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Crock Pot Picadillo

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Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.

Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.

Picadillo is a dish I grew up on and my friends loved eating over whenever my mom made it for dinner. It was probably one of the first recipes I ever learned how to cook and I make it at least once a month, although I usually make this stove-top version. Since so many of you are always asking me for slow cooker recipes, I adapted it and it worked out great. A delicious way to use up ground beef, and if you need more ideas check out my other ground beef recipes.

I knew this would adapt nicely for the slow cooker. In fact, I think it’s even better since the lean beef cooks longer and becomes very tender the longer it simmers. It’s a great recipe to prep-ahead then turn on in the morning when you know you will have a long day ahead. And if you have a pressure cooker, you can also try my Instant Pot Picadillo version.

This makes a lot, so you’ll get several meals out of it. We serve it over rice the first night, then make tacos, empanadas, stuffed peppers, or quesadillas with the leftovers. Don’t you love a recipe that can serve as two different meals!

Helpful Tips

  • Anytime you use ground beef in the crock pot, you’ll need to brown it first on the stove. Since the skillet is already out, I also saute the onions, peppers and garlic in with the meat to let the flavors bloom.
  • If you want to prep this the night before, the meat is fully cooked, so you can add all the ingredients into the crock pot, then refrigerate. The next morning plug it in and go to work, or go on with your day. When you come home, you’ll just have to make some rice and a salad and dinner is ready!
  • By the way, lean beef is the meat of choice for this dish in my house. But you can also use lean bison or ground turkey if desired. Raisins are commonly added to this dish, but we prefer this without.
  • Freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months, or refrigerate up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze Picadillo?

Absolutely! To freeze, let it cool then transfer to freezer safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. You can reheat in the microwave or thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove.

And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!

Browning meat in the skillet to make picadillo in the slow cooker.Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.

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Crock Pot Picadillo

4.63 from 53 votes
Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices. 
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Cuban, Latin
Crock Pot Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 12 minutes
Total: 3 hours 27 minutes
Yield: 11 servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup


  • 2 1/2 lbs 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup alcaparrado, manzanilla olives, pimientos, capers or green olives
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste


  • Brown meat in a large deep skillet on medium-high heat; season with generously with salt and a little pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces.
  • When meat is no longer pink, drain all the liquid from pan. Add the onions, garlic and bell peppers to the meat and cook an addition 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer the meat to the slow cooker, then add tomato, cilantro, tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups water, alcaparrado (or olives) [I usually add some of the brine from the jar for added flavor] then add the spices.
  • Set slow cooker to HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8.
  • After it's ready, taste for salt and add more as needed [I added a little more cumin and garlic powder at the end as well since the crock pot tends to mute the flavors of herbs and spices].
  • Discard the bay leaves and serve over brown rice.
  • Makes about 5 3/4 cups.

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Serving: 1 /2 cup, Calories: 207 kcal, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 8.5 g, Saturated Fat: 3.5 g, Cholesterol: 74 mg, Sodium: 477 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g


Slow Cooker Cuban Picadillo Recipe

Photo credit: Erin Alvarez

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529 comments on “Crock Pot Picadillo”

  1. I just made a double recipe of Picadillo tonight for a crowd. It was a hit! I followed the recipe, except I browned the meat, and while it drained, I browned the onions and peppers in the same pan. Then I continued cooking the meal in a Dutch oven, rather than a slow-cooker. I served it over rice. Everyone was delighted!

  2. What if I like black olives and I have a lot of those… would that change the whole thing if I used those olives instead?

  3. This is an awesome recipe I’ve made a few times. I’ve been craving this so will make this over the holiday weekend!

  4. I’ve been making your picadillo for YEARS now and I am OBSESSED!! I don’t know how some comments say it’s bland!! It’s sooo flavorful and delish every single time I make it, I gotta wonder if they’re leaving something out!! Your recipes are LIFE! Thank you!

  5. This dish is delicious. It has a very broad flavor profile which I think makes it even better. I used capers instead of olives and it was delightful. Thank you, I will make this again!

  6. I made this several times and absolutely love it.  However, I am wondering if you can do this exact recipe (because I love the flavor) but use a pot roast instead?  

    1. I haven’t tried but I am sure it would be good! Use a smaller roast of double the other ingredients and let me know how it comes out!

