Puerto Rican Picadillo

Savor the rich, bold flavors of Puerto Rican Picadillo, where ground meat meets a symphony of spices, olives, and raisins, creating a mouthwatering experience of island cuisine.

Puerto Rican ground beef picadillo in a skillet.

Picadillo is a very common Latin dish that has many different varieties. Depending on where you are having Picadillo, it will likely be slightly different. For example, this Puerto Rican Picadillo is specifically Puerto Rican because of the use of sofrito in this dish, which is a common Latin cooking base.

Please note that there are two types of sofrito used in Latin cooking. One includes tomatoes, and the other does not. For this Puerto Rican recipe, you want to use the one without tomatoes, which is often also known as Recaito. You can usually find this Goya Recaito in your grocery store or from Amazon.

Here are a few more Puerto Rican recipes that are also packed with flavor that you will love: Puerto Rican Pernil, Saucy Puerto Rican Beans and Potatoes, Papas Rellenas, and Puerto Rican Chicken Stew.

Reasons to Love This Picadillo

  • The combination of sofrito, olives, and capers offers a unique, mouth-watering taste.
  • Puerto Rican Picadillo is a versatile dish. You can enjoy it as a filling for Puerto Rican Empanadas, over rice, or even inside tacos.
  • Its straightforward recipe makes it accessible for cooks of all levels.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for Puerto Rican Picadillo on a table.
  • Sofrito: A blend of aromatic ingredients, sofrito is crucial for infusing the Picadillo with its signature flavor.
  • Tomato Paste: This adds a deep, savory tomato flavor that enriches the overall taste of the dish.
  • Pimiento-Stuffed Olives: These add a distinctive tangy and salty note. It balances the flavors in the Picadillo.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Ground Turkey for Beef: Use ground turkey as a leaner, yet still flavorful, alternative to ground beef.
  • Olives Variation: Consider using Spanish olives as an alternative to pimiento-stuffed or green olives. Spanish olives, often found marinated with herbs or stuffed with almonds, garlic, or anchovies, can introduce a unique and robust flavor to the dish.

How to Make Puerto Rican Picadillo

Step #1: Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the onions, garlic, and sofrito. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Picadillo seasoning mix is cooking in a skillet.

Step #2: Add the beef to the pan. Pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the beef, and then sprinkle the ½ teaspoon adobo on top. Stir and break up the beef into crumbles until well combined.

Puerto Rican hamburger meat for picadillo cooking in a skillet.

Step #3: Add the potatoes, olives, bay leaves, raisins (if using), water, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir until well combined.

Puerto Rican picadillo with potatoes cooking in a skillet.

Step #4: Increase the heat to high to bring the beef mixture to a boil.

Step #5: Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes.

Step #6: Uncover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Step #7: Lastly, remove the bay leaves and transfer the beef mixture to a bowl. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Puerto Rican picadillo in a skillet.

Expert Tip

When cooking Puerto Rican Picadillo, opt for a wooden spoon to mix and break up the meat. Wooden spoons are not only gentle on your cookware, preventing scratches, but they also provide excellent control and even stirring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add additional vegetables to the Puerto Rican Picadillo recipe?

Absolutely! Feel free to include other veggies like red bell pepper, black beans, carrots, or peas for added nutrition and flavor. They can be sautéed along with the onions and garlic, or added with the potatoes to cook through.

Can I add other spices to my Puerto Rican Picadillo?

Absolutely! Oregano and cumin are great additions to Puerto Rican Picadillo. Oregano can offer a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, while cumin provides a warm, spicy-sweet note.

Storage Info

Store Puerto Rican Picadillo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days to maintain its freshness. To freeze, use a freezer-safe container; it will stay good for about 3 months.

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, you have two convenient options: warm it in a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop until heated through, or microwave it in a microwave-safe dish, stirring occasionally, until it’s evenly heated.

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Puerto Rican picadillo in a skillet.

Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe

Savor the rich, bold flavors of Puerto Rican Picadillo, where ground meat meets a symphony of spices, olives, and raisins, creating a mouthwatering experience of island cuisine.
4.4 from 7 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Latin
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion - small diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • 1 pound ground 80/20 beef
  • 1/2 tsp dry adobo
  • 1 large potato - small diced
  • 10 pimiento-stuffed olives - cut in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup raisins - optional

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the onions, garlic, and sofrito. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the beef to the pan. Pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the beef, and then sprinkle the ½ teaspoon adobo on top. Stir and break up the beef into crumbles until well combined.
  • Add the potatoes, olives, bay leaves, raisins (if using), water, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir until well combined.
  • Increase the heat to high to bring the beef mixture to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Uncover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Lastly, remove the bay leaves and transfer the beef mixture to a bowl. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

VIDEO

NOTES

Store Puerto Rican Picadillo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days to maintain its freshness. To freeze, use a freezer-safe container; it will stay good for about 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, you have two convenient options: warm it in a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop until heated through, or microwave it in a microwave-safe dish, stirring occasionally, until it’s evenly heated.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 276mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. What is the primary difference of this Puerto Rican style to the Cuban style picadillo?
    I just ordered the Recaito and will try this version.
    Thank you!

    1. The Cuban version is very similar. Some Cuban versions are made with beef or a combination of beef, pork and chorizo.