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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

4.60 from 49 votes
4
Cals:207
Protein:28
Carbs:5
Fat:8.5
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 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 12 mins
Total: 3 hrs 27 mins
Yield: 11 servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Last Step:

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Nutrition

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

Categories:

Slow Cooker Cuban Picadillo Recipe

Photo credit: Erin Alvarez

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522 comments on “Crock Pot Picadillo”

  1. Avatar photo
    Mary E Stokes

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

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

  3. 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”?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.  

  6. 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!

  7. 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! 

  8. 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. 

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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?