Cuban Style Picadillo

Picadillo, or ground beef, is one of those versatile dishes in Cuban cuisine. For example, it can be used in other dishes such as aji relleno (stuffed peppers), which I’ll share with you later on. This dish is served with white rice and accompanied by a simple Cuban salad, typically iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, white onions, avocado if they are in season, and simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Perhaps a side of black beans, and let’s not forget the saltine crackers. I always remember my grandfather having them at the dinner table. 🙂

I think I’ve made this dish a thousand times, and have eaten it a thousand more!

Caribbean people and Latin Americans eat this dish often. Honestly, I love it. It is simple and reminiscent of home and family.

There are a few optional components that you can add to this recipe which give it different flavor and texture. You can add capers, or perhaps raisins to add a slight sweetness, or add cubed fried potatoes like a hash. Try it with a fried egg on top–Ooh yes. Cuban comfort food at it’s best! Let’s eat.

Here is the recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4-6


  • 1 Lb.  lean ground beef
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ medium size yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ medium size green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp green olives
  • Capers (optional)
  • Raisins (optional)
  • Small cubed fried potatoes/hash (optional)


Note: If you have a food processor feel free to use it for the onion, garlic and green pepper for a more even texture.

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat add the canola oil, diced onion, garlic, green bell pepper, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the salt, black pepper, tomato sauce, olive oil, bay leaves, and olives.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Turn the stove off and remove the skillet. Now it’s ready to serve. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves! It’s that simple.

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