If you are looking for a quick, flavorful ground beef dinner check out this Ground Beef Skillet recipe inspired by the famous Cuban Picadillo. It’s very easy to make and only took me 17 minutes from beginning to end. You can serve with salad, rice or steamed vegetables.Jump to Recipe
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Cuban Picadillo In Miami
I’ve lived in Miami for almost 2 decades now. This is where I met my husband, this is where I became an engineer, this is where I had my kids and it’s the city I now call home. But beside all those life altering events, here in Miami I also learned how to speak Spanish and drink cortaditos, I learned about mojitos and Cuba Libre, I danced on Friday nights till dawn to Celia’s La Vida Es Un Carnaval (Life Is A Carnaval) and Gloria’s Turn The Beat Around & Mi Tierra (My Land). And if you live in Miami for a while you are for sure to try Cuban food at La Carreta, Versailles or 3 Palms Cuban Cafe. One of the most memorable and easy Cuban dishes that I mostly tried at my friends’ houses was Cuban Picadillo.
Cuban Picadillo is usually a dish made with ground beef, tomatoes, olives and a variety of other ingredients that can vary by country and region. A lot of Latin American countries have their version of Picadillo that has similarities and differences to the Cuban one. Picado in Spanish means minced so that’s how this dish has taken its name, most ingredients are minced or finely chopped.
Recipe Notes & Variations
This ground beef dish is very easy to make and very versatile. As I mentioned earlier most Spanish speaking countries have one version or another of picadillo. I will try to list some of the variations below with recipe notes on how I made my recipe.
- My recipe is low carb. It doesn’t contain raisins, potatoes or green peas that can be found in several variations of this recipe. Feel free to add those ingredients as desired to taste. You can serve my version of the recipe with a salad for people who like to eat low carb or keto. I usually serve it over rice for my kids though which is also a more traditional way of serving this dish. I also add the steamed green peas for them on the side.
- Other side dishes besides rice can be platanitos, maduros, tostones, beans etc.
- You can make this ground beef dish a little more like stew by adding more tomatoes and some broth, or keep it a little more on the dry side depending on how you are serving it.
- You can alternate between red or green pepper or use a bit of both.
- Several of my friends’ moms use Sazon seasoning when making this dish. I didn’t personally use Sazon and used seasoning as listed below in the recipe. I feel like I can control the flavor better since I don’t use Sazon too often myself.
- Optional ingredients not in my recipe: potatoes, raisins, carrots, Sazon, chili powder etc.
- You can alternate between ground beef or minced meat if desired.
- In all the places I have tried this dish, I noticed they use the green olives stuffed with red peppers. However, you can use the olives of your choice if you can’t easily find these olives. My store has some called Spanish manzanilla olives with pimientos that work perfectly for this dish.
Order of Sauteing
I also want to differentiate a little between different ways on how to start sauteing the ingredients. If you’re familiar with sauteing, you can choose your own order on how you would like to saute the meat and vegetables. Everyone I talked to does it differently so here are some choices. You can’t go wrong with any of them, the final result will be the same and the method you use should be the one you are more comfortable when cooking.
- Saute ground beef until brown, drain juices then add chopped onions & tomatoes and continue sauteing together. If you drain the juices, keep in mind that you might need to add some broth or water when cooking this dish so it doesn’t end up too dry.
- Start by sauteing onions, garlic in olive oil. When onions are translucent, then add ground beef and continue sauteing together until meat is cooked. Stir often so onions don’t get burned in the process.
- Use 2 skillets, saute ground beef in one and onions & tomatoes in the other. Then add onions and tomatoes on top of the meat.
Skillet Ground Beef Dinner Inspired by Cuban Picadillo
- 1.5 lbs ground beef (can be minced as well)
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 0.5 tsp salt (add more to taste)
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- pinch cumin
- pinch paprika
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 ozs spanish manzanilla olives with pimientos
- olives brine (as needed)
- 0.5 beef broth or water (optional)
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- Make sure ground beed is fully thawed, otherwise the picadillo will take longer to cook. Start by sauteing ground beef in olive oil. Brown well as you break up the meat. I prefer to use an wooden spoon for this.
- In the meantime, chop tomatoes, onions, pepper, parsley and mince the garlic. While you chop stir occasionally so meat doesn't burn on one side.
- Once the meat is browned, I tend to add the vegetables one by one as I'm done chopping them and I alternate between more chopping and stirring ground beef/veggies in the skillet.
- Once you are done adding all the veggies and onions have become translucent, then you can start seasoning the mix. Add salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and sliced olives. At this point I also add bay leaves. Continue stirring.
- Add tomato paste and some olive brine (about same volume as olives). Keep in mind that brine is salty so you might need to adjust salt qty if you would like to add more brine. Stirr and mix everything together.
- Assess if you need to add water or broth. This depends a bit on how soft the vegetables you used were and how stew like you would like this dish to be. There are time I don't add anything if tomatoes were soft and there are times I have added about half a cup of broth or water. It's up to you.
- Taste that everything is cooked, lower heat, cover and let simmer for few minutes. Serve over rice or other side dishes as desired.
- You can do a little more or less ground beef than the recipe. Add more tomatoes, onions and pepper if you have less meat so you can supplement.
- This recipe is enough for 4 adult portions, however for a family of4 with kids I always have leftovers.
- You can peel the tomatoes if the tomato skin bothers you in meals, I don’t remove it myself. It makes for easy and fast prep.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please Pin the below image in Pinterest. Thank you!
If you would to check out another Cuban recipe, please see this Cuban Pork Sandwich recipe from Natalya, the food blogger behind the Momsdish.
Other Easy Dinner Recipes From My Blog:
- Creamy Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms (Low Carb)
- Peruvian Lomo Saltado
- Meatless Corn, Spinach, Feta Cheese Casserole