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recipe for picadillo

Quick + Easy Picadillo

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


This easy recipe for cuban picadillo has a tomato sauce and olive base with tons of spices to warm things up. It's a yummy take on rice with beef, comes together super quickly, and is great warmed up for leftovers.


  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (80/20 or leaner)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
  • 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup pitted chopped olives (any kind you like!)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • cooked rice or pita bread, optional to serve


  1. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add the ground beef. Cook the beef for 7-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the beef is browned. Use a wooden spoon to break the beef into small bits as you stir.
  2. When the beef is cooked through, add the onion, garlic, coriander, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften, then add the tomato sauce. Stir the tomato sauce and let the sauce come to a bubble. When the tomato sauce bubbles, add the remaining butter, the olives, and the honey. Stir, and taste: add salt to your preference or more cayenne pepper for spice!
  3. Turn the heat to low and let the picadillo simmer for 10 minutes or until you're ready to serve. Serve over rice and/or with pita. Enjoy!


  • Use any kind of olives you like! If you have some olive haters in your group, keep the pieces large or the olives whole so they can be fished out. You can also substitute capers for the olives - use 1/4 cup.
  • For extra-special rice, cook white rice with vegetable or chicken stock in place of water and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric for a bright yellow color.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30

Keywords: picadillo beef, picadillo mexico, picadillo recipe cuban, picadillo a la cubana