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.

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.

Cooked ground beef recipesbest ground turkey recipes

More Turkey Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Turkey Picadillo with rice and slaw on a plate.
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4.93 from 27 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Turkey Picadillo

5
5
5
SP
238 Cals 29 Protein 7.5 Carbs 11 Fats
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Cuban
Turkey Picadillo is a lighter alternative to my favorite Cuban beef picadillo recipe only much leaner, and made with ground turkey instead.

Ingredients

  • 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

Sofrito:

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

Instructions

  • 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

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cup, Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 7.5g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 354mg, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugar: 2.5g
Blue Smart Points: 5
Green Smart Points: 5
Purple Smart Points: 5
Points +: 6
Keywords: cuban dishes, cuban picadillo, ground turkey recipes, turkey picadillo

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117 comments

  1. Mixed with some rice and delish!!!

  2. I love this recipe! I’ve been making your recipes for a year now and my whole family loves the meals! Thank you for taking the time to create, post, compile shopping lists, points/nutritional info & MOST OF ALL…doing this all for free!

  3. Used Jalapeños instead of Olives and the Jalapeño juice instead of Brine and worked out super nice.

    Also added a bit of chilli powder when browning the turkey as i like a kick ! 

    Turned out really nice and even better once it dries out a bit !

  4. I’m making this for dinner tonight (along w/the quick cabbage slaw) and I’m using ground turkey breast. After adding to my WW recipe builder it came up as 0 SP, LOVE THAT!! 😊 

  5. This was delicious!! I served it w cilantro rice and tostadas! I had to use pimento olives and green pepper cuz that’s all I had and it was super good! My husband loved it
    We even had it the next day! For sure I will make it again. 

  6. Made exactly as written and was amazing!! Love the flavors. Served with rice and then quick crunch salad from a bag w apple cider vinegar/olive oil dressing. Enjoyed leftovers today with some tortilla chips!!

  7. This was great and even better as leftovers!

  8. Hi Gina, this is one of our favorite recipes! But every time I make it I wonder if I should be peeling and de-seeding the tomato. Thank you!

  9. I Made the turkey picadillo tonight for dinner. I served it over steamed cauliflower. I thought it was delicious. I divided it into  4 servings then took out my serving. I made the 4serving recipe so i have 3 more meals. This is my trick to not over eating Gina’s recipes  as they taste very good and i am always tempted to go back for more. I plan to put 2in the freezer. 

  10. I served this with saffron rice, which was amazing. Great recipe! Loved every bite!

  11. So, the serving size is only 1/2 cup? Doesn’t seem like very much.

    • You can eat more, theres no wrong or right if it fits into your day. This is a little over 4 oz and just a suggested serving size.

  12. Okay, this dish was amazing! Both my kids, ages 10 and 13 loved it! I served it with rice for one and by itself for the other.
    The ingredients are simple and healthy. No time is wasted either with prepping the Sofrito while the turkey is browning, genius for the cook!
    The flavors are wonderful and savory, I will be adding this to my regular week of staples.
    Thank again for another fantastic dish.

  13. Oh hells yes on this! Ground turkey can be quite dry. This Picadillo recipe makes it juicy and so full of flavor! I’m on WW green and this provided a tasty and low point meal for myself and delicious tacos for my non WW husband and son. This recipe will go in to rotation for sure. 

  14. Made this tonight with the quick cabbage slaw and followed both of the recipes exactly as printed. My husband loved it! It was quick, simple and delicious. Another great SkinnyTaste recipe to add to the dinner menu rotation! Thank you Gina for all that you do!

  15. So good and easy. Followed the recipe as is. My husband had his with rice. I had it over a bed of  cabbage slaw. Delicious 

  16. Loved this recipe. I tried it before I put in the tomato sauce and think I would have liked it more without it!

  17. Turkey Piccadilly is one of my favorite recipes. The first time I made it was for the family and it was a big hit. The flavor is extraordinary . I make it regularly!

  18. Attempting to eat healthy and add some flavorful meals into our meal plan – the TURKEY PICADILLO looks delicious and in reading recipe – even as a clueless cook I can pull this off except the part about adding “about 2 tbsp of the brine” confuses me. What did you brine? I have never brined before put reading on it , take away its mostly done on lean meats – but I don’t think you brined the ground turkey ?

  19. Tossed it with some cooked Farro…outstanding!  Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Made this tonight and it was delicious! Served over white rice. 🤤

  21. I will be using jarred sofrito. How much should I use?

    Thank you.

