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Easy Mexican Picadillo Con Papas

Ground beef isn’t just for homemade tacos. Mexican picadillo con papas are a staple in our home. The tasty one-pot meal takes 30 minutes to prepare, and it’s a perfect filling for tacos, tamales, and soup. Or you can eat it as a main dish with Mexican rice and corn tortillas.

Picadillo con papas in a serving bowl and topped with fresh cilantro.

What is Mexican Picadillo?

Picadillo con papas (also called carne molida con papas) is a popular comfort food in Mexican homes. The quick and easy meal features a base of ground beef with potatoes and warm spices.

The exact recipe for picadillo varies depending on region and personal preferences. However, the meal often includes onions, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes. Additional ingredients like potatoes, carrots, peas, raisins, olives, and capers are also commonly added to enhance the flavor.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • Avocado Oil: Saute the onions, garlic, and serrano chilies in avocado oil.
  • Onion: Finely dice one white or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Serrano Chilies: For a bit of heat, finely dice the serrano chilies or replace them with jalapeños if you prefer.
  • Ground Beef: Picadillo means minced in English. As such, take your time breaking up the beef. You can do this using a spatula, but I highly recommend a meat chopper. Plus, the cooking tool is fun to use. We use lean ground beef, but you can replace it with chicken, turkey, or beyond meat for a vegetarian option.
  • Spices: Enhance the flavor of picadillo con papas with salt, cayenne, cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, black pepper, and bay leaves.
  • Tomatoes: I use three fresh Roma tomatoes, but you can also use a can of diced tomatoes.
  • Potato: Dice a russet potato and cook it with the ground beef; the diced potatoes absorb the sauce and simmer until they become fork-tender.
  • Chicken Broth: Use chicken broth to enhance the flavor of the sauce. 
  • Cilantro: Brighten and garnish the meal with fresh cilantro. 

How to Make Picadillo Con Papas

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Warm avocado oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, serrano chilies, and garlic; cook until the onions soften and become translucent, for about 10 minutes.

Onions, garlic, and chilies sautéing in a pan.

Step 2: Add the ground beef, and break it up with a meat chopper until minced. Cook until brown and heated through for about 10 minutes. Then, add the diced potatoes to the mixture.

Ground beef and potatoes cooking with the onion mixture.

Step 3: Stir in the cumin, salt, cayenne, paprika, oregano, and black pepper. Continue cooking for another minute.

Spices added to the ground beef mixture.

Step 4: Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes and chicken broth, then add the bay leaves. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

Reduce and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the cilantro to serve.

Cilantro added to the simmering beef mixture.

Expert Tips

  • Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces to make sure they cook evenly. Then, nestle the potatoes into the tomato mixture so they become fork-tender.

Searching for More Like This? 

If you love this recipe, try one of these Mexican favorites!  

Picadillo con papas in a serving bowl with fresh cilantro.

What to Serve with Mexican Picadillo?

Complete the meal by pairing one of these tasty sides with picadillo con papas.

What to do With the Leftovers 

  • Refrigerate  Store the leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep for up to 4-5 days, making this meal perfect for meal prep.
  • Freeze  Let the dish cool and transfer leftovers to a freezer-safe container or bag. Picadillo con papas freezes for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat  Warm the leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Repurpose  Use the leftovers to fill tacos, picadillo soup, or quesadillas. You can remove the potatoes and use the filling to make chile rellenos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Mexican and Cuban picadillo?

Picadillo is a beloved dish in Mexican and Cuban cuisines, but some key differences set them apart. Mexican picadillo or picadillo con papas features ground beef simmered with a vibrant blend of cumin, paprika, and oregano, resulting in rich flavor.

On the other hand, Cuban beef picadillo showcases a savory combination of sofrito, sazon seasoning, and ground beef or pork that slow cooks to perfection.

What to make with leftover picadillo con papas?

Picadillo is one of my favorite meat fillings, and there are plenty of ways to repurpose it into another delicious meal. Use the ground beef and potatoes to fill empanadas, tacos, or tamales.

You can even stuff bell peppers with the flavorful beef mixture and bake them until they turn golden brown. Another alternative is to transform it into a hearty soup by adding broth, vegetables, and tomato sauce. And let’s not forget how tasty picadill con papas would be as a topping for nachos.

More Ground Beef Recipes:

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Picadillo con papas in a serving bowl with fresh cilantro.

Picadillo Con Papas (Ground Beef with Potatoes)

Tressa Jamil
Enjoy easy-to-make Mexican picadillo con papas in just 30 minutes. Serve the one-pot meal with corn tortillas or use it as filling for other dishes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 226 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 serrano chilies, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large russet potato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 3 medium roma tomatoes, finely diced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
Instructions
 
  • Warm the avocado oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, serrano chilies, and garlic; cook until the onions soften and become translucent, for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef, and break it up with a meat chopper until finely minced. Cook until brown and heated through for about 10 minutes. Then, add the diced potatoes to the mixture.
  • Stir in the cumin, salt, cayenne, paprika, oregano, and black pepper. Continue cooking for another minute.
  • Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes and chicken broth, then add the bay leaves. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the cilantro to serve.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces to make sure they cook evenly. Then, nestle the potatoes into the tomato mixture so they become fork-tender.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 226 kcal | Carbohydrates: 10 g | Protein: 17 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Cholesterol: 48 mg | Sodium: 448 mg | Potassium: 263 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 7 IU | Vitamin C: 14 mg | Calcium: 2 mg | Iron: 14 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Masi Lewis

Thursday 24th of August 2023

This dish is great as is but I added a little cayenne pepper to give it a little spice!

Tressa Jamil

Thursday 24th of August 2023

I am so happy you enjoyed the meal, and thank you for sharing your variation.

Olga

Thursday 18th of May 2023

This is the way my mother made this meal with Mexican rice and homemade flour tortillas.

Tressa Jamil

Thursday 18th of May 2023

I love how food can bring back memories and connections, and I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe!