Cuban Picadillo

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Cuban Picadillo recipe is my family’s favorite! It’s really quick and easy to make, a delicious recipe for ground beef.

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.Cuban Picadillo

Growing up, this was one of my favorite dishes to eat that my Mom made all the time. She learned it from a Cuban friend who was more like a grandma to me. My friends loved eating over on the nights my mom had this on the menu. I have so many different versions of this recipe on my blog, like this Slow Cooker PicadilloInstant Pot Picadillo, and Turkey Picadillo when I want a lighter meal. It really is a favorite!


How to Serve Picadillo

I make picadillo a few times a month and make enough so we have leftovers. It’s perfect for meal prep because it’s so quick and easy to make. Plus, there are so many great ways to eat the leftovers that you won’t get tired of eating the same meal all week. Below are some of my favorites, but leave a comment if you come up with another way to serve it!

You can refrigerate the leftovers for four days or freeze it for up to six months.


  • If you’re not a fan of cilantro, omit it.
  • Swap ground beef for ground turkey or chicken.
  • Use capers if you don’t like green olives.
  • Add some diced potato.
  • Add raisins to make it more traditional.

picadillo quesadillas

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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.
4.79 from 66 votes
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Cuban Picadillo

207 Cals 25 Protein 5 Carbs 8.5 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 6 Servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Cuban, Latin
This Cuban Picadillo recipe is my family's favorite! It's really quick and easy to make, I make it a few times a month and make enough so we have leftovers!


  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1-1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 4 oz tomato sauce, 1/2 can
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp pitted green olives or alcaparrado, capers would work too


  • Brown meat on high heat in large sauté pan and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. When meat is no longer pink, drain all juice from pan.
  • Meanwhile, while meat is cooking, chop onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro.
  • Add to the meat and continue cooking on a low heat. Add olives or alcaparrado and about 2 to 4 tbsp of the brine (the juice from the olives, this adds great flavor) cumin, bay leaf, and more salt if needed. Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Reduce heat and simmer covered about 20 minutes.


You can refrigerate the leftover picadillo for four days or freeze it for up to six months.


Serving: 1/2 cup, Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 8.5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 477mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g
WW Points Plus: 4
Keywords: cuban picadillo, ground beef recipes, picadillo, picadillo beef, Picadillo recipe

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  1. We love serving the Picadillo over baked potatoes! Delicious!!!

  2. So good and fantastic as leftovers! I’ve made quesadillas with the leftovers and this morning I scrambled eggs right in with them (like I sometimes do with chorizo). 

  3. I pulled the last of this out of the freezer for tonight and am planning to cook a batch of this next week. I like the idea of the baking soda, I’ll try it! I am not an olive or a capers person, but the last time I made this, I added some diced pepperoncini. It probably was not the same effect, but it gave it a nice twist, we really liked it, thanks for a great recipe! 

  4. This was sooooooo good! I can’t wait to try it in a quesadillas. Thank you so much for all the mean plans and amazing recipes.

  5. Great recipe! It is much better cooked on the stove as opposed to a slow cooker. For tender ground beef I mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with the beef, massage it in and let stand about 10 minutes. While I was skeptical about it the first time I tried it , I found that it does make a difference.

    Thanks for another wonderful recipe.

  6. I made this last night. It was big hit. I used manzanilla olives because I didn’t have the mentioned olives on hand. I did add 1 tablespoon of capers as well. With the rest of the tomato sauce, I cooked minute rice in it (along with some water to make up the fluid amount). I will be making this again. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  7. Could this be made with impossible burger meat? 

  8. My very first Skinny Taste recipe. I’ve wanted to try it for years and finally I did it. So did my family. I will be doubling every time I make this. Thank you. 

  9. Your recipes are consistently good but this one… omg I could have eaten what was left by myself.  The olives and brine are the keys to the delicious flavor.  This one is going on my menu rotation. 

  10. I made this with ground turkey and half cauliflower rice, half brown rice. It was very good!

  11. Delicious! As mentioned can be used in numerous recipes. It is also delicious served with rice or a lettuce wrap.

  12. I don’t understand 4 oz 1/2 can tomato sauce? is it half of can?

  13. How much beef do you use? I don’t see it in the ingredients. I am sorry if I am missing it!

  14. Please add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of raisins to this.

  15. Delicious! I followed the recipe and it came out delicious! Definitely recommend it

  16. So sorry to say, but I was disappointed in this. Maybe I made it wrong? I’m not used to making this kind of dish so I’m not sure how it should taste. But if I may, could you give a suggestion for the amount and brand you use for the “2 tbsp alcaparrado” direction? The alcaparrado I bought was the GOYA brand and I just put in about half the jar since no amount was given. I found out upon eating it that ALL THE OLIVES IN THE JAR HAD PITS. I was not happy. I had to pick them all out and throw away the a bunch of food. I’m not blaming you for that mishap obviously, but is it normal for alcaparrado to have pits in it? I’m just very confused by this particular recipe. 

  17. So delish and easy to make. The picky husband loved it. 

  18. Had never had picadillo until today. Outstanding dish! NO LEFTOVERS!

  19. This is one of our absolute family favorites. There are no leftovers to make other recipes 🙂

  20. This is so delicious!  It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before!  I used capers and green olives and probably double what the recipe called for. I used more brine, too.  I made a double batch so I could freeze half for an easy meal some night.  Thanks for another winner, Gina!

  21. Made this tonight along with your Quick Slaw. Delicious!  My husband and son ate it with tortillas. Leftovers?  Nope. Thanks for your recipes!  You have kept me sane during this pandemic for sure. 

