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I love collecting old cookbooks. One of my most prized cookbook was given to me by my husband. This cookbook is considered the Cuban Cooking Bible and it’s called Cocina Criolla by Nitza Villapol.


Nitza Villapol was a talented Cuban chef and her cooking show was one of the longest running television shows in Cuban history. She was a master at teaching the Cuban home cook how to prepare meals during severe rationing and food shortages and created recipes like how to make mayonnaise without eggs and how to fry eggs without oil. So, I find myself turning to her cookbook often when I am looking for a flavorful recipe that doesn’t require a lot pricey ingredients. One of those recipes is her Picadillo.

Picadillo is one of the easiest and quickest Cuban dishes that you can make, especially when you are on a tight budget. It is also very versatile and is used as a filling for empanadas, tamales, papa rellena, etc. Nitza uses a mixture of ground beef, ground pork, and ground ham. However, you can use just ground beef or even just ground turkey (which I used in the pictures because my daughter doesn’t eat red meat). This recipe is the perfect instant pot recipe when you have a pound or so of ground meat in your freezer and want to make something other than meatloaf. Picadillo is traditionally served over white rice, but my daughter loves to eat it over pasta and even though my Cuban half felt it was sacrilegious…..I have to say it was really really good! You could also serve it over quinoa, brown rice, or cauliflower rice.

Instant Pot Cuban Ground Beef Hash (Picadillo)

Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez adapted from Nitza Villapol’s Cocina Criolla

1 to 1.5 lbs Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

2 Tbl Vegetable Oil (I prefer using Vegetable Oil because I find it keeps the meat from sticking to the pot better. However, you can substitute olive oil here if you prefer.)

1 Yellow Onion, diced

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

1/4 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1/8 cup Green Olives with 1 Tbl of the Brine (I prefer the Goya Manzanilla Olives with Pimentos and Capers, but you can use whatever brand you have on hand. I also prefer to slice them, but you can leave them whole.)

1 jar Diced Pimentos with the liquid

8 oz Goya Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup White Wine

1/4 cup Water

2 Bay Leaves

-Add 2 Tbl of Vegetable Oil to Instant Pot and press “SAUTE”. When the oil gets hot add the Ground Beef or Ground Turkey, Yellow Onion, and 1 tsp Salt. In other recipes you might notice that I usually saute the onions separately from the meat, but I found in this recipe it works just fine to cook them together…..and it saves time!


-Stir and saute until the ground meat is no longer pink.

-Stir in the 1/2 tsp Pepper, 1/4 tsp Cumin, 1/8 cup of Chopped Olives and 1 Tbl Brine, jar of Diced Pimentos including liquid, 2 crushed Garlic Cloves, and 1 tsp Garlic Powder. Turn off the Instant Pot and add the 8 oz Tomato Sauce.


-After you pour the Tomato Sauce into the pot, pour the 1/4 cup Water and 1/4 cup White Wine, into the empty tomato sauce can. Stir the liquid to get all the residue sauce out of the can, and then pour this liquid into the pot.



-Stir once more and add the 2 Bay Leaves to the top. Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and make sure the valve is set to Sealed. Pressure cook on High for 15 mins and the NR for 10 minutes.

-Stir. Press the “SAUTE” button and reduce the liquid to the desired thickness. This step is not necessary however, depending on the kind of meat you use, the amount of liquid will differ. when using ground beef, I like to skim off any extra fat and reduce the liquid for just a few minutes. When I use ground turkey I find that there sometimes is more liquid, but not much fat.

-Serve over rice (or the way my daughter likes it…over pasta). Enjoy!20180503_203106.jpg20180503_205059.jpg

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I would love to be able to keep this recipe but I have no way to get it to my email. Thank
you for your help and sharing this delicious sounding recipe.


Hmmm I’m not sure how to save it to emails other than copying the link and emailing it to yourself. I will definitely try and figure it out though. Great point!


Ok Ann, I figured it out and added an email button. Didn’t even know I could untilyou brought that point up. Thanks so much! Enjoy.

Lorraine schicer

You did a super job on explaining this recipe. I feel like I could make this without a problem. Thank you for all the added info you supplied with this recipe


Oh my goodness, thank you so much! I didn’t always like cooking and baking, so I try to write my recipes in an easy to follow and entertaining way. I can’t tell you how much your compliment means to me. I hope you enjoy the dish!

Karen Soler

Yummy! I am a new married to a Colombian! Happy to see these recipes! Please add me to your mailing list!


Congratulations! I definitely will. I am also working on a site with non pressure cooker Cuban food.


I will be trying this soon! My mom always adduced diced potatoes in her picadillo. And thoughts on how that can be added when using instant pot?


Hi! My husband’s aunt adds potatoes to her picadillo too and that’s how he likes it. He would dice them and then fry them and then add it in after it’s cooked. However, I think if you add them in completely raw it wouldn’t be enough time to cook them. But there is a trick where you par cook diced potatoes in the microwave. Then you could add it and then cook regularly.



Is it really picadillo without raisins? The combination of the salty olives and sweet raisins is what makes this dish so delicious!

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