Picadillo- A Cuban Classic


Picadillo is a staple in any Cuban cuisine and it is easy to make and it tastes even better the next day. The recipe starts with a sofrito (onion, garlic, pepper and tomato sauce), which is the base of many latin dishes and it is the latin version of a mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery).  If you learn how to make a great sofrito, you will have the base of many dishes at the tip of your finger. I have actually though of bottling mine as I actually think it’s pretty good ; ).

I can make this dish into so may other dishes and make it taste different with a small addition. Simply taking the olives out changes the taste. Some people like to add raisins to the dish, but I am not a fan of that flavor, but if it sounds appealing to you, go for it and let me know what you think.

Another great thing about this dish is that it is not expensive. If you have kids at home, especially a teenage boy with friends, you can make this dish feed them all and it will not break the bank and they will love you for it. Serve it on rice or pasta and with a side or mariquitas (plantain chips) and you will be their new favorite chef.

Adding eggs to the dish is called montado a caballo, which the actual translation is riding on a horse.



Ingredients – serves 4-6

  • Ground Beef – 2 pounds of 85/15
  • Vidalia onion – 2 cups, small dice
  • Green pepper – 1 cup, small dice
  • Red pepper – 1 cup, small dice
  • Garlic – 4 cloves, minced
  • Tomato sauce – 8 ounce can
  • Green olives – 3-4 tablespoons, sliced
  • Kosher salt – 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin – 1 teaspoon
  • Smoked paprika – 1 teaspoon (you can use regular paprika also)
  • Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
  • Bay leaves – 2 large and whole
  • Olive oil – 3 tablespoons

How to make it…

  1. In a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat, add the onion, green pepper, and red pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute
  3. Add the meat mix well with the veggies and cook until almost completely browned (about 5-6 minutes, stirring and making sure that the meat is broken out)
  4. Add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and turmeric and stir until everything is mixed into the meat
  5. Add the bay leaves, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes
  6. Add the olives and a little of the juice (optional) and continue to simmer covered for another 10 minutes


  • Serve with rice
  • Serve with two fried eggs (pictured above)
  • Serve the next day as a taco
  • Buy my cookbook for additional recipes you can make with this one dish! Buy Cookbook Here




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