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This recipe for Mexican Picadillo is spicy and flavorful. Served with tortillas, rice, and beans.
It’s a winning dish that is perfect for weeknight dinners and family gatherings.
Watch the VIDEO to learn how to make this Mexican food classic.
When I don’t know what to make for dinner, Mexican Picadillo is usually the answer.
It is one of my favorite go-to meals, just like my mother, my aunts, my grandmother.
This isn’t some ordinary dish for me.
It conjures emotions and memories of family togetherness after Sunday mass.
I have wanted to publish this recipe since forever, but I had to do it the justice it deserves.
You have no idea how many times I’ve taken pictures of this dish, and finally, I think I got it.
Somewhere up in heaven, I hope my abuelita is smiling in approval.
How to Make Mexican Picadillo
- 1. Add salt, pepper, and ground cumin to the beef.
- 2. Cook the ground beef.
- 3. Then drain any excess fat.
I like to use 90/10 or 80/20 lean ground beef for my recipes. Fat means flavor, but you have to be smart about the products you use.
If I know that a recipe will get fat from something else – like there’s bacon in the recipe – then I will go with 90/10.
For this Mexican Picadillo recipe because there is no other source of fat, I went with 80/20 lean ground beef.
Also, don’t be afraid to season the beef well. Adding enough salt and seasoning to the beef will take this dish far.
There really isn’t a substitute for beef. You can use ground chicken or ground turkey to make picadillo, but it’s just not the same, in my book.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
This dish is beefy, not very leafy.
You can add veggies at this point (such as carrots or calabacitas) to make it more complete meal.
- 1. Then add your jalapeños, onion, and tomato.
- 2. Mix and cook for 1 minute.
- 3. Next up, add the garlic, poblano pepper, beef bouillon, water, and tomato sauce.
- 4. Mix well. Cover and bring to a simmer.
It seems like every Latin American country has a Picadillo recipe.
Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that our Mexican Picadillo has chiles in it. Of course it does!
We love our chiles in Mexico.
My family is from the state of Durango. We like our poblano peppers in DGO, and that’s why we add it to our Mexican Picadillo.
There are several staple dishes from Durango like Caldillo Durangueño that use chile pasado.
Chile Pasado being dried poblano peppers. They are very hard to find in the States. If I’m lucky to find them, they are crazy expensive.
Although, I must also say that there are plenty of authentic Mexican Picadillo recipe from Durango that do not include poblano.
This recipe varies from family to family, how the chef is feeling that day, and what is available at the grocery store that day.
I’ve even had it with raisins. I know it may sound odd, but think of spicy and sweet recipes and how that combination REALLY works.
Mexican Picadillo is always made with beef, tomatoes, and potatoes.
From there, the recipe changes because it’s so versatile. Some people will use chile guajillo, others will use chipotle or chile ancho.
In Southern Mexico, I once had picadillo with oranges and olives. It was delicious!
How to Make Mexican Picadillo Less Spicy
Remember that there is already a jalapeño in the pan. The poblano will make it spicier.
I would taste it first to see how spicy it is before adding.
If you make it too spicy, add more tomato, more water, and more beef bouillon. That should tame the heat.
The other thing you can do is completely omit the poblano. Or, just use poblano, and omit the jalapeño.
Personally, I like the roasted flavor that the poblano gives to my Mexican Picadillo.
For my friends who can’t stand the heat, don’t use any of the chiles.
The picadillo will still be very tasty without the chiles.
This is my favorite Mexican Picadillo Recipe. Mainly because it is the way my family makes it.
It comes together in under 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight meal.
If the picadillo has too much liquid for your taste, cook uncovered for the last 10 minutes.
The liquid will cook off and still be scrumptious.
Serve your Mexican Picadillo with:
- yummy Mexican rice
- a cup of hearty Pinto Beans (or Frijoles de la Olla)
- a dozen tortillas
- stuff it inside of a gordita
- or as a topping for a tostada.
Or even just by itself, this is delicious.
Writing an “authentic Mexican Picadillo recipe” is very hard.
Mexico is a big country and each region has its own way of making picadillo.
Hope you give this version a try. My abuelita would be happy if you did.
Please note: In the video below, I’m using a Calphalon Signature Hard Anodized Nonstick Pan, it’s my favorite. Extremely sturdy. You can even use metal utensils, and it won’t scratch!
Watch Video on How to Make Mexican Picadillo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ onion diced
- 1 jalapeño finely diced
- 1 Roma tomato diced
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 1 poblano pepper - roasted skin removed, and finely diced
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup potatoes parboiled and diced
- Cilantro chopped (optional)
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil.
- Season the ground beef with salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Add beef to the skillet.
- With your spatula, break up the meat.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink.
- Drain any excess fat.
- Add the onion, jalapeño, and tomato.
- Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the garlic, poblano pepper, beef bouillon, water, and tomato sauce.
- Stir to combine.
- Put a lid on the skillet and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes
- Add the potatoes and cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes, until fork tender.
- Taste for good measure.
- Serve with tortillas, rice, and beans.
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