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The best part of writing a food recipe blog with someone is that you can sit and compare family recipes like this Beef Picadillo. Both of our moms were tremendous cooks but rarely used written recipes. Most of the meals came from what they learned growing up.

Recently, we were talking about Mexican Picadillo recipes.  We started to laugh because we both had similar stories. Beef Mexican Picadillo was a standby dish both our mamas would make in a pinch. Between loads of laundry and picking us up from school, they would whip this dish up and all of us kids would be scarfing it down with warm tortillas, rice, and beans. We love beef picadillo!

This beef picadillo recipe is a simple, traditional dish made all over Latin America. Each country has their own special version of it. It will fill your home with a mouthwatering aroma.  Once you have your ingredients chopped, the whole meal comes together pretty fast.  The serrano chiles add wonderful heat but feel free switch them out with any of your other favorite chile peppers. Not into heat? Then add some corn, peas or green olives.  The recipe yields a lot, but you’ll need plenty because beef picadillo is a great left over.  You can eat the savory meat and vegetable mixture in a burrito, tacos, empanadas, over spaghetti noodles, stuffed in a bell pepper, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Picadillo Mexicano
Serves 6-8 

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large white onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and small dice
2-3 Serrano chiles, minced (this depends on the amount of heat you want. I like it HOT!)
2 pounds ground beef
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon cumin
1 bouillon cube of chicken and tomato flavor or 1 cup of chicken broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 ripe Roma tomatoes, pureed in a food processor or blender (I’ve also used a good quality 16-oz can of diced tomatoes with its juices)
1 large potato, peeled, diced
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high.  Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onions become translucent.  Stir the onions to make sure all the bits are coated in oil and not sticking to the pan.
  2. Stir in the carrots, garlic, and serrano peppers and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.  Cook for about 12 minutes until the meat is cooked through and brown.
  4. Pour in the tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, potatoes, cumin, red pepper flakes and the bouillon cube. Mix it all together,  incorporating everything well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and allow the potatoes to cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until soft.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with pinto beans, Mexican rice, and corn tortillas.

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  1. Just cooked this, came out really good. Thank you.

  2. I’ve used this recipe a few times and it is the best! Not dry and the whole family enjoys it. I do substitute the potato for butternut squash. shh, don’t tell the children. 😉 Thanks!

  3. Super yummy! Only we didn’t have tomatoes so I substituted 1 1/2 cans of el pato, beef broth, And jalapenos instead of Serrano. Super spicy and full of flavor.

  4. I just made the Mexican picadillo recipe to use in my Puffy Tacos for this evenings dinner. The leftover filling will be used in my empanadas tomorrow. I really like your version of picadillo, not dry the last recipe I tried last month, Muchas Gracias !!!

  5. hi, i was confused by the recipe direction. step number 2 is also in step number 1.
    I panicked. I figure out where i was going to get more onions. then I figured it out.
    Ha ha.

    • Stephen Chavez

      Thank you for catching that error. Will correct it now. Provecho!

  6. I just think it’s a little funny how when gueros try these recipes they think its so exciting and exotic. I used to have Picadillo almost every day growing up because when you can’t afford tones of extra food for side dishes Picadillo, tortillas, arroz y frijoles is the struggle meal. When you want something else but tu mama dice “Come las sobras pendejo!”?

  7. Woah! Just finished throwing this together this evening. I almost succumbed to Friday night laziness but I’m so glad I didn’t. This is one delish picadillo. It’s officially on my rotation of recipes. Thanks so much for sharing. My parents are elderly and I take care of them now. So this quick recipe got so many “que Rico” from both parents. Authentic!

    • Stephen Chavez

      That’s wonderful news! Thank you. We love this recipe, too.

    • Menos las zanahorias y con mas papas, bien rico

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