Cuban Food/ Main Course/ Recipes

Cuban Picadillo

Cuban picadillo dinner recipe ground beef hash spanish

If you are part of a Cuban family, I don’t need to explain the amazingness of picadillo to you. You already know that it’s the ultimate Cuban comfort food. But if you’ve never had or even heard of picadillo you’re probably wondering, “what’s so great about this ground beef concoction?” Well it’s savory ground beef in a tomato based sauce with spices and a few extra goodies. I know it doesn’t sound particularly exciting…but it’s just plain good! I promise 🙂


Picadillo is one of those meals that is complete comfort food to me. My (American) husband thinks I’m crazy but I could eat it a couple times a week and never get sick of it! It’s nothing fancy or complicated, but to me, it’s the perfect meal. And if you’re wondering why there’s a banana in the photo…well that’s my Cuban roots. I can’t eat picadillo without a banana on the side. There’s something about that salty/sweet combination that’s just perfection.

It start with the same base as any good Cuban recipe…onions, green peppers, and garlic. Cuban Picadillo dinner comfort food easy recipe

And this is not a sponsored “[easyazon_link identifier=”B001TA9MDQ” locale=”US” tag=”cocandash-20″ cart=”n”]Adobo[/easyazon_link]” post but I love the stuff so much that I’m going to go ahead and give them a shout out here. If you don’t have adobo in your pantry…go get some right now!  If your grocery store doesn’t sell it, you can find it [easyazon_link identifier=”B001TA9MDQ” locale=”US” tag=”cocandash-20″ cart=”n”]here[/easyazon_link]. You could sprinkle it on a shoe and it would taste amazing. It’s basically a mix of salt, garlic powder, turmeric, and a few other things. I use it more often than I use salt and pepper and this dish is no different. Cuban Picadillo dinner beef easy spanish

Now I’m not  big olive fan, but there’s something about them that’s just perfect in picadillo. If you don’t like olives though, you can leave them out and it’ll still be great! And you don’t need any fancy olives, just the jarred, pimento-stuffed olives. I slice mine in half but you can leave them whole or dice them up small if you’d like. Cuban Picadillo recipe beef hash easy dinner spanish

Once you add the tomato sauce and paste and seasonings, you just let it simmer for 15 minutes and it will thicken up and be ready to serve!cuban picadillo recipe easy dinner ground beef hash

Cuban picadillo dinner recipe ground beef hash spanish

I like to serve mine over a big bowl of white rice. Here’s a post on how to make perfect white rice every time! 

Cuban Picadillo dinner ground beef recipe spanish

Shout out to the lowly banana that I just have to have with my picadillo!!

I hope you enjoy this picadillo dish and find as much comfort in it as I do. And by the way, it’s very kid friendly! My kids have been devouring this stuff since they first were able to chew! (I do leave out the olives for them thought because…toddlers) 🙂

Cuban picadillo dinner recipe ground beef hash spanish
Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Cuban Picadillo

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 6


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion - diced
  • 1/2 large green pepper - diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 and 1/2 lb ground beef (I use lean)
  • 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning (if you don't have this...go out and get some asap!! It's the best)
  • 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup pimento stuffed olives plus 1 tbsp of the brine from the jar (I just slice my olives in half but you can leave them hole or dice them finely)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sugar


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add in your olive oil and then add your chopped peppers and onions. Saute until they are soft. It usually takes about 5 minutes. 
  • After the 5 minutes, add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. 
  • Add in the ground beef and sprinkle with the adobo seasoning. I have to be honest, I never measure this. I just sprinkle it all around the beef. It does have salt in it though so if you are sensitive to salt, try not to go over the 1/2 teaspoon. 
  • Cook the meat until it's browned then add in the rest of the ingredients. (tomato sauce, tomato paste, white wine, olives and brine, sugar, and cumin)
  • Stir everything to combine and cook uncovered for 15 minutes over low heat. 
  • Serve over a big bowl of white rice! CLICK TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE WHITE RICE!