  22. Love this recipe, have made it several times. Today I served with cilantro lime rice on the side and sliced avacados. Yummy!

  23. I really love this. I mainly use it to make tacos, with cheddar cheese and pickled onions. I have made it many times and it will stay in my rotation forever!

  24. Absolutely fantastic!!!!

  25. I cooked this the for the second time; the first time was good but now the second time it came with a high acidity taste; not sure it it’s because I added more olives or the kind of tomate sauce I used 🙁 

  26. This is one of my husband and I’s all time favorite dishes. We love it!

  27. Made this for my Dad’s birthday and was definitely a crowd pleaser! ❤️

  28. Two tablespoons of olives, capers…or alcaparrado would not make your dish look like any of the pictures you post.  I use quite a bit more green olives sliced or chopped and capers…many…and my dish looks like your pics.  

  29. This is a fabulous, quick dinner to make. The flavors meld together perfectly. It is great w/ some beans and rice. Definitely will be adding to my rotation of go to recipes for busy times. 

  30. I personally used about 8 and cut them in half.

  31. I was looking for a flavorful and easy ground beef recipe, and this was perfect! I loved the flavor of the green olives in it. I served it over jalapeno riced cauliflower along with avocado and it was a perfect dinner.

  32. This is OMG delish! My new favorite! Such a unique flavor!

  33. Since you keep the olives whole how many olives do you use since i think 2 tablespoons is like 2 Olives

  34. My mother n law cannot eat tomatoes she is on a renal diet. Any suggestions for substitutions?

    • I suppose you can make it without, maybe add some broth?

    • I’m a dialysis patient and I make this. You don’t have to totally eliminate tomatoes, just bear in mind the higher potassium, and adjust your other foods that day to be lower potassium ones. If you Lans are good you don’t need to be that strict.

  35. This recipe is missing several steps. It tells us to chop the onion, tomato, garlic, pepper, and cilantro but then we do not know what to do with it and when. This is frustrating.

    Other recipes are excellent! So this might just be a small mistake.

  36. Hi. One ingredient is pepper. You didn’t specify if it’s bell pepper or a chili pepper. Thanks. 

  37. I plugged this into the create a recipe section of the WW website and it came up with 4 Blue points, but you have it now as 3 Blue points….has anything changed?

  38. When you say 1/2 a can of tomato sauce do you mean 2 oz total?  So half of a 4 oz can?

  39. Gina!  You’ve done it again!  Made this for dinner and it was ‘YUM’!  Did not have cilantro, as we are not big fans of that.  Subbed some parsley for effect!  We lived in Tampa Bay area for 35+ years and really enjoy good Cuban food!  Will definitely be fixing this again!  Leftovers tomorrow will either be the empanadas, or the ‘quesadillas’!  Thank you so very much!!

  40. I grew up eating picadillo made by my cuban mother. We served with traditional black beans and white rice. She used small green Spanish olives with pimento and adobo and salon to taste. We do not add salt or pepper, yes to onions but we use a whole onion and I cheat and use the prechopped garlic. I’ve also used canned chopped tomatoes. Picadillo is not a precise recipe, taste and add as you the raisins to me are the sweet Andy salty touch that I love. I never order it out because generally raisins are not used. I go BIG , like at least 3 or 4 lbs of ground beef and frequently add ground turkey…everyone wants leftovers…and take some to mom for aproval.. My kids loved  this mea from the time they were eating solid food to adulthood.  it’s what my son makes for covered dish parties at work.everyone requests it now!  Don’t get hung up on exact amounts, start with less and add as you go to taste. On low carb I ha have served my left overs with scrambled eggs or in omelets. I WAnt to try in mushroom caps! 

  41. This was delicious!

  42. You use this recipe in the empanada recipe. You mention that you store it in the freezer so you have it ready to go. How do you store it in freezer after you made big batches?

  43. Love this recipe. Did you remove the raisins? 

  44. Amazing recipe! I served it with white rice and garnish it with shoestring potatoes!

  45. I really wanted to like this recipe because it looked so good and the reviews were so good. I found it to be very bland. I cooked it in the slow cooker. I reread the recipe after we ate it to see if maybe I forgot an ingredient but I didn’t. I don’t know if I possibly did something wrong. I do love all Gina’s other recipes!

    • I’ve never made this recipe with a slow cooker so I can’t say if it’ll work for you, but I felt it was bland as well until I added more olives, brine, and salt. Be careful not to make it too salty though!

    • I make something very similar and I add in adobo and sazon. always start with less and work your way up to the flavor you’re looking for.

    • This is my favorite skinnytaste recipe and i usually make in slow cooker..but I’ve adjusted a few things 

      So anytime you cook in the crockpot seasoning gets’ll need to adjust seasoning at the end. I use higher end capers or olives bc they pack more flavor. I usually double the garlic and cilantro and add paprika and sometimes some hot sauce…def make again and just adjust the seasoning to taste at the end. Also make sure you sauté garlic, peppers, and onions before adding to the crockpot 

  46. What would be the nutritional information if you use ground turkey?

  47. I really enjoyed this recipe, thank you for all you do!

  48. Delicious! My slight changes… I used green olives (sliced into small pieces (only because I don’t like whole olives)) and three small diced Compari tomatoes. I can see this being really good with a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilies for a nice spiciness. Add some elbow macaroni and it would taste a lot like the goulash my mom used to make. Thanks for the recipe.