  7. This was not my favorite. I ended up putting the meat into spaghetti sauce (minus olives) because I didn’t want it to go to waste. 

    1. Hey Tonja! Step 3- Transfer the meat to the slow cooker, then add tomato, cilantro, tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups water, alcaparrado (or olives) [I usually add some of the brine from the jar for added flavor] then add the spices. 🙂

  8. I’ve been referring to this recipe for years, i love it so much! It’s easy, delicious, and all of my kids LOVE it too! A win all around! 

  9. I like that this recipe is light and lean but I do agree that it is bland. I followed the recipe except to add carrots and celery for added veg, and my olives did not have brine so I missed out on that bit of flavour. I would consider maybe adding tomato paste with the tomato sauce (assuming this is passata as in Australia we call ketchup tomato sauce 😊) and chilli flakes.

    1. It’s def so much better in the skillet! The slow cooker mutes some of the flavor, but the olive brine is a must here!

  10. I made this today and I’m glad I did – It’s very tasty. I put olives marinated in smoked paprika in the crock pot. They were so good and not as strong as regular green olives, which was perfect for me.

  11. I made this recipe tonight. It was delicious. I added in extra garlic powder and cumin at the end as suggested in the recipe. I browned the meat and veggies first then cooked it on low for 5 hours. Very flavorful. I served it over Trader Joe’s stir fry cauliflower rice. 

  12. I tripled the spices and used beef broth instead of water and still found this recipe to be very bland. Also, doubles the amount of capers plus pimentos too. I really wanted to like it, but was lacking flavor. Other recipes by Skinny taste have been great! 

    1. Could not agree more. I was so disappointed in how bland this was and I did pretty much exact same as you. I had to put so much salt and red pepper flakes on while eating just to taste anything. Big disappointment.

  13. I froze this and now wonder if I can heat it up on the stove as you said above, or shouldn’t I put it in the crock pot now (since I never did that part?). I’m new to this freezer meal stuff… TIA!

  14. Wasn’t sure about this but I had most of the ingredients without a trip to the store (Yay).
    I used capers, no raisins, 1# Hamburg/1# gr Turkey and only had a green pepper on hand. 
    It was delicious and super easy! 
    I’ll do this again for sure! 

  15. Avatar photo
    Mary E Stokes

    I bought a multifunction Cuisinart slow cooker. Can brown and slow cook in same place. Saves extra mess.

  16. I replaced the ground beef with veggie crumbles for meatless Monday. Cooked it in the instant pot! Turned out great!

  17. Question: I’m going to use ground turkey…can I avoid the browning step, and treat as a “dump” recipe, like your “Tex Mex Turkey Tacos” from “One And Done”?

  18. This is my all time favorite Skinnytaste recipe! It’s so flavorful! Your recommendation for the additional garlic and cumin at the end makes it perfect. I like to serve it over basmati rice. It makes enough to have leftovers which we love in our house. I’m making your instapot refried beans later this week and plan to spoon some picadillo over the top of the beans for another hearty meal.

  19. I made this with ground turkey. We thought it was good but a little bland. I will make again but may double the spices. Served over brown rice.  

  20. Just made this for the first time and it’s definitely a keeper. I used ground turkey because it’s what I had. I LOVE olives so I doubled them. The ones I used were stuffed with jalapeños and garlic and added a nice flavor.  And I didn’t have tomato sauce so I used tomato juice. It wasn’t quite as thick but still very tasty and we will be making again!

  21. My husband and I make this all the time. It’s definitely a frequent in our rotation. We use the capers and I add some beef broth (just our preference) and it’s always a hit! 

  22. My family loves it. I actually triple her spices and add oregano. I also put more olives and brine in my recipe. I’ve been making this one for a couple of years. 

  23. Yum! This was a hit with everyone at my house. I served it over white rice but could substitute cauli rice for lower calories. It was even better the next day as leftovers.

  24. Great dinner! I used leftover Picadillo for the meat topping in your Jalapeño Nachos recipe. All of your recipes are delicious! Thank you!

  25. Avatar photo
    Yesenia Felten

    Made this tonight … DELICIOUS! I forgot to buy the olives yesterday at the grocery store but I always keep capers, so like other reviews mentioned, I added the jar of capers along with the brine and I also did 2 tsp of cumin because I love cumin.

