Cuban Picadillo

“I got the idea for this picadillo from my Cuban friend Cecilia.” Grace Parisi says. “It’s a rich and spicy, versatile Latin American dish that combines ground beef with tomatoes and piquant ingredients, like olives and capers. Raisins are added for a touch of sweetness.” It’s excellent served over rice or as a topping for hotdogs.


Slideshow: More Cuban Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 6 cups


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 pounds ground beef (half chuck and half sirloin)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the beef, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook over high heat until no trace of pink remains, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until coated. Add the raisins, capers, olives, tomatoes with their liquid and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the picadillo is saucy.

Make Ahead

The picadillo can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.


Uses: Serve over rice with a fried egg and black beans; serve with melted cheese on hot dogs for cheesy picadillo dogs; fill flour tortillas, roll them up burrito-style and fry for chimichangas or quesadillas; layer crisp, fried corn tortilla shells with sour cream, beans, cheese for tostadas.

Serve With

Thinly sliced scallions.

Contributed By Published December 2011

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