Picadillo is a traditional Cuban stew made with ground beef, spices, olives, capers and raisins. This Picadillo recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious!
This post first appeared at The Salty Marshmallow where I am a contributor
This budget-friendly Picadillo recipe uses simple ingredients, it’s made in one skillet and it is super flavorful! Just the way my grandma used to make it!
What Is Picadillo Made of?
Picadillo is a savory and sweet ground beef filling cooked in a tomato based sauce. There are as many variations to this dish as there are families in Cuba! Everyone has their own version and they are all equally easy and delicious.
What Sides Go With Picadillo?
Picadillo is commonly served over white rice with a side of tostones and beans.
However, Cuban Picadillo can be used as a filling for empanadas, can be served wrapped up in tortillas and makes the tastiest stuffed peppers! You can also serve it over lettuce leaves for a tasty low-carb meal!
How To Make Cuban Picadillo
- In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onions and bell peppers until they become soft.
- Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for about a minute.
- Add the ground beef and cook until cooked through and no longer pink.
- Add the spices and stir to combine.
- Add the broth (or wine if using) and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, raisins, olives, capers and potatoes. Cover and simmer over low heat until the potatoes become tender.
- Stir in chopped cilantro and serve.
Can I freeze Picadillo?
Yes you can! Cool the stew and store in an airtight container or freezer friendly resealable bag. I like to freeze smaller portions of picadillo as it is easier to thaw out that way.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.
Picadillo Tips and Notes
- I like to use lean ground beef to make this recipe. Ground chicken, ground turkey and even ground pork can be used.
- Cut the potatoes in to small pieces, no larger than 1/2-inch. Potatoes need time to get tender. If you cut them too big, you may need to add additional liquid (broth) and cook them longer.
- When adding the potatoes, I try to push them down with a wooden soon so they are submerged in the stewing liquid. This will help the potatoes to cook evenly and quicker.
- You can skip the raisins if you prefer, however the little sweet bites really add a lot of flavor to this dish.
- My grandma used to make this dish with beef broth and only use wine for “special occasions” as she called them. Perhaps it is because she drank the wine instead? Either way, feel free to use whatever you have handy.
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I use 93% lean)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt (use less if you are sensitive to sodium)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup beef broth (you can use white wine as well)
- 1 (15-ounces) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup pimento stuffed olives
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus more for serving (optional)
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until soften. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for about a minute.
- Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink.
- Add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the beef broth or wine and bring to a boil. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, raisins, olives, capers and potatoes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 to 14 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring a few times during the cooking.
- Add the cilantro and stir well. Adjust seasoning if needed and serve.
- Make sure you cut the potatoes into small pieces. Potatoes need time to get tender. If you cut them too big, you may need to add additional liquid (broth).