Keto Cuban Picadillo

Keto Cuban Picadillo

Keto Cuban Picadillo, because this girl grew up on picadillo and it was time a low carb keto-friendly version made an appearance.

When it comes to foods I associate with comfort, a Cuban picadillo is at the top of my list.  It was a dish my mom made frequently and for good reason since it was a tasty, fast and budget-friendly meal.

However, this childhood favorite needed a low carb makeover if it was going to be enjoyed in our home.

My Keto Cuban Picadillo was made keto by omitting the typical raisins and diced potatoes. By doing so I now had a low carb Cuban picadillo that had all the flavor I loved minus the high carbs.

Although my recipe for keto picadillo is a Cuban version, there are variations of picadillo in many parts of the world that with a little tweaking could also be made keto-friendly.

Keto Cuban Picadillo
Keto Cuban Picadillo

Keto Cuban Picadillo

This recipe for Keto Cuban picadillo is a simple dish that gets its flavor by cooking ground beef in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, oregano, cumin, green olives, capers, and a little dry white wine.

You should note that the dry white cooking wine is optional but it does add lots of flavor. In the case of picadillo, the cheap salted kind is best.

In both Cuban and Dominican picadillo raisins and potatoes are added. But both these are no-no’s when making a keto picadillo. So for obvious reasons they were not added to the recipe.

Although I couldn’t come up with a substitute for raisins in my Keto Cuban picadillo, I do have a suggestion for replacing the potatoes that are customary in this dish. That’s the use of finely cubed turnips.

For simplicity sake, I left the turnips out of this recipe but you can add 1/4 cup of raw turnips during the sautéing step and it would only increase your carbs by .5 grams per serving.

Whenever I have turnips on hand, I will use them in a recipe to substitute potatoes. Because it really mimics the texture wonderfully. And since it absorbs the flavor of what you are cooking it just works well.

Traditionally, picadillo is served over a bed of white rice, but rice, of course, has way too many carbs. So I serve my Keto Cuban picadillo with cauliflower rice instead.

Cauliflower rice makes a fantastic substitute for white rice since it’s texture is very similar and the flavor is quite bland.

These days you can pick up a bag of frozen cauliflower rice in most supermarkets, which is a huge win for the keto world.

Keto Picadillo Recipes

A form of picadillo can be found on several continents around the world. This minced meat dish also serves as a filling for recipes such as empanadas, and hand-pies.

For those who don’t know my dad is Cuban and my mom is from the Dominican Republic, and so my keto picadillo has influences from them both.

But if I had to choose which of the two countries have influenced this recipe more, I would have to say Cuba.

My mom would be the first to tell you that her cooking has become more Cuban and that she kinda lost a lot of her D.R. cooking roots after she married my dad. Which is a shame because I would have loved to have learned more of her traditional recipes.

However, I can’t help to think that at play here is the fact that she has lived for over 40 years in Miami, where a large community of Cubans live.

Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower Rice

In the Dominican Republic picadillo includes a few slices of boiled eggs and a little beef bullion. And although this recipe doesn’t include these, I highly encourage you to also try to make your keto picadillo this way.

If you add a tablespoon of dry bullion powder make sure to reduce the salt called for in this recipe by half.

In both a Cuban and Dominican picadillo raisins and potatoes are added. But both these are no-no’s while doing a ketogenic diet so they have been intentionally left out of this recipe.

Also for a Dominican Keto Picadillo add two sliced boiled eggs to the entire dish as a garnish before serving. I must admit that the boiled egg adds both a nice taste and texture to a keto picadillo.

For a Mexican Keto Picadillo, you can add some chilies and serve with sliced lime. So as you can see I have given you several keto picadillo recipes that will allow you to customize it to your liking.

I sure hope you will give this recipe a try. Once you do, make sure you remember to tag us on Instagram and Facebook. It’s what keeps this girl encouraged to keep sharing and perfecting her recipes.

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Keto Cuban Picadillo

Keto Cuban Picadillo

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Keto Cuban Picadillo is a low carb version of the classic Cuban Picadillo. It's dish where ground beef is cooked in a tomato sauce that is flavored with peppers, onions, oregano, cumin and green olives.


Keto Cuban Picadillo


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onions, garlic, green peppers, salt dried oregano, cumin, black pepper, and salt until the onion is translucent, around 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir until well combined and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Raise the heat to high and brown the ground beef making sure to break up the pieces.
  5. Add the tomatoes, wine, olives, capers.
  6. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook covered for about 20 minutes.
  7. Lastly, stir in the apple cider vinegar and check the seasonings. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.


You can omit the 1/4 cup of white wine. If you do increase the apple cider vinegar to 3 tablespoons and stir in at the end of the cooking.

You can add 1/4 cup of raw small cubed turnips in step two if you are wanting a potato substitute. The turnips will add .5 more carbs per serving.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270 Total Fat: 11.5g Saturated Fat: 3.3g Cholesterol: 101mg Sodium: 140mg Carbohydrates: 4.3g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2.6g Protein: 35.2g

This Infographic is designed by Jack Thompson from BroBBQ



  1. Yvette Gallinar

    Picadillo! Yesss! That’s the ticket!

  2. Mary White

    6/4/19 We’re having “Cuban Picadillo” tonight Hilda. I can’t wait to eat. I bought 3# of ground chuck and rounded up the rest of the ingredients mostly from my pantry. It was fun cooking it, tasting, and more cooking. I think it’s going to be scrumptious. I’m so happy that you have “enough” good ground beef recipes to keep us in meals for nearly every day of the week. We don’t eat g.b. every night but over the “low-carb” years, almost 20, I didn’t find many recipes using g.b. I’m not a burger fan but I love chili and chili-types of dishes. I may look back into my pre-low-carb cookbooks to see if I ever collected a recipe for picadillo.

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m so glad to add it to my keto notebook.

    • Wow Mary 20 years of eating low carb is impressive! So glad to hear that my Cuban Picadillo made it your family table. We eat it often at our home because for one it’s a quick meal plus it’s inexpensive. 💞


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