Cuban-Inspired Picadillo

If you’re looking for a healthy, hearty dinner that the whole family will love, this Cuban-Inspired Picadillo is definitely a winner! 

Cuban-Inspired Picadillo

If you’ve never made a picadillo before, it’s one of the best ways to use ground beef. A picadillo is a dish made with ground meat, tomatoes, and other ingredients, like olives and/or capers that vary by region. It is often served with rice or used as a filling in dishes such as tacos, savory pastries or croquettes. 

As a Texan, I have typically been exposed to the Mexican-Style of picadillo and love to use that in tacos or bowls in our home. Other very common style is Cuban Picadillo and while simple to make, it’s extremely flavorful. Many traditional Cuban Picadillo recipes call for classic ingredients like ground beef, bell pepper, onion, along with a combination of spices like cumin, oregano and bay leaves. It also includes salty, tangy elements like olives and capers. Some recipes even include a pop of sweetness with the addition of raisins. Personally, I prefer it without raisins but feel free to add a handful of raisins for a little touch of sweetness. 

I love how hearty and family friendly this recipe is. I’ve had versions with and without potatoes and both are great, so if you’re hesitant to double-starch (since picadillo is typically served with white rice), feel free to omit the potatoes when making yours at home! Aside from serving with rice, I also love grabbing store bought plantain chips for serving, too. Paired with a simple side salad, dinner will be on the table in no time and the whole family will love this delicious stewed ground beef recipe. 

Cuban-Inspired Picadillo

Cuban-Inspired Picadillo
Serves: 4
5 from 6 votes
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion diced fine
  • ½ bell pepper diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 bay leafs
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • One 5-ounce jar manzanilla olives, drained
  • 3 tablespoons capers drained
  • 1 russet potato peeled and diced small

For Serving:

  • Cilantro-Lime Rice or steamed white rice
  • Plantain chips
  • Your favorite hot sauce I love El Yucateco


  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with the edge of a spoon until cooked through and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off excess fat and return to the dutch oven.
  • Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, chili powder and bay leaves and cook, stirring, to toast the spices, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the white wine and stir to combine. Reduce by half, about 2 minutes, then add the broth, tomato sauce, olives, and capers. Stir to combine and bring to a rapid simmer.
  • Once simmering, reduce the heat to light simmer, add the diced potato, stir to combine and then cook, simmering over low heat and covered, for all of the flavors to meld and for everything to really stew and get very tender, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally throughout the process.
  • I serve mine over cilantro lime rice, with some plantain chips and a little bit of hot sauce over the top.

Photography and styling by Eat Love Eats.


  • Reply
    May 16, 2023 at 4:22 am

    5 stars
    Just made this tonight and it was amazing!! The flavor reminds me of my favorite Cuban restaurant’s Picadillo and it tastes exactly the SAME! It was so easy to make and absolutely delicious. Another hit recipe!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2023 at 3:45 am

    5 stars
    Absolutely excellent recipe !!! This was so delicious and perfect – I did follow a reviewer’s substitution for the white wine since I didn’t have any on hand – I used 2 Tbs white wine vinegar instead of white wine and it was still so yummy!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Can this be cooked at a higher temp for less time? Would love to try for dinner, but I don’t really have two hours on a weeknight to let it cook 😉

  • Reply
    April 26, 2023 at 5:31 am

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I served with greek yogurt as a topping and I didn’t have the plantain chips but the crunch would’ve been a great addition.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe! I had to substitute white wine for about 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (Because my husband doesn’t like the wine taste, and because I didn’t have any). I also ended up boiling the mixture at a high rate for 30 minutes instead of simmering because I didn’t read timing directions before I started. My kids gobbled it up!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2023 at 11:29 pm

    Hi Alex! Do you think 1lb of ground beef and 1lb of ground pork would work together for this recipe? Thank uou!

  • Reply
    Bridget Clark
    April 20, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    Does this freeze well?

    • Reply
      April 21, 2023 at 12:22 pm

      Yes this is a great freezer friendly meal!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    This looks delicious! Would you please clarify what color bell pepper you prefer in this dish ?

    • Reply
      April 20, 2023 at 7:22 pm

      I use red to add a little color.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2023 at 2:01 am

    5 stars
    Loved this! Such a well balanced & homey meal!!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2023 at 4:14 am

    5 stars
    This was delicious!! My kids loved it!! Thanks for the recipe

    • Reply
      April 18, 2023 at 7:01 pm

      So glad to hear it, thanks for commenting!

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