This easy Mexican picadillo recipe is made with ground beef, potatoes and plenty of seasonings, great over rice or served with tortillas for a full meal. Big on flavor!
Mexican Picadillo Recipe
We're cooking up a Mexican style picadillo recipe in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. Prepare yourself for amazing flavor.
If you've never tried picadillo before, this is a recipe you'll want to add to your recipe collection. Mexican Picadillo is quick and easy to make, it's big on flavor, and you can really customize it with many other potential ingredients.
Picadillo is a dish you'll find in many different countries around the world, particularly in Latin America, where you'll find Puerto Rican picadillo, Cuban picadillo, and many others.
This is a Mexican style picadillo, and I hope you love it.
What is Mexican Picadillo?
Mexican picadillo is a flavorful of dish of meat and potatoes with tomatoes, peppers, and seasonings. There are many variations throughout Mexican, with different regions including different ingredients, and each of them vary wildly.
Some regional versions include like carrots, olives, almonds and raisins, which is similar to Cuban style. Ground meat is used in most recipes, though chicken or seafood are interesting variations.
Guajillo or ancho peppers are another variation, which add a deep, earthy flavor that I love. I sometimes include them.
Some regions include sweet elements, like honey, which change the texture, and make it flavorful in a completely different way. Picadillo is one of those recipes that changes based on your location and on the cook, so feel free to adapt it to your own preference.
It is often served with rice or tortillas, though it is popular stuffed into roasted peppers or stuffed into pastries.
This version is a simple one, focusing on the meat and potatoes aspect, as well as the seasonings, though you can include other ingredients as desired. Consider this a base picadillo recipe.
Let's discuss how to make picadillo, shall we?
Mexican Picadillo Ingredients
- Olive Oil. For cooking.
- Potatoes. I'm using yellow potatoes.
- Onions, Garlic.
- Peppers. I'm using jalapeno peppers here, but toss in a serrano pepper for extra heat. Use bell peppers for a milder version.
- Ground Beef. You can use other ground meats, like chicken, turkey, or pork.
- Tomatoes. I like to use fresh tomatoes, but tomato sauce is great, too.
- Stock. I'm using beef stock, but chicken stock or vegetable stock are great, too.
- Seasonings. Paprika, Mexican oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper.
- For Serving. Cooked rice or warmed tortillas, sliced peppers for garnish, chili flakes, fresh chopped herbs, lime juice, hot sauce.
How to Make Picadillo (Mexican Style) - the Recipe Method
Potatoes, Onion and Peppers. Heat the oil in a large pan to medium heat. Add the onion, potatoes, and peppers and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
Garlic and Ground Beef. Add the garlic and add ground beef. Break up the ground beef with a wooden spoon and brown it up for 5 minutes. The meat doesn't need to be cooked all the way through.
Add Tomatoes, Stock and Seasonings. Stir in the tomatoes, beef broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer.
Simmer the Picadillo. Cook, stirring occasionally at a simmer for 20 minutes to cook through and let the potatoes soften up. Check it at 15 minutes for doneness. Adjust for salt and pepper.
Serve the Picadillo. Serve over cooked white rice or with warmed corn tortillas with extra peppers, spicy chili flakes and lime juice! Don’t forget your favorite hot sauce.
Boom! Done! Looks wonderful, doesn't it? I love a good picadillo. So easy to make, right? I love that.
Recipe Notes & Tips
- The Seasonings. I've used a simple blend of seasonings, but other popular additions include bay leaves or parsley. Try this Homemade Taco Seasoning Blend Recipe that I love.
Customize your picadillo with other ingredients. Some traditional Mexican picadillo recipes include parsley, blanched almonds, raisins, olives, green olives potatoes and carrots, green peas, bay leaf and others.
Make it with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version of this classic comfort food.
Swap the potatoes for other root vegetables, like rutabaga, yellow beats, or sweet potatoes.
Here is a photo of my variation with ancho peppers added in. I love it!
Serve picadillo as a side dish to many Mexican dishes, but it's also versatile in other dishes. Consider serving your picadillo in the following ways:
- Tacos. Serve it with tortillas and enjoy them taco style.
- Nachos. Serve it over crispy tortilla chips and top with melted cheese. Perfection!
- Stuffed Peppers. Try my picadillo stuffed peppers recipe. I think you'll love it.
Storage Info & Leftovers
Store any leftover picadillo in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To enjoy it again, simple warm it up in a hot pan.
You can also freeze it in vacuum sealed bags or containers for 3 months or longer.
That's it! I hope you LOVE this as much as I do! SO. GOOD! Let me know if you make it. Send pics! I want to hear!! -- Mike H.
If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations.
Mexican Picadillo Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces yellow potatoes about 3-4 small, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
- 1 serrano pepper chopped (optional, for spicier)
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 pound ground beef (you can use other ground meats, like chicken, turkey or pork)
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 3/4 cup beef stock (or use chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR SERVING: Cooked rice or warmed tortillas, sliced peppers, chili flakes, fresh lime juice, hot sauce
- Heat the oil in a large pan to medium heat. Add the potatoes, onion and peppers and cook them down for 5 minutes to soften.
- Stir in the garlic and ground beef. Break up the ground beef with a wooden spoon and brown it up for 5 minutes. The meat doesn't need to be cooked all the way through.
- Stir in the tomatoes, stock, and seasonings and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Simmer for 20 minutes to cook through and let the potatoes soften up.
- Serve over cooked rice or with tortillas with extra peppers, spicy chili flakes and lime juice! Don’t forget your favorite hot sauce.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/5/23 to include new information, photos, and video. It was originally published on 4/18/18.