This 1-pan, Cuban-Style Picadillo is full of flavor and comes together so quickly for a delicious weeknight-friendly meal. Picadillo is a traditional Latin dish made with ground beef, garlic, onion, bell peppers, tomato-forward ingredients, potatoes, raisins, olives, and spices. Serve this ground beef stew with rice, plantains, or tostones for a complete meal everyone will enjoy! It’s ready in under 45 minutes!

cuban picadillo with rice and tostones in yellow bowl with gold fork on the side

Aside from Caribbean cuisine, another top tier favorite of mine is Latin cuisine. From pernil to ropa vieja to empanadas, I loveeeee me some Latin food, y’all. And of course, picadillo is among that list as well because it’s so delicious. It’s one of those meals that I’d recommend whenever you’re in a recipe rut or looking for ground beef-inspired recipes. If you haven’t had it before, let’s chat!

Cuban-Style Picadillo 😋

This easy and simple ground beef dish is full of flavor and incredibly good, you’ll love it so much. I know I’m not alone in being a fan of one-pan meals either. It’s got meaty goodness from good ole ground beef with plenty of texture and a variety of flavors going on. The olives add a briny/salty vibe, the potatoes amp up the filling element, and the raisins bring a slight tangy/sweet note.

⇢ Whether it’s my creamy spinach artichoke chicken, this cozy skillet chicken pot pie, or my saucy chicken piccata meatballs…gimme all the 1-pan dishes!

cuban picadillo in large black skillet with green linen on the side

What Is Picadillo?

Picadillo translates in English to “chopped” or “to chop.” All of the ingredients are, well, chopped. Fun fact: the word picadillo comes from the Spanish word “picar” or “picado” which means to mince or chop. The beef is hash-style and the potatoes and the sofrito (onion, bell pepper, and garlic) is chopped. It’s a classic dish with many Latin countries having different renditions of picadillo.

While the heart of picadillo typically starts with ground meat (usually beef), every Latin country has their own way of what’s added along with the ground meat. For example, Mexican picadillo may feature peas and carrots. My favorite way to prepare picadillo is the Cuban diaspora way with a sofrito base, the perfect amount of tomato-forward flavor, and olives and raisins 🙌🏾.

ingredients for cuban picadillo laid out on beige surface

Ingredients Needed For This Cuban Picadillo

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Oil: I use olive oil, but you can use any neutral cooking oil.
  • Potato: Just 1 medium/large gold or russet potato is needed.
  • Cuban sofrito: Just like many cultures have their cooking trinity, the Cuban trinity is onion, bell pepper, and garlic. This is also known as a sofrito, an aromatic staple of ingredients used as the flavoring base.
  • Ground beef: This recipe uses ground beef as the sole ground meat of choice. I prefer grass-fed ground beef and 90-93% lean, however, use what you have.
  • Spices: We’ll ensure that this dish is well-seasoned with salt/pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, dried oregano, a pinch of nutmeg, and a bay leaf. All of these flavors are chefs kiss and that slight touch of nutmeg adds a lil’ warmth and enhances all the flavors, mmm.
  • Red wine vinegar: This ingredient helps boost the flavors in the dish.
  • Beef broth: Serves as one of the elements to develop a saucy base.
  • Tomato sauce: To add some tomato flavoring and acidity, tomato sauce is clutch. It’s just enough so that the picadillo isn’t overly tomato-y, too.
  • Golden raisins: I won’t go near regular raisins, but give me golden raisins all day, erryday. They’re more soft, plump and tangy than sun-dried raisins. Regular raisins are just fine or omit raisins from the recipe altogether!
  • Spanish olives: Aka Manzanilla olives, these olives have a firm texture with a slightly salty flavor that is nicely balanced with the sweetness of the pimiento stuffed inside. Use any green olive as a substitute.

How To Make This Picadillo Recipe:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. In a large skillet/sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, toss in the diced potatoes. Cook the potato, tossing every so often, until slightly crispy and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Then remove the potatoes with a slotted utensil and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to sop up excess oil.
  2. Then add in the chopped onion and bell pepper. Sauté the mixture, stirring often, until translucent and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking along with the onion/bell pepper mixture until the garlic is nice and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Push the sofrito mixture over to one side of the pan and add the ground beef to the empty side of the pan. Break up the beef until well crumbled with good brownness, about 3-4 minutes. Then bring in the sofrito mixture and fold in with the ground beef. Continue cooking until the beef is cooked through and no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the salt/pepper- to taste, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Continue cooking, stirring well, to toast up the spices, about 1-2 minutes. Then add the red wine vinegar, beef broth, tomato sauce, raisins, and olives. Stir the mixture until well combined and then cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer.
  5. Lastly, add the crispy potatoes into the pan, stirring well with beef mixture. Let cook for another 1 minute for everything to meld. Give the picadillo a taste test and adjust with more salt/pepper- to preference. Serve picadillo alongside rice and fried plantains or tostones, if desired. Enjoy!
closeup of cuban picadillo in black skillet

Tips + Tricks, Notes & More For Recipe Success

You may have additional questions about this Cuban picadillo recipe. Like other recipes, I always advise sticking to the recipe as it is written in the recipe card directly below. However, here’s some extra info you might find helpful:

  • Meat alternative? While I do recommend ground beef here, you can easily use an alternate as a 1:1 ratio. Feel free to swap the ground beef with ground turkey, ground chicken or ground bison if you’d like.
  • Additions: If you like things spicy, add some diced jalapeños in or a pinch of red pepper flakes/chipotle powder to bring a bit of heat. Some versions add a chopped boiled egg into the mix as well (add in at the end).
  • Vegan Cuban picadillo: To make this recipe vegan-friendly, use your favorite plant-based (we love the Beyond Beef or Impossible brand!) ground “beef” and vegetable broth in lieu of beef broth.
  • Serving picadillo: As pictured, it’s a rule to serve picadillo with rice, I don’t make the unspoken rules. Plus, it’s sooo very delicious with fried sweet plantains or tostones as well 👅!!! Beans and/or a fried egg on top are also good pairings. ⇢ If you want to, you can use the Cuban picadillo as a filling to make homemade empanadas, too. Peep my chorizo empanadas for a homemade pastry dough recipe or grab empanada rounds in the store!
  • Recipe variations: There are endless ways to serve up your homemade Cuban picadillo, friends. Here are some of my other favorite ways 👉🏾…stuff the picadillo mixture inside of sweet potatoes, make lettuce wraps, use as a filling for tacos, burritos, tostadas, and much more!

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

Make sure the leftover picadillo has cooled completely. Transfer it into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until warmed through- if needed, add a splash of broth to hydrate the dish. Leftovers here are the best because the flavors deepen! 👌🏾

cuban picadillo with rice and tostones in yellow bowl

If you’re looking for a quick meal that slaps, give this Cuban Picadillo a whirl, peeps. It’s easy, flavor-filled, and delish! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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cuban picadillo with rice and tostones in yellow bowl with gold fork on the side

Cuban-Inspired Picadillo

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cuban-Inspired
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Description

This 1-pan, Cuban-Style Picadillo is full of flavor and comes together so quickly for a delicious weeknight-friendly meal. Picadillo is a traditional Latin dish made with ground beef, garlic, onion, bell peppers, tomato-forward ingredients, potatoes, raisins, olives, and spices. Serve this ground beef stew with rice, plantains, or tostones for a complete meal everyone will enjoy! It’s ready in under 45 minutes!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium-large gold or russet potato, peeled & diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use grass-fed, 93% lean)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup Spanish (Manzanilla) olives

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet/sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, toss in the diced potatoes. Cook the potato, tossing every so often, until slightly crispy and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Then remove the potatoes with a slotted utensil and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to sop up excess oil.
  2. If the pan is looking dry, add a touch more oil, as needed. Then add in the chopped onion and bell pepper. Sauté the mixture, stirring often, until translucent and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking along with the onion/bell pepper mixture until the garlic is nice and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Using a utensil, push the sofrito mixture over to one side of the pan and add the ground beef to the empty side of the pan. Use a wooden utensil or large spoon to break up the beef until well crumbled with good brownness, about 3-4 minutes. Then bring in the sofrito mixture and fold in with the ground beef. Continue cooking until the beef is cooked through and no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the salt/pepper- to taste, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Continue cooking, stirring well, to toast up the spices, about 1-2 minutes. Then add the red wine vinegar, beef broth, tomato sauce, raisins, and olives. Stir the mixture until well combined and then cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the beef simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Lastly, add the reserved crispy potatoes into the pan, stirring well with beef mixture. Let cook for another 1 minute for everything to meld together beautifully. Give the picadillo a taste test and adjust with more salt/pepper- to preference, as needed. Serve picadillo alongside rice and fried plantains or tostones, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Meat alternative? While I do recommend ground beef here, you can easily use an alternate as a 1:1 ratio. Feel free to swap the ground beef with ground turkey, ground chicken or ground bison if you’d like.
  2. Vegan Cuban picadillo: To make this recipe vegan-friendly, use your favorite plant-based (we love the Beyond Beef or Impossible brand!) ground “beef” and vegetable broth in lieu of beef broth.
  3. Storing & reheating leftovers: Make sure the leftover picadillo has cooled completely. Transfer it into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until warmed through- if needed, add a splash of broth to hydrate the dish.
  4. Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
cuban picadillo with rice and tostones in yellow bowl