Authentic Mexican Picadillo Recipe



Picadillo is a traditional Mexican dish loved for its savory-sweet flavors and versatility. It’s a flavorful blend of ground beef, vegetables, and seasonings, often served with rice or as a filling for tacos, empanadas, or stuffed peppers. This authentic Mexican Picadillo recipe will transport your taste buds straight to Mexico.


For the Picadillo:

  • 1 pound ground beef (preferably lean)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

For Serving:

  • Cooked white rice
  • Warm tortillas or taco shells
  • Sliced jalapeños (optional, for extra heat)


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional minute until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the ground beef and cook until it browns and crumbles. Make sure to break it up into small pieces as it cooks.
  5. Once the beef is browned, add the diced tomatoes and green bell pepper to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften.
  6. Add the raisins, green olives, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper to the mixture. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let the Picadillo simmer for 15-20 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the raisins to plump up.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you prefer it spicier, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
  9. Once the Picadillo is ready, garnish it with chopped fresh cilantro.


  • Serve the Picadillo hot over a bed of cooked white rice.
  • Alternatively, use it as a filling for warm tortillas or taco shells. You can also serve it with a side of refried beans or a simple salad.
  • For extra heat, offer sliced jalapeños as a condiment.


  • Add diced potatoes along with the tomatoes and bell pepper for a heartier version of Picadillo.
  • Experiment with other ingredients like capers, chopped almonds, or even a touch of cocoa powder for unique flavor profiles.
  • Use ground turkey or a meat substitute for a leaner alternative.

Cook’s Note:

Authentic Mexican Picadillo is a fantastic dish to prepare for a family dinner or a gathering with friends. Its sweet and savory flavors, combined with the rich aroma of spices, make it a true Mexican comfort food classic. Enjoy the culinary journey!

Tips for Making Authentic Mexican Picadillo:

  1. Meat Selection: Lean ground beef is the traditional choice for Picadillo, but you can use ground turkey or a mixture of pork and beef for added flavor.
  2. Spice It Up: Adjust the spiciness to your liking. If you prefer a milder Picadillo, reduce the amount of ground cumin or omit the jalapeños.
  3. Consistency: The Picadillo should have a slightly saucy consistency, so it’s perfect for spooning over rice or filling tacos. If it becomes too dry while simmering, you can add a splash of beef or vegetable broth to keep it moist.
  4. Raisin Variation: Some recipes call for prunes instead of raisins for a slightly different sweetness. Feel free to experiment with dried fruits to suit your taste.
  5. Make It Ahead: Picadillo actually tastes better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld. Prepare it in advance for a quick and delicious meal.
  6. Accompaniments: Picadillo is often served with traditional Mexican sides like refried beans, guacamole, or a simple cabbage slaw. These sides balance the richness of the dish.
  7. Taco Night: If you’re using Picadillo as a taco filling, consider offering various toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, sour cream, and grated cheese for a customized taco experience.
  8. Storage: Leftover Picadillo can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. It also freezes well; just make sure it’s cooled before freezing.
  9. Reheating: To reheat Picadillo, gently warm it on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally. You can also use the microwave, but be sure to cover it to prevent splattering.

Cook’s Note:


Picadillo is a versatile dish that allows for personalization. Don’t hesitate to get creative with it. Some cooks add a splash of red wine or a touch of vinegar to enhance the flavors. The key is to balance the sweet and savory elements to your liking. Enjoy your culinary adventure with this classic Mexican favorite!


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