  49. Had this for dinner ! Was delicious 😋 Will definitely be making this again . Thank you for the recipe 😊

  50. I love the recipe. However, when I put it in the WW app, it calculates as 5 Freestyle points, not 3. I tried entering your nutrition facts and also adding each individual ingredient and it still calculates as 5 points. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Hi Cari! 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.

  51. Cuban American here! This needs cinnamon! Add 1tsp of ground cinnamon and you’ve got yourself some real Picadillo. 👍🏼

    • Cuban picadillo does not need cinnamon (there is no cinnamon in Cuba lol)

      • There is cinnamon in Cuba se llama canela  😂 but we don’t add it to picadillo. That’s for desserts like arroz con leche 😍 I was born there sooo I know there’s cinnamon 😂

    • My special lady friend is Cuban, and wholeheartedly agrees with Ado. I tried adding the cinnamon one time, and while I enjoyed it, she wasn’t about it. 

  52. This is one of my favorite recipes! So delicious and versatile!

  53. Great recipe! We have made it twice. Great for leftovers too.

  54. Recipe on point pero pinga eh de cuisine american? Eso es un plato cubano coño. Americano ni pinga, CUBANO!! Jeje 

  55. How many teaspoons or tablespoons of salt do you usually use? And pepper?

  56. This is delicious 😋. I am making it again tonight 😊. 

  57. How long would this keep in a freezer?

  58. How much of the alcaparrado should I use? I know the recipe says 2 tablespoons of brine.. but how much of the actual olives/capers?

  59. This looks delicious! I’m wondering if you think ground chicken could work as well?

  60. Can it be made in the IP?

  61. I’ve made this recipe as is several times and loved it. My husband and I are now trying out  a Vegan diet for health reasons. So tonight, I made it with 8 oz of seitan and 1/4 c water substituted for the full  quantity of meat.  It was fine!   Thanks Gina!  (Sientan was precooked so I put the sietan in with the vegtables)

  62. My family and I love this , I serve it over cauliflower rice. Yummy!!

  63. Is it 1 and a half pounds of meat or just a half pound of meat?.

  64. I’m not that familiar with latin cooking so maybe its my inexperience, but I was surprised when I went to chop the alcaparrado and the olives had pits. I bought Goya brand. Other than that little snag, this is delicious and I’ll make it again. Oh yeah..I used fresh chroizo instead of ground beef. YUM

  65. What kind of pepper?

  66. Does this recipe freeze well? If so, how do you make it from the freezer? Defrost in fridge then heat in microwave or stove? Tha k you! I’ve made this one before and it was a hit!

  67. I made it with ground chicken, it was really good!

  68. For a little bit of sweetness, I add raisins.

  69. This was SO good! I made with capers instead of the olives, and it was delicious. I can’t wait to make it again. 

  70. You never say when to cook the onion/pepper/garlic 

    • Hi Carmen! In step 2 it says to chop, then step 3- “Add to the meat and continue cooking on a low flame”. Sorry for any confusion!

  71. Such a delicious recipe! Your weekly meal plans have made my life so much easier!!! Thank you!

  72. Cuban picadillo does not use cilantro.

  73. So, I bought a jar of alcaparrado and they had pits! Any tips on the best way to pit them?

  74. Made this tonight! So good!

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  76. Not being Cuban, and living wayup north, I have never heard of this. But we love any Cuban dishes. I just made this, 10 minutes after reading. Used capers instead of olives, which I hate. In the middle of the recipe, I couldn’t find my tomato sauce!! I used some V8 that I had and it came out great. Maybe too loose, but since we don’t know the difference, it works!! Also, used your Instant Pot variation and it worked beautifully! Thanks!!!

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  81. This was AMAZING. We’ve been Keto for a few months and have been bored of the recipes. I live in Tampa and order Picadillo a lot. It’s a go-to comfort food. The only thing I added was a dash of cayenne pepper. I served it over cauliflower rice and am eating the leftovers right now for lunch! Thank you for sharing this. Now going to stalk your site for something to make tonight 🙂

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  83. Just made the picadillo and put it in 2 ingredient dough.  Baked 15 minutes at 425.  Delicious! 6 points each.

  84. Amazing, simply amazing!

  85. This was amazingly easy to make and very delicious. It is on the favorite list. Paired it with yellow rice. Yummy

  86. Pingback: Instant Pot Cuban Picadillo - Good food. Simple Recipes. Family Cooking. All unfiltered

  87. Would you happen to know the nutritional info if I switch the lean ground beef to ground turkey breast? 

  88. I have made this twice in the past two weeks. The second time I added some chopped jalapeños. Your recipes are the best!!

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  90. Delicious and filling!! I ate this with the cabbage slaw and corn tortillas.

  91. This was Sooooo Delicious!!! Yum! Totally new for for our family and everyone gobbled it up.

  92. Hello, i do not eat beef. Can this also be made with minced chicken?

  93. Delicious! Next time I’ll definitely double the recipe because now I’m hankering for all your leftover ideas! Goya empanada disks are now on my shopping list. I made it with ground turkey and your cilantro lime rice on the side. Another fool proof Skinny Taste recipe! Thank you!  

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  96. Absolutely delicious! LOVE LOVE LOVE! THANK YOU GINA 🙂

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  98. If I make this with ground turkey would this be a zero point FS recipe?

  99. I’m really excited to make this! I plugged it into my WW recipe builder and it comes up with 5 points per serving. The heaviest points item is the ground beef which comes in at 31 pts for 24 oz (1.5 lbs). 5 points is perfectly reasonable, I’m just worried I’ve misunderstood. Should I use 95% lean instead?

