Picadillo Tacos (Crispy Ground Beef Tacos)

Those picadillo tacos are loaded with a delicious mixture made with ground beef, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and earthy spices. Garnished with your favorite taco toppings, they are super easy to make and perfect to feed a crowd.

Mexican picadillo tacos on a plate.

Whether you serve them for a party or game day, these crispy tacos with a rich filling and delicious sauce will brighten up a dull day!

About The Recipe

Picadillo tacos are a Mexican taco version made of crispy corn tortillas stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, vegetables, and seasonings. This mixture is called picadillo.

The word picadillo comes from the Spanish word “picar,” which means “to mince.” So, when we say Beef Picadillo, it clearly means minced beef. This recipe originated in Latin America somewhere in the early 19th century, and today it is quite popular all across the world.

Mexican picadillo tacos have several variations as you move to different regions in the country. However, the main components remain the same.

Picadillo tacos served on a plate.

Tacos de picadillo, as they are known in Mexico, are mostly sold at diners (cenadurías) along with enchiladas, sopes, and other authentic Mexican dishes.

The Ingredients Shopping List

  • TORTILLAS. I am using corn tortillas to make the crispy taco shells, flour tortillas can also be used (read notes).
  • GROUND BEEF. You can also use other types of ground meat to make this recipe such as pork, chicken, or turkey.
  • VEGETABLES. Tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Use any type of pepper you have available, such as bell peppers, Anaheim, or even Poblano peppers.
  • SEASONINGS. Paprika (any kind), cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • OIL. For making the taco filling mixture and for frying the tacos, I recommend corn, canola, or sunflower oil.
  • TOPPINGS: I topped my tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, cream, and salsa. Read below for more ideas for topping your crispy beef tacos.
Ingredients for picadillo tacos filling displayed on a marble surface with name tags on each.

Now let’s see how to make those picadillo beef tacos…

How To Make Picadillo Tacos

Heat the oil in a pan or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add first the diced bell peppers and sauté for one minute.

Add onions and sauté all together for 3 minutes or until onions become translucent and peppers are a bit softened.

Peppers and onions sautéed on a pan.

Add the meat and all spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper), mix well, and cook until the meat is no longer pink.

Stir in tomatoes, cook for one more minute then cover the pan and set heat to low, allowing to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes mixing from time to time.

Adjust with salt to taste and keep cooking until there are almost no juices left on the pan.

Picadillo mixture cooked on a pan.

Heat a cast iron skillet or a comal over high heat. Warm up the tortillas from both sides (about 20-30 seconds per side) and wrap them with a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Place two or three tortillas on a plate and spoon picadillo in the middle. Fold in half, making a little pressure to stick the tortilla with the meat mixture.

Repeat until you’ve used all tortillas.

Assembling three picadillo tacos on a plate.

Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan. Fry tacos placing them carefully into the oil and, using a spatula, firmly press down the edges, to prevent them from opening (read notes).

Frying tacos in hot oil.

Once they are nicely crispy on both sides, remove from the oil and place them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper towels.

Carefully open the tacos de picadillo and garnish with lettuce and tomato slices. Drizzle with a tablespoon of cream and with your favorite salsa and finish topping with cheese.

Stuffing tacos with lettuce and tomatoes.

More Topping Ideas

No taco is complete without a variety of delicious toppings. Although there are several ingredients you can use, here are a few that go well with those picadillo tacos:

  • Avocado: It adds a perfectly soft and creamy texture.
  • Greek yogurt: If you are looking for a healthier version, you can use Greek yogurt as well.
  • Cabbage: freshly chopped cabbage not only brings in freshness but adds a satisfying crunch to those picadillo tacos.
  • Salsa: Spice things up with your favorite salsa like this fake guacamole salsa, or this peanut chili salsa.
  • Guacamole: Stay true to Mexican cuisine, and top the tacos with classic guacamole.
  • Cheese: if you are a cheese lover, you can load the tacos with Mexican fresh cheese, mozzarella, or your favorite cheese as well.
  • Add freshness: With some chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Tacos de picadillo served on a plate. Seen from above.