  26. Avatar photo
    Patricia McCarthy

    I made this but this way-
    85% lean chop meat about 1.30 lb 
    3 med potatoes peeled cubed and cooked in water  then drained 
    1 Red bell pepper diced ,1 med onion diced -6 cloves garlic diced ,
    1/2 cup raisins ,1/2 cup or 1 cup Spanish olives. 3/4 cup dry white wine pino ,
    Season w Pepper  & cumin . 3 cans Goya sauce 2 reg one hot -jasmine rice 
    Brown the chop meat  season w cumin ,drain it. Set aside.  Sauté  the pepper  Till soft ,then the onion ,then Garlic ,add back The chopmeat  , put the cook potatoes in,  add the olives,raisins, the sauce and the wine stir all simmer on low About 1 hour.  Amazing !!! Serve over jasmine rice. 

    1. This sounds amazing and close to a dish I had once that I absolutely love. How would I adjust this with a slow cooker instead of over the stove top?

  27. Do you think I could substitute ground beef for ground chicken?   Also, I don’t have a whole tomato on hand…could I do a certain amount of canned diced tomato instead? 

  28. This is a silly question I’m sure, but I’m new to WW and curious if the 3 Sp is with the brown rice?

  29. This was really good. I used beef broth instead of water for some extra flavor. I forgot an onion so I substituted with onion powder, and we used capers and their brine. Super delicious.  Definitely going into our rotation! 

  30. Avatar photo
    Andrea Lee Carter

    Made this today, and we both loved it.  Made a few tweaks to the recipe:  omitted the cilantro as we are not fans of that herb; added a little fish sauce and smoked paprika for flavor boost.  It came out so delicious. 

  31. Love this recipe! My husband added a jalapeño which was a nice edition. He also added carrots because we like extra veggies and that was also a good choice! Thanks for the recipe!

  32. It has a mild flavor that was good for children. Overall, while it was good, the family didn’t feel that it was worth adding to the rotation. 

  33. I got a little lost- what do you do with the bay leaves? I see where I disgard them, but in the beginning, do I add them to the crock pot?

  34. So good and flavorful. 
    Made it twice so far and everyone has loved it!  Second time I only had 2 # of ground turkey so I added a can of black beans which was great too.  

  35. I didn’t think this recipe would come out very, but boy was I wron.  I was delicious !  Something different yet simple.  I added diced carrot for more vegetables and color.  I will make it again. 

  36. Avatar photo
    Stevie Edwards

    I often love the recipes from this site, but I found this one pretty bland. I even doubled the cumin and added more garlic halfway through, and still pretty bland.

  37. Curious If you or anyone else has ever substituted the meat for mushrooms instead? And if so how it turned out? Or if you have another recommendation to make it vegetarian 🙂

  38. Avatar photo
    Adrian Hunter

    Is it 1/4 cup alcaparrado or manzanilla olives or pimientos or capers or green olives?
    Or is it 1/4 cup alcaparrado and manzanilla olives and pimientos and either capers or green olives?

  39. Avatar photo
    Katie Marcell

    It never fails to amaze me that people will come here to a website that give FREE recipes and then criticizes those recipes. Hey, unsolicited feedback person, if you don’t like it, keep it to yourself.

    1. Avatar photo
      Marjoire Acuff

      The comment section isn’t just for people who like the recipes. I would like to know when someone doesn’t like a recipe & why. Everyone has different preferences & not everybody likes every recipe.  She was not rude & I appreciated her review.

    2. I come to the comment section for honest reviews, not blind praise. Most of us come here because we already love Gina’s recipes, but not all of them are winners for every single person. It’s very helpful to know if someone didn’t like a recipe and why. I imagine it would also be helpful for Gina to get honest feedback. She chooses to have a comment section here, so it’s not exactly “unsolicited.”

      As long as no one is being rude, which they weren’t as far as I can see, there’s absolutely no reason not to be honest about whether a recipe worked for you or not. That’s how basically every recipe blog works! 

  40. You said that this recipe actually calls for raisins. What kind of raisins and how much would I add so we can try it and see if we prefer it with or without.