  100. This recipe is always a slam dunk. We always serve it over rice. I have two young kids that can be so picky and they ALWAYS eat this happily. This is always in my meal rotation now as I always have these ingredients on hand. Thanks Gina!

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  102. I’ve made this probably 8 or 10 times over the past year, and we never mind the leftovers! I used to make a different picadillo recipe, but it was always so heavy and overly seasoned that I didn’t look forward to warming it up. This, however, actually improves after a day or so in the fridge.  Some days we eat it with plain brown rice, but other days beside a big pick of your quick cabbage slaw. This one has been a lifesaver!

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  104. I substitute lentils for ground beef to make it vegan. A winner every time!
    Thank you!!!

  105. Can you freeze this? 

  106. Extremely delicious

  107. Deliciously good made skillet version. Realized i was out of bay leaves so made it without was still extremely yummy. Will make again.

  108. I started making piccadillo over 15 years ago when my partner’s mom made it for dinner one night, and I couldn’t stop eating it. Living in Miami, I’ve had it almost every way imaginable. But, never was a fan of the raisins. Once I started the keto diet (to help combat my Epilepsy) I was upset that I’d never be able to enjoy this dish anymore. This recipe is perfect! I enjoy it over cauliflower rice, and my partner hasn’t even noticed the changes. Thank you!

  109. If I make this with 99% lean ground chicken , will it make the points a bit less? I’d like to serve over rice for dinner tomorrow

  110. Hi! I had been wanting to make this for so long and I finally did last night. It was very tasty! However, mine did not seem to have any “sauce” like your photo has. I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong?

  111. Hello,

    for the tomato sauce are we talking pureed tomato from the can? or regular tomato (spaghetti sauce) Thanks! =D

  112. I may be blind, but just by looking at the recipe I never saw instruction for when to cook the onion/pepper/garlic or add it to the mix. Could you please edit the recipe to include that info? I pieced it together by looking at the crock pot recipe but would love to have it all in one place for future convenience.

  113. Just made this and my house smells amazing! I read the recipe wrong and thought it said ground turkey and just realized it says beef, It still tastes delicious and besides that I followed the recipe and doubled it. I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow!

  114. I add a few raisins to this dish. I love the sweet and salty together!

  115. What kind of slaw do you typically serve on the side?

  116.  I have always wanted to try this recipe. We don’t eat that much redmeat. So I improvised by using half a pound of ground sirloin and one cup of cooked lentils let me just say it was delicious. I also used about 6 ounces on the tomato sauce instead of 4. The flavors are wonderful. Will Definitely make this again!!

  117. Pingback: CrockPot, Instant Pot, or Stovetop Cuban Picadillo from Skinnytaste | Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

  118. you say 1/2 pepper but you don’t state what kind of pepper. Can you please update?

    • I’m wondering this too!

      • Delicious and so easy!! I added a teaspoon of cinnamon as one person suggested. Mmmmmm! I’m going to experiment and try using lentils for my vegetarian friends and then ground turkey because I’m trying to cut back on read meat.  And then I’m going to try making empanadas with the leftovers. Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

  119. I was very excited to try this recipe, especially after reading the reviews. I had the ingredients and went in each of alcapparado- could to find it anywhere! So, I used tapenade. Used the rest of the ingredients other than cilantro. Overall it was not bad – went easy on the tapenade though. I also added whole green olives with pimentos as it looked more like the recipe. I will try one more grocery store locally and will then order it online if I need to. Then I will try the recipe the way it’s supposed to be done. I kind of liked the tapenade

  120. If i wanted to make tacos with the leftover picadillo, what kind of toppings would you recommend?

  121. Leftovers make amazing empanadas Too. You can buy the frozen Goya discos, defrost them, fill them (like a hand pie or calzone), and fry or bake til golden brown and delicious!

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  123. Is the Cilantro supposed to be fresh (and diced) or will dried cilantro flakes suffice?

  124. Hi Gina! As I was making this tonight I thought id stop and in say thanks so much for this recipe! We have been making it for years and it is mine and my husband’s favourite dinner, we make it at least once a month! I used to eat it on white rice but have switched to brown and add a bit of avocado and it is the perfect meal!

  125. Ive made this before and im making it again tonight. Its one of my favorites!

  126. Would chopped grape tomatoes work in this recipe instead of a whole tomato? I happen to have those on hand. Also, what kind of veggie do you think would be good with this? I will need something to round out the meat and rice. Thx!

  127. I love your website and approach to food, but on this particular recipe-one half cup which is teeny portion wise, is 207 calories? A cup would barely satisfy a hungry adult. 

  128. Does the calorie total include serving over rice?

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  130. This is easy and delicious, a big favorite in my house! I’ve made it with beef or turkey (I don’t like to eat a lot of red meat), serve it with plantains, over salad, in tacos, lettuce wraps, quesadillas, pretty much any way it is always delicious. I use Spanish green olives but my mom likes to use alcaparrado when she makes it. It is always good, easy to adjust spice level/add veggies, and endless possibilities. Thank you!

  131. What can I use instead of cilantro? I don’t like that taste.

  132. I have never had this before. How do you serve it? Over rice, noodles or on it’s own? I have no idea 🙂

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  134. I made this tonight and it didn’t turn out. It’s pretty bland and it doesn’t have a thick sauce like in your picture. Mine just looks like loose ground beef with some veggies. I’ve looked through the recipe many times and can’t find anything I’ve missed. I’m not sure how your photo matches this recipe. It seems like something is amiss. 

