Mexican Picadillo

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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Loaded with tender veggies, this Mexican Picadillo is the perfect easy dinner for hectic weeknights. It’s juicy and spicy with hints of chipotle and jalapeño you’ll love in every saucy bite.

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Picadillo Recipe

If you’re looking for another Mexican recipe to add to your meal rotation, this is it. Everyone will love it!

  • Easy. You don’t need mad skills to make this recipe. In fact, you can even use canned veggies if you’re in a rush!
  • Healthy. Packed with veggies and a homemade tomato sauce, this ground beef dinner has tons of vitamins and nutrients. It’s a hearty dinner packed with protein that you can feel good serving for dinner.
  • Family-friendly. Whether you’ve got picky eaters at home or not, you can always add more or less of everyone’s favorite veggies. You can even remove them altogether.
  • Versatile. Serve it on its own, with rice, refried beans, or even make tacos with it. This recipe never gets old!
A fork with Mexican picadillo on it.

What is Picadillo?

Picadillo is a Mexican ground beef dish that’s very common for lunch and dinner. There are several preparations of it, but the most popular kind is simmered in a tomato-based sauce. It can include different veggies to make it more filling and is usually spiced with cumin and oregano.

Ingredients for picadillo.

Recipe Ingredients

This picadillo is simmered in a tomato-based sauce that takes it to the next level. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

For the Picadillo

  • Carrots: Fresh or frozen.
  • Potatoes: Cut into equal size cubes so they cook evenly.
  • Vegetable Oil: Corn and canola oil work too.
  • Ground Beef: I prefer lean ground beef, but you can just any ground beef you prefer. If you have a fattier cut, you will need to drain any excess grease.
  • White Onion: Yellow onion is a good swap.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic will give you the most flavor. Pre-minced garlic is much more muted in garlic flavor.
  • Beef Bouillon: Feel free to only use salt, but beef bouillon will give your beef an added depth of flavor.
  • Sweet Peas: Fresh, canned, or frozen will all work!

For the Sauce

  • Roma Tomatoes: You can use heirloom tomatoes if you remove most of the seeds.
  • Water
  • White Onion: Yellow onion is a good swap.
  • Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce: Feel free to use chipotle sauce instead if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Jalapeño: If you want your picadillo to have more heat, leave the seeds in the jalapeño.
  • Garlic
  • Mexican Oregano: You can use marjoram instead.
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Allspice: Ground nutmeg works too.
Picadillo in the pan.

How to Make Picadillo

It’s all about browning the beef and blending the sauce. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions on how to make the perfect picadillo.

  • Boil the veggies: Fill a pot with water and add the carrots and potatoes. Boil for 7 minutes total. Remove from the heat and drain well.
  • Cook the beef: Add the beef, onions, and garlic. Cook it until the beef browns.
  • Add the veggies. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, and peas.
  • Blend the sauce. Add the sauce ingredients to the blender and process until smooth.
  • Simmer it. Pour the sauce over the ground beef and let it simmer. Serve and enjoy.
Picadillo on a wooden spoon.

Tips for Success

When you need to cut a few corners, the third tip will be a real life-saver.

  • Parboil the veggies. You only need to boil the potatoes and carrots for a couple of minutes. They shouldn’t be completely cooked. They’ll finish cooking in the pan with the ground beef and sauce.
  • Make it spicy. Swap the jalapeño for a serrano pepper if you want to make your picadillo spicier.
  • Use canned. Sometimes life gets in the way of things and you don’t have lots of time to prep the ingredients. Don’t worry, just use canned veggies (rinse and drain them first). You don’t need to chop or boil them. Add them right in!
  • Prep-ahead. Make the sauce and/or chop the veggies in advance to cut down on prep time when it’s time to get cooking.
Two plates with picadillo and rice.

What to Serve with Picadillo con Papas

Mexican picadillo is typically served with a side of Mexican Rice or white rice like my Arroz Blanco Puertorriqueño. You can also serve it with the leftover nopales filling from my Nopales Asados Tacos. Refried Beans are a great option as well.

It also makes a great filling for tacos with my Corn Tortillas. If you pan fry them, you’ve suddenly got crispy picadillo tacos too.

Picadillo in a serving bowl.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat it, microwave it for 30 seconds, stir well, and microwave for another minute or until warm. You can also heat it in a pan over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can I Freeze This?

Absolutely! Place it in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating it as usual.

More Mexican Recipes

Landscape photo of picadillo.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 4 servings

Mexican Picadillo Recipe

This picadillo in tomato sauce is an easy dinner for hectic weeknights. With rice or in tacos, it'll be your new favorite Mexican recipe. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Picadillo

  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon
  • ¾ cup sweet peas

For the Sauce

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Instructions 

  • Add the carrots to a large skillet and cover in water. Boil for 2 minutes, then add the potatoes and continue to boil for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and drain well. (The potatoes and carrots will not be fully cooked.)
  • Heat the oil and cook the ground beef, onions, and garlic, until the beef is no longer pink.
  • Stir in the bouillon and add the potatoes, carrots and peas.
  • Add all the sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, then pour into the meat.
  • Simmer the meat and sauce for 20 to 25 minutes. If the meat gets too dry, add a bit of water. Taste and add more salt as needed. 

Notes

Storage: Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Reheat: To reheat it, microwave it for 30 seconds, stir well, and microwave for another minute or until warm. You can also heat it in a pan over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Freeze: Place it in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating it as usual. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 431kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 798mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.