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This Whole30 Picadillo is a true family favourite! Served with freshly fried tostones, some avocado and maybe some rice, it’s a delicious way to use your favourite type of ground meat. I’ve personally made this picadillo more times than I can count and each batch is better than the last! It’s easy, feeds a crowd and tastes even better the next day! You can batch cook it and freeze in individual packets for quick-and-easy weeknight meals. Or, you can make it for a special occasion! It’s always a crowd pleaser!

Whole30 Picadillo Paleo Primal Gourmet Easy Ground Beef Recipe

This Picadillo recipe is inspired by Cuban versions made by sautéing ground beef with onions, peppers, olives, capers, raisins and spices. Personally, I like my Picadillo without the capers and raisins. I find that the olives add enough of the briney, salty flavours and I prefer it not to be sweet from the raisins. If you wanna include both, go for it! You’re the boss, applesauce!

Lately, I’ve been serving this Whole30 Picadillo with a side of my Zesty Purple Cabbage Slaw and Tostones. Each recipe is Whole30 compliant and Paleo so they will suit your lifestyles year-round.

Alternatively, you can try making what I call a “Paleo Fries Supreme” by serving the Picadillo overtop of my Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with some of my famous Guacamole. Top everything off with some thinly sliced radish and you’re in for a serious treat!

Whole30 Picadillo Paleo Primal Gourmet Easy Ground Beef Recipe

If you love this Whole30 Picadillo, you should try my

Whole30 Ropa Vieja and Whole30 Mojo Roast Pork

For years, I only cooked Picadillo on the stovetop and still think that’s the best method for it. I think Picadillo tastes best when the sauce is nice and thick. By cooking it in a Dutch oven or sauté pan, you have more control on the evaporation of liquid. A soupy consistency is not what I’m after here. Note that the stovetop method requires at least 60min of gentle simmering for the meat to breakdown into tender morsels and for the flavours to develop. Aside from the occasional stir, it’s a very inactive cooking process and fairly reasonable for a busy weeknight meal that feeds the whole family.

If, however, you find yourself in a pinch and time is of the essence, you can use an Instant Pot. You can cut the cooking time down to 1/4 of the stovetop version and still have a delicious Whole30 Picadillo. As always, if you make this Whole30 Picadillo in your Instant Pot you should still take the steps of browning the meat and sautéing the vegetables and spices. These steps will ensure maximum flavour and texture!

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5 from 1 vote

Whole30 Picadillo - Easy and Delicious

This Whole30 Picadillo is easy, delicious, feeds a crowd and tastes even better the next day! Try serving it with some of my Zesty Purple Cabbage Slaw and Tostones for a Cuban-inspired feast!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 pounds grass-fed lean ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion , diced or julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1.5 cups sliced and pitted green olives , such as Manzanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins, free of added sugars, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 cups organic chicken stock


  • Preheat a Dutch oven or sauté pan over med-high heat. Add 1 tbsp avocado oil and heat until shimmering. Add the beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to crumble it into small pieces, until well browned, around 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the browned beef to a bowl. Set aside.
  • Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the pot, reduce the heat to medium and add onions and peppers. Season with a small pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are slightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, an additional 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the spices are toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to lift any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Return the browned beef to the pot and add the bay leaves, olives and raisins, if using. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 60 minutes.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Serve with Zesty Purple Cabbage Slaw and Tostones.



*Note: you can make Picadillo the day before and reheat at the time of serving. The flavours will continue to develop in the fridge over night and it will taste even better the next day!
**Tip: If your Picadillo is a bit too ‘watery’, remove the lid and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. This will allow for some of the moisture in the pot to evaporate. It will also concentrate the rich flavours of the Picadillo – a good thing! You are aiming for a thick yet juicy consistency that loosely coats the back of a spoon.
***Careful not to cook the sauce for much longer than 10 minutes or it may dry-out or burn.
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below!

About the Author

Hi, i'm Ronny! In 2013, after a lifetime of struggling with my weight and body issues, I rehabilitated my relationship with food, lost over 40 pounds and completely changed my life.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Delicious!! We add extra jalapeno-stuffed olives and load it with lots of guac….just amazing! I’ve made this several times and it is a family favorite! And a go-to when I’m not sure what to make 🙂

    1. Hey Liz! Love the jalapeño stuffed olives! Sounds delicious! Really glad you guys enjoy the recipe as much as I do!

  2. I’m making this for dinner right now! I saw it on your insta story a few days ago and I thought yummmm now that looks great! Thanks for the inspo!

  3. 5 stars
    I think it’s an underestimation when I say that my husband told me 10 times how much he loved this dish. I made it with the Zesty Purple Cabbage Slaw and tostones. I am forever changed.

  4. I think it’s an underestimation when I say that my husband told me 10 times how much he loved this dish. I served it with the Zesty Purple Cabbage Slaw and tostones. Life. Changed.

  5. 5 stars
    Long time fan, thanks for all the great recipes! I keep coming back to this one, it’s always delicious.

    I have found the last couple of times there’s less liquid than I prefer when I’m finished cooking. I even used more stock tonight in hopes it would help keep everything extremely juicy, but it turned out dryer than the last time I cooked it. I’m using 90% lean ground beef and I definitely cook it on low after I put the lid on. Any ideas? I think maybe it’s the quality of the beef, though the last time I bought at Whole Foods and it was still lacking a little juice.

    1. Sounds like you’re troubleshooting things correctly so it’s very hard for me to say. I guess you could always compensate by adding more stock and then reducing it to finish as desired.

  6. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! I do use 3-6 ounces of tomato paste in mine because we prefer it less loose.