Chicken Picadillo

by Chef Zee

Cuban Style Chicken Picadillo that’s a lighter – leaner and healthier take on a Cuban Classic!

Cuban Picadillo is hands down one of my favorite comfort foods! The perfectly seasoned ground beef with potatoes stewed in a tomato sauce is everything I dream of. Paired with white rice and Cuban Black Beans, dinner is absolute perfection. 

However, in recent years, I’ve actually been cutting back on red-meat. This means cutting back on some of my favorite dishes. But did you really think I was going to give up my favorite flavors? NOPE! 

This Cuban Style Chicken Picadillo is just as tasty as my classic Cuban Picadillo. The chicken version actually cooks much faster. You can enjoy it with rice and black beans… or you could even make this as a filling for empanadas and taco night. This dish is pretty versatile. 

Traditional Cuban Picadillo Recipe

Additionally, the older I get, the more I want to balance my eating. This means incorporating more fish and lean meats into my diet. I love that I can still enjoy the flavors that I grew up with without abandoning them in a quest of eating healthier. 

If you’re wondering, how does Picadillo made with ground beef differ from Picadillo made with chicken? 

  • Chicken Picadillo cooks much faster and requires less salt 
  • Chicken Picadillo is leaner than Traditional Authentic Picadillo 
  • Both picadillos are exceptionally tasty 
  • Personally – I think raisins go best in beef picadillo, but not the chicken version. However, raisins in picadillo are a huge point of contention. To each their own. 
  • Since Chicken Picadillo cooks so quickly, I also like to add the onions and peppers towards the end so that they maintain a bite. 

When looking at the ingredient list you’re probably noticing that I add potatoes to this dish. Just know that potatoes are completely optional. The great thing about adding a diced (pre-cooked) potato is that it really makes this dish hearty. However, if you really want to keep this dish light and lean, feel free to skip! 

Chicken Picadillo Recipe!

Now let’s say you have fresh sofrito sitting at home or even frozen in ice cube trays. Can you use it to season the chicken? The answer is – ABSOLUTELY! I’ve done this from time to time and the results are impeccable. Nonetheless, using traditional kosher salt (my go-to is Diamond Crystal) will also give you great results. 

Now onto the recipe!

Chicken Picadillo | Picadillo de Pollo | Chef Zee Cooks

Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 2 lbs Ground Chicken
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tbsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Orégano
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Sazón con Achiote
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Black Pepper to Taste
  • ½ White Onion Diced
  • ½ Bell Pepper (Any color) Diced
  • ¼ cup Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Vino Seco
  • 2 tbsp Spanish Olives *Optional
  • 1 Potato Cubed *optional
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil


  1. Season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, sazón con achiote, orégano, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined and set aside. 
  2. In a small saucepan, add water and 1 tbsp of kosher salt. Add diced potato and cook over medium heat. Cook the potato until it’s soft, yet firm. Feel free to cook simultaneously while making the Chicken Picadillo. 
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add seasoned ground chicken. Using a wooden spoon or meat chopper, break up clumps of meat that may form 
  4. Once the meat is browned on all sides, add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix until tomato sauce and paste are well combined. Then add vino seco (dry white wine), and bay leaves. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes. 
  5. Afterwards, add cooked diced potatoes and mix in. Next, add onions and peppers. Mix in all together and garnish with fresh cilantro.

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