Picadillo. This Cuban recipe is a stew made of ground beef, tomatoes and seasonings. Olives are added for saltiness and raisins for a little bit of sweet. 

Picadillo on a white plate.

Picadillo is one of those recipes that run in my husband’s family. But one that he really doesn’t know how to make. Sadly. When I reached out to his mom, who is born and raised Cuban, she gave me even more sad news that the family recipes are currently in storage. BUT she pointed me in the direction of several recipes that she knows to be good and authentic. So that’s where I started. 

What is Picadillo? 

Picadillo is a traditional dish of Latin America. Every region and area has their own way of making it. This particular recipe is geared towards Cuban Picadillo. I read a quote that compared Cuban Picadillo to be the equivalent of American Sloppy Joes. Not gourmet, but pure comfort food! 

Typically it’s made of ground beef and tomatoes. The additions change according to the area, most often you will see green olives, raisins, capers or potatoes being added in. Some recipes I’ve seen call for the addition of cinnamon and cloves also. 

Large skillet filled with picadillo being scooped up with a wooden spoon.

How to make Picadillo:

  1. Saute the onion and bell pepper in extra virgin olive oil until softened.
  2. Add in the ground beef. Cook while breaking up the meat. Cook until meat is browned and no longer pink. Drain excess grease. 
  3. Stir in the garlic.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  5. Add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Stir to combine. Let cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the green olives and raisins. Serve warm over white rice.

Close up of picadillo showing sliced green olives and raisins mixed with the ground beef.

Picadillo Ingredients:

  • Ground Beef
  • Onion 
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes– I find it easy to grab a can of crushed tomatoes. But you can absolutely use fresh tomatoes, peel, de-seed and chop them up and let them cook in the meat. They will soften and mash as they cook. 
  • Tomato Paste– a small amount mixed in will add a bit of thickness and a more pronounced tomato flavoring.
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper -add more to taste as needed.
  • Green olives– green olives with pimentos. I like to chop them up, this creates a more consistent texture that my kids will eat. But you can add these in whole or simply sliced if desired.
  • Raisins– again, I chop the raisins up to create a consistent texture. But they can be added whole if desired.

How to serve picadillo:

Picadillo is traditionally served over white rice. But you could also serve it in a warm tortilla as a picadillo taco, or as a filling for picadillo empanadas. You can also toast some French bread and serve as a picadillo sandwich, similar to Sloppy Joes. 

Picadillo on a white plate and garnished with green olives.

Other Recipes you may enjoy:

Homemade cuban picadillo served over white rice and served with a fork.

Cuban Picadillo

Picadillo. This Cuban recipe is a stew made of ground beef, tomatoes and seasonings. Olives are added for saltiness and raisins for a little bit of sweet.
4 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup green olives, diced
  • 1/3 cup raisins, diced

Equipment

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and bell pepper in extra virgin olive oil until softened.
  • Add in the ground beef. Cook while breaking up the meat. Cook until meat is browned and no longer pink. Drain excess grease.
  • Stir in the garlic.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • Add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Stir to combine. Let cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in the green olives and raisins. Serve warm over white rice.

Video

Notes

Recipe adapted from Three Guys in Miami

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 486kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 804mg, Potassium: 805mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 351IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 5mg
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