    1. I personally don’t like it with raisins, but I would suggest regular raisins and no more than 1/2 cup.

      1. For the non-raisin fans or raisin-curious – I suggest golden raisins that you then chop up really well. It gives you that hint of sweet without the unfortunate experience of biting into dinner and seeing a whole raisin. which is not my thing personally. Note: I use this same technique for the unstuffed cabbage recipe to great results. Thank you, Gina!

  41. I typically love skinny taste recipes, however I would say this is my least favorite.  The recipe was extremely bland.  I even tried to add chili powder, more olive brine and extra salt, pepper and cumin but it was still so flavorless.  I will not try this recipe again.

    1. Curious. Did you use a Crock-Pot or a pressure cooker? I find with the pressure cooker I have to use double to triple the spices.

  42. Avatar photo
    Christie Wilmot

    How on earth can this be 3 WW Freestyle points and the turkey version is 5 WW points?  That makes no sense. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  43. I’ve added diced carrots to the picadillo, I usually have a green salad on the side, or a side of tomatoes & cucumbers. I’ve had a small bowl of steamed broccoli on the side as well. 

  44. Does anyone have recommendations for a vegetable side to go with this?

    This is so delicious as others have been saying! Also I did calculate using the recipe builder for people doing smartpoints and I do get the 3 points per serving as is noted.

    1. I make cauliflower yellow rice with this.  Take a bag of frozen riced  cauliflower or fresh if you prefer.  I microwave per directions, heat a sauté pan with a tiny bit of Olive oil and place the microwaved riced cauliflower in the pan add a little salt and pepper,  a packet of Vigo Flavoring and Coloring (a Spanish seasoning  for yellow rice)  and a pinch of saffron ( optional).  I add a little chicken broth to get everything mixed together and then simmer until the broth is gone.  Tastes and looks like yellow rice!! 

  45. I’m hosting bookclub and expecting 12 people. Could I double this recipe as is or would I need to make changes?

  46. Have you ever tried this recipe using soy crumbles? If so, how did it turn out? Any tips or suggestions?

  47. Okay, made this today for the first time. As written, this recipe is good, not great. I needed to add more salt, and some chili powder for more flavor. Served over rice, it definitely needed some shredded cheese! I imagine the leftovers will be better because the flavors will have even more time to marry. Plan to use leftovers as burrito filling.

  48. Hello there thinking of making this this afternoon! I’m super excited. I’m Boricua but I loooove Latin foods from all over ! One of my favorite theme of foods to eat. My question is have you tried putting brown rice in the crock pot as well? I know sometimes brown rice is a tad crunchy in nature if not cooked for a while. But is it possible to put brown rice in the last hr of the meal time to be ready for serving along with the rest of the dish? Thanks so much ! 

  49. I don’t do WW so this is probably not a good move points-wise, but we love this on top of baked potatoes! 

  50. This is one of my favourite recipes (of many)! Do you know how I can recreate this dish as a vegetarian option? I’m not sure what I can substitute the beef with. Thank you in advance for your help!

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  53. Avatar photo
    Desiree Perazzo

    Would love for you to publlish a similar one for Turkey Picadillo! Or you think it’s safe to follow and just replace ground beef with ground turkey?

    1. You can just replace, or there is this recipe as well

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  59. In your original posting you mentioned you would be doing a separate posting of ways to use piccadillo sauce leftovers for other recipes.  Have you done this?  And how would I find it.  I was thinking I might try stuffed peppers as one option beyond tacos and over rice.  

  60. Gina, – we made the Crock Pot Picadillo and Naked Greek Feta Zucchini Turkey Burger Salad recipes from your cookbook last weekend (both staples in our house).  We love making the turkey burger salad to go with many other things by the way.  This morning I was perusing breakfast ideas and came across your Leftover Turkey Frittata recipe.  It inspired me to used the leftover Picadillo, cherry tomatoes, and red onions from last week to follow the frittata recipe in your cookbook and it came out awesome (I strained the Picadillo in a paper towel after reheating it to strain the sauce out).   Total hit!

    Thanks for inspiring me to keep cooking and have fun with it!

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  62. Gina, We just love your recipes, and this one was no exception! SOOOO GOOD!!! I have never had Picadillo before, but you can bet I will be making it again and again! I have 2 binders filed with your recipes, and starting on the third. Ypu have really been Blessed! Thank you for all that you do.

