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This Mexican-style beef picadillo is the kind I grew up eating. This version is a slow-simmered ground beef stew with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and some bold spices. It’s a delicious, warming dinner idea for when you want healthy comfort food!
Mexican Picadillo Recipe
This Mexican Picadillo is made exactly the way I enjoyed it growing up: with ground beef and perfectly tender potatoes in a rich spiced stew. The potatoes are tender, the beef so flavorful, and the spices are incredibly warming (but not too spicy). We love to enjoy this with a bowl of rice and maybe even beans or simply wrapped in a warm tortilla.
What is Beef Picadillo?
Beef picadillo is a dish made with ground beef and tomatoes. Depending on the type of picadillo you eat (Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Filipino), there may also be capers, green olives, rum-soaked raisins, potatoes, or green peas included. Each variation is a little bit different!
The ingredients for Mexican beef picadillo are really simple – I’d even be willing to bet that you have a handful of them hanging out in your kitchen already. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- 2 pounds of ground beef
- 1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 14.5 ounces of canned diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of mild chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons of oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ teaspoons of fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 cups of beef broth
Ingredient Modifications and Variations
- Use a different kind of potato – can’t find Yukon gold potatoes? No problem. Use russet or red potatoes if you need to. Just be sure to chop up whatever variety you use into ½-inch cubes.
How to Make Beef Picadillo
If you’ve only ever had beef picadillo at a restaurant, you may be intimidated to make it at home – I mean, it’s so delicious, and how in the world can something so delicious be EASY to make? If this is what you’re thinking, you’re in for a treat! Below, you’ll find the very easy, 6-step picadillo how-to.
- Cook and crumble the ground beef – heat a 3-quart (or larger) pot (with a matching lid) over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the ground beef and brown for 15 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through, crumbling the beef while cooking. Drain any excess grease.
- Dice the veggies – while the ground beef is cooking, dice the potatoes, bell pepper, onion, and garlic.
- Add the veggies, seasonings, and tomatoes to the pot – add the potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, ACV, chili powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pot, and stir to combine.
- Add the broth – pour the broth into the pot, taste the mixture, and add more salt if desired.
- Simmer – bring the picadillo to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour, leaving the lid cracked.
- Serve and enjoy – serve the picadillo with charred tortillas and cilantro, and enjoy!
What goes with Beef Picadillo?
We chose to serve our Mexican picadillo taco-style inside of charred tortillas and topped with cilantro, but you could also serve it with a side of rice (white, brown, or Mexican) and beans (refried or charro – you pick!). It would also be really delicious scooped onto tortilla chips alongside a dollop or two of guacamole.
How to Store and Reheat
Store any leftover picadillo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to heat it up, simply pop a serving (or 2!) in a microwave safe dish and microwave it for 1 minute, or until warm. Alternatively, add the picadillo back into a pot on the stove and heat it over medium heat until warmed through.
Can You Freeze Picadillo?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze picadillo! If you’re looking to stock your freezer with healthy, delicious meals, this one would be a great one to double or even triple with the intent to freeze the extra portions.
To freeze picadillo, let it cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw and enjoy, simply transfer the picadillo to the refrigerator overnight, then pop it into a pot on the stovetop to heat through.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does picadillo last in the fridge?
Leftover picadillo will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Who invented picadillo?
That’s actually a really good question! Because this dish is so widely popular (and every culture has its own variation), it’s actually really hard to pinpoint the exact origins. It’s said that the once emperor of Mexico, Agustin de Iturbide, was served picadillo in 1821, though, so it’s been around for a VERY long time!
More Favorite Ground Beef Recipes
- Ground Beef Taco Casserole
- Ground Beef Skillet Enchiladas
- Beef Taco Salad
- Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers
- Mexican Cottage Pie
- Copycat Cheesy Gordita Crunch
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoon mild chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- Heat a 3-quart (or larger) pot (with a matching lid) over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the ground beef and brown for 15 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through, crumbling the beef while cooking. Drain any excess grease.
- While the ground beef is cooking, dice the potatoes, bell pepper, onion, and garlic.
- Add the potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, ACV, chili powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pot, and stir to combine.
- Pour the broth into the pot, taste the mixture, and add more salt if desired.
- Bring the picadillo to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour, leaving the lid cracked.
- Serve the picadillo with charred tortillas and cilantro, and enjoy!
We have loved the version of this that is in Cook Once Eat All Week- truly a family go-to at this point!
I’ve wondered… what is the main differences between this sauce and an enchilada sauce? From time to time I’ve wanted to shortcut and use a canned sauce instead of making one.
Silly question but what does leaving the lid on crack means?
Brandi Schilhab says
Not silly!! Instead of putting the lid all the way on the pot, leave it open just a bit! I hope that helps.