Tamale Pie Recipe (Made with a Cornbread Crust)

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Tamale Pie is seasoned ground beef on top of a cornbread crust, drenched in a bold enchilada sauce, and topped with cheese and tomatoes. This casserole recipe is an easy spin on tamales, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner!

This Tamale pie is bold and flavorful! Serve this alongside a Chilled Cucumber Tomato Salad, or this Southwest Quinoa Bean Salad. You can finish off the meal with some classic Tres Leches Cake!

Tamale Pie being scooped out of a casserole dish with a wooden spoon.

What is Tamale Pie?

Tamale pie is basically a casserole, or pan version, of a classic tamale. It’s perfect for serving larger numbers, either a large family or to take to a potluck or gathering. The cornbread crust is poked and drenched with enchilada sauce, then topped with ground beef, or other topping of your choice. As this bakes it gives the cornbread crust a moist, tender texture that is similar to the masa that surrounds tamales. 

This classic casserole recipe is a family favorite! The best part about this casserole is that you use a cornbread crust that mimics the texture of the masa in tamales. Once you try it, everyone will love it. It’s a dinner that your whole family will go crazy over.

Ingredients in Tamale Pie

These ingredients are simple and easy… You can whip this up so quickly! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all of the exact measurements.

  • Jiffy Cornbread Mix: The cornbread mix will act as your pie crust.
  • Egg: The egg binds the crust together
  • Sour Cream: Adds in a bit of tang and delicious creaminess. The sour cream adds a lot to the base.
  • Creamed Corn: I love adding an additional corn flavor to the cornbread!
  • Ground Beef: You can also use ground turkey if you prefer.
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, salt, ground cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder all mix together to make the most delicious and flavorful base of spices.
  • Green Chilies: Depending on your desired heat level, you can get mild, medium, or spice green chiles.
  • Red Enchilada Sauce: This seeps into the cornbread, making the whole dish flavorful.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese: You can also use cheddar cheese or Colby Jack cheese.

How to Make Tamale Pie

Cook up the cornbread crust, add on the sauce, the meat, and toppings, and you have a delicious meal you will keep making over and over again.

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch pie dish and set it aside.
  2. Combine: Mix together the cornbread mix, egg, sour cream, and creamed corn in a large bowl. 
  3. Bake: Pour the cornbread mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 10 minutes. (It won’t be done completely, but it will bake more once you layer everything on).
  4. Cook the Meat: While the cornbread bakes, prepare the ground beef. Cook over medium heat in a large skillet until no longer pink. Add the green chilies and seasonings. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Add Sauce: Poke holes in the cornbread, then pour the enchilada sauce on top of the cornbread and into the holes.
  6. Add Beef and Cheese: Add the beef mixture to the cornbread, then top with the shredded cheese.  
  7. Bake: Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 
  8. Garnish: Add additional toppings for serving if desired, and enjoy!
4 pictures showing how to make the pie, step by step. Adding on the sauce, cooking the meat and combining them together.

What to Serve with Tamale Pie

This easy casserole recipe is perfect for family dinner. Here are a few ideas for some delicious sides to go with it!

Mexican Rice

23 mins

Perfect Instant Pot Black Beans

45 mins

Pico de Gallo

10 mins

Guacamole

15 mins

The top view of tamale pie that is garnished with jalapeños, cilantro and tomatoes.

Storing Leftovers

This Tamale Pie can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator to be baked later, or it can be frozen and kept for 2-3 months. 

  • Make Ahead of Time: To prepare this meal ahead of time, follow the directions for making the cornbread crust and the topping ingredients. Pre-bake the crust, then add the toppings. Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake for dinner. Before baking, set the casserole on the counter to come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Then bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until the top is melted and the sauce is bubbling. 
  • To Freeze: If you want to freeze this tamale pie for a later date, follow the directions above for preparing the casserole ahead of time. Instead of storing it in the fridge, store the tamale pie in an airtight container in the freezer. If covering with foil, let it freezer for about an hour, then place the pie dish in a sealed freezer bag. This can be stored for about 2-3 months. When you are ready to cook it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and bake according to the directions on the recipe card.  

A slice of tamale pie on a plate with a silver fork.

More Delicious Mexican Recipes to Try

Taco Dip

5 mins

Mexican Street Corn Dip

1 hr 15 mins

Cilantro Lime Sauce

5 mins

Pollo Asado

1 hr 50 mins

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  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch pie dish and set it aside.

  • Mix together the cornbread mix, egg, sour cream, and creamed corn in a large bowl.

  • Pour the cornbread mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 10 minutes. (It won’t be done completely, but it will bake more once you layer everything on).

  • While the cornbread bakes, prepare the ground beef. Cook over medium heat in a large skillet until no longer pink. Add the green chilies and seasonings. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

  • Poke holes in the cornbread, then pour the enchilada sauce on top of the cornbread and into the holes.

  • Add the beef mixture to the cornbread, then top with the shredded cheese.  

  • Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 

  • Add additional toppings for serving if desired, and enjoy!

Originally Posted on April 15, 2019 
Updated on October 17, 2023
 

Calories: 554kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 26gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 1185mgPotassium: 406mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1128IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 287mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



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