Tamale pie has beef in a zesty sauce topped with a simple cornbread topping and baked until fluffy and golden.
What is Tamale Pie?
A tamale is a delicious favorite, with a masa (corn) dough wrapped around meat and steamed in corn leaves until tender. This dish is definitely not a traditional tamale but plays on the corn and meat flavors.
This quick dish starts on the stovetop and is then baked to perfection with cheese.
We love tamale pie because it’s easy to make, inexpensive, and ready to go in less than an hour!
Ingredients and Variations
PROTEIN This is a super basic recipe with ground beef and cheese. Sub any favorite cheese, and feel free to use ground turkey or chicken in place of beef.
VEGGIES This recipe has corn of course, but it also works perfectly with leftover veggies, too! Try adding shredded zucchini, frozen diced veggies, a can of diced tomatoes, jalapenos, or sliced black olives.
TOPPINGS Top with sour cream, salsa, or even guacamole!
How to Make Tamale Pie
Tamale Pie is short on prep time but big on taste!
- Brown Beef – Brown onion, beef, & garlic, drain fat (per recipe below).
- Make Sauce – Add taco seasoning & enchilada sauce. Place beef in a casserole dish.
- Mix Topping -Mix topping ingredients and spoon over beef mixture.
- Bake – Top with cheese and bake.
Tips for Success
A great tamale pie is hearty, flavorful, and filling!
- For best results, as the ground meat is cooking, use a spatula to separate it so it is finely ground.
- Adding egg to the cornbread topping mixture gives it structure and extra flavor.
- Once tamale pie is cooked, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat by placing it in a preheated oven, or microwaving a single portion. Adjust seasonings and serve it up again!
- Freeze tamale pie in an airtight container and label the outside with the date on it. It stays tasty for 2 to 3 months. Let the tamale pie thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
While the tamale pie is cooking, set out your favorite toppings including the sour cream, salsa, and guacamole!
More Ground Beef Casseroles
- Stuffed Peppers
- Beef Taco Pasta Skillet – ready in 30 minutes
- Beef and Macaroni Soup
- Unstuffed Peppers
- Easy Homemade Lasagna
- Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Did your family love this Tamale Pie? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper diced, green or red
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup enchilada sauce
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded, divided
- 1 box corn muffin mix 8.5 oz
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup corn kernels canned, fresh, or frozen
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 egg
- fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Combine beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a 10" ovenproof skillet. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Add taco seasoning and ¼ cup water. Simmer until water evaporates. Stir in enchilada sauce. Top with 1 ½ cups of cheese.
- Combine corn muffin mix, sour cream, corn, milk ,and egg. Spread over the beef mixture.
- Top with remaining cheese and bake 35-40 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Do you drain the corn?
Yes, it should be drained. Enjoy Sabrina!
I haven’t been disappointed with one of your recipes yet so it’s no surprise that this was delicious and so easy. Whole family approved!
This recipe looked so good so I made it today. Excellent! Someone here in comments added green Chili’s and I thought I picked up a small can of green olives but they were like ground up but both were good in the casserole. I bought some avocado dip and had some sour crème on the side. It was a wonderful mixture. I will definitely be making it again. I enjoy making your recipes.
I am so glad you are enjoying the recipes Linnea!
We didn’t love this. The cornbread layer was too thick (and I used a smaller than recommended package of cornbread mix). The ratio of bread to meat was just off.
Made last night and added sliced jalapeños and kidney beans to the meat mixture. It was fantastic!! Since it’s just hubby and me, I froze the rest to enjoy another time. Thank you for a delicious recipe! I’m loving your site!
I am so glad you are enjoying the recipes Kim!
I think would make some corn muffins to go with this
That sounds delicious!
This was deliciousand so easy to make. I didn’t have any enchilada sauce, so I made my own out of tomato sauce and spices, plus I used the rest of the can of corn in the meat filling after taking 1/2 cup out for the topping mix. Everyone loved how it tasted. It’s on my rotation now.
Sounds delicious, Chris! Thanks for sharing.