Puerto Rican Style Picadillo Recipe: Easy to make at home

Puerto Rican Style Picadillo Recipe: Easy to make at home

Cooking Puerto Rican style picadillo in your RV kitchen is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you can savor the taste of the Caribbean even while on the road. 

I just adore Latin American food and I make it in my RV quite often. Recipes like Lechon Asado (a flavorful pork roast with tender, juicy meat, and crispy golden skin), Air Fryer Tostones (fried plantain chips), and Habichuelas Guisadas (Puerto Rican stewed beans) just to name a few, but Picadillo is my favorite because it’s easy and I can use it in so many different ways!

I always give instructions with step-by-step photos in my posts just in case some readers have questions. But if you are just here for the recipe, click the JUMP TO RECIPE tab under the title and it will take you straight there. You can also print the recipe card with full instructions or you can click one of the SHARE BUTTONS and save it for later!

What is Picadillo?

Picadillo (carne Molida) is a traditional Latin American dish that is popular in many countries, including Puerto Rico. It is a flavorful and versatile dish made with ground meat (typically beef, but variations can use ground pork, ground chicken, or even plant-based alternatives), combined with a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. The exact ingredients and preparation methods can vary in different parts of the world.

In Puerto Rican cuisine, picadillo is often made with ground beef as the main protein. It is typically seasoned with a combination of sofrito (a flavorful blend of peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs), Adobo, Sazon, cumin, and dried oregano. Additional ingredients commonly include onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes or tomato sauce, olives, and capers. Some variations may also include diced potatoes, raisins, or carrots for added texture and flavor.

Picadillo is one of those Puerto Rican recipes that you can serve in various ways. People commonly enjoy it as a filling for empanadas, tacos, or stuffed peppers. It can also be served over rice or used as a topping for nachos or as a filling for sandwiches. The flavors of picadillo are rich, savory, and slightly tangy, creating a delicious and comforting meal.

Why this picadillo recipe works for RV kitchens

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is such a simple dish. It’s easy to make and you can use it in a ton of different ways once it’s made! 

You can cook it on the stovetop or in the Ninja Foodi if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

And it’s great for meal prep! Make a big batch and then freeze it in individual ziplock bags to have on hand for dinner any night of the week. Just pull out a bag in the morning and at the end of the day, it will be thawed and ready to use. 

Pro Tip: You can freeze sauces, stews, and even soups in high-quality Ziplock bags. Make sure the bags are sealed tightly and then lay them flat and stack them in the freezer. When you are ready to use, simply submerge them in warm water until thawed. Then you can just throw the bag away. This keeps you from using up all of your Tupperware containers and saves a ton of valuable space in the freezer.

Different Variations of Picadillo

While there are similarities in the overall concept of picadillo, the variations in ingredients and seasonings give each version a unique flavor profile. These regional differences reflect the diverse culinary traditions and influences within each country. So, whether you’re savoring Dominican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican style picadillo, you can expect a delicious and distinct taste experience with each variation. Play around with the ingredients you enjoy. Use this recipe as a base and then create your own version. 

If this is your first time making Puerto Rican food, this is a great recipe to start with. It is so simple and the flavors are incredible. Don’t be intimidated by all of the Latin ingredients. Most of them can be found on the international aisle at the local grocery store.  If you are somewhere that you don’t have access to them, you can still make a tasty dish even if you are missing an ingredient or two. Just keep in mind that you can find anything on Amazon! 

Let’s Gather Up The Ingredients

Ingredients to make Picadillo
  • Ground Beef– Lean Ground Beef will have less fat, but I prefer to use 80/20 because it is more tender and flavorful in my opinion.  Just drain the meat after it has browned if you don’t want the extra fat.

  • Sofrito– Sofrito is a versatile, aromatic puree of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, onions, and garlic. In Puerto Rico, they don’t typically use tomatoes, so it takes on a vivid green color. You can buy it premade, but it’s super simple to make at home. Use it to prepare Arroz con Gandules, Habichuelas Guisadas, and many other Puerto Rican dishes. 

  • Olive Oil

  • Bell Peppers– Diced. I like to use a combination of orange and red bell peppers because of their sweetness and vibrant color, but you can use green bell peppers as well

  • Garlic– Finley minced

  • Onion- Diced

  • Sazón– Sazón creates the flavor and the color that you see in most Puerto Rican dishes. The word literally means “seasoning” when translated from Spanish.

  • Oregano

  • Cumin

  • Adobo– This all-purpose seasoning salt with mixed spices and garlic could just be the most important ingredient! Just kidding. But if you can find it, you should definitely try using it. Use this traditional ingredient to season ground beef as well as chicken, fish, and vegetables. Once you try it, you’ll find yourself using it on all sorts of things!

  • Salt 

  • Black Pepper

  • Green Olives– Spanish olives with pimentos, cut in half

  • Cilantro– Roughly chopped. 

  • Tomato sauce– Plain tomato sauce

Now Let’s Get Cooking

First, cut up all of the veggies you are going to use for this delicious Puerto Rican-style Picadillo recipe! 

Diced red and orange bell peppers, onions, garlic, green olives and cilantro on a cutting board

Grab a large pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring it up to medium heat and then add the garlic, onions, and peppers. Saute until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Then add the sofrito and saute until fragrant. 

Onions peppers and garlic in a large pan with olive oil

Add the ground beef and season it with Adobo. Brown beef with the veggies, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once it has browned, you can decide if you want to drain the fat from the meat. I usually find that this isn’t necessary when using ground chuck, but you do you!

Ground beef being seasoned with Adobo

Now add the Cumin, Oregano, Tomato Sauce, and Sazon. Stir to combine. At this point, your RV kitchen will be filled with the magnificent aroma of Latin herbs and spices.

Add the olives and cilantro. Give it another stir and then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the mixture starts to thicken up a bit. Taste and add salt if desired. Adobo and Sazon are both pretty salty so I usually don’t feel the need to add any. 

Popular Serving Suggestions

Over Rice: Serve picadillo over a bed of white rice with a side of black beans. The rice absorbs the savory flavors of the dish, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. 

Tacos or Tortillas: Spoon it into warm tortillas to create tasty tacos. Top with your favorite garnishes such as shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for added flavor and texture.

Empanadas: Use it as a filling for empanadas. Wrap the flavorful meat mixture in pastry dough and bake until golden brown and crispy. These handheld delights are perfect for a portable and delicious meal or snack. Wrap them in foil and take them on a hike!

Stuffed Peppers: Hollow out bell peppers and fill them with picadillo. Bake the peppers until they are tender and the filling is heated through. The combination of sweet peppers and savory picadillo creates a delightful flavor contrast.

Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with picadillo and your favorite toppings such as melted cheese, jalapeños, diced tomatoes, onions, and sour cream. Pop them in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly for a tasty and satisfying appetizer or snack. (Definitely not Puerto Rican, but still delicious!)

Sandwiches or Wraps: Spread it on bread or tortillas and create a flavorful sandwich. Add lettuce, tomatoes, avocado slices, or any other toppings you enjoy to create a delicious handheld meal.

Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna): This plantain-based casserole is a staple in Puerto Rican and Dominican cuisine. It consists of sliced or mashed plantains that are layered with Picadillo and shredded cheese. 

Breakfast Burritos: Start your day with a bit of a twist by using picadillo as a filling for breakfast burritos. Add scrambled eggs, cheese, and your favorite breakfast ingredients. Roll it all up in a tortilla for a satisfying and protein-packed breakfast on the go.

Remember, picadillo is a versatile dish, and you can get creative with how you serve it. Feel free to explore different options and add your own favorite toppings, sides, or accompaniments to make it a meal that suits your taste buds and preferences.

This popular dish is the base for SO many Latin recipes! I hope you will experiment with different ways to use it.

Finished Picadillo

Storing leftover Picadillo

This stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container. Simply reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure it has cooled completely before storing it in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

Ninja Foodi Method

  1. Season the ground meat with Adobo.
  2. Add oil to the pressure cooker and press the sauté button. Once hot, add in the onion, garlic, and bell peppers. Sauté till they are soft and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add in the ground beef and crumble into small pieces while sautéing until it has browned.
  4. Add in sofrito and cook until fragrant. Add in Sazon seasoning, oregano, cumin, and tomato sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
  5. Cover, seal the lid, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  6. Use natural or quick release and open the lid.
  7. Add the olives and cilantro. Give it a stir and taste for seasoning. Add salt if necessary. 

If you decide to make this Puerto Rican Style Picadillo recipe in your RV kitchen, give it a star rating and let me know how yours turned out. 

I love hearing your feedback and I will do my best to answer any questions you have as quickly as I can. 

As always, I will be back next week with more delicious recipes from my RV kitchen to yours!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

Learn how to get Amazon deliveries straight to your RV.

Finished Picadillo

Puerto Rican Style Picadillo

Puerto Rican-style picadillo is a flavorful and versitle dish made with a blend of Latin herbs and spices. It can be used in a variety of ways. Use it as a filling for tacos or empanadas, serve it over rice, or simply eat it with a spoon!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Puerto Rican, Latin American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 405 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons sofito
  • 2 packets Sazon
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • cup pimento stuffed green olives, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions
 

  • Dice the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cut the olives in half and roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Grab a large pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring it up to medium heat and then add the garlic, onions, and peppers. Saute until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Then add 4 tbsp of sofrito and saute until fragrant. 
  • Add the ground beef and season it with Adobo. Brown beef with the veggies, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once it has browned, you can decide if you want to drain the fat from the meat.
  • Now add the Cumin, Oregano, Tomato Sauce, and Sazon. Stir to combine.
  • Add the olives and cilantro. Give it another stir and then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the mixture starts to thicken up a bit. Taste and add salt if needed.

Notes

Ninja Foodi Method

 
  1. Season the ground meat with Adobo.
  2. Add oil to the pressure cooker and press the sauté button. Once hot, add in the onion, garlic, and bell peppers. Sauté till they are soft and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add in the ground beef and crumble into small pieces while sautéing until it has browned. Drain the fat if necessary.
  4. Add in sofrito and cook until fragrant.
  5. Add in Sazon seasoning, oregano, cumin, and tomato sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
  6. Cover, seal the lid, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  7. Use natural or quick release and open the lid.
  8. Add the olives and cilantro. Give it a stir and taste for seasoning. Add salt if necessary. 
Keyword Dominican Picadillo Recipe, Puerto Rican Style Picadillo Recipe



6 thoughts on “Puerto Rican Style Picadillo Recipe: Easy to make at home”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating