Travelers come to the Caribbean not only for the incredible sea life but also  to try some traditional local dishes, Such as Cuban Beef Picadillo. If you’ve ever visited the Caribbean, you have probably noticed that each island has its own version of the Cuban Picadillo recipe. But why is this dish so Popular? is it worth it? In this blog post, we will look at the history of the Cuban Beef Picadillo and determine whether it’s worth making at home.

1- What is Cuban beef picadillo?

  • Picadillo is a traditional  dish from Mexico and versions of it exist across the Caribbean and Latin America. The name comes from the word picar (to mince) and refers to cutting meat into pieces.
  • It is similar to ground beef and uses various ingredients including corn, green chilis, tomatoes, garlic, onions, spices, and cilantro. You could say that picadillo is a Caribbean version of ground beef.  

2- Why it is so famous?

  • Picadillo is well-known not only for its deliciousness but also for being an excellent addition to any meal. Picadillo not only adds flavor to almost anything, but it’s also high in protein, fiber, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin A. 
  • It also fits any diet because you can change the ingredients and still enjoy the same flavor. It’s also possible to make a vegan version.

3- Which islands are famous for it?

Puerto Rico

  • In Puerto Rico, it is used as a filling for empanadas, alcapurria, and other fritters. It is also goes well with rice and beans. The ground meat is cooked with oregano, bay beef, diced ham, reciato, tomato sauce, and sometimes cumin, raisins, cheese, sweet peas, olives, beans, diced potato, capers, and other spices and herbs. 


  • Cuban versions typically include peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, olives, tomato sauce, and sometimes potato, Spanish chorizo, and capers, they are cooked in olive oil and white wine. Picadillo is served with rice and black turtle beans in Cuba. 

Dominican Republic

  • In the Dominican Republic, it contains peppers, cilantro, onions, tomato paste, garlic, olives, bouillon cubes, capers, and raisins, it may contain hard-boiled eggs. It is typically served with rice or as a filling for empanadas and cabbage rolls.

Costa Rica

  • Picadillo is one of the most popular dishes in Costa Rica. The dish is made up of small chopped vegetables seasoned with meat, similar to a hash, and is usually served as a side dish to the traditional Casado, along with tortillas.  


  • Beef picadillo is a traditional Mexican street food. The most basic and popular picadillo ingredients in Mexico are ground beef, carrots, and potatoes, all cooked in a tomato sauce made from blended tomatoes, garlic, and onion, usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin, but its preparation and ingredients can vary by region.  

4- How to make Cuban Beef Picadillo?

If you want to make your own Cuban beef Picadillo at home, here’s what you need to do: 



  • 1.5 lbs ground beef 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced 
  • 1 white onion (chopped)  
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • ½ cup tomato (chopped) 
  • 1 medium potato (cubed)
  • 1 medium carrot (cubed) 
  • ¼ cup raisins 
  • ½ cup green olives 
  • ½ cup green peas 
  • ½ cup water 
  • Salt and pepper and cumin to taste 


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-low heat and cook the chopped onion and minced garlic cloves until almost golden.
  2. Stir in 1.5 pounds of ground beef until it turns brown.
  3. Stir in the soy sauce and ground pepper.
  4. Add tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften.
  5. Mix in the potatoes, carrots, raisins, green olives, and green peas.
  6. Add water and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender and the liquids are almost gone.
  7. Stir in a pinch of salt and cumin.
  8. Remove the heat and serve with your preferred side.

5- What to serve with Picadillo?

Picadillo is a simple dish with limitless serving options. Here are some serving ideas so you don’t have to serve it the same way twice: 

Rice: Picadillo is typically served with white rice, but cilantro lime rice can also be used. It can also be served with quinoa, or low-carb alternatives like cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash.

Tostadas: Layer refined beans or avocado mash on a tosdada, then top with picadillo beef, cilantro, and cheese or sour cream.
Tacos: Wrap the Cuban beef picadillo in a warm tortilla along with black beans and any additional toppings you want, such as lettuce, cottage cheese, and guacamole.

6- Where can you find Picadillo in the Caribbean?


Here you can find a list of a few restaurants on various islands that serve picadillo on their menus: 

  1. Paladar Dona Eutimia

This restaurant in Cuba serves picadillo and its located at #60-C, Callejon del Chorro, Havana, Cuba.

  1. Picadillo Bistro & Cafe 

Picadillo Bistro & Cafe in Fajardo, Puerto Rico 00738 is a good place to go if you like festive vibes. 

  1. Casa Habana

This one can be found in Mexico located at Lope de Vega 341-Local B, Polanco, Polanco V Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México.

  1. Chilanguito Banda 

This Dominican Republic restaurant serves picadillo and is located at Plaza Caney, Av. Estados Unidos, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic.


In conclusion, picadillo is a delightful dish that you should try. Aside from picadillo, The Caribbean has many traditional mouthwatering dishes that you should try while you’re enjoying the sea life.