Picadillo | www.acozykitchen.com

I grew up eating renditions of this recipe. Every couple of years, as I got older, the recipe’s identity evolved from crazy plain to what you see now. I guess you could say I went from super picky, pain in the ass eater to normal human and this recipe was along for the ride during that entire journey.

When I was a teeny kid, my mother would make picadillo and it’d simply be fried diced potato with ground beef over rice. (I hated raisins, boiled eggs and olives…and tomatoes.)

During my preteen years, I warmed up to boiled eggs so that was added, along with the tomato base that is so well known in picadillo and honestly essential.

In my late teen years, I became ok with the addition of olives. But it wasn’t until my twenties when I fully embraced the raisins, which now I think are crucial.

The version you see is what my adult self LOVES. And it’s probably the closest to the authentic original that is so popular in Cuban restaurants.

Picadillo | www.acozykitchen.com

This recipe is ideal for that “weeknight dinner” category that is so very popular.

It’s fast and easy and if you have picky children or you are a picky grown-up, it’s flexible—simply add what you like, leave out what you hate.

Picadillo | www.acozykitchen.com

One thing that is mandatory with this dish is for it to be served on a bed of rice. It’s comfort central and picadillo is probably the sole reason why my obsession with rice runs so deep.

Picadillo | www.acozykitchen.com


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • Canola oil
  • 1 russett potato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1.2 teaspoons ground oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef, I used 90% - I like it to be pretty lean
  • 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 10 green olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, optional since I know so many people are raisin-haters
  • 1 large egg, boiled and then diced
  • Italian parsley, chopped and for garnish
  • Cooked long-grain rice, to serve


  • In a skillet, heat a few tablespoons of canola oil over medium heat. You’ll know the oil is hot when you tilt the pan a bit—it’ll glide quickly. Add the diced potato, in batches, and pan-fry on each side for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the edges are crispy looking and golden brown. To flip the potatoes, I just sort of moved the skillet around and flipped a few of them with a fork. Transfer to a bed of paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining batch (I had to do two batches, you may need to do more or less).
  • Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot. Heat the oil over medium-low heat and then add the onion; cook until translucent and soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add the red bell pepper, minced garlic, salt, ground cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Mix until everything is coated and fragrant. Add the ground beef and break it up using a wooden spoon until the large mass of meat turns into crumbles. Be sure to mix the veggies and spices with the meat. Cook the meat for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it goes from pink to brown.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, olives and golden raisins; cover the pot, turn the heat down to low and simmer the picadillo for about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the sauce has thickened, the raisins are plump and the whole thing smells amazing. If it’s overly thickened (it should’ve have but you know sometimes things are unpredictable), add a splash or two of water and mix. Fold in the reserved fried diced potato, diced egg and chopped Italian parsley. Serve on top of a warm bowl of rice.
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  • Avatar
    Reply Charlotte November 10, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Somehow I’ve never heard of this, but it looks gorgeous!
    I’m still back in the can’t stand olives stage, though.

  • Avatar
    Reply Tori@Gringalicious.com November 10, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I am so excited about this recipe. It’s very similar to the filling for traditional Chilean empanadas but it comes without all of the work. So trying it. Pinned!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme November 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Ahh yes, pretty much every country in South America has a rendition of Picadillo. Colombians do too!

  • Avatar
    Reply Becky Winkler November 10, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Yum! As a kid I did not like any of those things either (I didn’t even like beef until my twenties). I’m still iffy about olives, but would probably love them in this since there’s so much other good stuff going on!

  • Avatar
    Reply jenna @ just j.faye November 10, 2014 at 5:49 am

    This looks delicious and oh so comforting! I’m curious about the olives, raisins, and eggs in here, but think that I would really, really like it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jessi November 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I have never heard of this dish before, but it looks great! I have been thinking about new dishes to try with ground beef, and my husband LOVES eggs for dinner, so I am going to try this out next week!

  • Avatar
    Reply stephanie @ iamafoodblog November 10, 2014 at 9:39 am

    this sounds incredibly comforting. i’m not the hugest fan of raisins yet, but i would totally give this a try because anything over a bowl of rice is like a hug for your tummy 🙂

  • Reply Picadillo - The Recipe Daily November 10, 2014 at 9:48 am

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    Reply Iris November 10, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I grew up eating this and using it as a filler for empanadas, pasteles and a lasagne type dish where sweet really ripe plantains are used instead of sheets of pasta. Although I grew up in Brooklyn,NY these ideas came from another beautiful island Puerto Rico.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lydia November 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Uh, yes please. My mom grew up in Rio and would make her Brazilian version of this when I was a kid. And the olives give it a nice kick of umami. Classic comfort food!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme November 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Ahh yes, good description as to what the olives provide: umami!

  • Avatar
    Reply Alexis November 10, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I love Picadillo! It was always a staple at my grandparents house in Florida. I don’t think we made ours with the egg though, so I’m excited to try it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy November 10, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Wow! This looks so flavorful. I’ve never had picadillo, but this looks right up my alley!

  • Avatar
    Reply fen November 10, 2014 at 10:43 am

    My husband is not a fan of beef — could this work with lamb, chicken or pork?

    • Avatar
      Reply Iris November 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Pork is even better

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme November 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Oh I haven’t had it with anything other than ground beef but I bet ground lamb would be delicious!

  • Avatar
    Reply Nicole November 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Oh man, my mom used to make this all the time (with fresh flour tortillas, too)! But just the ground beef, tomato base, and potatoes. (Cheers to being a picky eater as a kid!). I’ve never heard of making it with raisins, though. I’ll gave to give it a whirl! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Frank Mosher November 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Very nice recipe of Spanish origin. I’m certain you meant to say “Cuban-American” i.e. Florida-based restaurants. The “real” Cubans would die and go to heaven for a meal such as this, and it would be entirely new for them.

  • Avatar
    Reply ileana November 11, 2014 at 4:27 am

    I loved picadillo growing up. Never had a version with egg in it though – sounds good!

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    Reply carrie November 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    This takes me back to my Cuban Grandmother’s kitchen. Can’t wait to try the addition of egg.

  • Avatar
    Reply Valeria May 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

    This dish is so GOOD!! I can’t wait to make it again…the egg on top is a great touch. WOW! This blog is awesome 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Michele November 29, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I just made my (Cuban) Abuela’s picadillo last night for my (non-Latino) husband’s birthday. It’s one of his favorite dishes, and it’s a great, quick,weeknight option. She never added potatoes or eggs, so that’s new to me. Do yourself a favor and add the olives even if you don’t like them! I can’t stand olives and give mine to Hubby, but the flavor you get from the brine is irreplaceable. I always add a splash from the jar. I use Goya manzanilla olives with pimentos.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme November 30, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Ahhh so I’ve made picadillo a lot since this post and now I add olives and I LOVE THEM. They add a nice briny flavor to them. I need to try that Goya. I moved out of Florida and now I all the groceries stores near me don’t carry them. 🙁

      • Avatar
        Reply Michele November 30, 2017 at 10:24 am

        Goya also makes jars of pimento stiffed manzanilla olives with capers. They’re a great addition, but my picky little one won’t eat them. Maybe when he’s older!

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