Picadillo from Cuba

Picadillo has its origins in Spain, but it has been adapted and modified over the years by Cuban cooks to suit local tastes and ingredients. Picadillo is a versatile dish that can be made with various ingredients depending on regional preferences and what’s available. The base typically consists of ground meat (often beef), onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and spices, but additional ingredients such as olives, raisins, capers, slivered almonds or potatoes may be included to add depth of flavor.

Like many traditional dishes, picadillo is often associated with feelings of comfort and nostalgia. It’s a dish that many Cubans grew up eating, often prepared by their grandmothers or mothers.

We hope you enjoy this delicious Cuban dish as much as we do and that it connects you in a deeper way with our extended Cuban family. Learn how we’re helping children in Cuba at www.forwardedge.org/cuba

Picadillo (Cuba)

Forward Edge International
Picadillo is considered one of the staple dishes in Cuban cuisine. It's a dish that many Cubans grew up eating, often prepared by their grandmothers or mothers, and it evokes memories of home and family. Picadillo is incredibly versatile and ingredients can easily be swapped out depending on what's available. Connect with our Cuba program by making this delicious dish and learn how we're helping children in Cuba at www.forwardedge.org/cuba.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 packet or 2 teaspoons Sazón seasoning with cilantro and achiote
  • 1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried raisins
  • 8-10 pimiento stuffed olives, sliced into rings
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Cooked white rice to accompany


  • Heat a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the oil, veggies and the sofrito. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until the veggies soften
  • Add the ground beef into the pan, break it up with a spoon and cook until it's no longer pink.
  • Season the cooked ground beef with the adobo, sazón, tomato sauce, cumin and oregano. Stir the mixture together to distribute the spices.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water, the raisins and the olives, then lower the heat to simmer, let the mixture stew together, uncovered. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes. The picadillo should be saucy, but not soupy. If there's too much liquid, cook until it's to your desired consistency.
  • Serve hot with rice.


Some recipes add slivered almonds for crunch.
Keyword authentic, beef, comfort food, cuba, dinner, easy, entree, family-friendly, flavorful, ground beef, one-pot meals, picadillo, recipe

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Transform a Child's Life Through Sponsorship

Ka wula (hello), my name is Haggar Aduko

  • location


  • 10 yrs. old


Entered the program: March 2023

Haggar lives with her parents and three siblings in a two-bedroom house built with mud and a thatch roof. They have access to electricity and piped water into the village once every two weeks. The community has poor sanitation which poses a health hazard.

Haggar’s family is Christian. Her mother is a housewife and her father is a local security guard who earns less than $20 a month. He gets paid at the end of each month which makes it difficult to provide food for them throughout; some days they have to depend on help from other families. Most days, Haggar goes to school without food.

Sponsorship Level What's this?

Three $38 sponsorships are needed to cover the complete holistic care of one child. Cover one, two, or three sponsorships.