Cuban Picadillo is a fragrant stew of ground beef simmered in tomato sauce with vinegar, onions, garlic, olives and smoked paprika. It's an easy one-pan recipe and one of the great Cuban dishes.
There's some sort of magical synergy between ground beef and tomatoes that results in some of the most irresistible dishes, whether it's chili con carne, meatloaf, sloppy joe or meaty pasta sauce. This Cuban Picadillo recipe is easy way to transform ground beef into something really special for dinner.
What is Picadillo?
- The word 'picadillo' translates as 'hash' or 'mince' from Spanish.
- Picadillo is Cuban stew that can be made with ground pork or beef, simmered in tomato sauce with vinegar, olives, raisins and spices.
- Cuban picadillo is typically served with rice and beans, but it is also delicious spooned over mashed potatoes or tossed with pasta.
- Picadillo is incredibly delicious Cuban comfort food and it's easy to cook!
HOW TO MAKE CUBAN PICADILLO
Cuban Picadillo is a perfect weeknight dinner recipe. It cooks in one pot and dinner can be on the table 35 minutes.
- Start by sautéing chopped onions, garlic and green pepper in olive oil for 8 minutes or so.
- When the vegetables have softened a bit add the ground beef and brown it in the pan for a few minutes, until it loses its pink color.
- Add canned tomatoes, vinegar, spices, olives and raisins to the pan with the beef and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld.
- Dinner is ready.
What to serve with Cuban Picadillo
- It's traditional in Cuba to serve Picadillo with rice and black beans. Try it with these delicious Cuban Black beans.
- I love serving picadillo over mashed potatoes - especially these delicious olive oil and garlic mashed potatoes made with no butter or cream.
- Cuban Picadillo makes a great filling for tortillas, tacos, empanadas, or burritos.
- You can stuff poblano peppers with picadillo and make delicious chiles rellenos picadillo.
- A green salad is always nice with rich comfort food. I recommend this butter lettuce salad with citrus vinaigrette.
Here's the Cuban Picadillo recipe. As always, I'm hoping you will cook this and come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Cuban Picadillo: Ground Beef Stew
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 5-6 1x
Picadillo is a simple yet special stew made with ground beef, tomatoes, vinegar and spices. It has exciting sweet, sour, salty layers of flavor, punctuated with salty olives and sweet raisins. Serve it with rice or mashed potatoes for a quick and delicious meal.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more, to taste
- 1 28 ounce can imported plum tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste (half of a 6-ounce can)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup dark raisins
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon (mild) smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup pimiento stuffed green olives
- Suggested Accompaniment: rice or mashed potatoes, black beans
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large deep skillet or dutch oven. Add onion, garlic and green pepper. Cook for 5-6 minute, until vegetables start to soften. Add beef and salt. Allow meat to brown, breaking up clumps with the end of a spatula or wooden spoon, to achieve a crumbly texture.
- Add plum tomatoes, crushing them or tearing them into pieces with your hands as you drop them in. Pour in the plum tomato juice from the can too. Add tomato paste and stir through. Add vinegar, raisins, cumin, smoked paprika, bay leaves and olives. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is slightly thickened and the flavors are melded. Remove bay leaves. Correct seasoning with salt, if necessary.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or black beans.
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in September 2016. It was updated in May 2020 with added nutritional information, clarifying details in the written post and clearer instructions in the recipe and then refreshed again on Jan 27, 2022 with a shortened title, photo enhancements, and a new link to chili rellenos picadillos. Same delicious Recipe!]
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Dinner
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Cuban
Keywords: Ground beef stew, Cuban ground beef stew with tomato sauce, vinegar and olives
Loved this recipe!!! It was easy enough to make (for some reason it ALWAYS takes me longer to prepare than the total time listed). I made the Quick Cuban Black Beans mentioned in the blog; that was a winner also. Not a fan of white rice so I served it all with wild rice.
The raisins seemed like an odd ingredient but were not in the end. In order to get one in each bite, I plan on using sliced olives (a 5.75 ounce jar) next time.
Hi Deborah - Thank you for taking the time to report back. I'm SO glad you enjoyed the picadillo - raisins and all. The meal with black beans and wild rice sounds absolutely perfect.
This is so delicious. We made it and printed it out right away for the keeper cookbook. Thank you so much for sharing!
I made it. Easy to make and tasty. Just the thing for when you're in a mood for green olives.
As a vegetarian I'm always on the look out for meals that i can adapt and change... I'll substitute the mince for vegan mince and voila... looks good... can't wait to try it...
Megan @ MegUnprocessed
30-minute meals are the best! Such a flavorful recipe!
Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons
This looks like such a crazy cool combination!
Cynthia | What A Girl Eats
Picadillo is such a great base to so many dishes! Yum!
I cooked this last night and it turned out great! I followed the recipe with the exception of a little more garlic and a couple pinches of Kosher salt at the end. The flavor is mild but perfectly melded. This is a keeper!
I am giving this a try tonight, can't wait!
This looks so good! The flavor mix of the tomatoes, olives and raisins sound amazing!
Doused In Pink
I love beef stew! This one looks so good -- definitely need to give it a try soon. xo, sharon
Thanks Sharon 🙂
This is a FAV of my family although I don't include the raisins (I have fussy kiddos). It's quick, delish, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg to make for a large group (think leftovers or large family gatherings) !
One of my kids is fussy too and he loved the Picadillo but he picked out the raisins 🙂
This definitely looks like something I would like...it's going on my MUST TRY list!
Thanks Michelle - I hope you enjoy!!