Picadillo Cubano (Cuban Minced Beef)

Updated: Jan 17

Discover one of Cuba's most traditional and delicious dishes!

Prep time: about 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 45 to 50 minutes

Serves 6 to 8 people

Dairy/Gluten Free

Picadillo Cubano (Cuban Minced Beef) is a hearty and delicious dish made with ground beef, potatoes, carrots, olives, capers, raisins, herbs, and spices... bringing together flavors from both the Caribbean and Spanish cuisines. There is nothing pretentious about it. Just simple down to earth day-to-day family cooking.

While researching the dish I discovered that no two Picadillos are alike. Everyone has their own recipe. Mom had hers, my sister had hers, my friends had theirs... everyone had subtle differences in methods and ingredients but all agreed on the same: theirs was the best.

So... I gathered all recipes, picked the elements I thought would represent the dish the best and put them together into this recipe... and the result was a delicious no-frills meal that satisfied all here at home.

What is the flavor profile?

Savory with small bursts of sweetness from the raisins.

What ingredients will I need to make this dish?

Ground beef, russet potatoes, 1 bell pepper of any color, 1 large yellow onion, garlic, 1 carrot, Manzanilla olives, capers, raisins, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh cilantro, bay leaves, oregano, cumin powder, white wine, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper, olive oil, and crushed pepper flakes (optional).

What els will I need to make this dish?

A large pot to cook the potatoes, a large pot with a lid to cook the Picadillo, measuring cups and spoons, a knife, a cutting board, a wooden spoon, a colander or sieve, and a large bowl to drain the excess oil from the Picadillo.

Can I make any substitutions?

  • You can either use canned crushed tomatoes or fresh crushed tomatoes.

  • Instead of wine you could use chicken broth.

  • You can used frozen carrots and bell peppers.

  • You could use either raisins or sultanas.

  • You could use GF soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce. Just keep salt levels in mind if doing so.

What do I serve Picadillo with?

Traditionally it is served with rice and either tostones (fried plantains) or Maduros (fried or baked ripe plantains).

How can I make this dish vegetarian?

Substitute the meat for your favorite gluten-free meat substitute.


  • 2 pounds of ground beef

  • 5 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1/2 cup of Manzanilla Olives

  • 2 tablespoons of capers

  • 1/3 cup of raisins or sultanas

  • 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup of freshly chopped cilantro

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

  • 1/2 tablespoon of oregano

  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin powder

  • 1/2 cup of white wine

  • 2 tablespoons of Lea & Perrins GF Worcestershire Sauce

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Olive oil

  • Crushed pepper flakes, optional


  1. Fill a large pot with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and place the potatoes in the water. Place over medium high heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft to the touch. Do not overcook. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot water out and replace with water at room temperature. The cold water will stop the cooking process and give the potatoes a firmer consistency. Set Aside.

  2. While the potatoes cook, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pot or cast iron pot over medium high heat and add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and carrots with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and the cumin powder. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

  3. Add the ground beef and Worcestershire sauce to the pot and cook until there is not pink spots in the meat, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season the meat with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break apart any lumps that may form.

  4. Add the tomato paste, white wine, olives, capers, oregano, cilantro, bay leaves, and crushed tomatoes. Incorporate well, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for another 10 minutes minutes.

  5. Add the raisins, the crushed pepper flakes (optional), and 1/2 of the potatoes. Gently fold all ingredients together. Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust to you liking. Cover and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the Picadillo onto a sieve or colander over a large bowl. Drain the extra oil and discard.

  6. To serve, place the rest of the potatoes in a serving plater. Spoon the Picadillo over the top and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.


Printable Recipe File (PDF) below:

Picadillo Cubano (Cuban Minced Beef)
Download PDF • 14.91MB

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