Cuban Picadillo Rice

If you're ever in a cooking funk, venture out to other cultures for inspiration! In my kitchen, I love making dishes from other ethnic cultures. It's my way to taste the world with my family and to introduce flavors to my young son. Our tastebuds took a recent trip to Cuba when I made this Cuban Picadillo Rice. Chock full of peas, carrots, potatoes, bell peppers and olives, this traditional seasoned ground beef dish gets tossed with rice for a one dish meal.

Picadillo is a dish that's not specific to Cuba. In fact, other countries have their own version of picadillo using regional ingredients to set them apart. Even my native country of Philippines has their own version, also known as giniling. Since we're a family that loves rice, it seemed only natural to combine it with this flavorful ground beef dish. You can enjoy this as a main dish or even as a flavorful side. Whatever you choose, your tastebuds will be grateful for new flavors!

Picadillo Rice
recipe adapted from About

1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cloves garlic
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic
1 medium white onion, chopped fine
1 small red or green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup diced baby carrots
1/2 cup beef stock
3/4 cup tomato sauce
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
8 to 10 green olives, pitted
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for sautéing
2 cups cooked rice, cold (preferably day old rice)

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.

In a large non-stick pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the onions,  garlic, green pepper, and carrots until soft.

Add the ground beef mixture and brown. Once browned, add beef stock, and tomato sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the diced potato. Cover and cook another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are done.

Remove the cover. Add the olives and cook uncovered 15 minutes or until the liquid is fully evaporated, but the meat is still moist.

Add another 2 tablespoons cooking oil to the pan. When the picadillo starts to sizzle on the bottom of the pan, add the rice, crumbling into the pan. Toss to combine, sautéing until warmed through, about 6-10 minutes.

Continue to cook until the rice begins to toast up. Once fully warmed through and slightly toasted, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped parsley.


  1. Oh my... this is one of my favorite meals, I will try this version! :)

  2. This sounds like a fun meal! I love trying new dishes like this :)

  3. So, you add cooked rice near the end? How much? (I think this is what is supposed to happen.)

    And, do you not at any stage drain off the fat from the ground beef?

    Looking forward to trying this.

  4. Anonymous - 2 cups of cooked, cold rice is added and the fat is not drained out. It's used to cook the vegetables and the rice (with additional oil) to impart more flavor.

  5. Just made this tonight and it was very good. Thank you for the recipe!