Picadillo

Mexican Style Ground Beef Dish

Looking for a new twist on typical ground beef dinners? Try making Picadillo, a flavorful but not hot Mexican ground beef dish prepared with potatoes, carrots, raisins, and tomato sauce. Every Mexican family makes a variation of this dish.

Bowl of Authentic Mexican Picadillo

Mexican Style Picadillo

It’s versatile. Use it as taco meat, serve over rice, or on a tostada, stuff burritos, or empanadas. It’s even a great filling for sloppy Joes. Kids love it, guaranteed.

Make a double batch. It keeps well in the freezer. It will become one of your favorite ground beef recipes. It’s one of favorite comfort foods.

A Popular Latin American Dish Too

Picadillo is enjoyed Latin America in addition to Mexico. Each country has its own preferred way of preparing it. It’s particularly popular in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Cuban style is prepared with bell peppers, white wine, and capers. Puerto Rican style is  uses a sofrito as its base.

How to Make Picadillo

Picadillo and White Rice

A favorite family dish.

It is easy to make and preparation is similar to dishes you probably already know.

Mexican Picadillo Ingredients

Picadillo Ingredients

Ingredients:

Start by gathering the following for the recipe.

  • 2 lbs low-fat ground beef
  • 2 medium white potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup green peas (preferably frozen peas not canned)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Both Seasoned or unseasoned tomato sauce work well in this dish. It is more typical in Mexico to use seasoned tomato sauce. Frozen peas are preferable to canned.

First Steps

  • Peel the carrots and potatoes first.

Peeled Carrots and Potatoes on Cutting Board

  • Chop the potatoes and carrots. We like the potatoes and carrots on the chunky side especially when we serve the picadillo over rice. If you plan on making tacos de picadillo chop the potatoes and carrots into smaller pieces.

Chopped Potato and Carrot in Bowls

Cooking

  • Add the ground beef to a large preheated frying pan with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • Gently break up the meat so that it browns evenly.

Ground Beef Browning in Frying Pan

Brown ground beef in preheated pan.

  • Lightly brown the ground beef. Try not to over-brown the meat because it will be on the dry side. Use this picture as a guide.
  • Don’t drain the liquid that the meat gives off. It incorporates into the dish and enriches the flavor.
  • Add the potatoes and carrots to the ground beef and cook for about 6 minutes.

Ground Beef Potatoes Carrots Cooking

  • Add the raisins and green peas to the mixture.
  • Mix until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed.

Adding Ingredients to Picadillo

  • Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Seasoning Picadillo with Salt and Pepper

  • Add the tomato sauce. You can add 1/4 cup beef broth for extra flavor when cooking.

Tomato Sauce Added to Picadillo

  • Mix in the tomato sauce until it is fully incorporated.

Cooking Picadillo

  • Cook the picadillo over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the potatoes and carrots are fully cooked and have softened.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. 

Cook the picadillo over medium-low heat for 20 minutes until fully cooked.
Your picadillo is ready to serve.

How to Serve Picadillo

  • Serve over white rice, on a tostada, or as a taco or burrito filling or even by itself.

Picadillo Served on Rice

Serve over white rice.

We like it served on tostadas.

Picadillo Served on Tostada

Serve on tostadas.

Looks good, doesn’t it?

How do you prefer your picadillo? Over rice? In a taco? Or on a tostada? If you make tacos, corn and flour tortillas are both good choices.

Optional Methods of Preparation

Picadillo is easily adaptable to your tastes. Here are a few variations that we like.

  • Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground meat.
  • You can add ½ cup chopped white onion if you like. Add the onion at the same time you add the potatoes and carrots.
  • If you want your picadillo to be spicy, add 1 or 2 very finely chopped serrano peppers or jalapeño peppers when you add the potato and carrots.
  • For extra seasoning try adding a pinch of cumin, or Mexican oregano, or chili powder, or paprika.

Mexican Picadillo Recipe
Print Pin
4.14 from 15 votes

Mexican Picadillo Recipe

Mexican style ground beef with carrots, potatoes, green peas, raisins, and tomato sauce. Great as a taco filling, over white rice, or on a tostada. One of our favorite ground beef recipes.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Easy, ground beef, picadillo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 528kcal
Author Douglas Cullen

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife
  • 3 or 4 small bowls
  • Large frying pan or skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. low-fat ground beef
  • 2 medium white potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup green peas preferably use frozen peas not canned
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin optional
  • 2 bay leaves optional (remove before serving)
  • 2 tbsp. cooking or olive oil

Instructions

  • Peel the carrots and potatoes first.
  • Chop the potatoes and carrots.
  • Preheat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the ground beef to the frying pan and lightly brown the ground beef. (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the potatoes and carrots, stir and cook for 6 minutes.
  • Add the raisins and peas and stir.
  • Add the tomato sauce, salt and black pepper and stir.
  • Reduce to medium-low heat and cook for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the potatoes and carrots have softened.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary.

Notes

Preparation
  • Picadillo should be moist but not wet when served.
  • If it is starting to get dry before the potatoes and carrots are cooked add 2 tablespoons of water as needed so that it remains moist.
  • Chop the potatoes coarsely if you are going to serve it over rice or on a tostada. Chop them finer if you are going to serve it in tacos.
  • If you are making tacos, it goes well with both corn and flour tortillas.
  • If you use canned peas, rinse them well to remove excess salt.
Substitutions
  • If you don’t have any tomato sauce, use 3 Roma tomatoes that have been smoothly blended as a substitute. Tomato paste works too using smaller quantities.
Optional Ingredients
  • You can add ½ cup chopped white onion if you like. Add the onion at the same time you add the potatoes and carrots.
  • If you want your picadillo to be spicy, add 1 or 2 very finely chopped serrano peppers or jalapeño peppers when you add the potato and carrots.
Storage
  • Picadillo will keep well refrigerated for 3 day in an airtight storage container.
  • It will keep well in the freezer for 3 monthsin an airtight storage container.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 528kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 916mg | Sugar: 20g

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18 comments… add one
  • Fotodor

    Crock Pot Picadillo is very flavorful and easy to make. It is packed with ground beef, black beans,peas and Mexican seasonings. The whole family will love.

  • Jane Doe

    Why in the jesus name would you add RAISINS??????????? To picadillo???????? someone needs to be fired cus this is some potatoes salad with raisins mess.

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