  63. Hi Gina, I love your recipes, and I am going to try the Crock Pot Picadillo tonight. In the directions it states 1-1/4 cup of water, but it was not on the ingredients, did I miss something. Please can you clarify this for me, I don’t want to mess it up.


  64. Made this for dinner and it was SO easy and SO good. I HATE olives. I used capers and it was delicious. I also used ground turkey bc that’s what I had. Legitimately took 15 min of prep and smelled so good while it was cooking in the crock pot. Def will make again and highly recommend 

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  66. Hi! How do you think this recipe would do with tofu crumbles? Would it require much modification? Thanks! 🙂

  67. Avatar photo
    Judith Williams

    I made this last night and it was delicious. It is light, savoury and unctuous. Perfect for a chilly autumn night and so easy in the slow cooker. I served it with mashed potato and steamed green veg. This recipe will be on frequent rotation.

    Your website has made my transition into managing diabetes much more doable. Thank you so much Gina! 🙂

  68. Make this tonight!  Delish!  My only complaint is when I enter the recipe into the WW app, and also when I just calculate the smart points based off the nutrition info on the recipe – it comes out to 5 smart points per serving, not 3. Still delish though. 🙂

    1. Are you using the recipe builder? The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

    2. I did this both ways tonight and came up with 5 pos. both times.  🙁 Still decent for dinner though, just had to stick to one portion!

  69. I have this in my slow cooker right now.  The recipe photo looks so “rich” but what I have cooking looks much more watery and doesn’t have much flavor.  I am afraid to season it more because I don’t know if the salty olives will cook down into the overall flavor?  This recipe seems to be missing something, maybe tomato paste to thicken the base?  I added a cup of beef broth instead of plain water but that didn’t add much flavor.

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  71. Hi Gina! I adore your recipes and use them ALL the time. Can you help me with the smart point value for this recipe. When I enter your nutritional value in the WW calculator it comes up as 5 smart pts per serving? What am I doing wrong?

    1. The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, that is why.

    2. I just made this tonight for the first time!  I LOVE it!  However, I came up with the same as above, 5 points per serving.  I have put in both the stats at the bottom of the recipe and used the recipe builder with all the ingredients.  I’m a little bummed because I was hoping to have two servings but the points difference changes that a little.    I’m not a rice fan so I served over quinoa!  It’s delicious!

      On another note:  I also made the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad today and got differing points values than stated here.  In that case, I got 3 vs. 5 so I guess it all evened out in the end!  😉

      Loving the new WW Smart points! ~ 27 lbs down in 3 months!  

      1. Congrats Amy, that is awesome! Are you using the recipe builder? The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

        The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

  72. A wonderful recipe for the slow cooker as it is.

    I think that it could adapted to stuff empanadas

    and bake.

  73. Looking forward to trying this, and my family adores green olives…how much of the olive juice brine would you suggest? Thanks! 

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  77. Made this tonight as my first recipe from the site. Knowing my Cuban mother-in-law made this often for my husband when he was growing up, I knew I had big shoes to fill since she left us last year. Two thumbs up!! His only suggestion is how to make the juice a little thicker. Any ideas?

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    1. Serving size is always listed right before the nutritional info. In this case the serving size is 1/2 cup.

      1. Don’t know how I missed that!!! I had been using a 1/2 cup, just b/c that seemed about right. Thanks!

  79. Help! I cannot find the Alcaparrado in any of my local stores. If I am adding the olives and capers separately, how much of each do I use? How much brine from each would I add? Thank you!

  80. For my picky eaters I know they wouldn’t like the olives (I would love them) Idea’s on how I could sneak them in? Blend them? haha. Or, would it make that much of a difference if it was omitted?

    1. Avatar photo

      I ran the 1/2cup of raisins and the olives thru the food processor first. You still get the flavor without visibility.

  81. I am cooking this now from the cookbook and noticed that if I plug the nutritional information for one serving into the points calculator, one serving is 5 Smart Points, not 3.

