Puerto Rican Carne Molida (Picadillo Style Ground Beef) {Recipe}

by Melanie Edwards on April 25, 2016 · 24 comments

in Puerto Rico, Recipes

If you’re looking for simple recipes with ground beef, you may want to give this carne molida recipe a try. Carne molida is a Puerto Rican ground beef recipe that is similar to picadillo (a name that might be more familiar). However, Puerto Rican carne molida is slightly different than Cuban picadillo and is cooked with potatoes and carrots. They’re both delicious dishes, though!

Carne Molida Recipe for Ground Beef

I grew up eating carne molida and it’s still a regular part of my weekly menu plan. It’s such an easy ground beef recipe and it’s pretty versatile too, since you can use it as a filling for other foods. I love to eat it served over white rice, as does my husband. Something I often do is substitute the ground beef with ground turkey to make my carne molida recipe a bit healthier! If you want to learn how to make the real deal, here’s my family’s recipe for Puerto Rican carne molida!

Puerto Rican Carne Molida (Ground Beef) Recipe


  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp adobo
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp meat tenderizer
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sazón, 1 packet
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sofrito (or recaito)
  • 10-11 green olives (Spanish salad olives) + 1-2 tsp of olive liquid
  • 2-3 small potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and cubed
  • about 10 baby carrots, rinsed and chopped

Note: To see pictures and links for purchasing some of the ingredients used, read 5 Must-Have Ingredients for Cooking Puerto Rican Food.


  1. Season ground beef with adobo, black pepper, and meat tenderizer.
  2. Heat a large pan to low-medium heat and add seasoned ground beef.
  3. Add olive oil, sazón, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sofrito, green olives, cubed potatoes, and chopped carrots.
  4. Cover pan and cook on low-medium heat until ground beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  5. Turn heat down to low and continue cooking until potatoes are tender and ground beef is well cooked. Stir occasionally.

Serve your carne molida with a side of white rice (or right on top of the rice as I prefer). Here’s an easy white rice recipe using a rice cooker!

Carne Molida (Puerto Rican Ground Beef) Recipe

What is your favorite recipe for ground beef? Have you ever tried carne molida or picadillo?

All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™

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1 Vanessa, De Su Mama April 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm

This looks so delicious! I love picadillo, and will totally try this recipe out! Thanks so much!

2 hangingwithangie April 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Sounds delicious and looks delicious.

3 Dana July 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm

looks ok…

4 J October 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

This looks delicious! So happy I stumbled about your website. I love it – thank you!

5 Melanie Edwards October 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

You’re most welcome! Enjoy the recipe. 🙂

6 Victor M Rodriguez January 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Sabroso! Lo trate!

7 Melanie Edwards January 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Que bueno!

8 cesar May 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Its good but number 3 step should of been number 2 but its great thanx for the recipe 🙂

9 Melanie Edwards May 18, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I guess it could be cooked either way. I always add the beef first, then other ingredients. 😉

10 Jackie August 24, 2015 at 4:14 pm

This looks delicious! I can’t wait to make it at home

11 Melanie Edwards August 26, 2015 at 11:09 am

It really is delicious and so easy to make! Hope you enjoy!

12 Ellen September 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm

Made this tonight was a big but with the family thanks for the recipe 🙂 will definitely make this again

13 Melanie Edwards September 27, 2015 at 9:25 pm

You’re welcome! I’m so glad he family enjoyed!

14 tavoya November 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Can I make this in my slow cooker?

15 Melanie Edwards November 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm

I wouldn’t recommend it. Ground beef tends to clump up in the slow cooker, if you’re not stirring it and breaking up the meat.

16 Chiqui May 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Mi mama cuando le hechaba las papas la freia crispy que ricoooooooo

17 Melanie Edwards May 11, 2016 at 11:40 am

Wow, nice touch! That sounds delicious!

18 vera June 21, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Why can’t I just get the recipe? Why do have to get all the other pages that I’m NOT interested in? I don’t mind reading other’s opinions, I find them to be quite helpful, but I don’t want to waste my ink and paper printing them all out. Please, tell me how to get just the recipe!!! Nothing else! Thank you.

19 Melanie Edwards June 24, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Vera, I would try looking at your print preview to see what pages specifically have the recipe and print just those. We’ll be adding a print recipe option in the future!

20 KC October 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Also Vera, U very likely have an option checked that is “print all linked pages” [it may be worded somewhat differently- but essentially it’ll be something very close to that] I kno- because I used to wonder why I would get about 20 pgs printed when I really only wanted one recipe. So- please check that, I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I can’t tell you EXACTLY where to look however- because every computer & operating system / printer has it’s options in a different spot. But DO look for that- and it is more than likely that…… Hope this helps.

21 CHARLENE ZACARIAS November 26, 2016 at 10:42 pm

thank you for sharing your family recipe, I will be trying this recipe. looks so good!

22 Melanie Edwards November 28, 2016 at 11:11 am

You’re so welcome! Hope you enjoy!

23 Richard November 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Wouldn’t it be better if you brown the meat first, drain the liquid and then add the ingredients??? Excuse the question if it’s dumb, but I am a novice cooker.

24 Melanie Edwards December 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm

No problem at all, Richard – thanks for asking! I know that this is a very popular method for cooking ground beef, but in this case we wnt to retain the liquid. 🙂 However, if you wanted a lower-fat version, you could certainly brown the beef first, drain the liquid, then add all ingredients and simmer, as you’ve suggested. It would just not have the “gravy” that the above posted recipe provides.

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