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Picadillo Recipe

Picadillo is a tasty Cuban dish flavored with tomatoes, onion, garlic, raisins, olives, cumin, and cinnamon. Serve it with rice and black beans for a full meal.

Picadillo in a blue Dutch oven.


I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a ground beef recipe with so much flavor. And the combination of flavors is magical. It’s salty with a little sweetness and spice. So good!

Picadillo is a great recipe for turning a few pounds of ground beef into a filling meal that the whole family will enjoy.

Different countries have different versions of picadillo. Ingredients can vary but it typically has a tomato base, raisins, olives, and lots of spices. Sometimes it has diced potatoes or chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Picadillo with white rice and black beans


To make this Picadillo you’ll start by tossing the ground beef with baking soda, salt and pepper and let it sit for 20 minutes. The baking soda will help tenderize the ground beef.

While the ground beef sits, saute the green pepper and onion along with the oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. The aroma is amazing!

Once the onions and peppers get soft, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next add a can of tomato sauce and a cup of beef broth. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the raisins, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and the ground beef. Cover and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally to break the meat up some. Take out the bay leaves and add the olives and capers. Right at the end stir in the red wine vinegar.

Picadillo Recipe Tips:

  • Will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and tastes even better with time.
  • If you’re not a huge fan of raisins, try chopping them up into small pieces. They will add sweetness and flavor but you will hardly notice they are there.

Ground Beef Picadillo in a Dutch oven

Try These Other Ground Beef Recipes:

Cuban Picadillo in a Dutch oven


Picadillo is a tasty Cuban dish flavored with tomatoes, onion, garlic, raisins, olives, cumin, and cinnamon. Serve it with rice and black beans for a full meal.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 25 minutes


  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teapsoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  • Combine ground beef, water, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teapsoon pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add green pepper, onion, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add tomato sauce and broth and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add raisins, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and beef in chunks and stir to coat it in the sauce. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Each time you stir, break the meat apart some.
    Note: Add more beef broth if sauce is getting too thick.
  • Discard bay leaves. Stir in olives and capers. Increase heat to medium and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to thicken sauce.
  • Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Calories: 343kcal
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: cuban
Keyword: ground beef recipes

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Picadillo close-up

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2 thoughts on “Picadillo Recipe”

  1. You are correct Picadillo is a Cuban dish and it’s delicious. However the real receipe does not calls for cinnamon, this will totally change the taste and tradition of this so special and loved dish for us.

    1. I have discovered (after finding this recipe and making it) that this dish is not only found in the Caribbean but also throughout South America, Spain and the Philippines. Some of the recipes add potatoes (and the Filipino one adds fish sauce and soy. ) This was the first one I made and I come back to it because I enjoy it. I do not come from a household with a good food tradition (my Mom was revolutionized when Hamburger Helper came out because there were four meals she could make) but as I have evolved, I find I always make the recipe first as stated and then tweak to my own tastes. Just remember that I would never have found this recipe without Christin.

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