Picadillo Tostada

Beef & potato picadillo tostada.

4-6 servings

Time: 35 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

Almost every Spanish-speaking country has its own version of picadillo. Check out this video where I make a series of tostada toppings, including this comforting picadillo recipe.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Picadillo

    • ground beef
      450 g1 lb
    • whole peeled tomatoes
      400 g1 14 oz can
    • potatoes
      , diced
      350 g3/4 lb
    • garlic
      , minced
      2 cloves
    • white onions
      , diced
    • smoked paprika
      a sprinkle
    • ancho chili powder
      a sprinkle
    • ground cinnamon
      a sprinkle
    • hot sauce
      to taste
    • salt
      to taste
    • cooking oil
      as needed
  • Tostada components

    • tostadas
    • lettuce
      , thinly shredded
    • tomatoes
      , diced
    • pickled onions
    • queso fresco
    • crema


Step 1: Boil the potatoes

Dice the potatoes into fairly small pieces by cutting them into planks, then strips, and finally cutting those across into cubes.

Toss the diced potatoes into a pot, set them on a stove over high heat, and cover them with water. Lastly, add a generous sprinkle of salt.

Once the potatoes are cooked through and tender, strain them. They should be done in about 10-15 minutes, but you can test them with a knife, which should poke through with little resistance.

Step 2: Start the picadillo

While the potatoes are , prepare the beef.

Heat a stainless steel pan with a little oil over high heat. Add ground beef to the pan, press it down, and let it undisturbed until it starts .

As it cooks, prep or gather any other ingredients.

After 5 minutes, flip the beef and sear for 2 more minutes, breaking it up some. Transfer the cooked beef to a bowl but keep any rendered fat in the pan.

Step 3: Make the picadillo sauce base

In the same pan, you used to brown the beef (there should be enough fat, but add a drizzle of oil if necessary) add the onion and garlic mixture and let those for a minute or two until fragrant.

Add the paprika, chili powder, and cinnamon.

Next, add in the whole peeled tomatoes and mash them with a potato masher to create a sauce-like consistency. Once the sauce has formed, add the browned beef back in, and use the potato masher to turn it into small, pebbly bits.

Step 4: Finish picadillo & serve

Add the cooked and drained potatoes to the sauce mixture and mix together before adjusting the final seasoning and texture.

Add salt to taste, and optionally a squirt of hot sauce for acidity and spice. Add more of the other seasonings if desired.

  • To make it more saucy, add a splash of water. To make it thicker, let it cook down a bit longer. For tostadas, thicker is usually better.

Take a tostada and add a thick layer of warm picadillo as the base. Top with your choice of crema or sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, pickled onions, and queso fresco. Enjoy.



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