Picadillo recipe is here to shake up your dinner routine. It’s a spicy, slightly tangy chili with cubes of potatoes. It’s great as a Super Bowl appetizer or main course for something new. Please note that my recipe is Mexican picadillo, not Cuban style. Both are delicious!


Many of the recipes that come out of my kitchen have a lot of spice. I can’t help it—I grew up in the land of Tex-Mex food and I know my way around jalapeños, chipotles, tomatillos, and pasillas.  If you ever want to get me talking, buy me a frozen margarita (with salt) and ask me to explain how Tex-Mex food is a regional food all its own and is not a version of inferior Mexican food.  Just sayin’.

We’re here without margaritas in our hands today to talk about my favorite super bowl appetizer, favorite party dip and exciting new dinner: my PICADILLO RECIPE!

Oh, you’ve never heard of this beef and potato dip that can’t decide if it’s a dip or a main dish? Please, let me introduce you to this yummy, spicy and slightly tangy chili with potatoes.

That’s the description I’m sticking with, by the way: slightly tangy beef chili with potato chunks. If this doesn’t sound appetizing, I’m just not doing it justice, because the spices and small amount of apple cider vinegar in this dish make it totally craveable.

What ingredients are in picadillo?

This picadillo might look like a funny colored bowl of chili, but it isn’t.  It’s a spicy and tangy beef and potato dip that is my go-to on nights when we need a quick dinner.  It starts by sautéing onions, garlic and ground beef in oil. Next, add everything else to the pan: tomatoes, spices, and apple cider vinegar. When it’s done cooking, turn off the heat and stir in chopped cilantro, and then serve it however you like.

How do you make Mexican picadillo?

Picadillo is originally a Cuban dish that contains green olives with red pimentos and raisins, and is sometimes called Picadillo Santiaguero. But today, I’m leaving out the raisins and olives and making it Tex-Mex with chipotles, apple cider vinegar, and fresh cilantro. I guess this makes my picadillo more of a Mexican picadillo. 


If you’re looking for more Dinners for Two, I have two cookbooks about this exact subject! My second cookbook, Comfort and Joy: Cooking for Two has recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are perfectly portioned to serve two. My fourth cookbook is called Dinner Just for Two, and contains only dinner recipes. Obviously, I recommend both, but I want to let you know that Comfort and Joy has a significant portion of breakfasts for two (just in case you love breakfast in bed as much as I do!)

One of the secret reasons I love this picadillo dinner for two is because it’s naturally gluten-free! I’m putting it in my gluten free recipes category here on my site for you, but also don’t leave it out for Super Bowl appetizer party planning, ok?

What do you serve with picadillo?

Most commonly, I serve it with tortilla chips or red bell pepper chips for dipping. I’ve had it over a bowl of rice and love it this way, too. A fun way to serve it for company is to stuff it inside roasted and cleaned green chiles. This is an especially sneaky way to put leftover picadillo to use in a way that seems so much fancier than it really is.

I feel like it’s hard to find something super hearty and filling for dinner when you have a dinner guest that doesn’t eat gluten, but Mexican picadillo is super hearty with ground beef and potatoes.

I’m listing the recipe time for this recipe below as 25-30 minutes, but you should know that it depends on how small you dice the potatoes. True potato cubes might take closer to 35 minutes to cook in the mixture, thanks to the acidity of the tomato sauce. I don’t have any scientific evidence, but it always seems like anything acidic or tomato-y slows down cooking times of starches.

The smaller you cube the potatoes, the faster they will cook, though you still want everything to simmer together for at least 20 minutes. You can use frozen potato cubes from the freezer, of course!

I use a large skillet to make this Mexican picadillo recipe because the spices need plenty of contact with the bad to bloom, and it also helps with the potatoes cooking faster. Here’s the large cooking skillet I use the most.

Yield: 2 servings

Picadillo Recipe

Picadillo Recipe

Mexican picadillo recipe made with ground beef.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound Lean Ground Beef, 80% lean
  • 8 ounces Tomato Sauce, (1 can)
  • 1 medium Baking Potato, very finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Powdered Beef Base
  • 1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 can Chipotle Pepper in Adobo, canned, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf, small
  • Fresh Cilantro, about a handful, chopped
  • Tortilla Chips, for serving


  1. Heat a 10” cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the canola oil, onion, garlic and ground beef.
  3. Saute the mixture until the beef browns, about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain off excess grease with a paper towel (if desired).
  5. Add the tomato sauce, and then refill the can with water and add it to pan. Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro.
  6. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. If the pan ever looks dry, add additional water. 
  7. Before serving, stir in the cilantro.
  8. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 539Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 1647mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 8gSugar: 11gProtein: 40g

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