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Picadillo is Cuban home cooking at its best. While it appears in many variations across Latin America, we bow to a traditional take on this gratifying recipe: beef or pork, green pepper, raisins, olives, and tomato. Typically, black beans and white rice accompany picadillo for a delightful, easily prepared, and—of course—inexpensive meal.

Makes 6 Servings - $1.96 per serving Show Detailed Pricing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground pork, or a combination)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes with their juices (or tomato sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar + 1 tablespoon sugar, stirred together
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable or beef broth)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • For the side dishes: 
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 15 ounces canned black beans, mostly drained
  • *Optional Extras: hot sauce, cilantro 

Prep Time: About 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 25 minutes

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat just until it shimmers. Add the ground meat, season with a little salt and pepper, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wood spoon. Cook to brown the meat on all sides. As it begins to brown, in about 3-4 minutes, add the onion, pepper, garlic, olives and raisins, stirring often. Continue cooking to soften the onion, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Drain off any excess fat from the pan then add the tomato, vinegar-sugar mixture, broth and bay leaves. Next add the oregano, cumin and cayenne and stir to blend well.
  3. Adjust the heat to a slow simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 15 minutes. Taste for salt.
  4. While the picadillo is finishing, set rice to cook according to package instructions. In another saucepan over medium heat, place the black beans and a pinch of salt and heat through, about 5 minutes.
  5. To serve: Spoon a serving of picadillo onto each dinner plate next to a serving of rice and black beans, in equal wedge-like portions. Top with sprigs of cilantro and pass the hot sauce, if desired.
  • Use leftover black beans if you made our Latin-Style Black Beans and Rice (recipe link below).
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Trish C. on 10/29/2020
Nice change great combination of flavors! I’ll make this again!
Rating: 5
TheFiveDollarFoodie: Hi Trish, thank you for trying this recipe out and for posting your review! Yes it's a great mix of flavors and we are so happy to hear you enjoyed. Please keep us posted if you try out anything else on our site. :)
Patricia N. on 3/29/2019
Sounds great, something different for us....trying it this weekend, can't wait!
Rating: 5
TheFiveDollarFoodie: Thanks Patricia, let us know how it turns out for you!
Michael G. on 5/15/2018
Ok - another terrific recipe! This one is easy and full of flavor...I did a mixture of meat: veal, pork and beef...the flavor is there...with beans and rice a wonderful blend of subtle flavors and with the hit of vinegar & sugar it put the recipe up front. Now looking forward to the leftovers.
Rating: 5
TheFiveDollarFoodie: Hi Michael, thanks for trying our recipe (Hugo came up with this one) and it makes us happy to hear that you are enjoying!