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Crispy Tacos Picadillo

Picadillo is a dish consisting of ground beef, onions, garlic, and tomatoes.

  • Servings: 10
Crispy Tacos Picadillo

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2009


For the Picadillo

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound ground chuck (80 percent lean)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (1 to 2 cloves)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (2 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder or pasilla chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the Tacos

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 20 corn tortillas
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving
  • Chopped white onion, for serving
  • Shredded mild cheddar cheese, preferably longhorn, for serving
  • Salsa Picante, for serving


  1. Make the picadillo: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until just starting to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, until beef has browned, about 4 minutes. Spoon out excess fat so that 1 tablespoon remains. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and cumin. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until thick and very little liquid remains, about 18 minutes. Stir in vinegar.

  2. Make the tacos: Heat 1 inch oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees. Fry tortillas, one at a time, by folding in half and laying one half flat in oil while holding other half with tongs, and repeating with the other half to form a half moon shell, until golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per half. Meanwhile, let finished taco shells rest on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Spoon picadillo into each taco shell, and garnish with lettuce, onion, shredded cheese, and salsa picante.

Cook's Note

Store-bought taco shells can be substituted for homemade ones.

Reviews (3)

  • erin blythe 3 Feb, 2014

    I doubled this recipe, but for some reason the water didn't cook out. I finally had to just spoon the liquid out manually. Not sure what happened. Tasted fine, though.

  • chixarican 18 May, 2012

    This was a super easy to make recipe and delicioso!
    The meat tasted even better the following day, along with poached eggs for brunch.

  • andicookie 13 Mar, 2012

    these tacos are delicious. I make a few different tacos and these happen to be a favorite. Love the vinegar that is added to meat. Yummy!!!

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