  22. Recipe with the beef version is three points on blue plan for a half a generous cup.  The recipe for the turkey version is five points for half cup that doesn’t make sense in my mind

  23. I notice that the turkey picadillo is 5 points but the beef versions is only 3. Is that right? I love the crockpot version and make it regularly, but I prefer not to eat too much red meat and will make this new version. Thanks,Gina, for your great recipes.

    • I took a look at the two picadillo recipes and they’re both saved correctly in WW—I think the point discrepancy is because they use a similar amount of ground meat but the Beef Picadillo is set for 6 servings on the site and the Turkey Picadillo is set for 4 servings , so you’d be getting a larger portion of Turkey Picadillo.

  24. One of the things I like about the 7 day meal plans, is that they do allow for flexibility. Also, they get me to try new things. Who knew ground turkey could be so good? Even my husband was pleasantly surprised. I made the Turkey Picadillo as described. Then I diced for tomatoes and shredded some lettuce and put it into taco shells along with a little bit of cheese. A really good Friday night dinner. I will definitely make this again.

  25. Thank you so much for this recipe!! I loved the flavor of this.  I ate it with mini corn tortillas and a few capers as a topping.  I enjoyed it much more than my taco seasoning where I end up adding sour cream and cheese.  This is definitely a keeper!!

  26. This turned out great! Really vibrant taste. We served it with brown rice and the quick cabbage slaw. Delicious! Will make it again.

  27. Delicious! I loved this so much! I like cumin so I think next time I will double the cumin. I served this with cauliflower rice, the quick cabbage slaw (also super yummy) and the tostones. I’m wondering if it might be tasty to add a little jalepeno pepper to the sofrito.

  28. This was pretty good. It would have possibly been better if I had not added the tomato sauce to the sofrito, since step 2 specifies: “chopping onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro”. So my sofrito was not frito.
    Is there another tomato ingredient omitted, or should the sofrito instruction NOT include “tomato”?
    I chopped some sun-dried tomatoes and black olives just in case.
    I had to use capers since no green olives in the house, and packaged ground turkey here is sold in 1-lb blocks, so I was a little short on turkey.

  29. No mention of tomatoes in the sofrito ingredients list but step 2 of recipe says to add tomatoes. What quantity?

  30. Absolutely delicious!!  I put this on a low carb whole wheat street taco tortilla and added some red onion with a little bit of reduced fat Mexican cheese!!  I followed the recipe but i used home made sofrito that i had in the fridge.  AMAZING!!

  31. This is a family favorite!  We use this recipe over rice, in stuffed peppers, empanadas, etc. My kids are PICKY but request this! So so good!

  32. Hi Gina,

    Question as I’m confused. I was first reading your beef picadillo recipe and said to myself, I can probably lighten it up with ground turkey instead. Lucky me you already did that. But I’m confused on your nutrition facts as the turkey picadillo has 31 more calories, and 2.5 grams more fat. How is that so?

    • I will double check the nutritional info!

    • I took a look at the two picadillo recipes and they’re both saved correctly in WW—I think the point discrepancy is because they use a similar amount of ground meat but the Beef Picadillo is set for 6 servings on the site and the Turkey Picadillo is set for 4 servings , so you’d be getting a larger portion of Turkey Picadillo.

  33. Hi! 
    I’m a bit confused with the tomato sauce.
    Is it 4oz total? 
    Thanks!

  34. Looks amazing and tastes amazing!
    But why is the Turkey picadillo 5SP (B) but the Beef picadillo as 3SP (B)?

    • the point discrepancy is because they use a similar amount of ground meat but the Beef Picadillo is set for 6 servings on the site and the Turkey Picadillo is set for 4 servings , so you’d be getting a larger portion of Turkey Picadillo.

  35. How is this 5 points on purple and blue but 4 on green? 

  36. Delicious and so quick and easy to make!

  37. This was outstanding! I made it exactly as the recipe called for and used it for taco filling with some mashed avocado and shredded cheese. The flavor is strong and complemented the homemade corn tortillas well. This is going into the must make again (and again) file.

    And thanks for introducing me to alcaparrado, which I found in the latin food section of my supermarket in a jar by Goya. That is a find that I’ve already used on avocado toast and a frittata.

  38. I made this and came out delicious, but the color is mostly white (from ground turkey) and red from tomatoes… why is yours more brown like beef?

    • Can just be the brand of ingredients

    • I would guess your pan isn’t hot enough when you start, so you end up almost steaming the meat in its own juices. I was instructed by a chef once to use this method and it never fails. Sprinkle a few drops of cold water in the pan when you start to preheat it. When the water evaporates, it’s hot enough to add your oil, food, etc.