    1. The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

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  83. I use this recipe as a starter.  What I mean is I add other ingredients.  I don’t eat red meat, neither does my family, so I use ground turkey.  I add 1 chipotle in adobe sauce (you can freeze the rest of the can for later), a bit of crushed red pepper, sofrito (homemade or jarred if no time to make it), some lime juice, cilantro (I use dried but fresh will work), and canned diced tomatoes.  I cook down the onion, garlic, and peppers first, seasoned of course-I actually put the spices in here to roast them a bit. Then I add the sofrito and cook that down a bit.  Then I add lime juice and cook that down.  I then remove this from the pot and add the ground turkey, again seasoned, and cook through.  I drain the meat and add back to the pot.  I then add the pepper and onion mixture back to the pot.  I add the olives and some brine.  I add the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes.  I cook in the crockpot on high for 4 hours or so.  DELISH!!!  My Cuban friends can’t believe how authentic this dish tastes!  I do not put raisins in as other traditional recipes do.  And I don’t measure anything, I go by smell.  Lol Oh, and for me this is a pot dish because I have an amazing Ninja cooking system that lets me prep like I would on the stove and then I can set it on the crockpot setting!  

  84. Whenever I slow cook meat – any kind of meat – I always brown it before adding to the slow cooker. I have found that by doing that, it will give more flavor to the meat.
    However, I will definitely make your picadillo. It sounds really good. And stuffing left overs in bell peppers, yum! Since I am only cooking for one most of the time, I will probably freeze most of and use it later in some form or another.

    1. I’m also usually just cooking for one and I cut this recipe in half and then use leftovers in tacos or on salad.

  85. I have been making this for the past four weeks, my husband and I love it. We double the recipe and we both bring a cup with Jasmine rice for lunch. I have gotten to the point where I don’t measure anything and just ‘guestimate’ and it turns out better than the last every time. It’s a staple in our house. I use a whole jar of olives with juice, and don’t slice the olives. I also add some dried garlic and onion from Tastefully Simple along with the onion and garlic the recipe already calls for. It’s delicious with some shredded cheese on top as well. I ALWAYS top it off with Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning,. Need some more crock pot recipes with ground beef.

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  87. Very, very good!!!!!  I used the instant pot for this…I will make in slow cooker next time and sauté beef in a skillet.  I can’t say I love the texture of the ground beef from instant pot.  

    I served on top of your spicy slaw from cookbook and topped with avocado!  Great Whole30 meal!!!!

    Also my toddler ate a quesadilla stuffed with the picadillo!!

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  90. Made this tonight for the first time. I didn’t have bay leaf so I used tarragon. So good. I will definitely be making this again. 

  91. Hi there! I’m wanting to make this and your stuffed peppers all today. I don’t see a stove top version of this though, how long should I cook it? Maybe simmer for like an hour to let the flavors meld together, like I would do with spaghetti sauce? Please advise!

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    Jess JImenez

    I usually do one slow cooked meal every week .This one looks  great easy and inexpensive. Use for Tacos, Burritos, maybe even add a potato  all good.

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  94. I just got my new Instant Pot during Amazon’s Prime Day sale. Do you have any suggestions on how to use it with this recipe? I love making this for the whole week! Can’t wait for your new cookbook!! 

    1. Sure, same directions using saute button. Once you add the liquids, cover and cook using the chili button!

      1. Gina, I always make this in my instant pot now. Manual for 10 minutes and 10 minute natural release then quick release. It worked great and is fast. Oh also I use 2 1.3# packages of frozen 93% ground turkey. You don’t even have to thaw first. Brown the block either side in the IP and then break up.

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  96. This was super yummy. Next time we will use a little more tomato sauce since my favorite Cuban place has more tomato sauce to dip up with Cuban bread. This is my favorite dish when we go out for Cuban food. You saved my family about $100 (taking into account how many servings we got vs what it would have cost getting that many serving eating out). THANKS!

    Next time we will have it have dinner, lunch the next day and freeze the leftovers for another dinner and leftover lunch.

  97. Hi! I’m making this now and I’m nervous about only 8oz can tomato sauce. It seems it will need more ???? Does it get more juice as it cooks? 

    1. Never mind I missed the part that said add 1 1/4 cup water. It was not in the ingredient list. Just added it 

  98. I am going to prepare this tonight for tomorrow… I just realized the recipe calls for 2+ lbs of ground beef and I only have 1lb or so. Can I halve the recipe?

