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Mexican Picadillo Soup (Sopa de Picadillo)

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

Picadillo Soup in a bowl with toppings.

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.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • Avocado Oil: Saute the onions, garlic, and chiles in avocado oil or olive oil. 
  • Onion: Finely dice one white or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four garlic cloves, but don’t measure with your heart.
  • Serrano Chiles: For a bit of heat, 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 beef. You can do this using a spatula, but I highly recommend a meat chopper. Plus, the cooking tool is satisfying 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 soup with salt, cayenne pepper, ground 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 russet potatoes and cook them with the ground beef. The diced potatoes absorb the soup and simmer until they become fork-tender.
  • Chicken Broth: Use chicken broth to flavor the soup. However, check the salt and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  • Cilantro: Brighten and garnish the meal with fresh cilantro. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • Use ground turkey, chicken, or pork instead of ground beef.
  • Add common vegetable additions 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 chilies, and 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 finely minced. Cook until brown and heated through for about 10 minutes. Then, add the diced potatoes and cook for a few minutes to soak up any excess oil.

Potatoes added to the ground meat.

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

Spiced added to meat and potatoes.

Step 4: Deglaze the pot 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 20 minutes.

Broth and picadillo soup ingredients in a dutch oven.

Step 5: Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the cilantro to serve.

Garnish soup with cilantro.

Expert Tips

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

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Picadillo Soup in a bowl with toppings.

Serving Suggestions

Serve picadillo soup with garnishes like chopped cilantro, jalapeños, avocado, and lime wedges. Here are a few ideas to help you 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 containing 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 and Stew 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 in a warm broth – perfect for using leftovers and can be ready in under an hour.
5 from 1 vote
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 chiles, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large russet potato, cubed
  • 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 cilantro chopped
Instructions
 
  • Warm the avocado oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot 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 using a meat chopper until finely minced. Cook until brown and heated through for about 10 minutes. Then, add the diced potatoes and cook for a few minutes to soak up any excess oil.
  • Stir in the ground cumin, salt, cayenne, paprika, oregano, and black pepper. Continue cooking for another minute.
  • Deglaze the pot 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 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the cilantro to serve.
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!
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