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Resembling a hash, this Cuban dish is savory comfort food. Similar to the sloppy joe sandwich, the name comes from the Spanish verb picar, meaning “to mince,” and refers to the fine texture. Picadillo was popularized by the Cuban food writer, Nitza Villapol, through her 1954 cookbook Cocina Criolla. The dish arrived in the US through large numbers of Cuban immigrants who came to Florida during the 1960s and ‘70s. Picadillo can be eaten Cuban-style—over rice with a side of black turtle beans— or used as the filling for Hispanic dishes like empanadas (stuffed pastries) or papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes).

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
35 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, and green bell pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5–7 minutes, until the onion has softened and become translucent.
  3. Crumble the ground beef into the skillet.
  4. Cook for 7–10 minutes, until completely browned.
  5. Stir in the olives, raisins, capers, tomato sauce, sazon seasoning, cumin, sugar, and salt, and mix thoroughly.
  6. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 5–10 minutes, until the mixture is heated through.
  7. Serve hot.

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