Abuela's Picadillo


This is my grandmother's Cuban picadillo recipe for ground beef hash/chili, usually served with white rice, beans, and plantains. Picadillo also goes great with mashed potatoes and can be made without squash. This dish is a favorite at home, so I usually make 2 pounds to have leftovers for making empanadas (meat pies) the next day. Picadillo also freezes well. Of course, my kids say this is the best picadillo they've ever had, and I agree!

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 25 mins


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce

  • 2 cups water

  • ½ cup red cooking wine

  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Louisiana®)

  • 1 (1.41 ounce) package sazon seasoning (such as Badia® Tropical®)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground bay leaf

  • 3 ounces Spanish-style olives

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  1. Cook and stir ground beef in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until crumbly and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain grease.

    Overhead of ground beef cooking in a large pot.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  2. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to hot oil; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add to beef in the stockpot.

    Chopped onions and peppers cooking in a skillet.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  3. Pour tomato sauce, water, wine, and hot sauce into the stockpot. Stir in sazón seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer picadillo, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

    Overhead of ground beef, onion, and bell pepper mixture cooking in a stockpot with a bowl of spices off to the side.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Split olives in half with your fingers and stir into picadillo. Add squash. Simmer until squash is tender and liquid reduces but picadillo is not dry, 45 to 60 minutes. Season with salt.

    Overhead of a ground beef, onion, and bell pepper mixture cooking in a stockpot with olives and squash added.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios


You can use another type of squash if butternut is not available.

You can substitute a pinch of saffron or a dash of yellow food coloring for the sazon packet.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

378 Calories
22g Fat
22g Carbs
24g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 378
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Sodium 1856mg 81%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 44mg 218%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 965mg 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love