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Best Mexican Picadillo Recipe

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On busy weeknights, I always turn to cooking a hearty meal that the whole family will enjoy, and this Mexican Picadillo Recipe is one I truly love. The flavors are absolutely delicious, and is perfect if you want to enjoy home cooked meals without putting too much effort. Plus, it is packed with protein and fiber and is super healthy too!

If you love this recipe be sure to check out this Air Fryer Burrito recipe.

Picadillo

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Packed With Flavor: This Piccadillo recipe is great for many reasons. Not only is it a hearty, meaty and filling dish, but it packs in super savory flavors that my family is a huge fan of.
  • Make Ahead: The fact that I can make Picadillo ahead of time and freeze it for later is another big plus, which also makes it a great option for those who like to meal prep.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients to put this flavorful Picadillo recipe together.

  • Ground Beef 80/20: The main protein, it’s rich and flavorful, perfect for a hearty picadillo.
  • Mexican Spices: Add warmth and depth of flavor to the beef, giving it an authentic Mexican touch.
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes: They lend a smoky, tangy flavor and create a savory sauce for the dish.
  • Chipotle Peppers: Bring a smoky, spicy kick to the picadillo.
  • Baby Potatoes: Add a comforting, starchy element that absorbs the flavors well.
  • Purple Onions, Bell Peppers, Jalapenos: Add color, texture, and a mix of sweet and spicy flavors.
  • White Rice: Serves as a fluffy, neutral base that soaks up the picadillo’s flavors.
  • Baby Tomatoes: Balances the heat and adds a pop of color.
  • Cilantro: Adds a fresh, herbal note that brightens the dish.
  • Lime Juice: Cuts through the richness of the beef, enhancing all other flavors.

How To Make Mexican Picadillo?

Once you have the ingredients ready, here’s what you’ll need to do to make Picadillo from scratch.

Step 1: Brown Ground Beef In A Pan

In a saucepan or a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef, and half of the Mexican seasonings. Toss to combine, cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add Tomatoes And Peppers

Add tomatoes and chipotle peppers and toss to combine. Continue to cook on medium heat until it is fully cooked. Remove from the pan and set to the side.

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Step 3: Add Onion, Potatoes And Seasonings

Add your onions, peppers, potatoes, jalapenos, and the other half of the Mexican spices to the tomato mixture and toss to combine.

Cook over medium to high heat for 5 minutes, make sure to stir often. Cover the saucepan, reduce heat and cook for another 10 min or until the potatoes are soft.

Step 4: Combine Everything And Cook

Add the beef to the potato mixture, stir to combine, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.

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Step 5: Cook White Rice

Cook the white rice as directed on the package. Add the lime juice and half of the diced cilantro.

Step 6: Garnish & Serve.

Toss to combine. Garnish with the sliced tomatoes.

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Cooking Tips

While making the Mexican Picadillo is easy, you might want to keep these tips and tricks handy.

  • Quality: Remember to use good quality tomato sauce for the recipe, as it can make all the difference in the flavors and textures of the Picadillo.
  • Loosen: If the Picadillo seems to be drying up too much, you can loosen the mixture by adding some more tomato sauce or some beef broth.
  • Heat: You can also add some chopped peppers or cayenne pepper into the Picadillo if you want to bring some more heat into the dish.

Variations

  • Veggies: In addition to the tomatoes, bell pepper and onions, you can also add other veggies to the ground beef mixture. Chopped mushrooms, green beans and green peas are good options.
  • Tomatoes: To lend the Picadillo a bit of texture, you can use whole tomatoes instead of slicing and dicing them.
  • Add Olives: Manzanilla olives can also be an excellent addition to the Picadillo. It can lend the dish a nice salty flavor. If you don’t have Manzanilla olives, you can use green olives too!
  • Flavor: I also like to add a bit of ground cumin and some salt and pepper in addition to the other seasonings in the recipe. Use freshly crushed black pepper to get the best flavor.
  • Chopped Garlic: This is another one of my favorites that I always end up adding to the Picadillo. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can also use a dash of garlic powder instead.
  • Bay Leaf: You can also add a bay leaf into the ground beef mixture while it is being cooked, and then remove it towards the end before you serve.
  • Healthy Fats: To bring some healthy fats into the dish and to lend more flavor to the ground beef, you can add a bit of olive oil too.