I know some traditional Cuban picadillo recipes contain raisins. If you'd like to include them, just add in 1/4 of raisins when you add in the olives. 🙂 

Cuban Picadillo recipe dinner ground beef

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  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I’ve never had this but it looks delicious and easy! I might add to my meal plan this week. Now to see if i can find pimento stuffed olives..

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you!! And I find the olives near the pickles in the grocery store. They’re in a little jar. 🙂 hope you like it!

    • Reply
      Angel Rigal
      December 17, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      I love this recipe, I’m Cuban and my family loves it. Very easy to make and flavorful

  • Reply
    Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food
    January 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    This looks delicious! I’d love to try this mix as an empañada filling. YUM!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Yes!! It’s amazing in empanadas! I was actually planning to do a post about those and link it to this picadillo 🙂 Thank you!

      • Reply
        February 18, 2019 at 7:37 pm

        They sell this at the Miami fairgrounds events . You recipe is AWESOME !! It looks just like Miami ! It is SOOO DELICIOUS !!!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    January 27, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I have never heard of Picadillo, I love all the ingredients and I can imagine I’ll be making this very soon! I have to get some of that adobo stuff too! Mmmm.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Oh this looks so good! I love authentic ethnic recipes and hearing the stories behind them.

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    January 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    I’m not Cuban but this dish looks like a perfect comfort food, to me! It sounds especially good in these winter months. I’d think I’d put it on a leaf of lettuce and roll it up.

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      That sounds like a great idea to me!!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Three Olives Branch
    January 27, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Yummy! I have been working on trying more foods from various cultures lately, this looks like a perfect thing to try out!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you!! Let me know if you try it!

  • Reply
    Melissa | Bits of Umami
    January 31, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Didn’t realize you were also Cuban! Loving this picadillo recipe. One of my absolute favorites! Also… Gotta love that shot of Adobo 😉

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 31, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you!! I just checked out your site and you have some yummy Cuban recipes too!! I’ll have to try some of them!! Cuban food is the best isn’t it?! 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather Buentello
    February 8, 2017 at 10:46 am

    My husband would love this! And I can’t get enough olives in my life so….

  • Reply
    March 27, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I love that you accompanied the picadillo with a banana – that’s how my mom used to serve it if we didn’t have plantains. I grew up in Southern California and it wasn’t easy to score plantains where we lived 😉

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      March 27, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      Aw! Gotta have the banana! I hope you get to enjoy it!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2019 at 8:08 am

    So so good. I used 1 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp adobo. Recipe is perfect. Comfort food at its best. Mine looked exactly like your picture and we served it with banana. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      April 29, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Adobo is life!! I’m so glad it turned out well for you! 🙂

  • Reply
    AnaMaria PedroPan
    August 24, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Great for leftovers. When I fix it i double or triple recipe. I freeze for pastelitos de carne. I use peperidge farm sheet pastry dough,also great for stuffed peppers. Mix left over Piccadilly with left over rice.Prego sauce on top and bake.Delish.

  • Reply
    Alicia Reilly
    September 1, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    I’m a Cuban married for 54 years to a lovely American. Naturally he loves picadillo even though he still pronounces it “picalillo”. Never fails to amuse our three “cubanaza” daughters. I too eat it with a banana when plantains are not available. Sometimes I eat a fried egg with my white rice. Did you know that Argentinians call arroz con huevo frito “Cuban rice?

