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This quick and easy Mexican Picadillo dinner recipe comes together with minimal ingredients and only 30 minutes. Ground beef and potatoes are simmered in a seasoned tomato sauce. Serve this dish up with some rice and fresh flour tortillas for a complete meal. 

Plate with rice and ground beef picadillo with a flour tortilla.


 

What is Mexican Picadillo? 

A classic, nostalgia inducing meal with ground beef and potatoes. This is one of those dishes that is so easy to customize, and everyone has their own way of making it. It’s pure comfort food. This recipe is a basic version, with some ideas of ways you can easily customize it to make it just right for you and your family. 

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make Mexican picadillo.
  • Tomato Sauce: Swap the canned tomato sauce for 4 Roma tomatoes blended or finely diced.
  • Beef Broth: Use a low or no sodium version, you can also use bone broth. Substitute with beef bouillon if you prefer.
  • Potatoes: If you want a twist, try our Sweet Potato Picadillo.
  • Bell Pepper: For more heat swap this out for a jalapeño or other chili pepper of choice.
  • Extra Veggies: Add in peas and carrots or other vegetable of choice to customize for your family.

Find the complete recipe card below with measurements and full instructions.

How to Make Mexican Picadillo

  1. First, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef. Cook over medium heat while breaking up the meat. Cook until mostly browned, drain grease and return to heat. The beef doesn’t need to be cooked completely through at this point.
  2. Add in diced onion, green bell pepper and potatoes. Continue to cook over medium heat until onion and peppers are softened. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
Ground beef and potatoes cooking in a skillet.
  1. Next, pour in tomato sauce and beef broth. Add in seasonings: salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander. Stir to combine. Add the bay leaf. 
  2. Bring this mixture to a simmer, cover and let cook for 10 minutes. 
  3. Finally, remove the lid, stir, and continue cooking with the lid off for an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are softened and most of the liquid is gone.
Mexican picadillo with ground beef and potatoes in a skillet topped with bay leaves.

Serving

Serve this Mexican Picadillo on tortillas. I love loading this into fresh flour tortillas. But it’s also good in fried corn tortillas. Or served over some cilantro lime rice

Skillet filled with Mexican picadillo.

Storage

Store leftover picadillo in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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Mexican Picadillo

4.99 from 493 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Serene
This quick and easy Mexican Picadillo dinner recipe comes together with minimal ingredients and only 30 minutes. Ground beef and potatoes are simmered in a seasoned tomato sauce. Serve this dish up with some rice and fresh flour tortillas for a complete meal. 
Plate with rice and ground beef picadillo with a flour tortilla.

Ingredients  

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 cups potato peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce*
  • cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions 

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef. Cook over medium heat while breaking up the meat. Cook until mostly browned, drain grease and return to heat.
  • Add in diced onion, green bell pepper and potatoes. Continue to cook over medium heat until onion and peppers are softened. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  • Pour in tomato sauce and beef broth. Add in seasonings: salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander. Stir to combine. Add bay leaf.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer, cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid, stir, and continue cooking with the lid off for an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are softened and most of the liquid is gone.
  • Serve warm with flour tortillas and rice.

Video

Equipment

Notes

Additional Vegetables: if adding additional veggies (peas, carrots, etc.) add them in with the tomato sauce and beef broth. Let simmer to soften and absorb flavor. 
Tomatoes: can use fresh Roma tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. Either finely dice the tomatoes and saute with the potatoes, onion and pepper to release juices, or blend the tomatoes and add with the beef broth. 
Potatoes: can use russet or gold potatoes. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 862mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe first published April 10, 2020. Updated April 4, 2024.

Photography by @KJandCompany.co


Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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96 Comments

  1. I made this for my husband tonight…he said it reminds him of his late mother’s cooking. He loved it and asked me to make it again this week. I’m going to look at your refried beans recipe because mine never turn out. Thank you for this. I know my husband misses his mother because they were so close, so anything I can do to help him remember her…

    1. Hannah, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review. I am so happy that this recipe brought such fond memories for your husband, it’s amazing what food can do! I wish you well on your cooking adventures, and please let me know if you need any help with any of the recipes on the site!

    2. That is sweet Hannah, I admire your effort to make him happy. Hopefully he accepts your recipes as well. I got kind of sick hearing my man talk about his grandma’s recipes for a few years but I realized he was complimenty me as simular, ouch.

  2. Tasted slightly like something I would put on pasta, measured and followed carefully. Left out bell pepper. (Don’t like it)
    Wasn’t bad but didn’t taste like the authentic Picadillo I have eaten in Mexico or what any of my in-laws make(all from Guadalajara). Seasoning… different and tomato sauce too much perhaps.
    Served with rice, beans, tortillas/quesadillas, homemade salsa, queso, avocado and fresh cilantro.

  3. that is not how my mom and grandmoms and aunts and cousins make picadillo. it is not made from ground beef. that is the lazy way of doing it. and tomato sauce?? no no no our family and friends make everything from scratch everything except the meat of course. and we are from Mexico. all our dishes are made from scratch not a can or jar.

    1. Hello, Teo. Here in Texas, I work and raise kids and I do not have the time to slave over a hot wood stove, day or night. I appreciate recipes that give me more time to spend with my family and friends–so call me lazy. Also, if you read the entire post, you can use whole tomatoes, instead of canned. And yes, we use ground beef. Keep your comments respectful. Serene, keep posting delicious recipes!