Best Ever Tamale Pie Recipe

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A few weeks ago, I wanted to make some sort of tamale casserole. I perused a number of well-rated recipes on, but didn’t find anything exactly that I had in mind.

So I used this one for some basic inspiration and then made a number of modifications to it.

The result was so delicious that my husband declared it to be one of the best meals I’d ever made. I figure that made it worth sharing with you!

tamale pie ingredients

While there is quite a little list of ingredients in this recipe, have no fear. I promise it’s easy to put together and I bet you’d have most of these items in your pantry right now.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive or canola oil, for cooking
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 boxes corn bread mix, such as Jiffy
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican Cheese blend (or Monterey Jack or Cheddar, any combination)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large pot, heat a small amount of oil and sauté the onions.

After a couple of minutes, add your ground beef and brown. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Drain if needed, then add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Incidentally, I’ve learned to never sauté the garlic for the same amount of time as the onions! It has a tendency to burn quickly which will alter the final flavor of your dish.

At this point, you’re going to add the chipotle peppers (don’t drain!), the taco seasoning, black beans, corn, and salsa.

Let simmer on medium to low heat just to incorporate the flavors while you work on your cornbread crust.

Now you have two boxes of cornbread mix because one’s for the bottom and the other’s for the top. (Fancy that!) Start with the bottom crust.

Mix the box with one egg and 1/3 cup milk. Then, spray the bottom of your casserole dish and pat down the cornbread mixture.

For the top crust, mix the remaining cornbread muffin box with the other egg. Finally, stir in 1/3 of the cheese into your mixture.

Now you’re ready to finish the assembly! On top of the bottom crust, sprinkle half of the remaining cheese. Then add your tamale filling. Sprinkle the remaining cheese.

Spread the second cornbread mixture (the one with cheese) on top.

The hardest part comes next: waiting! This puppy will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to cook, depending on your oven. Keep an eye on it, and remove it when the top crust is golden brown.

I think this hearty casserole would easily serve 6-8 people. If you’ve got a smaller family, you’ll likely have some leftovers to enjoy. (I don’t think this is a bad thing at all!)


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  1. Tried this recipe tonight. I didn’t do the bottom crust because I only had one box of cornbread and I use ground turkey instead of beef. You forgot to tell us to add milk to the top crust but I ended up doing it anyway! This recipe is VERY spicy with the can of chipotle peppers. It may be too much for some people, we just had a big glass of water nearby to drink!!

    1. Sarah mcleod says:

      Its super good and helps with the spice if you serve with sour cream but i never put the chilis in mine, my kids dont like spicey

  2. Barbara C. says:

    I can’t find the print link to print out the recipe. HELP!

  3. Anxious to try this recipe.
    Was not able to find the link to print the recipe out.