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Cuban Tambor Recipe

Tambor Cubano (Cuban Picadillo Shepard’s Pie)

Tambor Cubano is one of those dishes that starchy carb-y dreams are made of. Tambor Cubano is made with a layer of picadillo topped with a mash or puree. Does the recipe sound familiar? It’s basically a classic Shepard’s Pie, which is traditionally made with minced ground meat topped with mashed potatoes. 

What is not to love? The combination of deliciously cooked meat, topped with mashed potatoes sounds like pure perfection. The Tambor Cubano is essentially the same thing. However, in the name of adding a little Cuban into the mix we made our “Shepard’s Pie” with our delicious Abuela’s Picadillo and topped it with a sweet plantain puree.

Sometimes you need to mix the leftovers up to keep yourself and the family on your toes. The same food can get a little tiring. We love to throw this Cuban Tambor in the mix from time to time because it is such a great way to use Picadillo leftovers. Other great ideas for Picadillo leftovers: Empanadas, Stuffed Peppers, or Cuban Lasagna.

Our Tips for Making this Tambor Cubano

  • You can use our Classic Abuela’s Picadillo Recipe, or you can use Turkey Veggie Picadillo if you want to keep it a little lighter.
  • We used Sweet Plantain Puree, but we want you to use what you like. You can switch it up with Malanga Mash, Sweet Potato Mash or keep it classic with Mashed Potatoes. 
  • When peeling your plantains, cut a slit and dunk them in hot water for a few minutes. This will make peeling them much easier.
  • We used a masher for making our puree, but a food processor or Vitamix blender will definitely give you a smoother consistency if that is what you are looking for.
  • This is perfect for meal planning. Plan to make Picadillo for one of your weeknight meals and make a good amount more to ensure leftovers. Then all you have to do is the mash and assemble when you’re ready to eat your Tambor.
  • This casserole dish is perfect for a crowd because it can be assembled in advance and set to bake when you are ready to serve.  

Cuban Picadillo Tambor (Cuban Shepard’s Pie)

Recipe by Abuelas Cuban CounterCourse: Entree


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 picadillo recipe, that has been previously cooked and cooled

  • 3 sweet and ripe plantains

  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons of butter 

  • ¼ cup of milk 

  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, divided

  • ½ cup of parmigiano cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350

  • Peel the sweet plantains, and cut them in thirds. Place the plantains in a medium sauce pot. Cover them with water and 2 teaspoons of salt. 
  • Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 -25 minutes until the plantains are cooked through and softened. Drain in a colander and put them back in the pot.
  • Turn heat to medium. Add the cream, milk and butter.  Add ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and mash the mixture with a masher. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water and keep mashing. 
    ***You can also put all the ingredients into a food processor to blend it up if you want a more smooth puree.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a 9 x 13 baking dish add the cooked picadillo and top with the mash. Top the puree with the remaining mozzarella and parmigiano cheeses. 
    Cuban Tambor Before
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the cheese has melted and golden brown.  Let it sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm.