Healthy Ground Chicken Picadillo Recipe

Chicken Picadillo is a twist on the Latin American classic dish that typically contains ground beef. Instead, this picadillo recipe is made with ground chicken. It’s sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite and the perfect recipe for a busy night.

chicken picadillo on a platter with herbs on top and ready to serve

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This picadillo recipe is simple enough to make and will become a new favorite in your dinner rotation. It’s made with mild-tasting ground chicken which absorbs all of the flavors that it cooks with.

Because of its mild flavor, ground chicken is so versatile. We also like this spicy ground chicken and black bean casserole for an easy dinner.

Why you will love Ground Chicken Picadillo Recipe

  • It’s versatile! There are so many uses for picadillo (see below for ideas).
  • Flavor! It’s packed with so much flavor.
  • Chicken picadillo is easy to make ahead of time, and it’s a healthy recipe.
an overhead view of the ingredients: clockwise: bell peppers, ground chicken, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, cilantro, raisins, onions, garlic adobo sauce, cumin, corriander olives

Here is What You Will Need

This is a brief summary of the ingredients needed to make Ground Chicken Picadillo Recipe and a convenient shopping list from my Instacart affiliate link. For a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card section.

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How To Make Chicken Picadillo

Prepare the ingredients: chop the bell pepper, garlic, onions, olives, cilantro, and tomatoes (if you are using fresh tomatoes); set them all aside.

bell peppers, onions and garlic cooking in a skillet

Step 1. Cook the vegetables. Heat oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the bell peppers, garlic and onions, and cook for a few minutes.

Step 2. Cook the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium heat and add the ground chicken breast and brown chicken with the onions until the chicken is cooked through.

chicken cooking in a skillet with peppers and onions

ground chicken cooking in a skillet with adobo sauce and spices

Step 3. Add the flavors. Add the adobo sauce, vinegar, and spices to the cooked ground chicken mixture.

Step 4. Stir in the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

chicken cooking in a pan with tomatoes being added

overhead view of picadillo cooking wit the addition of olives and raisins

Step 5. Stir in the remaining ingredients (olives and raisins), reduce the heat to low heat and simmer.

Step 6. Sprinkle the picadillo with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

picadillo finished in a skillet

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

The complete list of ingredients to make this tasty dish is above. Below are notes about some of the ingredients, along with ideas for substitutes.

Ground chicken is mild tasting and absorbs all of the flavors from this recipe. Both ground chicken breast or ground chicken which is a mix of white and dark meat will work.

Substitute ground chicken with any ground meat such as turkey, beef, or pork.

Tomatoes – I like to use fresh chopped tomatoes or low-sodium diced canned tomatoes.

Tomato sauce can be used as a one-for-one substitute if you don’t have canned tomatoes.

Bell peppers. Any color of bell peppers will work in this recipe. Green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red pepper, or a mix of colors will all work.

If you prefer a little extra spice, you can substitute bell peppers with a poblano chile pepper.

Adobo sauce is a spicy, tangy Mexican flavor that you can find in most supermarkets, and is important to the flavor profile in this recipe.

Substitute adobo sauce with an equal amount of the sauce from chipotle pepper in adobo sauce if you can’t find plain adobo sauce.

Olives add a salty briny flavor to this dish. If you don’t like olives, swap them out with 1/4 cup capers.

Substitute fresh garlic with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove of garlic.

Substitute fresh oregano with 2 teaspoons of dried oregano.

chicken picadillo in a bowl with lettuce and cheese

Storing and Using Leftovers

This is one of those recipes that taste even better the next day and you can freeze it, so be sure to make extra.

Store leftover chicken picadillo in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three to four days.

Freeze chicken picadillo for up to six months in a freezer-safe container and defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.

Reheat it on top of the stove in a skillet or saucepan.

There are many ways to make picadillo here are a few suggestions to help you make your own delicious variation of this traditional recipe.

Super spicy chicken picadillo – add a quarter pound of Mexican chorizo mixed with the ground chicken while browning it or add one diced jalapeno pepper or serrano chile pepper.

Cuban picadillo with potatoes – Add one cup of diced cooked potatoes at the end of the meat browning.

Mexican picadillo with corn – Add 1/2 cup frozen corn and a dash of chili powder to the picadillo after adding the tomatoes.

There are so many ways to serve picadillo! You can easily add picadillo to your meal plan rotation.

We enjoy it over brown or white rice, cauliflower rice with steamed vegetables, or a salad and a glass of wine.

Chicken picadillo tastes great stuffed into a quesadilla, taco, empanada, egg roll skin, or wrapped in pizza dough for a picadillo calzone.

Top salad greens with picadillo, and add ripe avocado chunks and cheese for a filling chicken picadillo salad.

Instead of fried shrimp in this recipe, try serving chicken picadillo on top of tostones (fried plantains).

overhead view of the Chicken Picadillo in a white serving dish with serving spoon on side. Dish is placed on a table with natural brown linen napkin.


  • Add a little umami flavor with a drop of soy or tamari sauce before serving.
  • If you aren’t a fan of raisins, don’t leave them out, but cut back on the amount used.
  • If the ground chicken stick to the skillet, add a little bit of water to the pan.
What is picadillo?

Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and the Philippines. It’s warm and comforting, very similar to chili with a sweeter flavor.

Can I make chicken picadillo in a slow cooker?

Yes! You can make this picadillo recipe in a slow cooker. Brown the meat and veggies in a skillet and add them to a slow cooker with the spices, olives, raisins, and tomatoes. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for at least 1 1/2 hours.

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chicken picadillo in a cast iron pan

Chicken Picadillo

Chicken Picadillo is a quick and healthy dish that is full of flavor
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Click on serving size to scale this recipe

Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: Latin American
Keyword: chicken picadillo recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 262kcal
Author: Anne


Scale this Recipe 4



  • Prepare the ingredients: chop the peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes if you are using fresh and set them aside.
  • Add the olive oil to the skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and peppers and cook them until they begin to turn soft. 
  • Add the chicken and cook it until it is almost cooked through – you may need to add a little bit of oil if the chicken is sticking to the pan.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and 2 teaspoons oregano.
  • Next add 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, raisins, and olives – mix everything together.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the picadillo with the chopped cilantro, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer and serve.



Recipe Variations 
Replace the ground chicken with ground beef, pork or turkey.
Add a quarter pound of Mexican chorizo to the ground chicken while browning it for extra flavor.
Add one cup of diced potatoes at the end of the meat browning for a Cuban-style picadillo.
For a spicy version, add one diced jalapeno pepper.


Serving: 1person | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 988mg | Potassium: 1019mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1266IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

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  1. This looks so good but my husband won’t eat raisins. Is there anything I could substitute for them?

    1. Hi Debbie, Thanks for your comment. You can use craisins, currants, dried cherries, or dried apricots cut up into small pieces. If he doesn’t like dried fruit at all, then you can just leave it out, but you will not have the touch of sweetness that the fruit offers.