Easy Cuban Picadillo Recipe

Get ready for your new favorite dinner! This Easy Picadillo Recipe is quick and flavorful. A traditional Latin American dish similar to a hash, it’s made with ground beef, tomatoes, raisins, potatoes and other ingredients that vary by region. Super simple and kid friendly!

Overhead shot of picadillo in a skillet with a silver spoon.

This month totally flew by and that’s just an indicator of how busy our days are starting to become. Even though winter is creeping up on us, slowly but surely, there’s not shortage of activity here. And dinners have been like a drive-by affair grabbing whatever we can just to fill our bellies.

I always have ground beef in the freezer so I can whip up easy dinners that taste amazing any day of the week. This Easy Cuban Picadillo Recipe is one of our favorites. It’s a mash up of sweet and savory flavor that you just can’t get enough of. 

There are so many variations of Picadillo depending on what region the recipe originated from. This Cuban Picadillo is like a ground beef hash with tomatoes, raisins, potatoes and spices that make it one of the most flavorful ground beef recipes you’ll ever eat. 

Cuban Picadillo on a plate with a fork and rice.

Mexican Picadillo is similar to this recipe but varies in the way that it’s prepared and some of the spices that are added. What I love most about any Picadillo recipe is that leftovers can be transformed into quesadillas, tacos or as a filling for stuffed peppers and empanadas!

I’ve even tried a Spanish Picadillo recipe but the only difference with that dish was the absence of potatoes. I don’t know what’s right or wrong, it reminds me of how Bolognese recipe can vary from family to family so you do it however you wish. I know a lot of people don’t add raisins but that’s my favorite part.

This Picadillo Beef has been added to my arsenal of easy ground beef recipes I can have on the table in about 30 minutes. And bonus points, it’s a low carb ground beef recipe that doesn’t taste like I’m missing anything at all!

Overhead shot of cuban Picadillo in a skillet with a lime.

CUBAN PICADILLO

Picadillo is a recipe similar to hash with diced potatoes that’s traditionally served in Latin America and the Philippines. You can really add anything you want to your recipe but this Picadillo is made of lean ground beef, raisins, olives, potatoes, tomatoes and spices to make it saucy and packed with flavor.

It’s, generally, not spicy at all but you can add cayenne or spicy peppers for a little extra heat.

Close up of picadillo on a plate.

HOW TO MAKE PICADILLO

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook over medium heat breaking up with a fork until crumbled.  
  3. Cook the ground beef until browned and no longer pink in the center.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ground beef to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Drain off all but two tablespoons of fat and add the onion to the pan.
  6. Cook the onion for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, cumin and oregano. Cook for 1 additional minute.
  8. Add the tomato paste stirring to combine. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the tomato paste begins to deepen in color.
  9. Add the ground beef back to the pan. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute.
  10. Stir in the tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, raisins, green olives, capers, brine and potatoes.
  11. Cover, reduce heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender, approximately 12 minutes.
  12. Uncover and remove the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
  13. Serve with rice, if desired.

See how easy that is?  And the best part about this easy ground beef recipe is it’s even better when made in advance! You can make a big batch on the weekend to repurpose into your weekly meal planning. 

Overhead shot of picadillo on a plate with rice and a wooden spoon.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PICADILLO

Even though this is a Cuban recipe, I still like to serve Picadillo with sides that lean more Mexican.

Here are a few favorite side dishes:

Cilantro Lime Rice in a blue bowl.

You could easily adapt this recipe for the Crock Pot or Instant Pot with a few modifications. Simply brown the ground beef and saute your vegetables then transfer everything to the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot. Cook in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or set the Instant Pot to manual and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Super EASY!

HOW TO FREEZE PICADILLO

Since you can double the recipe for Cuban Picadillo easily, I love to freeze it for quick weeknight dinners when I only have time to heat something in the microwave.

Transfer your Picadillo to a freezer safe, airtight container and freeze in the freezer for up to 6 months.  You can also store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Picadillo on a plate with rice and a wood spoon and a bowl of rice in the backgound.

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MORE EASY GROUND BEEF RECIPES

Instant Pot Bolognese Sauce with a ladle of sauce.

Easy Picadillo on a teal floral plate with rice.

Easy Cuban Picadillo Recipe

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: cuban
Keyword: ground beef, picadillo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 222.65 kcal
Author: Kellie

Classic Cuban Picadillo is an easy ground beef dinner recipe that's total comfort food.

Print

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 15 ounce can diced canned tomatoes fire roasted if you can find them
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup green olives plus 2 tablespoons brine
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato peeled and diced (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook over medium heat breaking up with a fork until crumbled.
  3. Cook the ground beef until browned and no longer pink in the center.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ground beef to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Drain off all but two tablespoons of fat and add the onion to the pan.
  6. Cook the onion for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, cumin and oregano. Cook for 1 additional minute.
  8. Add the tomato paste stirring to combine. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the tomato paste begins to deepen in color.
  9. Add the ground beef back to the pan. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute.
  10. Stir in the tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, raisins, green olives, capers, brine and potatoes.
  11. Cover, reduce heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender, approximately 12 minutes.
  12. Uncover and remove the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
  13. Serve with rice, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Picadillo can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Picadillo can be frozen in an airtight, freezer safe container for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Cuban Picadillo Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 222.65 Calories from Fat 70
% Daily Value*
Fat 7.82g12%
Saturated Fat 2.4g15%
Cholesterol 52.73mg18%
Sodium 389.64mg17%
Potassium 696.41mg20%
Carbohydrates 15.86g5%
Fiber 2.98g12%
Sugar 3.76g4%
Protein 20.31g41%
Vitamin A 670.54IU13%
Vitamin C 29.95mg36%
Calcium 69.36mg7%
Iron 4.88mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 comments on “Easy Cuban Picadillo Recipe”

  1. Honestly I have never made something like this until I saw this recipe! It was so tasty and delicious!

  2. I love Picadillo! When I lived in Miami, I used to get it all the time and I miss it. Can’t wait to make this.

  3. so much yumminess!

  4. My family really loved how flavorful it is!!

  5. I can’t wait to try this. Sounds so delicious.

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