat and try to speed it up. However, you could start it on the stove top and finish it in the oven on low heat, adding an hour or two as needed. Just keep the pot covered so the liquid doesn’t evaporate too quickly.

What to Eat With Beef Rendang

As mentioned above, this Asian dish is traditionally served over steamed white rice. You could also serve the beef curry over basmati rice or Brown Rice. Or change things up a little and enjoy the dish with roasted potatoes or cauliflower. You can also add a side of naan, Cucumber Salad, or Garlic French Fries.

How to Store

Serve: After cooking Rendang, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours. To keep leftovers, wait for them to cool, then store Beef Rendang in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Reheat: Reheat the dish over low-medium heat until warmed through before serving. You can add additional coconut milk or beef broth to thin out the curry sauce if you want.

Freeze: You can also freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Let the meat and sauce cool completely before storing and thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Frequent Questions

Which cut of beef is best for rendang?

We used chuck roast for this recipe. Chuck roast is perfect for stews, pot roasts, and other slow-cooking recipes like this. As it cooks in the coconut milk liquid, the connective tissue breaks down to make perfectly tender and juicy bites of beef.

 What is Beef Rendang made of?

Beef Rendang is made of tender chunks of beef, coconut milk, and the signature rendang spice paste called pemasak. The rendang spice paste is made with classic Asian flavors like ginger, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, and chili flakes, plus curry and turmeric leaves.

Is rendang a curry?

Although it has curry leaves and many other curry ingredients, Rendang dishes are not traditionally considered curry in Malaysia or Indonesia because they have much less liquid and tend to be a much richer dish. 

Recipe Card

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang is a spicy, creamy, comforting Malaysian stew made with flavorful beef, coconut milk, macadamia nuts, curry leaves, and spices. 
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Malaysian
Author Sabrina Snyder


Marinade mixture:

  • 1 red onion , cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger , coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric , coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast , cut into 2" chunks
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 6 makrut lime leaves
  • 5 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass , cut into 1" chunks and smashed flat


  • Add the red onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, salt, pepper and macadamia nuts to a food processor.
  • Processor until smooth.
  • Add mixture to the beef chunks and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Marinade in rerigerator for 2 hours.
  • Add the coconut milk to a large heavy dutch oven.
  • Add in the beef (with the marinade) on medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil then lower to medium-low heat and simmer (do not cover).
  • Add in the makrut lime leaves, curry leaves and lemon grass to the pot.
  • Cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally (most of the liquid will evaporate.
  • Remove the makrut lime leaves, curry leaves and lemon grass and keep stirring beef until it browns and the sauce thickens.
  • Serve over steamed rice.


Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 976mg | Potassium: 1078mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 9mg
Keyword: Beef Rendang

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Beef Rendang Variations

Chicken Rendang: If you don’t want to use red meat, you can leave out the beef and instead make chicken rendang using bone-in chicken pieces like leg quarters, thighs, or a whole chicken cut up.

Vegetable Rendang: You can use the same spice mix to make vegetarian vegetable rendang. To make the vegetable rendang filling, you can add potato cubes and tofu along with other veggies like zucchini and bell pepper. Season the tofu and potatoes with ground turmeric and lime. Then add the potatoes to cook with the coconut milk and Rendang spice mix. Wait to add the tofu until after the vegetable Rendang is mostly cooked. You can also brown the tofu in oil in a separate pan to make it crisper before adding it to the vegetable rendang.

Shredded Coconut: To add to the coconut flavor and give more texture to this dish, you can cook shredded coconut with the spice paste to make kerisik. Toast the coconut in coconut oil or vegetable oil with the spices until golden brown. Then cook with the Beef Rendang and enjoy the delicious fresh ingredients.

Hearty Asian Inspired Beef Recipes

Beef Rendang close up view of meat in black bowl over bed of steamed rice, garnished with lemon grass and chiles, with recipe title across bottom

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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