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Cuban Beef Picadillo

4 Servings

45 minutes

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Picadillo—a ground beef dish popular in Cuba, the Caribbean and Latin America—combines tangy, sweet and salty flavors. There are many variations, but the essentials are a stew of ground meat and tomatoes with raisins for sweetness and chopped olives for a balancing touch of brine. For an optional, finishing touch, chopped hard-cooked egg makes an attractive and delicious garnish. Serve the picadillo with white rice or fried potatoes or on a mound of french fries. Or serve it with a stack of warm corn tortillas and use it as a taco filling.




Don't use 80 or 85 percent lean ground beef or the picadillo may end up slick and greasy.

45 minutes



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Shawnda B.
April 28, 2024
Wonderful for venison
I made it exactly as directed but substituted ground elk for the beef and served it with basic black beans and Ann Mellander’s Cypress Hill Rice. Mua! Love you, Milk Street!
Matthew N.
March 4, 2023
This is a weekly go to for my house. The sweet/salty combination is delightful. I serve it with the Milk Street recipe for Cuban Black Beans & Rice.
Alisa T.
July 18, 2022
Just one of many picadillos out there
Picadillo - a dish that can be hard to get excited about but many cultures still eat in one form or another. Admittedly, I am used to a more Mexican-style picadillo, so this fell a little flat for me. It was super easy to make though and my kids finished their plates.
November 18, 2022
Even better the next day.
Love this recipe. Love the fresh tomatoes and cilantro at the end.
Jen C.

My picky wife really liked this dish. She said "there's lots of fun things in here". She's a fan of olives, so really liked the brine and olive chunks. I went light on the raisins as she doesn't like them, but if it was just me, I would add more as I think the sweet with the salty would have added a great dimension.

Wayne S.

Where did the potatoes come from in the picture?

Lynn C.

Hi Wayne -

As we mention in the headnote of the recipe, you can serve this alongside white rice, fried potatoes, or a mound of French fries. We chose fried potatoes for our photo.

The Milk Street Team

Christine D.

Super easy and tasty. My husband is Cuban so I love trying new variations. I used ground turkey but i loved the chopping of the raisins and olives, it adds so much oomph to each bite. I agree with Jen's wife, there are lots of fun things in here :)

Ana D G.

I made this picadillo recipe because it is how my mom made picadillo, it came out wonderful.
In my Cuban recipe books picadillo didn’t include the raisins nor the olives. I think my mom was a really good cook. My brothers and dad would eat mounds of picadillo with white rice. Try this recipe y’all!

Kevin F.

Made this last night using Beyond 'ground' instead of ground beef; excellent results! The only other change I made was adding another 1/2 cup of water since there wasn't as much liquid exuded from the 'ground'. Since it doesn't brown as much as beef the final color wasn't quite the same, but otherwise this was huge hit.

Diana L.

I made this for a dinner. It was pretty good. I will definitely make this again. I had it over salad and my family had this with flour tortillas. Thanks for the recipe.