Texas Picadillo Tacos

This amazing spiced beef picadillo filling gets rolled into tortillas, topped with shredded lettuce and salsa, and served up family-style.

Texas Picadillo Tacos

This amazing spiced beef picadillo filling gets rolled into tortillas, topped with shredded lettuce and salsa, and served up family-style.


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp whole cumin seeds (toasted)
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns (toasted)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 16 oz ground beef
  • 10 oz whole milk
  • ½ large white onion (or 1 small white onion, medium dice)
  • ½ fresh jalapeno (seeds and stems removed, minced)
  • Salt & freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • ½ head of iceberg lettuce (shredded finely)
  • 1 plum tomato (seeds and insides removed, medium dice)
  • Salsa or pico de gallo (for garnish)
  • Sour cream (for garnish)


  • Using an immersion blender, blend the garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, toasted cumin seeds, and toasted black peppercorns with ¼ cup of water to make a paste.
  • Scrape down the sides of the container and continue blending until smooth. Add more water if necessary.
  • Season the ground beef with kosher salt.
  • Brown ground beef in vegetable oil and set ground beef aside for use later.
  • Cook onions on medium-low heat and add the jalapenos.
  • Add the whole milk and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Add the blended garlic and spice mixture you made earlier and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook on low heat until the liquid has almost completely evaporated but the beef is still very moist.
  • Season the mixture a final time with salt & freshly-ground black pepper.
  • Quickly fry both sides of the corn tortillas in hot oil for roughly 30 seconds per side.
  • The tortillas should still be flexible after they are removed from the oil and drained on paper towels.
  • Place some of the picadillo beef mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll up the tortilla as you would when making enchiladas.
  • Place the rolled tortillas seam-side-down on a serving platter.
  • Top with finely shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, salsa, and sour cream.
  • Serve hot, with rice & beans on the side and your choice of additional toppings.


The picadillo mixture tastes amazing when stuffed into peppers with rice and cheddar cheese.
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