Carne Molida Recipe


Carne Molida is a ground beef dish used for tacos, burritos, nachos, stuffed peppers, or a myriad of other Spanish plates. Because it’s such a breeze to make, it is a staple in many Hispanic households.

There are endless variations of picadillo, from Puerto Rican picadillo with raisins and sofrito to Cuban picadillo with olives and capers, to Filipino picadillo that incorporates soy sauce and eggs. Of course, each family has its own version of the dish, depending on the traditions they’ve passed down. 

Carne Molida picadillo is incredibly versatile, making it popular and widely loved. Serve Carne Molida over rice with a side of fried plantains and beans. Put it in tacos, tamales, empanadas, or even plain, by itself. It’s also nutritious, containing a ton of protein from the beef and vitamins from the potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. 

This recipe makes a standard picadillo that can be easily adapted to suit your flavor preferences. If you want it spicy, add jalapenos. If you want it sweeter, add raisins and olives. 

carne molida recipe

How To Make Carne Molida Picadillo 

Carne Molida picadillo is so easy to make and even easier to clean up. Everything cooks together in one pot, so there won’t be a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of the night! 

  • First, prep and chop all ingredients, so they’re ready to go.
  • Heat the oil and cook the ground beef, making sure to discard the excess grease once it accumulates. 
  • Then, you will add in the onion, tomatoes, potato, and carrot, letting everything cook together and get soft. 
  • Add the spices, cover, and let it sit on medium heat until the potatoes and carrots are soft.

And that’s it! No complicated steps or long marination period is required. Once the grease has cooled and solidified, you can throw it in the trash. Never dump hot grease down the drain, as it will harden and clog up the pipes. 

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Olive Oil
  • Ground Beef
  • Onion
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Potato
  • Carrot
  • Spices

What You’ll Need

  • Large skillet or deep frying pan
  • Sharp cutting knives and a cutting board

Carne Molida Recipe

4 from 8 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: MainCuisine: Peurto RicanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Ground beef, vegetables, and spices make Carne Molida a classic. Check out our favorite Carne Molida Picadillo recipe here.


  • 1 tablespoon 1 olive oil

  • 2 lbs 2 ground beef

  • 1 medium 1 white onion

  • 1 can 1 diced tomatoes

  • 1 medium 1 potato

  • 1 large 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon 1 cumin

  • 1 teaspoon 1 garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Mexican chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Sale and pepper to taste


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook 5-7 minutes or until about half is brown and half is pink. Stir regularly and use a fork/spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Add the onion, stirring regularly.
  • Drain excess oil into a separate container and set it aside to cool.
  • Add tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cumin, garlic salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper. Stir and cover for about 15 minutes.
  • Cook until potatoes and carrots are soft and tender. If the mixture begins drying up before that point, add water.
  • Once the potatoes and carrots are soft and the meat is fully brown, turn off the heat and serve.


  • For a richer picadillo, add sour cream and cheese to the mix. I like to use Mexican blend shredded cheese or pepper jack. 

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Tips & Tricks 

  • For a healthier version, use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Ground turkey has far less saturated fat than beef. You can also drop the potatoes and use cauliflower. You can also use less meat and add additional vegetables like mushrooms and lentils. 
  • Carne Molida picadillo can be frozen for up to three months. Simply cool the picadillo, put it in a sealable bag like a Ziploc, and lay it flat to freeze so it doesn’t take up much room in your freezer. 
  • Running low on time? Buy frozen vegetables from the grocery store and use them instead of chopping fresh veggies. You can even use a vegetable medley with carrots and peas. 
  • Once the meat is cooked and brown, dump the excess grease into a small bowl and set it aside to cool. Dispose of it in the trash – never the sink. If I’m feeling nice, I’ll pour a tiny bit of the oils on my dog’s dry food. Everyone deserves a treat every once in a while!


What does picadillo mean?

Picadillo comes from the Spanish verb picar, meaning “to chop.” Picadillo is essentially a bunch of ingredients, chopped or minced together and cooked. 

Why are there raisins in picadillo?

Caribbean countries include raisins in not just their picadillo but other dishes as well. It is a staple of many recipes from the region, especially in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Dates can function as a substitute for raisins if you do not have any. 

How long does picadillo stay good for?

You can keep the picadillo in the refrigerator for up to a week. For a longer period, keep it frozen in an airtight bag or container for up to three months. 


Try this yummy Carne Molida picadillo next time you make a new recipe! My favorite thing about this dish, besides how tasty it is, is that it’s the perfect meal prep recipe. You can prepare it and serve it throughout the week with tacos, nachos, rice, and stuffed peppers. 

It is also great because you can make a different variation every time. Play around with different spices and veggies to make your own household recipe. There are a ton of versions of the dish from various regions that all do it differently.

Carne Molida picadillo is also an affordable yet filling meal. All the vegetables are relatively cheap, as well as the ground beef. It’s a hearty meal that feeds a crowd and tastes amazing, too. I love a good healthy meal that doesn’t break the bank.

Let me know how you like this recipe and what changes you made to make it your own! Enough reading – get cooking!

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