Picadillo is a dish that is common throughout many Latin American countries and is even a popular dish throughout the Philippines.

It includes a meat mince, typically beef, along with olives, raisins, tomatoes and other ingredients which varying by location.

The dish is often times served alongside rice, but can also be used as a filling for other recipes like croquettes or pastries.

The recipe has been around since the 19th century, but did not begin as the modernized version we see today.

Originally, it was made from fowl, a bird species, along with white sauce; it was known as picadillo de ave. There are also earlier versions of the dish that included chicken and were made into a savory pie with multiple layers.

Although there are versions of the recipe that are seen in Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Philippines, I am going to show you how to make the Cuban version of the dish.

If you’d like to make this recipe for yourself, follow the steps below!


  1. Cover the bottom of a large skillet with about ½ inch of canola oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and fry until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to brown on all sides.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and place them on a pan or plate lined with a paper-towel to drain. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots to the skillet. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the garlic, stir well to combine. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Stir well while breaking up the meat using a wooden spoon or a spatula. Cook the beef for about 5 minutes to brown, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.
  7. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the tomato sauce, water and olives, stir to combine.
  8. Cover the picadillo and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the picadillo at a simmer, if the liquid is boiling vigorously, lower the heat a bit.
  9. Lower the heat to low and add the potatoes to the picadillo, cover and cook another 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and combine, stirring occasionally.
  10. Taste the picadillo and add salt, if needed
  11. Serve with rice.


  • 2 medium russet potatos, peeled and diced
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pitted spanish olives

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