This Picadillo Recipe is a true family favorite. It’s perfectly seasoned ground beef, garlic, and onions simmered in a light tomato sauce. You are going to love how easy this dish is to make. ♡
This recipe costs $5.72 to make. It makes six servings, which works out to be about $0.95 per serving.
I love to serve this Picadillo alongside this Mexican Cauliflower Rice.
Picadillo, pronounced [pee-kah-DEE-yoh], is a dish preferred by many Spanish-speaking regions. In Cuba, it’s served alongside traditional rice and black beans. In Mexico, it serves its purpose as a stuffing for various dishes.
Spanish Picadillo is a classic dish with my own twist on it. Picadillo is a beef concoction full of veggies and seasonings creating a savory dish that everyone enjoys.
I have carefully chosen specific ingredients to make this recipe perfect with much research and an already established flavor pallet.
I wouldn’t say that this is a Cuban picadillo or a Mexican picadillo. It’s kind of both. If they were to have a baby, this would be their offspring. ☺️ Minus the potatoes and the raisins.
Furthermore, this picadillo recipe has one very special secret ingredient. Are you ready? Pure maple syrup…gasp! I know. Allow me to explain.
With all dishes, it’s important to have a well-balanced flavor profile like sweet, savory, salty, etc. By all means, this picadillo does not taste sweet. But, when your loved ones eat it, they will not even know that it’s in there. Trust me. They’ll just know that what they are eating is super yummy!
Besides that special secret ingredient we just spoke about, let’s talk about the other ingredients you will need.
Ingredients to make the best picadillo recipe
|Ground beef||You will need one pound of ground beef.|
|Garlic and Onion||Will add loads of flavor.|
|Carrots||Gives a crunch and sweetness.|
|Peas||Adds more flavor and sweetness.|
|Green olives||Choose pitted green olives.|
|Tomato sauce or tomato paste||Either one will be fine.|
|Lime and Cilantro||It adds a nice fresh flare.|
|Spices||Like cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, Cheyanne pepper, kosher salt, and pepper.|
|My secret ingredient (pure maple syrup)||Pure maple syrup. Gasp… I know. Trust me; it is there only to balance out the flavor profile.|
This picadillo recipe is very forgiving. If you do not have one of the ingredients, that’s completely ok.
Ingredients and Cost
RECIPE COST: $5.72
PRICE PER SERVING: $0.95
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil – $0.25
- 1 cup onion – $0.25
- 1 cup of carrots – $0.26
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt – $0.02
- ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper – $0.07
- 4 cloves garlic – $0.40
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano – $0.10
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika – $0.10
- 1 teaspoon cumin – $0.03
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper – $0.10
- 1 pound ground beef – $3.01
- 1 cup frozen peas – $0.40
- 1 cup green pitted olives – $0.05
- ½ cup tomato sauce – $0.27
- Juice of one lime – $0.08
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup – $0.09
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro – $0.24
NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have.
- First, using a large skillet, add olive oil, onions, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and then sautee until the onions are soft.
- Then, add the spices and stir-fry for about thirty seconds. Add the ground beef, salt, and stir-fry until the meat is brown and crispy.
- Next, add the peas, olives, and tomato sauce and mix. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook on low for ten minutes.
- Finally, stir in the mpale syrup and lime juice and sprinkle in the chopped cilantro before serving.
***See full instructions in the recipe card below!
- Swap out the beef for ground chicken or turkey. This will add a light flavor and possibly less fat.
- Add diced green pepper. Though most recipes call for it, I decided to leave it out.
- Use capers instead of green olives. The capers will add a nice salty touch. I will defiantly be trying that next time.
- Use red pepper paste in place of tomato paste (if using).
Storage and Reheating Tips
SERVE: You can keep this out for about 2 hours before it needs to be stored and refrigerated.
STORE: Place the Picadillo in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
FREEZE: Once cooled, place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1-2 months.
DEFROST: Defrost at room temperature for 3-4 months or overnight in the refrigerator.
REHEAT: Add the mixture to a medium saucepan and stir in ¼ cup of water. Heat over medium heat until heated through.
Though you can enjoy picadillo the way you like, my favorite way is alongside cilantro-lime cauliflower rice. It’s just so flavorful!
You may also serve it with fluffy quinoa or cassava tortillas for more of a healthy touch.
Picadillo is well known in Spain and other Latin American countries. The name of the dish began comes from the Spanish word “picar.” That world translates to “to mince.” That then makes sense why they added ground beef into the recipe.
More Dairy Free Dinners
- Pollo Asado
- Gluten-Free Chicken Meatballs
- Chinese Chicken and Broccoli
- Ajvar Meatballs with Zesty Tomato Sauce
- Easy Baked Chicken and Zucchini
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
Read the recipe from start to finish. You will better understand the flow of the recipe and identify any unfamiliar words or methods.
Shop for the ingredients beforehand. When you shop ahead, you are less likely to swap out ingredients for what you don’t have, thus creating a complete recipe fail!
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment below and an honest rating. ♡
This, my friends, is my family’s favorite picadillo recipe.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 cup of carrots peeled, medium dice or diagonal-cut
- 1 tsp kosher salt divided* you will add 1/2 tsp to the onions and the other 1/2 tsp to the ground beef
- ¼ tsp coarse black pepper
- 4 cloves finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp smoked paprika or one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup green pitted olives
- ½ cup tomato sauce or 2 tbsp tomato paste + 4 tsp water
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 lime juiced
- ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, and carrots. Season with ½ tsp kosher salt and black pepper. Sautee until the onions have softened.
- Next, add the garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Stir-fry just until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- When ready, add the ground beef, the other ½ tsp kosher salt, and stir-fry until the meat gets crispy and brown. Then, add the frozen peas, olives, and tomato sauce. Mix to combine. Then, cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
- Finally, open the lid, give a quick stir, add the maple syrup, squeeze lime juice all over the seasoned meat, sprinkle in the chopped cilantro, and enjoy immediately.