Quick and Easy Steak Picado — A Favorite Comfort Food

Share Button

It’s a dish my mom whipped up como nada. Steak Picado, a spicy beef stir fry that melds together beautifully onions, green peppers, garlic and other seasonings and transforms even the toughest cuts of beef into mouthwatering bites. This dish is also popular in Guatemala, Panama and Cuba. Differences among countries are slight. In the Mexican version, fresh tomatoes are used while elsewhere tomato sauces and pastes may be part of the base. Like my mom, I love making this dish when I don’t have a lot of time and need a piece of beef to stretch and feed hungry mouths.

Steak Picado Recipe
Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes to an hour


1 ½ – lbs beef steak of choice (tenderloin, round)
2 tablespoons, vegetable oil
4-5 fresh Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges (or one large can diced)
Up to 2 cups water (see directions)
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green bell pepper (or other color), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste


  1. Heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Brown the beef in skillet and drain on paper towel.
  3. Add oil to the skillet and heat for about one minute.
  4. Add the onions and cook until translucent about two minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeno.
  6. Add back the beef.
  7. Stir in seasonings.
  8. Add water slowly to barely cover the beef and vegetable mixture; you may not need all two cups, as it really depends on the size of your frying pan. You don’t want it to become a cocido de res.
  9. Bring the water to a boil.
  10. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium and cook about 40 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure to check that the liquid hasn’t completely evaporated. You want a little juice in the pan.

Serve with a side of rice and/or beans and some warm tortillas. A double margarita couldn’t hurt either!

For leftovers: I love cooking down the mixture a bit more and scrambling it with eggs. Makes for a perfect breakfast burrito.

Share Button


  1. A+ recipe guys! I made this for the first time this week and it was brilliant!
    My husband and parents were floored by this recipe.
    Just wanted to say thanks for making me look like a domestic goddess. 🙂

    • Stephen Chavez

      Renee — So glad you and the family loved it. Definitely one of our favorite dishes.

      • A great dish, years ago a wonderful chef I knew in Los Angeles used to serve it with sour cream garnish, your recipe is exactly his! Delicious.

        • Stephen Chavez

          Wow! Very cool. Do you remember the name of the chef?

  2. I made this tonite, it was awesome. Everybody ask for seconds. Glad I made 2 pans of it. So much for freezing leftovers. Thank you:-)

  3. Wonderful, serves 4 with rice or tortillas. Add rinsed can of beans and top with cheese for tacos next day. I used only 3/4 pound beef but did not decrease recipe. Had two tomatoes so added can of tomato sauce and cut water. Put in only one teaspoon chili powder and served hot sauce on the side for those who like it hot.

  4. Finally… A simple resipie that tastes as good as my mama’s.
    My son doesn’t eat red meat so I used pork. It’s just as good!
    Thanks for a simple & tasty recipe.
    I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more simple recipes

  5. Great recipe… Thank you.
    Instead of water I used “caldo de pollo” Chicken broth.
    I did add I cube of Knorr the tomato one to add color
    For meat I bought “palomillo”…. Not I might try a different one next time
    I used half the amnt. of chilli powder bc my 4 & 5 & 2 yr. olds were eating too.

    • Stephen Chavez

      Hi Jeannette — Sounds delicious. Glad you enjoyed it. Love the idea of using caldo de pollo! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Thank you so much for this recipe!! My family LOVED it!! I had a few steaks left over from the weekend so I decided to try out your recipe . . . Truly a hit with my husband and daughter!! They absolutely devoured it all up!! I will definitely put this in the family recipe book!! Thank you again!!

  7. My significant other is salvadorian , in the past three years I have learned to cook many different dishes ,pupusa’s, chili relleno , tamales, this is the first time he has ever asked for this dish. I am disappointed that he did not request this early on! It is delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    • You’re welcome Deb! Let us know if there is something special you’d like us to work on…and Salvadorian favorites? Like maybe desserts?

  8. Great recipe! Everyone loved it! Leaving it with eggs for breakfast was even better! Thanks for sharing!

  9. This was a perfect & easy recipe. I’m a bad cook; my family says, I even burn the Kool-Aid which of course you don’t cook at all. This “steak picado” came out delicious; but I had to use flap meat, that’s all I had availiable, Thank you, Muchas Gracias, Danka.

  10. I accidentally found this craving for a steak picado recipe. Made loads of extra for the freezer with top sirloin steak. We devoured it eating beans, rice and homemade tortillas. Had it for breakfast burritos next day. Very tasty and so easy to make. Thanks again!

    • Stephen Chavez

      One of my favorite dishes is steak picado. You are welcome and so glad you enjoyed it! – Stephen

  11. first time making steak picado! My grandpa always used to make it. A bit too much cumin for my taste but otherwise tasty.

  12. Best recipe I had ever made comes out awesome thank you so much

    • Stephen Chavez

      This makes us smile. Thank you.

  13. I’ve been making this for a few years since I found this recipe. I grew up in Boyle heights and learned how to make great Latino meals with me being a Russian. But when I moved away I wanted to bring that Latin back into my home and your recipe for steak picado just did it for my family. Thank you so much for a delicious easy recipe that’s been a keeper in our home!

    • Stephen Chavez

      Hi Dunia – I love to hear stories like this! Thank you for the feedback. The steak picado is definitely one of our favorite recipes.

  14. All I added was a cup beef broth and used 3/4 cup water a little oregano and wow delicioso

  15. After having it over and over at my favorite restaurant, I decided to make it at home,
    Your recipe was excellent, reminded me of when my mom would make it.
    Thank you for posting it, I am glad I found it

Leave a Comment