Family Friendly Cuban Picadillo Recipe

bowl of Cuban Picadillo with white rice on a table with forks

Perfect for a family dinner this Cuban Picadillo Recipe is easy to make with only a handful of ingredients. Made with ground beef, ground pork, tomatoes, raisins, olives, and more it is served with rice for the ultimate comfort food dish.

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Cuban Picadillo Recipe

Picadillo is such a classic Cuban dish, a total comfort food. Likened to Sloppy Joe’s in the United States Cuban Picadillo is a family food that makes the perfect dinner to sit down with at the table.

This version of Cuban Picadillo keeps it simple and traditional yet full of flavor.

I think it is best served with white rice but it can also be used as a filling in dishes like empanadas or tacos. It is also traditional to serve Cuban Picadillo with black beans.

My dish skips the potatoes which are sometimes seen in Picadillo, if you feel so inclined add some to the dish!

And this recipe is a part of my Kid’s Plate Series, so make sure you scroll down to see some variations of kid plates!

white bowl filled with rice and cuban picadillo full with tomatoes, olives, and raisins

How to make Cuban Picadillo

Ingredients needed are:

  • Green Pepper: Diced, I only use 1/2 pepper in this recipe because I didn’t want it overpowering the texture but if you are a huge green pepper fan feel free to use a whole one.
  • Onion: Diced, do you know how to properly dice an onion? Let Gordon Ramsay show you how to chop an onion if you don’t know how!
  • Olive Oil: For cooking the onion and pepper, any neutral oil will work in its place.
  • Ground Beef & Pork: I recommend using a lean beef and pork for this recipe since there is not a chance to drain off any fats. I use two different kinds of ground meat for maximum flavor, the combination of the two does wonders for taste!
  • Spices: Oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Traditional spices used in Cuban cuisine.
  • Garlic: I use the pre-minced garlic to save on time.
  • Diced Tomatoes: I always recommend the ‘No Salt Added’ variety, if you find the dish needs salt at the end of preparation you can always add more salt. If you want you could also get creative and use a flavored diced tomato variety.
  • White Wine: One sip for you and then some in the dish! Using wine really balances out the flavors of the meal, and no worries about alcohol being left in the dish since you simmer it away for 20 minutes! If you don’t use wine in your house you can use beef or chicken broth as a substitute.
  • Raisins: I love the pop of sweet that raisins add! You add them at the end of cooking just to get them warmed and starting to plump, if you add them any earlier they will get too plump to be enjoyable.
  • Green Olives: Just like the raisins but in the opposite taste, the olives add a pop of saltiness and texture to the dish! Use just traditional Spanish green olives, half them for easy eating (especially if you have young kids)

Lastly you want to serve this dish with rice, so you will want to make sure you have rice cooking simultaneously on the stove or a rice cooker for serving!

all of the ingredients needed to make picadillo laid out on a counter

Picadillo Recipe

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over meaduim-high heat. Once oil is shimmering and hot add diced onions and green peppers. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the beef, pork, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic to the pot. Cook crumbling the meat and stirring occasionally 8 to 10 minutes until only a little pink is left in the meats.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, wine, water/broth, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to simmer, cook 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add raisins and olives to the pot, cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat. Take out the bay leaves. Serve immediately with rice.
steps 1, 2, & 3 shown as the picadillo simmers away on the stovetop
Picadillo in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon and bay leaves

How to serve Cuban Picadillo to kids!

2 plastic kids plates showing two different ways to serve picadillo to kids

My kids adore this dish just how I serve it to my husband and I but obviously, smaller proportions. My kids enjoy it this way because the LOVE olives.

So if you have olive loving kids in your house GREAT, I suggest serving this how you would serve yourself, with a pile of delicious white rice!

blue kids plate with a small portion serving of cuban picadillo with rice just like an adult would eat it

Got olive haters? Raisin haters? (Are there any kids that hate raisins?? I seriously would like to know if yours do, they are so sweet so most kids love them) Kids who you have a hard time getting them to try something new?

Guess what this meal works perfect for them too! One word…

TACOS

Since the olives and raisins get added in in just the last few minutes you are able to scoop out some ‘taco meat’ before they go in!

Simply grab a scoop or two and simply use that as taco filling! Keep it plain or dress it up with your kid’s favorite taco garnishes! Isn’t that easy!?

Once the ‘taco meat’ is out simply add in the raisins and olives and finish cooking for everyone else!

I have even served leftovers (with olives and raisins) as tacos to my sons before and they LOVED IT. It was a great way to mix up leftovers!

orange kids plate with a taco made from the meat of the picadillo as an option to serve this meal to kids

I hope your family gives this recipe a try! Let me know if you do in the comments below!

teal dutch oven with freshly made cuban picadillo with bay leaves
close up of cuban picadillo in a white bowl with rice
two bowls with rice and picadillo and a dutch oven filled with picadillo

Looking for more Latino Inspired recipes? Check these out:

Cuban Picadillo

Cuban Picadillo

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 36 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Perfect for a family dinner this Cuban Picadillo Recipe is easy to make with ground beef, ground pork, tomatoes, raisins, olives, and more it is served with rice for the ultimate comfort food dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water or broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup rasins
  • 1/2 cup green olives, halved
  • *cooked white rice for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering and hot add diced onions and green peppers. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the beef, pork, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic to the pot. Cook crumbling the meat and stirring occasionally 8 to 10 minutes until only a little pink is left in the meats.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, wine, water/broth, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to simmer, cook 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add raisins and olives to the pot, cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat. Take out the bay leaves. Serve immediately with rice.

Notes

Ensure you have cooked rice for serving, 2 cups uncooked rice should be more than enough, follow my Stovetop Rice Recipe if needed.

I recommend a dry wine like a Chardonnay, if you don't want to use wine use broth instead.

I recommened using no salt added tomatoes, you can always add salt to the dish if you want it saltier.

I used lean ground beef and pork.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 449mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 22g
Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

2 Replies to “Family Friendly Cuban Picadillo Recipe”

  1. Michael Platte-Scheid says: Reply

    This dish is absolutely delicious! Highly recommended! Amazing!

    1. Thanks Michael!! 🙂

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