Cuban Picadillo is an authentic beef recipe made in the Instant Pot! It’s filled with olives, onions, green peppers, and ground beef. This Cuban recipe is ready in a 20 minute (ish) cook time and is delicious with rice and beans, or in tacos, or rice bowls.
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Cuban food is so iconic, and after cooking a few recipes from the country, I can see why! Everything about this country is straight up delicious.
This recipe for Cuban Picadillo has been an awesome discovery in my household. Even for someone that doesn’t like the taste of olives or vinegar, I absolutely LOVE this recipe!
This will definitely be going on our kitchen table the next time we decide to make rice bowls 🙂
What Ingredients are in Cuban Picadillo?
Yukon gold potato
Salt and pepper
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How to Make Cuban Picadillo
Turn on the SAUTE function on your Instant Pot. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and allow it to heat. Add the diced potatoes and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes begin to soften. Remove the potatoes to a separate bowl.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the Instant Pot, making sure it is still on SAUTE. Add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp garlic and ½ tsp oregano and saute for another minute or two until fragrant.
Turn the SAUTE function off. Add the tomato sauce, raisins, and beef to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to break up the beef, stirring until the beef is broken up completely (it will not be cooked).
Add potatoes, olives, olive juice, white wine, salt and pepper to taste, an additional tsp garlic, and an additional tsp oregano. Mix to combine.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and lock into place. Turn the Instant Pot to MANUAL for 5 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release. Open the Instant Pot and stir.
Serve over rice, in tacos, burritos, etc. Enjoy! Leave a comment letting me know what you thought!
How Else Can I Customize this Recipe?
There were a few ingredients in other Cuban Picadillo recipes that I chose to not include in this recipe. If you’d like to get fancy, you can add any of these ingredients, including jalapenos or worcestershire sauce.
The good thing about this recipe is that you can customize it to your tastes. If you don’t like jalapenos (like me), you don’t have to add them! If you’re obsessed, add as many as you want.
Can I Make this Cuban Picadillo Recipe with Pork?
When researching for this recipe, I found plenty of Cuban Picadillo recipes made with ground pork, so that’s originally how I made the recipe as well.
As was pointed out to me by a few people of Cuban descent, the traditional Cuban way to make this recipe is with beef. If you’d like to use pork, through, that is always an option! I wont judge ya one bit 🙂
What Goes Well with Picadillo?
There are a couple ways I’d recommend enjoying this Cuban Picadillo. The most common way, of course, is to enjoy it with rice. You can also add Cuban-style black beans!
If you like mashed potatoes, you can serve this dish over mashed potatoes. You can also serve it in burritos, tacos, taco bowls, or more.
Can You Freeze Picadillo?
Absolutely! Just make sure to put your Cuban Picadillo in an airtight container. Then, take it out of the freezer about 12 hours before you want to eat it. Put it in the fridge to allow for ample time to thaw.
Did you like this recipe for Cuban Picadillo? If so, leave a comment on this post letting me know! When you make this recipe, post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @TheForeignFork and hashtag #TheForeignFork.
If you liked this recipe, you might also like these other Instant Pot/Cultural dishes I picked out just for you:
- Gallo Pinto
- Cuban Black Beans
- Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- Instant Pot Thai Peanut Pasta
- How to Make White Rice in the Instant Pot
Cuban Picadillo in the Instant Pot
- Pressure Cooker
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yukon gold potato, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (green preferred) , diced
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- ¾ tsp ground oregano
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 lb ground beef
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup green olives, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive juice
- 2 tbsp-¼ cup white wine, depending on preference
- Turn on the SAUTE function on your Instant Pot. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and allow it to heat. Add the diced potatoes and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes begin to soften. Remove the potatoes to a separate bowl.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the Instant Pot, making sure it is still on SAUTE. Add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp garlic and ½ tsp oregano and saute for another minute or two until fragrant.
- Turn the SAUTE function off. Add the tomato sauce, raisins, and beef to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to break up the beef, stirring until the beef is broken up completely (it will not be cooked).
- Add potatoes, olives, olive juice, white wine, salt and pepper to taste, an additional tsp garlic, and an additional tsp oregano. Mix to combine.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and lock into place. Turn the Instant Pot to MANUAL HIGH for 5 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release. Open the Instant Pot and stir.
- Serve over rice, in tacos, burritos, etc. Enjoy! Leave a comment letting me know what you thought!
Any suggestions on how to make it juicier? I also get a “good burnt” message and end up finishing it on stove.
The Foreign Fork says
Hi Jennifer, You can add some broth into the pot and then cook it out on the saute function after the pressure cooking is over 🙂 Glad you liked the taste!
Your video states cook on high for 5 mins, but the printed version of the recipe states to cook on high for 15 mins. Since, I saw you set it to 5 mins on the video, I am assuming it is a misprint?
The Foreign Fork says
Thank you so much for pointing that out! Yes, a misprint. I will edit the post now 🙂
Can’t wait to make this tonight! I have not had this in awhile, and I have never made it with the potatoes. I love potatoes and I love Cuban food!
So, this is already a winner for me! Thanks for sharing!
Beatriz Rodriguez says
Hi! I just tried this as a beginner instant pot user. This came out wonderful! I omitted the raisins as I am not a fan. But as a Cuban American I can say that my mom put potatoes. (Response to the other commentary). Different areas of Cuba do it differently. Thank you for the recipe, it’s a keeper!
The Foreign Fork says
I am SO glad that you liked it, Beatriz!!! And I’m glad to know that the potatoes align with your Cuban heritage. Thanks so much for leaving this comment 🙂
Alina Abramson says
Hi, Nice recipe. I’m Cuban and have never seen a picadillo recipe with potatoes added to it. All the other ingredients are on point. We usually eat it over rice. Leftover picadillo is used for two wonderful dishes, as a filling for Empanadas and for Papas Rellenas. The latter involves using leftover mashed potatoes, made into two half balls with the picadillo filling in the center then closed. The balls are then breaded using beaten egg and breadcrumbs. They are then usually deep fat fried very quickly. One of my favorite things to eat. Enjoy!
The Foreign Fork says
Hi Alina, thanks for the message!! I actually have a recipe for Papas Rellenas on my site. You can find it here. Thanks so much for leaving a comment and have a great day!
Hello, I would love to make this recipe but my fiancé can’t eat tomatoes due to digestive issues. All the other ingredients are fine for him though and well loved! So my question is: since I’m leaving out the can of tomatoes, which I presume is a major portion of the proper amount of liquid needed for this to come to pressure and not burn, how much liquid should I add to replace the juices?
Thank you and I look forward to being able to try this out!
The Foreign Fork says
Hi Abby, thanks for asking! I changed the recipe a little this morning and now instead of tomatoes + juice, it uses tomato sauce! The tomato sauce thickens the consistency of the picadillo, so if you can’t use tomato sauce, it might come out a little more watery, but that’s okay. I would recommend about 1 1/4 cup water. I must admit, I’ve never tried it this way. But if I were recipe testing, that’s what I would start with 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!