Cuban Picadillo

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If you’re looking for an easy and delicious weeknight meal, look no further than Cuban picadillo. This dish is made with ground beef, tomatoes, olives, and spices, and it’s perfect for feeding a crowd. Best of all, it can be made in under 30 minutes!

Cuban picadillo

What is picadillo?

Cuban Picadillo is a traditional dish made with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives, capers, and spices. Sometimes it also has potatoes. It’s usually served with rice and plantains, and sometimes Cuban bread.

It’s very easy to make and takes very little prep, especially if you leave out the potatoes. You could also make it with turkey instead of beef if you want.

Cuban picadillo in cast iron pan

Cuban Picadillo is the ultimate Cuban comfort food. Ask any Cuban what their favorite dish is and this is bound to be one of the most common answers. I make this about once a week and remember having it all the time growing up. And every time I make it for my non-Hispanic friends, they love it too!

Ingredients for Cuban Picadillo

Below are the standard ingredients in an authentic Cuban picadillo. The potatoes are optional. Usually, the picadillo is made without potatoes when it’s being used as a filling, such as in empanadas or pasteles.

Notice how there are no raisins included. Authentic Cuban picadillo does not contain raisins. I know this because all my Cuban family and friends (as in, born and raised in Cuba), and every Cuban restaurant I have ever been to have always served it without raisins. You can add them if you want and it is still delicious, but just know that it’s not authentic. If you want to add them, add 1/4 cup at the same time as the olives.

  • olive oil
  • ground beef
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • red bell pepper
  • tomato sauce
  • Sazon Goya – if you can’t find this at the store you can get it from Amazon
  • dry white cooking wine
  • salt
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • bay leaves
  • pimento-stuffed olives – don’t leave these out as they are key to developing the flavor of this dish
  • capers
  • optional: potatoes
picadillo meat cooking in pan on stove

How To Make Cuban Picadillo

Start off making the sofrito. Heat the olive oil on a skillet pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.

Once the beef is no longer pink, add the wine, tomato sauce, spices, olives, capers, and potatoes to the pan. Stir it around a bit to ensure the spices get all over the meat. Turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Once the picadillo is ready, make sure to remove the bay leaves before serving.

Yield: 6

Cuban Picadillo

Cuban picadillo

This classic Cuban picadillo makes a quick and delicious weeknight dinner when served along with rice and plantains.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 packet Sazon Goya
  • 1/4 cup dry white cooking wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • optional: 3 small white potatoes, cubed


  1. In a large skillet pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and peppers, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Break it up with the spoon as it cooks.
  5. Add the wine, tomato sauce, spices, olives, capers, and potatoes to the pan.
  6. Turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 635mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 23g

Cuban picadillo is the perfect weeknight meal. It’s easy to make, and it’s delicious and satisfying. If you’re looking for a new dish to try this week, give Cuban picadillo a go!

Cuban picadillo recipe

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  1. So very good. I increase the capers because I love them. I don’t use the potatoes; I serve with rice and black beans. Wonderful recipe. Thanks so much.

    1. Thank you Janie! I also add extra capers, and olives, but most people don’t love them so we kept the recipe traditional.

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