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    Yvonne Tucker

    Wonderful! I used venison and it was delicious. Not a ground beef fan! Love easy crock pot meals

  100. I love this recipe so much. It was the very first thing I made out of your cook book. My favorite is to serve it in soft tortillas with avocado and the confetti slaw on top. SO GOOOOOOOOD!!!

  101. I just have to say this recipe is the all time favorite in our household! Maybe even life changing. 😛 My husband used to do all the cooking, but after I had my second daughter I only went back to work part time and decided I’d finally learn how to cook. Also since having my second daughter, I’d put on weight and wanted to keep calories in check. I was given your cookbook for Christmas 2014 and this was the first recipe I made out of it. I actually didn’t think I’d like it much (not a fan of olives), but I figured it would be perfect for my meat loving husband. Turns out we both loved it! So do the kids. And anyone else who I’ve ever made this for. EVERYONE loves it. I’ve made several other recipes from your book and blog and they are all amazing and the instructions are so clear that even I can handle it! I do a whole lot of cooking now and it really  all started with your book and this dish. Thank you so much for all your recipes and I love love love that you give the nutritional information. I have friends and family members now hooked on your recipes too.  Up this week…chicken taco chili and Asian turkey meatballs!

  102. Gina, I just purchased an Instant Pot. Have you tried making this recipe in yours yet? I’d love the cook time and results if you did. Thank you.

    1. Betsy, I just made this for the first time tonight and used capers instead of olives.  My husband and I loved it!  I used 2 Tbs. of the caper brine also. Very flavorful dish……used it over brown rice as Gina suggested.  Do try it!

      1. Hi, just wondering how much capers did you use? I’m not a fan of olives either but never had capers so not familiar with the flavor to know how much would be good or bad.
        Thanks a bunch!! 🙂

  103. This dish is amazing!! So simple and flavorful. I didn’t have a fresh tomato so I used a can of diced tomatoes and it was delicious!! Whole 30 compliant too. This will definitely become a popular dish in our house. 

  104. Avatar photo

    I’m making this for the second time. The first time I used ground beef today it’s ground chicken. House smells so good right now. Can’t wait to eat dinner later. This time I am adding the cilantro at the end. I also serve this over cauliflower rice. 

    1. How was it with the ground chicken. I was thinking about doing the same thing. We LOVED the ground beef! I just need to eat less red meat. 

  105. I made this last night and it was excellent. My husband loved it and ate it all. I really enjoyed it as well. I think the olives are very key to this dish and will definitely be making it again. I also made the Thai basil chicken the night before. Again, great recipe. Thanks.

    1. Avatar photo

      How was the Thai basil chicken? I’m thinking of making it tomorrow since the Picadillo is cooking today. 

  106. Avatar photo
    April Wiesner

    Not being a big fan of olives, I've passed on this recipe so many times. I finally made it for dinner last night, and I wish I had tried it sooner. I loved this! The alcaparrado and its brine gave it a little something extra. The one thing I wish I had known was that the olives in my jar of alcaparrado had pits. Next time I'll try to rough chop them to find and remove the pits. I left out the cilantro because I forgot to put it on my shopping list. I may add it next time, but I didn't really miss it. I'll also try adding some raisins next time as another commenter suggested.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I am not a fan of olives either, but am always looking for a good crockpot recipe and this looks delicious. I will definitely try this soon. : )

  107. I know this isn't a new recipe, but I just tried it for the first time and LOVED it! If you're thinking about it, give it a shot. Super easy and flavorful. Thank you!!

  108. We really enjoy this recipe. Have you ever attempted/experimented with " baked" version of papa rellenas?

    1. I cook almost exclusively from ST and I’ve lost almost 50lbs. I rave about the recipes all the time, but this one sort of missed the mark for me. I followed the recipe to the letter which I always do the first time around. I added more salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder at the end.  I didn’t want to start adding random spices to it, since that takes away from what the dish actually is.  It just didn’t pack all of the flavor that the smell suggested while it cooked in the crockpot all day.  We will have leftovers tomorrow. Maybe Day 2 is better, as is the case with so many dishes.  

  109. why do you have to brown the meat first? is it just flavor? what happens if I just throw it all in crock pot?

    1. I think I have heard that raw grounds beef cooked in a crockpot turns into a giant lump . Not sure. I have never done it.

