This Easy Carne Picada Recipe is going to become your go to on taco night. Chopped beef cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce with green chilies and aromatic spices. Grab some warm corn tortillas and make this easy beef recipe!
This recipe is one of the best beef recipes to have on hand for easy weeknight dinners! The tender, flavorful meat is cooked to mouth-watering perfection. This is truly the best way to cook an inexpensive cut of meat and have it be packed full of delicious flavors. It’s a versatile recipe that can be served in countless ways-from tacos to burritos and everything in between.
What is Carne Picada?
The word carne means beef and picada means chopped. This is an easy recipe of Tex-Mex origin.
This flavorful meat recipe is traditionally made with chopped chuck roast. In many grocery stores and butcher shops in Texas and Southwest states you can pick up the carne picada beef already chopped or sliced and ready to use.
The dish is cooked by searing (browning) or sauteing the chopped beef. Then the vegetables and spices are added to the pot. It’s allowed to cook for an hour or until the meat is tender.
This recipe really couldn’t be any easier to make. It’s perfect for a delicious meal on busy weeknights. But of course without having to sacrifice flavor or healthy ingredients.
Ingredients for Carne Picada
The ingredients for this recipe are all staples and easy to find at any grocery store. Make sure to check the substitutions list for other ideas.
- Chopped beef
- Green pepper (either green bell peppers or poblano chilies)
- Canned tomatoes
- Salt and black pepper
- Cumin powder
- Olive oil
Suggested Toppings: Sour cream, guacamole, chopped fresh cilantro, a drizzle of lime juice, queso fresco or other Mexican cheese.
- Beef: I love chuck roast or chopped into 2-inch cubes (or smaller), or look for beef labeled “carne picada meat” available at Latin markets and some super markets. A cheaper version of this dish is to use ground beef or carne molida.
- Onion: I used a medium yellow onion but you can also use white onion.
- Green Pepper: Poblano peppers give a little more heat than green bell peppers. For a spicy touch you can add a minced chipotle in adobo.
- If you use green pepper, add a little heat with a chili powder like ground New Mexico Chile or Cayenne pepper or your favorite type.
- Garlic: Fresh minced garlic is great but, to save time, I used garlic powder in this easy recipe.
- Canned Tomatoes: You can use regular crushed or fire-roasted tomatoes.
- Oil: I use olive oil but you can use canola oil or your favorite vegetable oil.
How to Make This Easy Carne Picada Recipe
This easy recipe can be made on the stovetop, instant pot, or slow cooker recipe. Make sure to have all of the ingredients ready to use because it won’t take long to put this dish together!
Step 1: Over medium heat, heat the oil in a dutch oven or a heavy-bottom pan. Once hot add the small pieces of beef and saute until cooked or browned on the outside.
Step 2: Sprinkle in the garlic as well as the remaining spices over the meat.
Step 3: Add the chopped onion and green pepper to the pot and stir well. Cook a few minutes before mixing in the canned tomatoes
Step 4: Cover the pot and let simmer over medium-low heat for at least an hour. Check on the meat now and then and give it a stir. Make sure that it’s not drying out, if needed you can add a splash of beef broth to prevent burning.
Step 5: Once the meat is tender you can uncover and allow to cook until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
Step 6: Allow to cool slightly before serving.
What to Serve with This Recipe
How to Serve
This carne picada recipe is so easy and versatile, it's going to become one of your favorite weeknight meals. Serve with your favorite toppings, garnishes and side dishes.
Main Dish: Serve the flavorful carne picada with a side of refried beans or Mexican rice and toppings like cotija cheese, avocado slices, sour cream, and Mexican rice for a complete meal.
Burritos: This beef recipe makes a delicious burrito recipe. Just wrap in a warm flour tortilla and garnished with enchilada sauce or quacamole.
Tacos: Turn this in to a hearty, flavorful taco. Heat up some corn or flour tortillas for delicious carne picada tacos on Taco Tuesday.
Make sure to add your favorite taco toppings.
Burrito Bowls or Rice Bowls: Mix in your other favorite ingredients for quick meals or for meal prep days.
Mexican Pizza: This delicious recipe can also be used as a meat topping to make a Mexican-inspired pizza.
How to Store Leftovers
Allow the beef to come to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. Leftovers will keep fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days. You can freeze in freezer bags for a couple of months.
I hope you love this easy recipe!
Easy Carne Picada Recipe
- 2 lbs. Chopped beef*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion (or white onion)
- 2 medium-large poblano peppers, chopped (or bell pepper or green chilies)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chipotle in Adobo (minced or ground) or Cayenne pepper, for spiciness, to taste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Canned tomatoes or tomato sauce or fire roasted tomatoes
- Beef broth
- Favorite Topping Suggestions
- Sour cream
- Cotija cheese or queso fresco
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped onion
- Lime juice
- Warm tortillas (flour or corn)
- Refried beans or Mexican rice
- Dice beef into 1 inch cubes
- Heat oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the small pieces of beef and sauté until browned and cooked.
- Sprinkle the garlic and spices over the beef and stir.
- Add diced onion and pepper (poblano or green bell pepper) to the pot, stir well. Cook for a few minutes then, add the canned tomatoes.
- Cover the pot and simmer for at least 1 hour. Check on the beef and stir often. Make sure the liquid does not dry out. Add beef broth or vegetable stock as needed to keep it moist and preventing it from sticking to the pan.
- When the beef is tender, remove the lid and reduce the sauce to the desired consistency.
- Stir well and serve.
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