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Picadillo served with rice

Picadillo (Spanish pronunciation: [pikaˈðijo], "mince") is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries including Mexico and Cuba, as well as the Philippines. It is made with ground meat (most commonly beef), tomatoes (tomato sauce may be used as a substitute), and also raisins, olives, and other ingredients that vary by region. The name comes from the Spanish word picar, meaning "to mince".[1]

Picadillo can be eaten alone, though it is usually served with rice. It can also be used as a filling in tacos, empanadas, alcapurrias, and other savory pastries or croquettes. It can also be incorporated into other dishes, like pastelón (Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), chiles en nogada (Mexico), and arroz a la cubana (Philippines).[1][2][3]



Although the dish was common in Hispanic cultures before the 19th century, a 19th-century recipe from California for pasteles a la argentina is given for a filled pastry with layers of beef picadillo and chicken cooked in a green chili and onion sauce with olive oil and raisins. "Picadillo" was not always made with beef; "picadillo de ave" was a minced fowl with white sauce. Pasteles de pollos y pichones (chicken and squab pastry) was made as a savory pie with alternating layers of chicken and squab with a picadillo of minced veal, bacon, ham fried in lard with onion, mushrooms, apples, artichokes, tomatoes, and a layer of seasonings.[4]

By region


Costa Rica


Costa Rican versions always include the name of the vegetable that represents the main ingredient to the dish (potato picadillo, ayote picadillo, etc.) and that is chopped and cooked with bell peppers, onions, stock, herbs and spices. It can include some type of protein but that is not essential. It is often served with tortillas or rice.



Cuban versions include peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, tomato sauce, stock, olives, and on occasion potatoes, capers,[1] and Spanish chorizo[5] and is usually sauteed in olive oil and white wine, depending on the region. Cuban picadillo is served with black turtle beans and rice.[6]

Dominican Republic


In the Dominican Republic, it includes peppers, onions, cilantro, garlic, tomato paste, bouillon cube, and may include olives, capers, raisins, hard-boiled egg. It is served over rice or used as a filling for pasteles, empanadas, kibbeh, and cabbage rolls.



In Peru, it is used as a filling for empanadas, caigua rellenas as well as a main dish served with rice called arroz tapado. The ground meat is sauteed with garlic, hard boiled egg, raisins, olives, spices and herbs. Peruvian Picadillo does vary from family to family

Puerto Rico


In Puerto Rico, it is used as a filling for empanadas, alcapurria, piononos and other fritters. It can also be served with rice and beans. The ground meat is sauteed with annatto, diced ham, oregano, bay leaf, recaito, tomato sauce and on occasion cumin, cheese, raisins, beans, sweet peas, olives, capers, diced potato, other spices and herbs. Puerto Rican Picadillo[7] does vary from family to family.


Philippine picadillo (also called giniling) with quail eggs

In the Philippines, picadillo is also known as giniling, which is Tagalog for "ground [meat]". Picadillo is cooked in two different ways. The version more commonly referred to as "picadillo" is a soupy stew made with ground or minced beef (also pork or sometimes, chicken), potatoes or chayote, green peas, carrots, onions, garlic, bell peppers, black pepper, and raisins in a tomato-based broth seasoned with patis (fish sauce), soy sauce, and sometimes chilis.[8][9][10][11] Hard-boiled eggs (chicken or quail) are also commonly added, and it is eaten with white rice. It does not include olives or capers as in the Latin American version.[8][12]

The second variant uses the same ingredients as the first version but is drier, like the Latin American version. This version is more widely known as giniling. Like the stew version, it is also usually eaten paired with white rice or is commonly used as stuffing, like for Filipino empanadas.[13][10][11]

When served with white rice, sunny-side up eggs, and fried saba bananas, it becomes the Filipino version of the dish arroz a la cubana. Although in Filipino arroz a la cubana, the meat component can be made with just simple ground meat and peas in tomato sauce, not necessarily cooked picadillo-style. It differs from the Spanish version of arroz a la cubana which does not include ground beef at all.[3][14][15][16]


Mexican picadillo.

In Mexico, beef picadillo is a classic antojito of the national cuisine.[17][18] The most basic and popular set of ingredients of picadillo 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 slightly from one region to another. For example, a Mexican picadillo can also include squash or peas. Mexican picadillo is typically eaten with tortillas, tostadas or tortilla chips and usually accompanied with rice or beans. It can be used as filling for chiles rellenos,[19] chiles en nogada,[20] tamales[21] or gorditas.[22][23][24] Pork is also a popular meat to use for picadillo in Mexico, as well as a mixture of pork and beef.[25][26]

See also



  1. ^ a b c Sifton, Sam (17 September 2014). "The Ultimate Cuban Comfort Food: Picadillo". New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  2. ^ Galarza, G. Daniela (February 2021). "For dinner, go for a peak picadillo". Washington Post. p. 3AD. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b Merano, Vanjo (11 October 2012). "Arroz a la Cubana Recipe". Panlasang Pinoy. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  4. ^ El cocinero español by Encarnación Pinedo, 1898
  5. ^ Bremzen, Anya Von "Picadillo a la Habanera" Paladares: Recipes inspired by the private restaurants of Cuba" (2017, ISBN 978-1-4197-2703-0) p. 248-249
  6. ^ "Cuban Picadillo".
  7. ^ Rivera, Rachel (2020-08-10). "Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe - thecleanhappylife". Retrieved 2023-08-02.
  8. ^ a b Beiser, Alpana (2 July 2021). "Giniling (Filipino Picadillo)". Gypsyplate. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  9. ^ "Instant Pot or Stove Top Filipino-style Picadillo (Ground Beef and Vegetable Stew)". Manila Spoon. 13 April 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  10. ^ a b Manalo, Lalaine (26 September 2022). "Picadillo Soup". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  11. ^ a b Manalo, Lalaine (15 December 2021). "Filipino-style Picadillo with Potatoes". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  12. ^ Merano, Vanjo (4 February 2015). "Pork Giniling with Quail Eggs". Panlasang Pinoy. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  13. ^ Merano, Vanjo (3 February 2018). "Picadillo Recipe". Panlasang Pinoy. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  14. ^ Manalo, Lalaine (23 July 2021). "Arroz a la Cubana". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  15. ^ Dumlao-Giardina, Rowena (16 March 2013). "Arroz a la Cubana (Cuban Rice), The Philippine Way". Apron and Sneakers - Cooking & Traveling in Italy and Beyond. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  16. ^ "Filipino Picadillo". A Family Feast. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Picadillo de res, recetas rápidas de cocina mexicana ⋆ Larousse Cocina". Larousse Cocina (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  18. ^ "Cómo hacer picadillo mexicano". Comedera - Recetas, tips y consejos para comer mejor. (in Spanish). 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  19. ^ "Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo, receta con imágenes paso a paso. Muy fácil". Recetas de comida mexicana | México en mi Cocina. 2017-05-20. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  20. ^ "Qué ingredientes llevan los chiles en nogada". El Universal (in Spanish). 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  21. ^ "Tamales de picadillo de cerdo". Comida Kraft (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  22. ^ admin (2020-11-13). "🔸Gorditas De Harina De Picadillo Norteño ⋆ Cocina Con Sazón". Cocina Con Sazón (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  23. ^ "Picadillo mexicano". www.guiadelacocina.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  24. ^ "Picadillo". mx.recepedia.com (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  25. ^ "Picadillo Mexicano de Puerco". www.mexican-authentic-recipes.com. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  26. ^ Soco, Mary (2017-06-29). "Picadillo de cerdo con verduras. Receta de cocina mexicana". Directo al Paladar México (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-19.