    • Reply
      Ana Maria
      December 21, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      When I was in Spain in the 90’s, the restaurants had arroz con huevo as an entree. So it seems it’s brought down through the Spaniard who came to Cuba.
      Huevo frito, arroz y picadillo is the way to go with picadillo. Or put it as the filling for empanadas, or pastelitos. YUM.
      FINALLY a recipe that doesn’t add cinnamon or potatoes. And yes, we add raisins (but I don’t remember Mami adding any cumin).
      My mom used to put the green pepper and onion in the blender so we wouldn’t see it and complain, but it would still have the flavor. When young, he’d pick out the raisins and olives if they were showing. I did too, but love them as an adult. Without raisins it just doesn’t have the ‘picadillo’ flavor! I look forward to trying these measurements. won’t rate now, because I haven’t cooked it yet.

  • Reply
    Alicia Reilly
    September 1, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    By the way, like Ana María, I’m also a Pedro Pan”.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Everyone loves this!! I’m so glad I found your recipe. I made exactly as written. Ty!!!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    We have used your sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, your Cuban Chicken Soup to sooth the soul, Ropa Veja on cold nights, and the Picadillo tonight again for dinner. Oh and we did the Chicken Mojo on Monday night in the crockpot! The next is the Arroz con Pollo. Thank you for always sharing the best of the best. Our family is grateful to be sitting down with some Cuban food to remind us of Miami where home will always be.

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      April 11, 2020 at 10:35 am

      Thank you Vicki! So glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • Reply
    Julianne Gabert
    April 30, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    Awesome recipe! I had to make a few substitutions cause of covid but great work!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Ok I’m not Cuban so please bear with me but…i can’t find anything about draining the meat. Do you leave the fat in?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      June 25, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      Totally your preference. I don’t drain mine only because I use lean beef. But I’d drain it if it’s fatty 🙂

  • Reply
    August 23, 2020 at 6:40 am

    I grew up in Miami and love authentic Cuban food. I love using this recipe in empanadas. It is a family favorite.

  • Reply
    Darrow Molder
    February 11, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Easy and delicious.

  • Reply
    Jan Jones
    March 12, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    I made this and put it in a pie crust and baked it to be similar to empañadas. ¡It was delicioso!

  • Reply
    How to Make White Rice - Coco and Ash
    May 14, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    […] my family is Cuban, we eat white rice A LOT…we eat it with our black beans, picadillo, and almost all our favorite cuban dishes! (My American husband has learned to love it!) So, if you […]

  • Reply
    Carrie Feinstein
    June 8, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Excellent. I made plantain fritters to serve on the side ! And some guacamole. So good!

  • Reply
    Marlene Sandford
    August 1, 2021 at 6:32 am

    I just made Picadillo with black beans and white rice, and Maduuros. A little side of Yucca doesn’t hurt.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2021 at 4:45 pm


    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      August 5, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      Feel free to add raisins if you like! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jason Cueto
    November 22, 2021 at 12:30 am

    Which white wine do you use?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      November 22, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Any dry cooking wine will work! Nothing fancy needed 🙂

      • Reply
        December 17, 2021 at 11:14 am

        Can ground pork be used instead of ground beef?

        • Reply
          Coco and Ash
          December 17, 2021 at 11:21 am

          I don’t see why not but I have never tried that. Let me know if you do!

  • Reply
    Ann Gem
    March 2, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    This recipe’s flavor profile is spot on! It takes me back to my childhood, when my Dad would make this amazing dish. The only addition that I made was diced potatoes. Yum!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      March 3, 2022 at 8:53 am

      I add the potatoes too every once in a while! Thank you!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2022 at 10:33 am

    What adobo seasoning to you recommend? They seem to vary greatly. I see some that are mostly white in color (Goya), others that are very red (like Morton & Bassett), and several in between (like Simply Organic). I would appreciate some direction from a Cuban cook. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      December 8, 2022 at 10:45 am

      Hi Kelly! I ALWAYS use the Goya adobo with the red lid. I hope that helps 🙂

  • Reply
    January 12, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Hi ! What kind of white wine do you use? Is dry cooking wine optional ?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 12, 2023 at 1:49 pm

      Definitely dry cooking wine for this. Nothing fancy is needed. But you can use whatever you have open 🙂

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