    • Don’t know what you did different, I make this every month.

    • I’ve made this recipe countless times and it has always turned out perfectly like Ginas photo, I even use double the tomato sauce because we like it a little saucier. I can’t imagine how it turned out poorly, but please try again it’s one of our all time favoutites

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  137. I just made this. I was so proud of myself because I don’t cook at all. I would like to say ‘Thank you ‘ for sharing this wonderful recipe. I hope that you continue to share more latino/ spanish meals like this one. 

  138. What kind of veggie do you serve with this?

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  141. How would you suggest heating this after it being frozen? I would like to make it for another family.

  142. I just put some leftover Piccadillo over my spaghetti squash! We love this dish and the variety of ways you can eat it!

  143. I think the points are reversed. I just calculated and Smart Points for one serving is 4. Typically, Smart Points are higher than Points Plus, but it is
    noted the opposite for this recipe. This dish is AMAZING, however, and worth the extra point.

  144. Hello, This recipe was great! Can you please tell us what other recipe’s are on your family’s favorite rotation list?

  145. Simmering away ad we speak! Had no tomato sauce but I did find a packet of taco sauce. Hope it tastes good!!!!  Smells and looks relish…

  146. I am making a double batch of this tonight (I have 4 boys ????) to put into stuffed peppers! We usually use ground turkey, but tonightbwe are trying wild game! My family loves this recipe…although we will also be without olives tonight because I forgot them at the store and I will have some grumbles lol!! ???? I reference your website a lot since we have started on our clean eating journey!! Thank you for all the great recipes!!

  147. Made this the other night and it was good! I used the leftovers to make stuffed peppers and this morning mixed some with scrambled eggs and had to on toast. Delish!!!

    Love your recipes! Usually super easy and always delicious! Thanks Gina!!

  148. I made this today for my family. We all loved it. Thanks for the great recipe. 

  149. Made this tonight and it was great! My kiddos can be a little picky sometimes, so I put the olives and veggies in the blender with the tomato sauce and then added  it to the meat mixture. Worked great! The 4 year old even said, “mom you have to make this again…it’s so good!” 

  150. I hate olives with all of my being, can I omit them or should I just not bother?


  151. Hi Gina.
    I entered your recipe, ingredient by ingredient, into the Weight Watchers “My Foods” section for easy access to recipes. The Smart points calculation came up as 4, not 3. I’m VERY new to this process, however, and may be missing something. I love your recipes though and love it that you’re giving the Smart Points for them. Thank you for making life easier. Wish me luck!

  152. Made this using French lentils to make it vegetarian. Yumo!! Great receipie. 

  153. Sorry if this a duplicate question, but love this and short on time…can I relate with ground turkey? And if yes, white meat, dark meat or a mixture would work best? Thank you. 

  154. I’m making this for a work potluck. Should I just double the recipe? 60 people.

  155. Can you freeze the leftovers?

  156. Made this today.  So delicious!  Definitely will add to dinner rotation!

  157. I’m from Cuba and authentic picadillo always has green olives and raisins, sometimes almonds, but not capers. Originally it was a dish from Spain with Arabic origins, therefore the raisins & almonds.
    It is delicious! We also had it stuffed inside a mash potato ball that was fried. Not too slimming though! But delicious nevertheless.

    • We personally don’t like it with raisons, this is the way we always make it but sure add if you wish!

    • I always make it with the golden raisons. Not a big fan of raisons. But, the golden ones are plump and sweet. Definitely delish in piccadillo.

  158. How about with spaghetti squash?

  159. Hi Gina,
    My husband can’t have tomatoes due to Acid Reflux is there any substitute I could use for the tomato sauce? Thanks!

  160. Do you serve this over white rice?

  161. Hi Gina,
    I am making the Cuban Picadillo recipe tonight for my family. The recipe calls for 1/2 pepper finely chopped. Is this a bell pepper? I just wanted to make sure so that I purchase the correct ingredients. I can’t wait to taste this, it looks amazing. I am going to make the quesadillas with this. 🙂 Thanks

  162. I was always told that picadillo was very spicy or am I thinking of something else?

  163. How would you make this is the instant pot?

  164. How do u think this would be with soy crumbles like boca ?  Trying to get away from beef these days.  

  165. Have you ever made this with ground turkey? Would you recommend it? Thanks!

    • Yes but my family prefers beef.

    • I use ground turkey all the time. I add a little better than bullion beef to it and I do use lean ground turkey, but don’t use the extra lean ground turkey. It needs a little fat in it. My husband said he could hardly tell the difference.

  166. Haven’t made this in many years but we always loved it. My recipe called for a half cup of raisins. They gave it a delicious semi-sweetness.

  167. What kind of pepper should I use?

    • Either green or red is fine.

      • I made this a couple of nights ago and discovered that I had no bell pepper of any kind, but I did have a jar of roasted red pepper. Chopped up a couple of those, and voila!! Delicious!!! I love this dish so much, and had never heard of it before finding it on this site. Thanks for posting such great recipes!!

      • Glad you enjoyed it Cheryl!

      • Oh, and I forgot to say that I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes, so I used a can of Ro-tel tomatoes. I served it over spaghetti squash–SO yummy!!!

  168. How do you adjust the recipe to be made in the Instant Pot?

  169. The ingredients call for 2 tablespoons of alcaparrado, but the directions say add alcaparrado and 2 tablespoons of brine. So it is 2 tablespoons of alcaparrado + and additional 2 tablespoons of the alcaparrado brine?

  170. You can use the left over picadillo on zucchini boats. 

  171. Made this tonight… My dad is Cuban born, and makes it all the time! This was my first attempt, and it was delicious! This recipe is almost identical to his. He also adds raisins. A trick he told me is to pour boiling water over the cooked beef through a strainer before returning it to the pan. It washes away the “fatty smell” as he says! Delicious!!!

  172. I love this dish.  I use the Comino spice with cumin and turkey breast and I leave out the olives.  I serve it with yellow rice but even by itself it is hearty and filling. I love all of your recipes!

  173. I follow you on Snapchat and you snapped this recipe recently and I knew I needed to track it down on your site and make it. This is incredible! It honestly never even made it to a plate, I just ate it out of the pan for lunch. I’ve made so many recipes from both your blog and cookbook and I have yet to make anything that my husband and I haven’t loved. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  174. So this was pretty much amazing. I ran out of time for the crock pot version, but this was just as flavorful, I imagine. I’m one to tweak recipes, to make more ‘my own’.  Not needed with this one! I followed to a T! And for all of you olive haters, my husband is one of you. He hands down despises them. He LOVED this! Do not be afraid!

    Thank you so much for all of your time and hard work, Gina. You really are helping so many people. Do you have an empanada recipe for the leftovers??

  175. Thank you sooo much for this site! I’ve had to end my love affair with The Pioneer Woman due to weight loss goals and you are now my new go to site! I was wondering something, though. I noticed that in the stove top Picadillo, 1 1/2 lbs meat is used but in the crockpot recipe it’s 2 1/2 lbs. I noticed this same difference of more meat in the crockpot bolognaise (sp?) sauce verse the stove top version. Is there a reason? If a typo, which amount would be correct?

    I’m looking forward to making both!

  176. Made this tonight and the entire family loved it. The usual adjustments — didn't have canned tomatoes or cilantro on hand — and it was still amazing. Looking forward to making it again with better planning beforehand! Took very well to extra veggies, too — tossed in finely diced celery and zucchini, and it worked well.

  177. I double this recipe and we eat in 3 nights in a row at least once a month. We make them into quesadillas with shredded cheese. Probably the best thing I've ever tasted.

  178. I made this tonight, and it was really delicious. The only change I made was using the whole 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, because I just didn't want to have half a can hanging around. I didn't find it too saucy, so I'll probably just do that from now on. Will be putting this on my list of go-to recipes. I'll have to try making the tostones next time!

  179. I, too, add raisins, and serve with white rice, black beans and fried plantains. Don't forget a fresh pitcher of Sangria with fresh fruit afloat in it. That's how I first got it back in the '70s as a young Navy man in the 'Fourth of July' restaurants in South Florida and the Keys.

  180. NIce and tasty…..

  181. Tasty! I just made this. Had it with a side of refried beans and guacamole. Very satisfying meal.

  182. I have made this countless times. It is delicious. Thank you.

  183. Over 2 years later and this is still mine and my husbands favourite meal! Thanks so much for a nutritious and delicious recipe! We make this almost weekly!

  184. This was so good and I got two dinners out of it and still have more. I have lost 14 lbs from cooking your recipes and have reached my goal weight. Thank you!

  185. This is my first time making this (hadn't even hears of it before your blog) and it is soooo delicious!
    Mine turned out a bit different than yours.. I add a bit more tomato sauce, more pepper, less meat, but it still turned out so yummy! This will definitely be a regular at our house!
    PS- even my 7 month old loves it!

  186. Do you know I've made this about seven times and completely ignored the fact that it called for tomato sauce!? It was great w/out, so tonight we'll see what it's like with it!

  187. I made this with Morningstar ground crumbles- huge hit with the family.

  188. Hi all. My kids' Colombian grandmother used to make this dish and I always loved it but had no idea what it was. I was super thrilled when I came across this post and I recognized the dish and I'm anxious to try it. I do have a question though… what kind of pepper is the recipe calling for (traditionally)? Thank you for your help!

  189. Just made this for dinner. Upped the cumin because I love it, and served it with Boston Lettuce on the side for wraps. The green olives are a nice surprise!

  190. I just made this…and it was (well, "is" since I'm still chomping down on it) DELICIOUS! Thank you for this recipe….this will definitely be in my regular rotation

  191. Hey, everyone…. I have been making this recipe over and over again… it's a staple in my house now! I am starting to reduce the amount of carbs in my diet, and made this dish yesterday paired with Gina's cauliflower cilantro-lime rice and it was INCREDIBLE!! For those of you who are wondering what to pair this dish with, definitely try it w/ the cauliflower rice… the flavors melded together perfectly and it was incredibly satisfying! Check it out:

  192. should lower the amount of cilantro. that's all I tasted…

  193. I can't get over how flavourful and delicious this is! My husband and I both love it and I meant to comment sooner, but this has beena regular for us for months! Just finished dinner and had to comment! Thanks Gina!

  194. So many of your recipes have become family favorites! Today this one was added to that list!

  195. Thank you Thank you Thank you! This was my dinner last night (and a couple more to come) and tonight I am making a vegetarian version for my husband. (He said mine smelled amazing!)

    I added two ingredients…granny smith apple and cinnamon. The sweet in with the spicy is a flavor party in your mouth!

    I am having leftovers for dinner tonight. Been looking forward to it all day! You are my hero!

