This authentic Mexican picadillo recipe made especially for the Instant Pot is that kind of nostalgia producing recipe that gets you right in the feels. It warms hearts and bellies all over North and Central America.
Mexican Picadillo is a typical meat and potatoes comfort food recipe, made more easily by using the Instant Pot. You’ll find a flavor-packed combination of ingredients in this ground beef hash style meal.
Recipe | What is Mexican Picadillo? | Ingredients
What is Mexican Picadillo?
As it turns out, the answer is not as easy as you may think. It’s a meat and potatoes comfort food, but there are lots of variations.
I researched about a dozen Picadillo recipes before deciding on what I wanted to include in my own recipe here.
Each country has its own ideas about the ingredients for Picadillo and, even within the same country, you’ll find several different variations.
Have a browse at all
At Wikipedia, I found variations of Picadillo recipes for countries all over Latin America, including Mexico and even as far away as the Philipines.
You can pretty much call this Picadillo a free-range kind of recipe.
Mexican Picadillo vs. Cuban Picadillo
For the most part, Mexican Picadillo and Cuban Picadillo are about the same with the same comfort food nostalgia. You have ground beef and potatoes. This is the first time I’ve seen green olives in a Mexican recipe.
I’ve added both jalapeño peppers and serrano. Only one serrano will give you that touch of spicy heat. It’s enough to know it’s there without overpowering the dish.
Have a look at our Scoville Heat Scale to make your decision about which chile pepper to use.
I decided against adding raisins as I found in many of the Picadillo recipes. I was just too skeptical about raisins in a stew. I’m sure it must be good, but I wasn’t prepared for that right now.
I think I may be a diehard fan of raisins for sweet things, not savory things. But, that’s just me. Your mileage may vary as do your tastebuds.
Olives and raisins are pretty much expected in the Cuban version whereas many Mexican families don’t use either. I also saw the addition of white wine in several Cuban recipes.
The decision about what ingredients to include in my own Mexican Picadillo was based largely, of course, on what we had in the refrigerator and pantry.
- Ground Beef
- Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes
- Diced Tomatoes
Using my All Purpose Seasoning Blend makes things easier. If you already have some made up or you have your own favorite seasoning blend, use that. If not, I’ve included the individual seasonings in the recipe.
At the last minute, I decided to also add Knorr Tomato and Chicken Bouillon to add a bit more flavor. You don’t need to add it. It’s in our pantry, so why not?
It gives more tomato and chicken intense-ness without adding more liquid because I wanted a hash type meal, not a soup.
Another tasty alternative is the jarred Better Than Bouillon seasoning bases. I’ve tried both chicken and beef. They are both wonderful additions.
6-Quart Instant Pot
Here is our trusty Instant Pot. Mom is right. This thing makes cooking so easy! Instant Pot comfort food recipes are my favorite!
Using an Instant Pot has all the ease of making a one skillet meal without all the babysitting. It’s great!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, have a look at this 6-Quart Instant Pot (aff link) which we use. We’ve had it for several years and it still works great.
Easy Step by Step Instructions
The steps here are typical for most of my Instant Pot recipes.
- Add olive oil.
- Saute the meat.
- Add the onions.
- Stir in the rest of the vegetables and saute.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Place the lid and pressure cook.
It sounds easy because it really is easy. Mexican Picadillo is traditionally served with rice but you can serve it any way you like. Wrap it in a tortilla, serve with polenta and beans. Eat it by itself. Add some shredded cheese.
Instant Pot Picadillo is a delicious, hearty meal that you can have ready to eat in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a Spanish word and is pronounced pee-kah-dee-yoh.
1. Serve as the main dish, ladled next to or on top of rice, polenta or mashed potatoes.
2. Stuff empanadas or chiles rellenos with picadillo. Fill and wrap a tortilla for enchiladas or add as a filling for a tamale.
3. Make a picadillo taco by placing in a tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.
4. Make a torta or tostada with picadillo.
This is one of the healthiest Mexican food recipes I’ve ever made. It’s low in calories and carbohydrates and it’s gluten free. By using turkey instead of beef, you can almost eliminate the fat content.
More Comfort Food Recipes
I have another similar Ground Beef Stew recipe that you may also enjoy.
Here is a delicious Kielbasa and Lentils Soup made in the Instant Pot.
If you’re looking for something without meat, try the Vegan Noodle Soup Instant Pot.
Don’t miss this crowd pleaser, Creamy Baked Spaghetti Recipe.
Here’s a quick, kid-friendly recipe to try: Easy Fideo Soup.
Instant Pot Mexican Picadillo Recipe (+video)Tap to leave a star rating
For more information, be sure to check the recipe details in the attached 24Bite® post.
- 6-quart Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 Jalapenos, seeds and membrane removed, diced
- 1 Serrano Pepper, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 large Carrot, peeled, chopped
- 1 pound Baby Yellow Potatoes, chopped (peel or no peel is optional)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 tablespoon Knorr Tomato with Chicken Bouillon Powder, optional
- 14.5 ounces Diced Tomatoes
- 1 cup Water
- Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot to begin cooking in saute mode. Add olive oil. Once the olive oil becomes heated, about 1 minute, add ground beef and cook for about 4-5 minutes. It does not need to fully cook and can still be a little pink.
- Add onions, garlic and peppers. Continue in saute mode until onions are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add carrot, potatoes and seasonings. Continue in saute mode for about 2-3 minutes more. Hit cancel on Instant Pot to turn off saute mode.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Check the Instant Pot lid to ensure the rubber gasket is in place and nothing is blocking the vent. Place lid on top and set lever to Sealing. Press the Manual button on the the Instant Pot and set to high pressure for 7 minutes, then natural release fully. The entire cook time will be about 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and turn off Instant Pot.
- Makes 8 servings.
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Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. All amounts are estimates and 24Bite® takes no responsibility for actual figures since calculations vary by packaging and supplier. Please calculate the amounts yourself based on package labeling if you have specific dietary requirements. 24Bite®, Kim Guzman or Christian Guzman shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on this website or actions you take as a result.
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It is one of the best picadillo recipes I’ve seen to date – definitely adding it to my weekly menu! 🙂
Alisha Rodrigues says
I love how you’ve used simple yet nutritious ingredients to bring this dish together.. Looks so delish !!
Sounds like a great recipe to make in bulk for meal prep! I have some meatless meat, I wonder if that would work in this recipe as well?
Christian Guzman says
Yes, absolutely! If your plant-based crumbles are frozen, add the bag (still frozen) with one or two tablespoons of olive oil and cook as directed for the ground beef. Then continue as normal for the remainder of the recipe.
After all the recipes I’ve researched l landed on this one and so glad I did. Absolutely fantastic, I did only use 1 jalapeño because we have a little one, and used beef broth instead of water! Thank you so much, definitely putting this one in rotation!
Christian Guzman says
That’s great! I’m so glad it worked out for you. Thank you for writing!
Oh, this looks like a perfect comfort food dinner for a weeknight.
I love the flavors in this and always love a new instant pot recipe!
Instant Pot Cooking makes life so easy. This recipe is nutritious as well as a total comfort food with all the healthy veggies too. Flavors perfect. Yum
This was delicious and flavorful!! I used turkey and added zucchini. Can’t wait to make again.
Christian Guzman says
Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Great substitutions too!
Just made this tonight and it’s one of the best recipes I’ve tried! I really appreciate the step by step detailed instructions that made things go so much smoother! You’re the best!!
Christian Guzman says
I’m so glad you liked it. Thank you for visiting!
My husband loved this recipe! Thank you!
Christian Guzman says
You’re welcome! I’m glad it worked out so well for you.