Homemade Mexican picadillo con papas is the best easy Mexican ground beef recipe. Make it for dinner on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or in a crock pot. It’s delicious in tacos, burritos, gorditas, and empanadas. Picadillo can be thinned out to make a soup, and it can even be made keto by swapping out the potatoes!
Mexican picadillo (also called carne molida con papas) is a ground beef and potato hash that is basically the ultimate comfort food. This dish truly takes the classic meat and potatoes combination to the next level with tons of flavor.
What Is Picadillo Made Of?
Picadillo is a common beef and potato dish in many Latin American countries. The Cuban and Puerto Rican varieties are especially popular.
It’s one of those recipes that different families make different ways, so definitely experiment with it and make it your own! Green olives, raisins, capers, and bell peppers are popular additions in many recipes.
Common additions for the Mexican style of picadillo also include carrots, peas, and green beans. Feel free to add any of these if you have some laying around!
You can also substitute the ground beef for ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken. If you have leftover shredded beef, try using that!
Is It Spicy?
That all depends on the jalapeno you use. The heat in jalapenos varies from relatively mild to super spicy. The best way to test this is to slice a teeny tiny little sliver of the jalapeno off and taste it.
Assuming you’re using a relatively mild jalapeno, this recipe for picadillo won’t be spicy, but it will be very flavorful. You could make it spicy by adding another jalapeno, serrano pepper, or some chili powder.
What Is A Picadillo Taco?
Picadillo tacos are so delicious! They’re crunchy taco shells filled with a flavorful ground beef and potato hash that’s been seasoned with tomatoes and other fillings of choice. Try adding you favorite taco toppings like salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce, or chipotle sauce.
How To Make Picadillo
Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, then stir in the onion and saute it until it turns slightly transparent. Add in the garlic, jalapeno, and roma tomato and saute that until it’s fragrant.
Next you’ll add the potatoes, cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt, tomato sauce, water, and beef bouillon. Stir everything to combine it, then press the potatoes down until they’re as submerged as possible. Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
What Goes With It?
This is a very flavorful meat and potato dish, so I like to serve it with things that allow the flavors in this meal to shine. Some of my favorites are:
- White Rice
- Spanish Rice
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Corn Tortillas
- Tortilla Chips
- Fried Plantains (Tostones)
How To Use It
Picadillo has to be just about one of my favorite meat fillings. My favorite ways to use it as a filling are in:
- Stuffed Peppers
How To Make It A Soup
To enjoy this as a soup, you’ll need to add additional beef broth to get the sopa consistency that you like. Be sure to taste it and add additional seasonings and salt, too!
Make It In The Crock Pot
To make this in the slow cooker, you’ll need to follow steps 1 – 3 in the recipe card. Once you get to step 4, transfer everything to a crockpot, and press the potatoes down so they’re as submerged as possible. Cook on high for 2 – 3 hours (or until the potatoes are cooked through).
Make It In The Instant Pot
To make picadillo in the pressure cooker, follow steps 1 – 3 in the recipe card using the “Saute” function on your Instant Pot. Once you get to step 4, press cancel to stop the saute function.
Add the ingredients in step 4 as instructed, close the lid (turning the pressure release valve to the “sealing” position), and set the Instant Pot to the “Manual” mode (or High Pressure mode) for 2 minutes. Once the cooking time is complete, let it natural release for 5 minutes before switching to a quick release.
Note – If you cut your potato chunks larger than I did, you may need up to 7 minutes of pressure cook time.
Is It Gluten Free?
To make this gluten free, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using certified gluten free beef broth and spices. Simply swap the beef bouillon and water that the recipe calls for with your favorite gluten free beef broth of choice.
How To Make It Keto
To make this low carb, all you have to do is swap the potatoes for radishes. I’ve made it this way, and it is SO good!
How To Make It Vegan
To make this recipe vegetarian, you’ll need to replace the beef and the broth. Substitute the broth with your favorite vegetable broth. You could substitute the ground beef with lentils, seitan, black beans, or a packaged vegan “ground beef”.
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire Mexican recipes section!
Some reader favorites are:
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons neutral oil (like vegetable or grapeseed)
- 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
- 1/2 large yellow onion (chopped)
- 2 medium garlic cloves (diced)
- 1 medium jalapeno (stem, ribs, and seeds removed; diced)
- 1 medium tomato (chopped)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves (chopped, plus more for serving)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 large russet potato (peeled; diced into 1/4” cubes)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup water (4 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Beef Base (swap this and the water for a certified gluten free beef broth if necessary)
- Heat a large lidded pot or skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beef and saute over medium heat until browned. About 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add onion and saute for 2 minutes, or until just starting to turn translucent.
- Add garlic, jalapeno, tomato, and cilantro. Saute for one minute, or until garlic is aromatic.
- Add cumin, oregano, salt, potato, tomato sauce, water, and bouillon. Stir to combine. Press the mixture down so that the potatoes are as submerged in the liquid as possible. Cover and turn the temperature to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potato cubes are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
If you use ground beef with a higher percentage of fat, you may need to drain the excess fat before adding the onions. A little bit is OK, but too much will make the dish greasy.
The salt is very much dependent on your preference. I wrote the recipe with 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt so that you can adjust from there at the end. I like to salt my food at the beginning of cooking whenever possible and tend to use 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt total when we make this at home (but we do tend to like saltier foods).
This is seriously AMAZING as taco meat. If you're looking for a simpler taco meat, try my popular Chicken Taco Seasoning recipe.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 14.6gCarbohydrates: 15.9gNet Carbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1.9gSugar: 3gProtein: 21.8g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
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Try making this Mexican picadillo (the ultimate Mexican comfort food) the next time you’re wondering what to make with hamburger meat!