  196. Gina, not sure if you're aware, but there seems to be a problem when trying to leave a message on here via an iPad. I used my iPad 4 and a friend tried it on her iPad 2, but the comments don't appear.

    Anyway, I really, really want to make this dish. It sounds delicious and all of the comments I read gave it the thumbs up. My only problem is that I really don't like olives or capers. Has anybody that has made this had no problems with the taste after just picking them out?? I don't really want to waste the food or the money making something I don't like..


  197. I substituted bison meat for beef. I added capers and this was … delicious!!

  198. I wanted to thank you for your recipes. As soon as I saw the email for the crock pot version I knew I had to try the stove top version. We are on our sailboat in the Bahamas and I gathered all the ingredients (with a few substitutions because of limited availability). I used more olives and capers than called for (we LOVE them) and I used canned green chilies instead of a pepper. Oh, and all I had was ground turkey but I don't think anyone knew the difference. We served it over rice with avocado and sour cream. AMAZING!! I made a double recipe and it ALL disappeared! Our friends gave it a 9.5 on the "must have again" scale. THANK YOU!!

  199. This was great. I did add 1 tbsp of chilli powder, a handful of jalepenos, along with a dash of an Emeril spice mix to increase the flavor a little. I put the meat in lettuce wraps, topped with a dollop of greek yogurt and a little hot sauce. Great recipe! So filling, too!

  200. Gina, your recipes remind me of my Mom's. Thank you for passing on our tradition!

  201. this was FANTASTIC!! my kids scarfed it down and so did my hubby and i. i will definitely be making this again.

  202. this was really good, one of my favorites, i also love your pasta with escarole and sausage. thanks!

  203. I have been on Weight Watchers for 3 weeks and cook all of our meals. This is my favorite thing that I've made so far. Thank you!

  204. cwthomsen:

    2 TBSP = 1/8 cup

    2 x 1/8 cup = 1/4 cup

    her crockpot picadillo is a double recipe. 🙂

  205. I made this and found it to lack a bit in the flavor department.

  206. This was excellent!!! Can the left over meat be frozen?

  207. Made this last night and everyone loved it. And with three kids that is no small feat. I have one question, in this recipe you have 2 Tbsps of alcaparrado but in the crock pot version of the same recipe you have 1/4 c. Which one is correct?

  208. I made this with Gimme Lean and Morningstar nonmeat crumbles. Delish

  209. Hi Gina,

    Thanks for this amazing recipe! I just made it tonight, my flatmates loved it 🙂

  210. I made this with chicken breast that I cut into smaller bites. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper and cumin while it was sautéing and the dish was super tasty! Even my teenage daughter who is a bit picky loved it.
    Note; I used an olive tapenade instead of the alcaperrada or straight olives. I did use brine as well.
    Love this!

  211. If I already have homemade sofrito, can I use that?

  212. Thanks for the great recipe. I used red peppers. I also threw in some raisins. It is wonderful!!! A keeper for sure!

  213. I have made these 2 times in 2 weeks, everyone loves it, even my 1 yr old! Made enough yesterday to have empanadas tonight! In love with your site!

  214. Making it tonight. I'm starting WW and my daughter loves picadillo. Can you tell me what the rice serving is and how many points with the rice? Thanks for all the wonderful recipes. You inspired me to try WW! 🙂

  215. I can see why this is a classic in your household…. because it's now gonna be a classic in mine. Made this last night, and it blew me away! I'm having leftovers for lunch and they taste even better if that's possible. I served it with rice, your tostones recipe, and the aji sauce from your Peruvian chicken to dip the tostones in. INCREDIBLE!!!

  216. Making this again! Yum!!!!

  217. I just realized that I don't have any tomato sauce. Can I use something else? I have crushed tomatoes?

  218. Sooooooo good. I loved the flavor of the meat I skipped all the other sides and took extra meat and had it over broccoli.

  219. can you use tvp instead of beef. I have several vegetarians to feed.

  220. Looks great, what is the serving size in terms of cups or oz?

  221. Is there a way to make this vegetarian without using faux-meat (vegetarian ground "beef" has gluten in it)? Do you know if tofu would work? Or just eliminate the beef? This sounds delicious and I want to try this 🙂

  222. I just prepared this recipe this evening and it was fantastic! Everyone loved it. We ended up having a huge debate over who gets to eat the leftovers tomorrow! Thank you for doing what you do!

  223. Thank you so much for this blog! It is saving me on WW- love the flavors and variety. This dish is new to us and we LOVE it! BTW, 3/4 cup measured out to 1/6 when I made it, if that makes it easier. Have tried a bunch of your recipes, every one is wonderful.

  224. totally yummy! I used capers and green olives (never heard of alcaparrado and not sure if it's available in the UK, so thanks for the alternatives!). I've been really stuck on only being able to think of doing bolognese with mince and am really bored of it, so brilliant to find a good "skinny" recipe for it that is really different and tasty!

  225. I'm making this now. I love it so far! Although I seem to have more liquid in the sauce than you have in the picture.

  226. I made this tonight for the fourth or fifth time, but the first time really making the sofrito from scratch instead of using the Goya jar. While it does take more time, it's worth it for the better flavors. Thanks for the recipe!

  227. I made this tonight and it was positively fantastic! So tasty, and not even a hint that it was lightened up. I can't wait to make more of your recipes, Gina. This was my first!

  228. Yummy, I made this for lunch today with brown rice and tostones. I really love food with great flavor and this fit the bill. Thank you so much for sharing, I love what you do.