    2. I’m going to try it. I cook raw ground beef  in the crockpot for taco meat all the time and it turns out great. 

  110. Just making this for the first time right now and before throwing in the crock pot, I noticed that the 1/4 olives didn't seem like a lot for the size of the recipe! So, I doubled it and chopped the olives into large chunks. Am I going to regret this later?? haha Will it be too salty? I just didn't want one or two olives per serving. Didn't seem like a lot but I could be wrong.

      1. I love green olives!! I used the whole jar, lol but omitted salt on everything else! It’s cooking right now but I hope it has that briney flavor!

  111. Avatar photo
    Paula Richard

    Ok, I have enjoyed this at least 5 times without taking the time to leave you a comment about how yummy this is! Thanks so much for sharing. All Y'all that haven't tried this yet, do it now!

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    Alisa Hinzman

    Just made this for dinner – was delish! Even my 2yr old loved it. She ate a whole "burrito" (soft taco) filled with this.
    Keep up the yummy posts 🙂

  113. Hi – I'm not sure if this will come through since this is an older recipe, but I love all of your recipes! One question on this one – our grocery store didn't have 93/7 beef this time, only 85/15. I imported the recipe to MyFitnessPal so I could adjust it and re-calculate points, but I noticed even before changing the beef, the calorie and other stats were much higher than what is on the site. Do you know what could account for this? Thanks for your help!

    1. Do you check the counts of each food to be sure they look accurate? For me – My Fitness Pal always completely over states garlic cloves by over a 1000 calories.

    2. Avatar photo
      Lauren Wallace

      I realize this comment is super old, but did you make sure you put in the correct amount of servings? Mine defaulted to 2 servings (so I had to change it to 11). If you leave it at 2 it’s like 900 calories LOL!

  114. Avatar photo
    Karmen Ehrenholz

    Hi!!! Absolutely love all your recipes:)) Thank u! For this amazing one, I only have black olives & capers, what would u suggest I do? Add them both or just one or the other? �� Or wait til I can get the proper ingredients & make another one of ur wonderful crock pot recipes? Thanks:)

  115. Made this over the week. Having grown up in a Cuban household, we had Piccadillo all the time. This recipe was delicious and the crock pot cooking made it so easy. Thanks so much!

  116. I found the cumin in this to be quite overpowering and the only thing I tasted. Was pretty bummed as now that's what I have to eat all week. Maybe less cumin next time.

  117. Can you please clarify…just got your cookbook and the recipe works out to 5 smartpoints, not 3 as stated above? The nutritional values are different for the same ingredients?

  118. Mmm! I make a recipe identical to this only it also has a handful of soaked raisins in it. It's wonderful mix of savory, salty and sweet. And I just let it all lightly bubble away for about an hour right in the same pan, covered. Less dishes that way 🙂

  119. Avatar photo
    Hilary Baskin

    I'm on Weight Watchers and my boyfriend is very particular when it comes to food. We cook mostly from this website because your recipes are the only recipes that are healthy for me and very tasty for him. Thank you for all of the hard work and passion you put into Skinny Taste! This Picadillo is awesome! It brings me back to my childhood when my mom would cook Picadillo for special occasions.

  120. Making this today but 11 servings is quite a lot…does this freeze well? Also, besides serving with brown rice- do you have any other suggestions for what to serve this with?

  121. I have used many of your recipes, Gina. I've recommended your site many times, yesterday being the most recent. I have to say this recipe is amazing. I made it on Sunday in the crockpot. It was strong, had smells my boyfriend and I weren't used to smelling so I was a bit nervous. It turned out to be the best recipe I've ever tried from your site. We had quesadillas Sunday night and Picadillo taco salads last night and probably still have enough left over for two more meals. I will definitely be making this again in the future. Thanks for all you do!

  122. Avatar photo
    Olivia Sanchez

    This is great! I'm currently making it right now in my crockpot and excited to taste it tonight! I'm Cuban so I am interested to see how it tastes this way with cilantro.

    I added in vino seco instead of water to give it some added flavor 🙂

  123. I made this last night and put it over roasted sweet potatoes instead of rice. OMG. it was amazing – even my super picky fiance loved it.

  124. Thank you fro including freeze ability. Depending on the day there may be only myself to cook for.