  39. Hi Gina! Question – I plugged this into the WW App using the ingredients not the nutritional values. But it came out to 5 Freestyle points. Any idea why? Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, can’t wait for your new book!

    • yes, 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.”)

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting 0 points foods such as eggs, chicken, 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.

      • Following your advice, I used the Recipe Builder and it still showed 5 pts per serving. The1.25 lbs of 93% turkey is 19 pts, and the alcaparrado or olives are 1 pt, making the total recipe 20 pts, with 4 servings that’s 5 pts each. If it is made with 99% lean turkey, then it is 1 pt!!

  40. This is an absolute favorite of ours and our picky 2year old! But, with 93% turkey, I am coming up with 5sp? 

  41. Delicious recipe! Kids loved it!

  42. I would be interested in your skinny taste version of Filipino Giniling !!!

  43. This was such an incredible idea!! I had some home made sofrito on hand so I used that but followed along with everything else.  I’m so appreciative of your site.  Ww were bored of ground turkey so I looked for a turkey recipe and tadah! Made some lime cilantro cauliflower rice with it. Thanks a million for the ease of recipe steps too. Your site is seriously life changing.  

  44. Just made these tonight, they were great. I placed the meat in a tortilla.

  45. Have made this several times and always good. Looks like smart points here of 1 cannot be correct unless using 99% ground turkey breast.

  46. Hi Gina! Love this recipe. One question- I put this into my review builder and it comes out as 5 smart points. Any reason you think it could be coming out differently? 

  47. Looks amazing and healthy!
    I´m not a cilantro fan (at all!).
    Can I replace it with something else or just not add it?

    Thanks. 

  48. I made this yesterday (using only green manzanillo olives w/pimento) – DELICIOUS! I love making meals with ground beef/turkey, and this was a new one for me. Your recipes are terrific!

  49. Made this tonight and used it as filling for stuffed peppers. Was an amazing dinner! Thanks for all your delicious recipes. 

  50. I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I cheated and used Goya frozen sofrito. Loved this recipe. Thank you!

  51. any suggestions on substituting olives? my fiancé and I don’t eat olives.

  52. Do you have an empanada recipe?? I have seen you and others reference using this and the Cuban Beef versions in empanadas, but I can't seem to find a recipe for this. I appreciate your help!

  53. I actually make this all the time! It's healthy and quick. Only difference is add/minus some ingredients. We actually use some vino seco, dry wine, and water. Maybe about 1/4 of the wine and the rest water. You can also add 1 potato chopped in small cubes. Makes it more filling.

  54. Just made this and it was delicious! I also added some frozen corn and cremini mushrooms and then used this as a filling for stuffed bell peppers. I finished it off with some shredded cheddar on top. The whole family loved it! Thanks for such a great recipe 🙂

  55. Made this tonight as lettuce wraps with quinoa. Amazing!

  56. I made this last night & it was OH SO GOOD! I have made a similar recipe in the past, but this is the first time I added capers & brine and wow, that turned up the flavor to another level. My boyfriend was in the kitchen and he was totally against the capers. He was also amazed by the results. I used this to stuff peppers and that's my lunch today! OH SO GOOD! Thank you Gina!

  57. Made this last night and loved it! looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today. I made it almost exactly according to the recipe using jalapeno stuffed green olives instead of alcaparrado (it's what was in my fridge) and added half a red bell pepper in addition to the green to use it up. Serving size was just barely shy of a cup for those that were trying to measure out a portion size!

  58. what about the raisins? has anyone added? the beef picadillo recipe i recently made had both olives and raisins…

  59. This was delicious! I'm eating the leftovers for lunch as I type. I'm already planning to make this again. I will make 2 lbs next time as the leftover would surely be great in empanadas– which the kids will love!

  60. We all loved this! I'm just sad that there were no leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. I used green olives but kept everything else the same. Yet another of your recipes that will become part of my regular rotation. Thank you!

  61. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe! It's a big hit with us and we make it very often! It has so much flavor, it's hard to believe it's healthy 🙂 I posted my experience with this and your baked tostones (another favorite) on my blog. I linked back to you 5 times on the post:
    http://vivaveltoro.blogspot.com/2012/10/tasty-tuesday-picadillo-and-baked.html

    Thanks again! This recipe is amazing! Your website has been such a blessing to me while trying to lose weight postpartum.