  229. Made this recipe last night and it was delish! I was in a time crunch so I used the Goya store bought Sofrito and it worked great. I add cubed potatoes to my picadillo which is great too. I don't care for capers so I just use green olives and the brine. It's so hard to find Latin food recipes that are slimmed down and as a Latin food lover, your sight is greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

  230. White rice, terrible photo I guess!!

  231. What's in the photo behind the tostones?

  232. It is fantastic! The men were eating the left over meat mixture directly out of the pan – they couldn't help themselves, hahaha!

    This makes wonderful omlettes the next morning, too. Topped with some of your pico de gallo and a touch of reduced fat cheese 🙂

  233. Oh whoops, thank you!! Can't wait to try it. I've tried a few of your recipes and loved them all!!

  234. That's just the liquid from the olives.

  235. Hi, I'd like to try and make your recipe this weekend but where do you find the brine?


  236. Thanks you, we love this in my home!

  237. First, I love your blog.

    Second, my husband made this for dinner tonight. DELICIOUS!

  238. You're right, I had an error in the amount of servings when I calculated. It's 4 points plus 🙂

  239. Hi! I wanted to use 93% lean beef instead of 95%, so I used WW Recipe Creator to see the difference in points. The odd thing is it's showing me that this is only 4 points plus per serving which doesn't make sense as you're listing at six points plus. Are you getting 6 points plus when you put it in the WW recipe creator? Thanks!

  240. I just made this last night, and it was delicious. I'm not sure it tasted quite like the stuff I've gotten at a Cuban restaurant before; it almost had more of a sloppy joe flavor, but still very good. It was great with a side of rice and also on a bun as a sloppy joe. All your recipes that I've tried have been real winners. Thanks!

  241. I made this tonight, and I'm gonna attempt chiles rellenos tomorrow night with the leftovers. I also may do a few empanadas if I have enough left!

  242. I put this recipe in the Weight Watchers online recipe builder as written. The recipe builder calculates points based on ingredients and number of servings. The points plus total as written with six servings calculated was five.

  243. I am new to the site (which FYI – I AM IN LOVE WITH), but this recipe does not have the new Points+ or nutrition information. I know it is old, but I was hoping you could help 🙂

  244. I am making this tonight for the first time. I had never heard of it prior to reading your recipe. I'm excited to try it!

  245. This is great. I seriously make this once a week because it's easy and everyone loves it in my house!

  246. Gina, I will be making this tomorrow! I cannot wait. Being Puerto Rican its a must to try this. I will be using it to make the empanadas.

  247. Fresh is always best but you can use it from the jar if you wish. Saves time!

  248. Can you use Goya Sofrito in the jar or is it better to make the sofrito fresh?

  249. @Sarah, I've never thought of adding jalapeño, although not traditional, I'm sure it's good!

  250. Eating this right now and it is SO GOOD! I accidentally chopped a jalapeno for the 1/2 pepper, and then realized and added the bell pepper as well. There's a tiny bit of added zing from the jalapeno, and I love it! Can't wait to use leftovers for stuffed peppers 🙂

  251. We love picadillo in my house! Great in tacos as well. It's so easy to make, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  252. Gina, I love your blog!

    I made this last night and served it with your Scallion Cilantro Rice with Habaneros and Lime (substituted serranos and white onion for scallions and habaneros) and it was DELICIOUS! I really enjoyed making it. It was very flavorful. Thank you for the great recipe!

  253. Don’t mind my drooling thank you very much. lol

  254. No, not really a chili taste, but still delicious! Next time I may add sliced mushrooms to help fill the meal.

  255. Thanks Monica!!! Very creative using turkey sausage and chili peppers. Probably tasted close to a chili!

  256. I made this last night and it was excellent! I ate it with crisp romaine lettuce leaves, which I used as "taco shells". Loved the flavors. My husband loved it too. I missed the pepper when shopping, so I added one green chilie (canned), which I diced up. It gave it a slightly hot flavor, which we liked. After I made this, I placed everything into a bowl which was on top of a scale and weight it. It came to 2lb, 5 ounces, which divided, came to 6.16 per 6 servings. Oh, I didn't have 1.5 pounds of beef (I had 1.13), so I added turkey sausage (Shady Farm brand) to make up the difference. Again, delicious!

  257. Can you please tell me what the actual serving size is?

  258. I've made it with chicken as well but my family prefers beef. I agree beef tastes better, but I sometimes use turkey.

  259. Has anyone ever made this with chicken?

  260. Red or Green pepper is fine. I usually use whatever I have.

  261. when it calls for 1/2 pepper, is it green pepper or red?

  262. @Lisa – I have made turkey picadillo and I like it, but I prefer beef to turkey. If you buy very lean beef, the points are just about the same.

  263. Hey Gina!

    Could I use turkey meat with this ? I want to make the empanadas, but i wasnt sure if A) it would ruin the taste, B) if it brings the points down?

  264. I love that your picadillo doesn’t have raisins in it. The raisins are what kept me from trying it before. Also, what is alcaparrado? I will probably use green olives in mine, but I was just curious.

  265. I love picadillo and would love to try this 6 pt version!

  266. I made this tonight…so yummie!! Thanks for the recipe.

  267. Seeing this recipe does bring back many memories for me. My grandmother used to make this dish just for me. She passed 3 years ago, and I have not had it since. I may have to make some. Thanks for the warm memories “)

  268. Delicious! Thanks!

  269. Wow, I like picadillo a lot, I just had my supper but this makes my hungry again.

  270. I love picadillo and I add raisins to mine along with brown rice. It’s delicious!