Quick & Easy Puerto Rican Picadillo

Ciji Castro  |  Domestic Gourmet  |  KNOW Tampa 

With this quick & easy recipe, Puerto Rican Picadillo can be made in 10 minutes, flat!

If you already have Puerto Rican Sofrito, you can make picadillo in 10 minutes, flat. This one-pot meal is great for weeknight dinners. I typically serve it with rice and beans or, if I have extra time, as a filler for empanadas.

For an even easier weeknight meal, set up a taco bar! This tomato-based picadillo is excellent for tacos. My cousin, Mary, gave me the idea of a taco bar, and I haven’t looked back since. Set out different types of tortillas, toppings, and a bowl of picadillo and let everyone serve themselves. My children are more apt to try new things if they’re in charge of choosing to try them rather than me suggesting them, heaven forbid.

iBuen provecho!

A quick one-pot version of Puerto Rican Picadillo

      • SERVINGS 4 people
      • COOK TIME 10 mins


      • 5 Qt. Casuela (Pot)
      • Mixing spoons
      • Measuring cups
      • Measuring spoons
      • Can opener
      • Chef’s knife


      • 1 lb ground beef
      • 8 oz tomato sauce
      • ¾ cup puerto rican sofrito
      • ¼ cup Spanish olives
      • 1 packet sazón with achiote equivalent to ¼ tbsp
      • 2 bay leaves
      • ½ tsp adobo all-purpose seasoning with pepper
      • ½ tsp garlic powder
      • ½ tsp onion powder

If you don’t have sofrito on hand:

      • ½ Spanish onion, diced
      • ½ green bell pepper, diced
      • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
      • 4 ají cachucha (sweet peppers), diced
      • 3 culantro leaves, minced
      • ¼ cup cilantro, minced


  1. Preheat pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pot.
  3. Season the ground beef with the adobo, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  4. Break up the ground beef as much as possible with the mixing spoon and cook through. Ground beef will be brown when it is fully cooked.
  5. Create a well in the middle of the ground beef, and add the sofrito. Sauté the sofrito quickly before mixing it into the ground beef.
  6. Stir in the olives.
  7. Stir in the tomato sauce.
  8. Stir in the sazón and bay leaves.
  9. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken, occasionally stirring, so the picadillo doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pot.
  10. Serve with rice, like tacos, over pasta, or as a filling for empanadas or lettuce wraps.

Pro Tip:

      • Finely mince the olives and sofrito for picky eaters.
      • Like any stew, refrigerate the leftovers; it’s even better the next day!

No Waste:

      • Save all the seeds, stems, and skins; freeze the scraps to make vegetable stock another time. Use the search bar to find a no-waste vegetable stock recipe!
      • Add a little bit of water to the tomato sauce can, swirl, and add it into the picadillo. Don’t worry if it’s a little watery; it’ll thicken, and you’ll have used all the tomato sauce!


How to include your child(ren): Your younger chef(s) can sharpen their fine motor skills by measuring out ingredients and setting up your mise-en-place. If you do not have sofrito on hand, let them get in some sensory play by ripping the green pepper, cilantro, culantro leaves and peeling the garlic and onion. Be sure to give them a pair of goggles if they’re handling the onion to avoid a meltdown during the cooking process! Depending on the age and your comfort level, allow your little chef(s) to pour in the ingredients or mix alongside you. Little chef(s) can explore their sense of independence by making this beginner-level recipe on their own, elevating their self-confidence and abilities in the kitchen.

Puerto Rican Picadillo
Lynne Kimmich

More About Ciji

Ciji Castro, the talented Latina entrepreneur, celebrates her heritage through mouthwatering Cuban and Puerto Rican recipes. With a trailblazing spirit, she’s a standout figure in the culinary world. Recognized as the foodie mastermind behind Domestic Gourmet, she was named “Woman To Watch 2023” by Tampa Magazine. Her success shines through prestigious partnerships with Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Michelin Guide, NBC, and Disney on Ice. Collaborating with Michelin-starred chefs and restaurants, Domestic Gourmet has garnered praise from patrons and industry professionals. Her captivating personality and passion for food inspire aspiring chefs and home cooks worldwide.