Turkey Picadillo

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Turkey Picadillo is a lighter alternative to my favorite Cuban beef picadillo recipe only much leaner, and made with ground turkey instead.

Turkey Picadillo with rice and slaw on a plate.
Turkey Picadillo

Growing up in a Latin home, beef picadillo was on dinner rotation as a kid. It’s also one of the first things I learned how to cook. It’s a 30 minute dish, while it cooks I cook my rice in another pot so everything is ready at the same time. Serve it with a quick slaw for a little acidity and dinner is ready! My family loves it with beef, but some nights I like to switch it up with turkey as a leaner option. I personally am not a fan of 99% lean turkey, it’s too dry for my taste so I use 93% lean ground turkey instead. Leftovers are great in tacos, empanadas or quesadillas. For more dinner ideas see my ground turkey recipes in the archives.

Picadillo with rice and slaw on a plate.

Growing up we loved nights my mom was making picadillo! My friends always wanted to eat over on those nights too, they loved this dish! Mom always made it with beef, which is delicious and I often do too. But some nights if I want to have a lighter option with less fat I turn to ground turkey, it’s honestly just as good!

I know I have made many of you fans of picadillo as I have shared it every which way! You’ll notice I also have a Slow Cooker Picadillo version made with beef (turkey works too) and an Instant Pot Picadillo version. We make this a few times a month, it’s Madison’s favorite!

Meal Prep and Storage

Turkey picadillo a great dish to meal prep! Serve it with your grain of choice – brown rice, quinoa, white rice – or cauliflower rice to keep it low carb. You can refrigerate the leftovers for up to 4 days or freeze the rest up to 6 months.

What to serve turkey picadillo with?

  • Make it a Bowl! I love it over white or brown rice, with a quick cabbage slaw on the side for acidity. Sometimes I add some avocado to my plate, depending on how I balance out my macros.
  • Sweet plantains or air fryer tostones are also great on the side.
  • Tostadas – My older daughter loves to make tostadas with melted cheese using the leftovers. Some nights we even serve them in taco shells.
  • Picadillo Stuffed Peppers – Mix it with rice and stuff it into peppers for delicious stuffed peppers!
  • Breakfast Scramble – I have even mixed the leftovers into my egg scramble and topped it with hot sauce.
  • Make a Taco Bell-style mexi melt by adding picadillo, cheese and pico de gallo.

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More Turkey Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Turkey Picadillo

4.91 from 50 votes
Turkey Picadillo is a lighter alternative to my favorite Cuban beef picadillo recipe only much leaner, and made with ground turkey instead.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Cuban
Turkey Picadillo with rice and slaw on a plate.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup


  • 1.33 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 4 oz tomato sauce, (1/2 can)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp green Spanish pitted olives, plus 2 tbsp brine


  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, optional


  • Brown the ground turkey on medium heat in large sauté pan and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces.
    cooking ground turkey
  • Meanwhile, while turkey is cooking, make the sofrito by chopping onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro. (I quickly do it in my mini chopper)
  • Add sofrito to the meat and continue cooking on a low heat.
  • Add olives and about 2 tbsp of the brine (this adds great flavor) cumin, bay leaves, and more salt if needed.
  • Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and mix well.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer covered about 15 to 20 minutes to let the flavors meld.
    cooked picadillo in a skillet

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 /2 cup, Calories: 238 kcal, Carbohydrates: 7.5 g, Protein: 29 g, Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 100 mg, Sodium: 354 mg, Fiber: 1.5 g, Sugar: 2.5 g