Recipe Notes And Tips

  • Is ok if some filling comes out from tacos while frying, as long as it’s not too much! But if you want to prevent this, you can also use tooth sticks and secure the edges of tacos, just remember to discard them before garnishing them.
  • You can use jalapeño peppers instead of bell peppers, just make sure to cut them longwise and discard veins and seeds if you want to leave out some spicy.
  • You can also add a few potatoes cut into small cubes to the beef mixture.
  • No corn tortillas available? Use flour tortillas instead, just take in mind those gets burn easily so pay attention when you fry them.

Make Ahead And Store

You can make the toppings up to 3 days ahead and keep them in the refrigerator in separate containers.

Picadillo is the perfect prep meal and it freezes wonderfully, so you can have it ready to make your tacos whenever you crave them. Here’s how you should store it:

  • FRIDGE: Once you have let it cool at room temperature, store it in an air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
  • FREEZER: Place the mixture in a resealable bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. Make sure the mixture is at room temperature before storing.
  • REHEAT: Thaw the mixture overnight in the fridge, then transfer to a pan and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat stirring from time to time.

Similar Recipes

Picadillo Tacos Recipe.

Picadillo Tacos (crispy and delicious)

author Maricruz
Those picadillo tacos are a loaded with a delicious mixture made with ground beed, peppers, onions, tomatoes and earthy spices.
prep 25 minutes
cook 30 minutes
total 55 minutes
serving 16 tacos

Ingredients 

For picadillo filling

  • 1.1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large green bell pepper or poblano pepper (diced)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper (as needed)

For tacos & garnish

  • 16 corn tortillas
  • oil for frying (as needed)
  • 3 cups lettuce (shredded)
  • 1 large tomato (sliced)
  • cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • ½ cup Queso fresco (or mozzarella, cheddar, etc.)
  • spicy salsa (read notes)

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil on a pan over medium heat. Add first the diced bell peppers and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add onions and sauté everything for 3 minutes or until onions become translucent and peppers are a bit softened.
  • Add the meat and all spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper), mix well and cook until meat is not longer pink.
  • Add tomatoes and mix well, cook for one more minute then cover the pan and low the heat cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes mixing from time to time.
  • Adjust with salt and keep cooking until there’s almost not juices left on the pan.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet or a comal over high heat. Warm up the tortillas from both sides (about 20-30 seconds per side) and wrap them with a kitchen towel to keep them warm and and pliable.
  • Place two or three tortillas on a plate and spoon some picadillo on the middle. Fold in half, making a little pressure to stick the tortilla with the meat mixture. Repeat until all picadillo is gone.
  • Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan. Fry tacos placing them carefully into the oil and, using a spatula, firmly press down the edges, to prevent them from opening (read notes).
  • Once picadillo tacos are nicely crispy on both sides, remove from oil and place them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper towels.
  • Carefully open a taco and garnish with lettuce and tomato slices. Drizzle with cream and with your favorite salsa and finish topping with cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Is ok of some filling come out from tacos while frying, as long as it’s not too much! But if you want to prevent this, you can also use toothsticks and secure the edges of tacos, just remember to discard them before garnishing tacos.
  • If you using jalapenos, make sure to cut them longwise and discard veins and seeds or picadillo will be too spicy for kids.
  • Salsa: Spice things up with your favorite salsa like this fake guacamole salsa, or this peanut chili salsa.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1g | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a beef taco called in Mexico?

Tacos de picadillo, tacos de carne molida, or tacos dorados de picadillo are some of the names that crispy beef tacos are called in Mexico.

Can I use taco seasoning to make the beef mixture?

Yes, of course. Feel free to swap the spices listed in the recipe with your favorite taco seasoning mix.

Can this recipe be turned into vegan?

Yes. You can replace ground beef with mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, or any other vegetable you prefer. Don’t forget also to swap regular cream and cheese with vegan options.

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3 Comments

  1. I’m thrilled to have found your blog, wonderful recipes and videos. Your picadillo tacos look so good and will be made your way. I’ve never had them fried with the meat inside them and they sound terrific.