Substitutions

  • Meat: While traditional Mexican Picadillo is made with ground beef, you can also try making a version of this recipe with some ground turkey or any other ground meat of your choice.
  • Broth: I like to use low sodium beef broth to keep my sodium intake in check. If you don’t have beef broth, you can use a stock cube and some water or any other broth of your choice too.
  • Tomatoes: If you don’t have the fire roasted tomatoes that the recipe calls for, you can use tomato sauce and some crushed black pepper or some spicy peppers of your choice instead.
  • Potatoes: If you don’t have baby potatoes, you can use regular diced potatoes instead. I would recommend against using mashed potatoes, but if you don’t mind the texture, you can totally use them.
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What To Serve With This Recipe?

  • This Mexican Picadillo is super versatile, and is commonly served with Rice or Tortillas.
  • To make it a complete meal, you can serve it with some Mexican Rice or wrap it in a warm tortilla.
  • To bring some more flavor and deliciousness to the dish, you can also top it with some fresh cilantro, chopped onion, crumbled cheese, or diced avocado. In fact, it can also be teamed up with some homemade Pico de Gallo.
  • This Picadillo can also be used as a filling for your Empanadas, Tacos, or Burritos. All you need to do is spoon some of the mixture into your tortilla or pastry and add your favorite toppings.

Storage Instructions

  • Fridge: If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and then reheat in the microwave or on the stove, being careful to ensure that it is heated all through before serving.

FAQ’S

What Is Cuban Picadillo?

Cuban Picadillo and Mexican Picadillo are quite similar in many aspects. The only difference really likes in the ingredients that go into making them.
Both these versions of Picadillo use ground beef as the key ingredient, along with some diced potatoes and tomato sauce.

The Cuban version of the Picadillo recipe calls for the addition to green olives, black beans and capers, and occasionally some bay leaves too.
Mexican Picadillo, on the other hand, focuses on the use of ground beef or ground meat, bell pepper, garlic and seasonings.

There’s also a Filipino-style Picadillo recipe that calls for the addition to some green peas in addition to the ground beef and tomato sauce mixture.

Can I Prep Picadillo In Advance?

You sure can! I usually brown ground beef in a big batch and allow it to cool down completely before freezing it in airtight containers.

Then, when I want to put this dish together, all I need to do is combine the defrosted ground beef with some tomato sauce, chopped bell pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic, ground cumin and other seasonings and spices.

piccadillo recipe in a pan with rice

Best Mexican Picadillo Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes

Delicious Mexican Picadillo

Ingredients

  • 1 pd Ground Beef 80/20
  • 4 tbsp. Mexican Spices, divided
  • 1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2-3 Chipotle Peppers, diced
  • 3 cups Baby Potatoes, sliced and quartered
  • 1 Purple Onions, sliced small
  • 1 of each Red, Yellow, Orange, Green bell Pepper, diced
  • 2-3 Jalapenos, diced
  • 3 cups White Rice, cooked
  • 8-10 Baby Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Lime, juice

Instructions

Step 1: Brown Ground Beef in a Pan
In a saucepan or a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef, and half of the Mexican seasonings. Toss to combine, cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add Tomatoes and Peppers
Add tomatoes and chipotle peppers and toss to combine. Continue to cook on medium heat until it is fully cooked. Remove from the pan and set to the side.

Step 3: Add Onion, Potatoes, and Seasonings
Add your onions, peppers, potatoes, jalapenos, and the other half of the Mexican spices to the tomato mixture and toss to combine.

Cook over medium to high heat for 5 minutes, make sure to stir often. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 min or until the potatoes are soft.

Step 4: Combine Everything and Cook
Add the beef to the potato mixture, stir to combine, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.

Step 5: Cook White Rice
Cook the white rice as directed on the package. Add the lime juice and half of the diced cilantro.

Step 6: Combine and Serve.
Toss to combine. Garnish with the sliced tomatoes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 9g

Did you make this recipe?

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More Delicious Recipes

If you enjoyed making this Mexican Picadillo, and are inspired to try some more recipes, here are a few good ones you might want to check out.

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