  62. In LOVE with this one. Always on the hunt for low carb, lean protein meals and this is a mega flavor win! I load my serving into the left over half of bell pepper and serve my boyfriends over rice. Fresh guacamole with lime is a great addition, too. Thank you for a new fav!

  63. I made this today and it was awesome!! The only thing is mine turned out to be a little like a stew from the onions and peppers and tomato juices, and then adding the water and tomato sauce. It didn't look like your picture. Is this supposed to be like this?

  64. Seems a good alternative. Did your beef pecadillo this week (also eating it for lunch today) and it's amazing!

    My only question would be: How is the Turkey version lighter? If I compare the nutrition info for each, seems like beef my be lighter? Also, same WW points, so not that it would stop me to try it, but wondering in which way is this version lighter. Thanks in advance! 🙂

    PS: Keep the good recipes coming!

  65. What a great recipe! I added half a zucchini. I did not have any olives or capers (or brine) so I added a few tablespoons of vinegar. Turned out great! Thanks, Gina! Your recipes always turn out wonderful.

  66. Just made this dish, I only had hot tomato sauce but it works if you like spicy food!

  67. What is the sugar content?

  68. Very flavorful! I served this along w/ your Cuban Black Beans and Tostanes + Mojo Garlic sauce.

  69. Made this Friday night for part of my 8yr old daughter's birthday weekend celebration. Both my husband and daughter couldn't stay out of the kitchen while I was cooking, they said it smelled so good. Thank you so much for the wonderful healthy recipes my whole house enjoys! Tomorrow I am going to attempt the Sante Fe Chicken and Chipotle Lime Rice. Love burrito bowls from Chipotle's so hopefully I can recreate my own =)

  70. Thank you soooo much for this recipe. My extended family is Puerto Rican and Cuban so I've had this type of food all of my life. I just about gave it up ( due to my family's decision to eat healthier), until I found your website! Thank you for a healthy alternative thats also super DELICIOSO!:)

  71. I'm surprising my mom with this for dinner tomorrow! Can't wait! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!

  72. I made this last week and my husband suggested I add some raisins since the recipe reminded him a lot of the mixture for Peruvian empanadas and it turned out delicious! We served it over rice.

  73. Sorry, not without remaking it. Easiest way to figure out the serving size is by weighing it, then dividing by 4.

  74. hi — this is great recipe. do you have a sense of how big a serving size would be in terms of cups? thanks!

  75. LOVE it! I added 1.5 bell peppers chopped into the ground turkey (not the sofrito) and a few cups of halved cherry tomatoes to increase the amount of veggies and make more servings. Still delicious 🙂

  76. This was delicious. I love how it wasn't greasy at all like regular meat picadillo. My kids and husband loved it. Thanks!

  77. Wonderful! Try the pernil to make a skinny cuban quesadilla!!

  78. Gina where have you been all my life!?!?!??!?

    My best friend made your Chicken and White Bean Stuffed Peppers last night and it was SOOOOOO delicious I begged her for the recipe.

    That lead me to your site where I found this recipe. One word: DELICIOUS. (This is coming from a native Floridan who knows her cuban picadillo.) I still can't believe it was ground turkey!!!!

    You have a fan for life! I can't wait to try more of your recipes….

  79. To the person who mentioned good ground turkey and bad, you can find ground turkey breast which only has 0.5g fat per 4 oz which is very different from general ground turkey (which can be more like ground beef in its fat content).

    Currently cooking this (I'm letting it simmer longer cause it's a Sunday and I have time) and I can't wait to try it – your recipes are always super!

  80. This was great! I didn't have any cilantro on hand (could've sworn i got some!), so instead i substituted most of the sofrito ingredients by using salsa with extra onion and garlic.

  81. We loved this one!! Wow – it's so easy, tasty, makes a wonderful presentation, and it is destined to become a favourite!!! Thanks!!!

  82. made this tonight w/rice and it's a winner!!! i can add this addiction to your chicken parm & mini-omelettes!

  83. Looks luscious,I will serve it with Brown Rice.

  84. @Ed, I used 93% lean turkey for this.

    Yes, the brine comes from the olive juice.

  85. This looks so versatile!

  86. does the brine come from the jar of olives?

  87. Great idea!People just nee to make sure of the fat content of the turkey. There is good ground turkey and bad ground turkey.

  88. @bishopswife- Thanks and you're welcome!

  89. Thank you, THANK YOU for doing this blog! I just found it last night and I started using your recipes today. They are family friendly and low in points. Great job! I can't wait to tell everyone about this amazing discovery!