Picadillo Recipe

Picadillo is a catch-all term for basically a Mexican meat hash. Everyone has their own favorite version, just like everyone also has their own “best” version of spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, and cat tacos, amiright?!

picadillo recipe

My preferred picadillo recipe includes potatoes, peas, raisins and green olives. It’s a sweet and savory combination that I love to death. This picadillo can be served simply as a taco filling, but it works great inside a chile relleno or an empanada, too.

I’ve seen picadillo recipes that include capers, almonds, plantains, carrots, and any combination of the above. It works best, I think, to have a mix of briny flavors (olives and/or capers) sweet flavors (raisins and/or peas) and a starchy addition (potatoes or plantains). Experiment with this recipe and see what YOU like!

Tangy condiments like chile de arbol salsa and pickled red onions are a nice foil for the richness of meat.

And I know it’s terribly unhealthy and I’ll pay someday with arteries like lead pipes, but I love the mouthfeel of a kinda greasy picadillo. So I use ground chuck or something of that nature, something with about 15% fat and I of course don’t fuss with draining off the meat fat after cooking. Of course, of course, you may do so if you like. In fact, you could even do this same method with lean ground turkey or a super lean ground beef. Then you could make up a few my my low-fat baked crispy taco shells and throw some light sour cream on them sonsab*tches. And there you have it. A healthy picadillo taco. Who’d have thunk it?

Picadillo Recipe Video -scroll down for printable recipe card

Picadillo Recipe – Printable!


Picadillo Recipe

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4.2 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 3/41 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/3 cup raisins, soaked in a tablespoon of water
  • 1/4 cup green olives, halved (about 10 small olives)


  1. Blanch and peel the tomato (watch video for instruction) and coarsely chop.
  2. Brown the meat in a large skillet until mostly cooked through. Add the onion, jalapeño and garlic and continue to cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
  3. Add the chopped tomato, herbs, salt, potato and enough stock to barely cover.
  4. Simmer uncovered 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.
  5. Add the peas, raisins and olives and simmer another 5 minutes.


*Instead of the tomato, you could use a couple tablespoons of tomato paste added when you add the onions

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  1. The Other Randy on October 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Alright! Another filling for corn tortillas. I really love your first picadillo recipe and have made it just about every other month since you posted it. There’s still one serving of it in my freezer, so it’ll be interesting to compare the two.

    • Hilah on October 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Hey Randy! Yes, let me know how you like this compared to the other one. This one came about from us trying a new restaurant and me going home to copy it. Theirs is even greasier, if you can believe it, but so so good.

  2. Sara on October 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Yes ma’am, this recipe is happenin’ in my kitchen very soon. Since me & my hunnie are on the Whole 30, I think we’ll do Picadillo stuffed peppers and use sweet potatoes instead. Thanks for the inspiration Hilah!

    • Hilah on October 8, 2013 at 10:42 am

      That will be delicious, Sara! Carrots would also be good instead of potatoes. Stuffed peppers is a great idea.

  3. larry kimball on October 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Great alternative to my browned ground beef with McCormick® Taco Seasoning! Seems more natural, without the chemicals. Always looking for different fillings for my tacos, burritos, chimichangas, tamales. We have a taco/burrito buffet at least once a week. ¡Viva México!

    • Hilah on October 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      You will love this, Larry!

  4. Sami Salazar on October 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Made this last week and it was DE-LISH!! The raisins added a perfect hint of sweetness. 🙂

    • Hilah on October 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Wonderful, Sami! Thanks for letting me know!

  5. harold on October 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I have only recently been studying Picadillo Recipes. Not seen any with potatoes and raisins. Or peas and olives either!!!! Till I saw yours…. Bet they would be good on Tortilla chips for a different type of Nachos. But gotta add cheese too!!! Pepper Jack would be my preference.

  6. Brian S on May 28, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Fan-friggin-tastic!! My wife’s from Mexico & I made this for her tonight. She said it was almost as good as her mom used to make. I say better since her mom wasn’t here. (jk Mom, luv ya)

    • Hilah on May 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Whoopee! That makes me real happy, Brian! Big hugs and greasy picadillo kisses to y’all! 😉

  7. Angie Camacho on July 31, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    This is the most authentic Mexican receipt I’ve come across. I am from Brownsville Texas, it’s a border town next to Matamoros and nothing takes me back like this picadillo. Put in some fresh flour tortillas and oh my!! 😛

    • Hilah on August 3, 2018 at 7:32 am

      Hey Angie! Yes, I am familiar with Brownsville! I’m smiling right now. That’s the best compliment I could get on my picadillo! 🙂

  8. Paul on June 15, 2022 at 9:15 am

    This is a go to for me. I was in Miami last month eating at a great Cuban spot called puerto sagua. They called this beef, beans and rice ‘Spanish style.’ I think this recipe is better. Maybe if they added the raisins it could top it.

    • Hilah on June 22, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      I’m so glad you liked my picadillo recipe, Paul. That is a great compliment!

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