Easy Picadillo Tacos

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This Mexican-style Picadillo Taco recipe needs no headnotes. If you haven't had it before, it's hands down one of the best recipes you'll ever make with the best taco seasoning. Spoon it into some hard taco shells and load it with a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese, and don't forget to serve with a side of my flavor-packed Chili Lime Creamed Corn. It will instantly transport you to childhood/happiness.

An oval white platter with picadillo hard shell tacos topped with shredded cheese, placed on a tiled surface, with an open beverage in a bottle on the side, with a hand picking up a taco from the platter.


 

Why I Love This Recipe

A few years ago, my best friend Matt introduced me to his moms Picadillo recipe. It made an appearance in my Eat What You Want cookbook and I think it's safe to say that anyone who's made it is instantly obsessed. Fast forward to this past summer, I made a version of it with my friends Kyle and Courtney while they were visiting LA! This time we turned it into tacos.

A close-up shot of a white platter with with picadillo hard shell tacos topped with shredded cheese.

Kyle, a restauranteur in Dallas has a version of these tacos on his menu at Joe Leo's. So it felt only fitting that I turn the recipe from my book into tacos so we can all make them at home if you're not within driving distance of Joe Leo's in Dallas!!

Picadillo is basically a Spanish / Latin / Mexican hash. It’s ground beef and any number of variations of veggies mixed in. EVERY Latin culture has a version of it and it’s different from place to place. Matt's mom makes the best in my opinion and yes perhaps I am biased but I'm sticking with it!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Mise-en-place of all the ingredients required to make picadillo tacos.
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Chicken Stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Ground Beef
  • Ground Pork
  • Yellow Onion roughly chopped
  • Garlic roughly chopped
  • Carrots roughly chopped
  • Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped
  • Jalapeño Peppers finely chopped
  • Dalkin&Co Taco Seasoning
  • Cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Hard taco shells to serve 
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Iceberg Lettuce

*For a full list of ingredients and instructions please see recipe card below.

How to Make Picadillo Tacos

A blender with cubed tomatoes and chicken stock.

Step 1: Start by adding the tomatoes and chicken stock in a blender and puree until smooth.

A white dutch oven with olive oil and ground beef and ground pork.

Step 2: in a large, heavy bottom pan, add the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and ground pork to the pan and break it into pieces with a wooden spoon.

A white dutch oven with cooked pork and beef topped with finely chopped carrots, onions, potatoes, farlic and jalapeño peppers.

Step 3: Once the meat has browned, add the onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and jalapeño peppers and sauté for 8-10 minutes until the carrots and potatoes start to cook down.

A white dutch oven with picadillo meats and veggies cooking, and spices just added to it.

Step 4: Stir in the spices and pour the tomato mixture into the pan. Bring it to a boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.

A white dutch oven with picadillo being cooked and puréed tomatoes just added.

Step 5: Cook the mixture for 10-15 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are fully cooked.

A white dutch oven with picadillo garnished with cilantro, with a bowl of shredded cheese, finely shredded iceberg lettuce and hard shell tacos on the side.

Step 6: Season it with a little more salt and fresh cilantro.

How to Store Picadillo Tacos

You can store the picadillo (without the tacos and add-ons) in airtight containers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Make sure you heat it through on the stovetop or microwave. This is a great thing to have leftover, and you can use it in tacos, taco salad or on rice for multiple meals!

How to Freeze Picadillo Tacos

You can freeze the picadillo in freezer bags or airtight containers, but I do not recommend keeping it for longer than 2-3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight to make re-heating easy and reheat it throughout to safe temperature(165F).

Tips & Tricks

My favorite way to serve picadillo as the main dish is in hard taco shells with a boatload of shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. You can also serve Mexican picadillo with rice and beans, over mashed potatoes, on a tostada, or swap it for the taco meat in a taco salad. As for sides, Chili Lime Creamed Corn or an easyAvocado Corn Salad would be delicious to serve with picadillo.

An oval white platter with picadillo hard shell tacos topped with shredded cheese, placed on a tiled surface, with an open beverage in a bottle on the side.

FAQs

What is Mexican Picadillo?

Mexican Picadillo is an incredibly versatile dish. The base consists of ground beef, tomatoes, and potatoes. Different regions will have variations to the recipe, like adding carrots or various types of peppers like jalapeños.

What is the difference between Mexican and Cuban Picadillo?

Two of the most common styles you'll see are Mexican picadillo, like this recipe, and Cuban picadillo. The Cuban variety has the addition of raisins, capers, and green olives, whereas the Mexican version includes potatoes and packs a bit more heat. There are many variations to the recipe unique to every region in every country.

Similar Recipes

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today!

Picadillo Tacos from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Picadillo Tacos

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 14 votes
Spoon this picadillo into some hard taco shells and load it with a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese, and it will instantly transport you to childhood/happiness.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-large russet potato peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dalkin&Co Taco Seasoning
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt & pepper
  • Hard taco shells to serve 
  • 1 large block cheddar cheese finely shredded
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce finely shredded

Instructions
 

For the Sauce:

  • Add the tomatoes and chicken stock in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

For the Meat:

  • In a large heavy bottom pan, add olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the ground beef and ground pork. Break it into pieces with a wooden spoon and cook till browned.  Add the onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and jalapeño peppers and sauté for 8-10 minutes until the carrots and potatoes start to cook down. 
  • Add the Dalkin&Co seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper, stir until combined.  Mix in tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to a simmer, cook 10-15 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are fully cooked. 
  • Adjust seasoning as needed and add in cilantro.  
  • Assemble tacos with a pinch of iceberg lettuce, a large amount of freshly shredded cheddar and a spoonful of the meat mixture + serve.

Notes

My favorite way to serve picadillo as the main dish is in hard taco shells with a boatload of shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. You can also serve Mexican picadillo with rice and beans, over mashed potatoes, on a tostada, or swap it for the taco meat in a taco salad.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 754kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 1517mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 7182IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Rave reviews from everyone in the family - toddlers up to adults! My children both wanted seconds! They are also great leftover which is a bonus. Easy enough for a weeknight meal, but feels more special than a regular taco. 10/10!

  2. I can’t wait to try this. I have had picadillo served in a warm bolillo roll split lengthwise down the middle, with some salsa drizzled on top. Delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! It's straightforward, low-prep (and what prep there is can largely be done in advance if needed), and tasty!

    1. Ours came out very soupy too. My husband thinks maybe our Roma tomatoes were large? We just put back on a simmer to cook it down, but will take much longer than recipe says. Fingers crossed! It smells delicious!

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