The Ultimate Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe You’ve Been Searching For

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Christian Kimmons

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Hey there, foodies! If you haven’t tried Puerto Rican Picadillo recipe yet, you’re missing out on a Latin culinary masterpiece. I’ve been cooking and blogging about food for a decade, and let me tell you, this dish is a game-changer. The blend of ground beef, sofrito, and spices like Sazon seasoning, oregano, and cumin is just heavenly. It’s the kind of dish that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or even spicing up your meal prep routine.

Choosing the Right Main Ingredient: Beef or Pork?

So, you’re sold on making Picadillo, but what meat should you use? Traditional Puerto Rican Picadillo often uses ground beef, but you can also opt for pork, ground chicken, or turkey. My personal favorite? Good ol’ ground beef. It soaks up the flavors like a sponge and gives you that authentic taste you’re craving.

What About Seasoning?

Ah, seasoning—the soul of any dish. For Picadillo, you’ll need a blend of spices like Sazon seasoning, oregano, cumin, and adobo. Don’t forget the sofrito, a blend of bell peppers, garlic, and onions. Trust me, homemade sofrito beats store-bought any day. And if you’re feeling adventurous, add a dash of “cilantro y achiote” for that extra kick.

Recommended Cooking Equipment and How to Use It Effectively

Alright, let’s talk gear. You can make Picadillo in an Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or just a regular stovetop pan. If you’re using an Instant Pot, make sure to sauté your meat and sofrito first before switching to pressure cook mode. For Crock Pot users, it’s a set-and-forget situation—just make sure to brown your meat beforehand. On the stovetop, a good non-stick pan will do the trick. Just keep the heat medium-high for sautéing and then lower it when you add your tomato sauce, olives, and raisins.

That’s it for now! Ready to dive into the full recipe and more tips? Stay tuned!

The Ultimate Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide

Yield: 6

Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe

puerto rican picadillo recipe

The Ultimate Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe evokes a symphony of flavors, blending the savory ground beef with the aromatic homemade sofrito and a hint of sweetness from raisins. The inclusion of olives adds a briny touch, while the Sazon seasoning brings an authentic Latin American flair. Every bite promises a delightful journey through Puerto Rico's rich culinary heritage.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 lb ground beef (or pork, chicken, turkey)
  • 1 cup homemade sofrito (bell peppers, garlic, onions)
  • 1 packet Sazon seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1/2 cup olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: cilantro for garnish


  1. Preparation: Heat olive oil in your chosen cooking equipment (Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or stovetop pan).
  2. Sauté the Sofrito: Add your homemade sofrito and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  3. Brown the Meat: Add the ground beef and cook until browned. If you're using an Instant Pot, use the sauté function.
  4. Add Seasonings: Sprinkle in the Sazon seasoning, oregano, and cumin. Mix well.
  5. Pour in Tomato Sauce: Add the tomato sauce, olives, and raisins. Stir until everything is well combined.
  6. Cook: If using an Instant Pot, switch to pressure cook mode and set for 15 minutes. For Crock Pot, cook on low for 4 hours. On the stovetop, simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Garnish and Serve: Once cooked, garnish with cilantro if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Trans Fat: 25gNet Carbohydrates: 15gProtein: 20g

Serving Suggestions and Suitable Side Dishes

Picadillo is super versatile. Serve it over rice, stuff it into empanadas, or even use it as a filling for bell peppers. Want to keep it Latin? Pair it with Tostones or empanada shells. Trust me, you can’t go wrong here.

Cooking Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don’t Skip the Sofrito: Seriously, this is the backbone of your Puerto Rican Picadillo recipe.
  • Quality Meat Matters: Opt for organic or grass-fed meat for better flavor.
  • Watch the Salt: Sazon and adobo can be salty, so taste before adding extra salt.
  • Don’t Rush the Cooking: Let the flavors meld, especially if you’re using a Crock Pot.

Conclusion: Why This Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe is a Keeper

There you have it, folks! A Puerto Rican Picadillo recipe that’s perfect for any occasion and easy enough for weeknight dinners. Whether you’re new to Latin recipes or a seasoned pro, this dish is sure to impress. And hey, if you’re ever in Florida, there are some killer Latin restaurants that serve this dish, but I bet yours will be just as good—if not better!

So go ahead, give this recipe a try and let the flavors of Puerto Rico light up your kitchen. Happy cooking!


What is picadillo sauce made of?

Picadillo sauce typically consists of tomato sauce, spices like Sazon, oregano, and cumin, olives, and raisins, creating a savory-sweet flavor profile.

What is sofrito made of?

Sofrito is a blend of bell peppers, garlic, onions, and sometimes cilantro. It’s the aromatic base for many Latin dishes, adding depth and flavor.

What’s the difference between Tinga and picadillo?

While both are flavorful Latin dishes, Tinga is usually made with shredded meat (often chicken or beef) in a smoky chipotle tomato sauce, whereas Picadillo features ground meat with olives and raisins, offering a sweet-savory contrast.

What are some Puerto Rican side dishes?

Popular Puerto Rican side dishes include Tostones (fried green plantains), Arroz con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and Yuca Frita (fried cassava). These complement Picadillo beautifully.

Can I use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef in Picadillo?

Absolutely! Ground chicken or turkey can be excellent alternatives, offering a leaner option with a similar flavor profile.

Is Picadillo a spicy dish?

Picadillo is not inherently spicy, but you can add a touch of heat with chopped jalapeños or red pepper flakes if you prefer some spice.

Can I make Picadillo ahead of time and freeze it?

Yes, Picadillo freezes well. Store it in an airtight container for up to three months, and simply reheat when ready to enjoy.

Are there vegetarian versions of Picadillo?

Absolutely! You can make a vegetarian Picadillo using plant-based ground meat or even crumbled tofu for a delicious meatless alternative.

What’s the history behind Puerto Rican Picadillo?

Puerto Rican Picadillo has roots in Spanish and African cuisines. It evolved over time, incorporating various flavors and ingredients to become the beloved dish we know today.

Can I customize the level of sweetness in Picadillo?

Yes, you can adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding more or fewer raisins. Taste as you go to find your perfect balance of flavors.

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