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Picadillo Soup

Mexican picadillo soup or sopa de picadillo is a comforting dish with a classic picadillo con papas flavor in a warm and cozy broth. It’s a perfect way to transform leftovers, and it’s ready in under an hour for a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner.

Picadillo Soup in a bowl with toppings.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

What is Picadillo Soup?

Picadillo, pronounced [pi-kuh-di-yo], is a traditional dish in the PhilippinesCaribbean, and Latin America. While the spices and some ingredients vary by region, the building blocks are mostly the same. The ground or minced meat cooks with potatoes and vegetables in a tomato-based sauce.

Simmer the ingredients in a broth to make picadillo soup, allowing the flavors to combine, creating a hearty and delicious soup. Serve picadillo soup as a main dish or pair it with Mexican rice, corn tortillas, or crusty bread. 

The soup is a versatile dish with variations from different countries, including Spain, Mexico, the Philippines, and various Latin American countries. For another variation, try my version of Cuban picadillo.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Avocado Oil: Saute the onions, minced garlic, and peppers in avocado oil or olive oil. 
  • Onion: Finely dice a yellow onion or red onion.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four garlic cloves, but don’t measure with your heart.
  • Serrano Peppers: Finely dice the serrano peppers or replace them with jalapeños.
  • Ground Beef: Picadillo means minced in English. As such, take your time breaking up the ground beef. You can do this with a spatula, but I recommend using a meat chopper. I use 80/20 ground beef but try ground chicken, pork, turkey, or Beyond Meat for a vegetarian option. However, for all you ground beef lovers out there, try one of these ground beef recipes!
  • Spices: Enhance the flavor of the easy picadillo soup with salt, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, black pepper, and bay leaves. 
  • Tomatoes: I use three fresh Roma tomatoes, but a small can of diced tomatoes works in a pinch.
  • Potato: Dice russet potatoes and cook them with the ground beef. The diced potatoes absorb the excess oil from the ground beef and simmer until they become fork-tender.
  • Chicken Broth: Use chicken broth to flavor the soup, or try homemade broth or store-bought chicken stock.
  • Cilantro: Garnish the soup with chopped fresh cilantro. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • Include common vegetables like diced carrots and peas.

How to Make Picadillo Soup

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

Step 1: Warm the avocado oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, serrano peppers, and minced garlic. Cook until the onions soften and become translucent, for about 10 minutes.

Onions and peppers sauteing in a pan.

Step 2: Add the ground beef and break it up using a meat chopper until minced. Cook until brown and heated through for 10 minutes. Then, add the diced potatoes and cook for a few minutes to absorb the excess oil from the beef.

Potatoes added to the ground meat.

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

Spiced added to meat and potatoes.

Step 4: Deglaze the pot with the diced 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 20 minutes.

Broth and picadillo soup ingredients in a dutch oven.

Expert Tips

  • Cut the potatoes and any vegetable additions the same size to ensure they cook at the same rate.

Serving Suggestions

Garnish the hearty picadillo soup with chopped cilantro, jalapeños, avocado slices, and lime wedges. And here are a few side dishes to complete the meal.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the soup cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Picadillo soup freezes for three months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the homemade soup in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat: Warm the leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is picadillo made of?

Picadillo is a hearty Mexican dish made from sautéed ground meat (typically beef, but sometimes pork or turkey) with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and warm spices. Many recipes also call for potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and green peas.

You can spoon the savory mixture over white rice, use it to fill tacos and empanadas or include it in picadillo soup.

More Soup Recipes:

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Picadillo Soup in a bowl with toppings.

Picadillo Soup

Tressa Jamil
Mexican picadillo soup is a comforting dish with classic picadillo flavor simmered in a warm broth, and it's ready in under an hour.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 356 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large russet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground 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
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
Instructions
 
  • Warm the avocado oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, serrano peppers, and minced garlic. Cook until the onions soften and become translucent, for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and break it up using a meat chopper until minced. Cook until brown and heated through for 10 minutes. Then, add the diced potatoes and cook for a few minutes to absorb the excess oil from the beef.
  • Stir in the ground cumin, salt, cayenne, paprika, Mexican oregano, and black pepper. Continue cooking for another minute.
  • Deglaze the pot with the diced 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 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Cut the potatoes and any vegetable additions the same size to ensure they cook at the same rate.
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: 356 kcal | Carbohydrates: 26 g | Protein: 17 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 57 mg | Sodium: 1029 mg | Potassium: 867 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 523 IU | Vitamin C: 14 mg | Calcium: 53 mg | Iron: 3 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!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating