This picadillo is a blend of ground beef, olives and vegetables, all simmered together with spices and tomato sauce. A classic dish that takes just minutes to put together and always gets rave reviews!
Whenever I go to my local Cuban restaurant, I always order the picadillo. I love the sweet and savory blend of beef, olives, raisins and veggies. I’ve since learned how to make this dish at home, and it comes out just as good as the restaurant version!
What is picadillo?
This dish is popular in Latin American countries, and almost always features a blend of ground beef, tomatoes, olives and raisins. The ingredients can differ from region to region, and include other items such as potatoes and eggs. Picadillo is often served with rice, or can be used as a filling for empanadas or tacos.
How do you make picadillo?
Start by cooking onions and bell peppers until they’re soft. Add ground beef, olives, raisins, spices, tomato sauce and beef broth to the pan. Simmer until the sauce is thick, then add a sprinkle of parsley or cilantro and serve.
Tips for the perfect dish
- I typically use 90% lean ground beef as it has plenty of flavor but is not overly greasy. If you use ground beef with a higher fat content, make sure to drain any excess fat from the meat after it’s cooked before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
- This dish stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, which makes it great for meal prep.
- You can also make this recipe in the slow cooker. Brown the onions, peppers and beef in the pan, then add it to a slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine, then cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- I typically start a pot of rice at the same time as I start making the picadillo so that all of my dinner components are done at the same time.
Can picadillo be frozen?
This dish will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months. Store the picadillo in a resealable freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw the food overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop until warm.
This recipe is delicious as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Meat: You can swap out the ground beef for a different type of ground meat such as turkey or chicken.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other veggies such as diced cooked potatoes, carrots or green chilies.
- Eggs: It is common to serve picadillo either with hard boiled eggs or with a fried egg on top.
I make this dish on a regular basis and there are never any leftovers – it’s just that good!
More great ground beef recipes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 3/4 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef I use 90% lean
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup pimiento stuffed green olives sliced
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 6-8 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until browned and cooked through.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Season the meat and vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the olives, raisins, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, tomato sauce and beef broth to the pan. Bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until sauce is thick. Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro, then serve.
- I find that 90% lean ground beef does not generate much grease. If you use meat with a higher fat content, you'll want to drain off any excess grease after it's cooked.