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Instant Pot Picadillo

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Instant Pot Picadillo is a Cuban recipe I grew up eating and is always on rotation in my house because it’s the most requested dish by my kids and it’s so easy to make.

Picadillo is the most requested dish by my kids and it's so easy to make. We love it served over brown rice (or cauliflower rice) with this quick cabbage slaw or a salad on the side.
Instant Pot Picadillo

I have recreated my stove top picadillo recipe for the slow cooker but many of you have been asking for me to convert this for the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) so I was happy to do so! This turned out great in the pressure cooker and only took 15 minutes not counting pressure time.

Helpful Tips

When converting from slow cooker to instant pot, the ingredients stay the same, the only thing that changes is you can saute in the same pot and the time is much quicker.

What To Serve With Picadillo

We love it served over brown rice (or cauliflower rice) with this quick cabbage slaw or a salad on the side. Leftovers are great to pack for lunches or I use the meat to a second meal for the week such as air-fryer picadillo empanadas, stuffed peppers, tacos, quesadillas and more! This also freezes well for make ahead-meals.

My family loves this beef version but I also make a Turkey Picadillo, if you prefer. You can also dice up potatoes to make Picadillo with potatoes, it’s delicious!

How To Make Picadillo in the Instant Pot

Instant Pot Picadillo

4.74 from 80 votes
Picadillo is the dish I make the most in my home. It's the most requested by my kids and it's so easy to make. Great over rice, in tacos and more!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Cuban, Latin
Picadillo is the most requested dish by my kids and it's so easy to make. We love it served over brown rice (or cauliflower rice) with this quick cabbage slaw or a salad on the side.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Yield: 6 Servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 generous cup


  • 1-1/2  lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to mato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 4 oz 1/2 can tomato sauce (I like Goya)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp alcaparrado, capers or green olives would work too


  • Press saute button, when hot brown meat and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces until no longer pink.
  • Add onion, garlic, tomato, salt, pepper and cilantro and stir 1 minute, add alcaparrado or olives and about 2 tbsp of the brine (the juice from the olives, this adds great flavor) cumin, and bay leaf. Add tomato sauce and 3 tablespoons of water and mix well. Cover and cook high pressure 15 minutes. Natural or quick release and enjoy!

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Serving: 1 /2 generous cup, Calories: 207 kcal, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 25 g, Fat: 8.5 g, Saturated Fat: 3.5 g, Cholesterol: 74 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g


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378 comments on “Instant Pot Picadillo”

  1. This recipe has been one of my go-to’s for the last several years. (I’m making a point to go review all my favorites!) Picadillo is such a great way to use ground beef aside from the ‘usuals’. I always add a diced potato or two to the IP and I’ve even done cubed cauliflower. I wish I could find alcaparrado but always add capers and olives and its delicious.

  2. This was very good. By the time I finished adding the ingredients it was actually ready to eat, no need for the Instant Pot bc it had been simmering while I added the ingredients, like cooking taco meat on the stovetop. But I did pressure cook it for 15 min. I used black olives bc nobody in my family likes the green. My BBQ was on so I threw on some mini red & orange peppers while I was rinsing, chopping, dicing & measureing. Grilled peppers always improves the flavor of any recipe. I added one seeded jalapeño & a bit of smoked paprika. Prep time was about 45 min, plus 15 min cooking.

  3. Avatar photo
    Mira LaCubana

    My whole family loved this recipe, including my very picky kids. I’ve been making a version of my mom’s picadillo for quite a few years, but I was thrilled to discover a recipe they like better. Thank you for helping me hang on tightly to some Cuban roots with this recipe!!

  4. I finally made this last night and was so good! My fiance went for seconds. Not a fan of bay leaf, so left it out but was still very tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. This recipe is literally one of my favorites of all time! It is on our meal rotation at least once a month. The ingredients are spot on, the flavor is amazing, and it is so easy! I’d tend to add a little extra green olive juice because I’m a little extra.

  6. Loves this recipe! Very approachable Cuban food. I can put into tortillas for my kids. Needs a lot of extra salt and I like to add a little extra tomato sauce and olive juice to bring out more flavor. 

  7. This is the only recipe my family will accept for meat for tacos, I make it using chopped green olives since I’ve never found alcaparrado.  It is easy to make and delicious – and I always double the recipe. 

  8. This looks delicious. I have an 8 qt instant pot, do you think this recipe would work? I’m afraid that I will get the dreaded burn notice because the liquid count is pretty low. 

  9. I can’t stress enough how horrible this recipe is it’s not even close to what traditionally is supposed to be made with.

  10. Delicious and so easy!  Made this tonight and served it over lettuce and tomatoes- like a taco salad. Garnished with shredded cheddar and sour cream.  We will be having the leftovers tomorrow as burritos.   

  11. I’ve made this a few times and it’s VERY good however, the reason I give it 3 stars is for the ingredients. Lots of things go to waste because it’s half this and that. Maybe say small/medium onion instead of half a large. Just my my opinion. Again, very delicious  recipe though! 

  12. Made this dish and it was great! I made it with ground chicken instead of turkey. I also added more olives which I felt made the dish even better! Overall, I loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again.

  13. LOVE this recipe and I make it all the time! It’s super simple to prep all the veggies and then just throw it in once the meat is browned. The flavor is delicious and I often get cravings for it! I usually make this as a brown rice bowl with roasted peppers/onions on top. 

  14. Wondering if anyone else’s came out with a lot of juice? Almost soup like? Flavorful but tasted Ike it cooked a tad too long to me. Will try again and omit the additional water. 

    1. Sometimes mine does, especially when I accidentally double the amount of tomato sauce. (It only calls for half of the small tomato sauce can) When this happens, I usually press the sauté button and let some of the “juice” cook out until it’s the consistency I like.

  15. Made it tonight, hubby liked it.  I added some garlic and smoked paprika.  Turned out yummy. 

  16. WOW!… Cant believe I waited and waited and waited to make this one. I skipped over this recipe soooo many times (FOOLISH GIRL I AM) or WAS because this one is going into heavy rotation from here on out. I guess I didnt think something so simple could produce so much flavor. Boy, was I wrong. Made it with Ground Turkey 93/7 and a mix of both Capers and Green olives. Served it with a baked Sweet Potato. Awesome Gina! Just Awesome! 🙂

    1. Erica- your review sounded so much like me so I gave this a whirl too. So, I made it yesterday in the IP. Really good. Thanks for the review! 🙂

  17. Has anyone ever made this using ground pork? I have made the beef version and love it but I have a couple of packages of ground pork and was wondering if that’d be a good substitute. Thanks!

  18. Hi, I want to try this recipe. It calls for 1.5 pounds of ground beef but it is typically sold on 1 pound packs. If I double the meat to 3 pounds, do I double everything else including the liquids?

    1. Hi Deepa…I’ve always made this recipe with at least 3lbs of ground mixed meat(beef, turkey, pork). The only items I’ve doubled were the spices and the veggies. The meat usually releases quite a bit of liquid, hence other comments regarding the “soupiness”., so, additional liquid is not really necessary. Just make sure you scrape ANY bits of meat that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Also, combine all of your ingredients..give everything in the pot a good mix. Good Luck!

  19. Big fan of this recipe. Easy to make, just prep the veggies before you brown the meat and it throw it all in.

  20. This has been on my “to try” list forever. I finally made it this weekend and can understand what all the fuss is about! The flavors are fantastic.

    I made it in the instant pot as written. I ended up making empanadas using your dough recipe, and the results were great. It is a bit liquidy right out of the instant pot, but I used a slotted spoon when filling them. Thanks for another good one, Gina!