Tamale Pie

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Tamale pie has beef in a zesty sauce topped with a simple cornbread topping and baked until fluffy and golden.

piece of Tamale Pie on a white plate

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 to make Tamale Pie

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!

process of layering ingredients to make a Tamale Pie

How to Make Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie is short on prep time but big on taste!

  1. Brown Beef – Brown onion, beef, & garlic, drain fat (per recipe below).
  2. Make Sauce – Add taco seasoning & enchilada sauce. Place beef in a casserole dish.
  3. Mix Topping -Mix topping ingredients and spoon over beef mixture.
  4. Bake – Top with cheese and bake.

Tamale Pie before baking in a casserole dish

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.

Tamale Pie in a casserole dish with a portion taken out

While the tamale pie is cooking, set out your favorite toppings including the sour cream, salsa, and guacamole!

More Ground Beef Casseroles

Did your family love this Tamale Pie? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

piece of Tamale Pie on a white plate
5 from 24 votes
Review Recipe

Tamale Pie

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Author Holly Nilsson
Tamale Pie is a Mexican-inspired one-pot dish full of ground beef, cornbread, and cheese!


  • 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
  • cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish

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  • 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.

Recipe Notes

Tamale Pie can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container. 
Reheat by microwaving a single portion. Adjust seasonings and serve it up again!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 575, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 998mg, Potassium: 450mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 1508IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 353mg, Iron: 3mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword best tamale pie recipe, how to make Tamale Pie, Tamale Pie
Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Pie
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex Mex
Tamale Pie on a plate with writing
close up of Tamale Pie on a plate
plated Tamale Pie with writing
baked Tamale Pie in a casserole dish with a portion on a plate with a title
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is the best Tamale Pie recipe I have come accross. I didn’t have a bell pepper and am not fond of bell peppers anyway, so I used a jalapeno instead. I took out the seeds and some of the veins and it turned out great! I love the sourcream in it. Would highly recommend this recipe. We loved it!5 stars

  2. The recipe doubles great! I would just add an extra 5 mins to baking time. I also added a can of green chilies to the topping and a can of pinto beans to the filing to stretch our meat and it was fabulous!5 stars

  3. This is so amazingly delicious! I made one gluten/dairy free and vegan and one regular. My husband, who had the regular, said it is a triple D! This will definitely be in our rotation.

    1. To freeze the entire Tamale Pie ahead of baking. Freeze for about an hour, then wrap tightly. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed, or bake for about 60-70 minutes from frozen. You may want to tent the top loosely with foil if it starts to brown. Enjoy Meg!

  4. Do you prepare the box of cornbread mix as indicated on the box? And then add the sour cream and corn? And is the corn drained?

  5. My daughter needs to eat gluten free, and the only gluten free cornbread mix I can find is a honey cornbread. Do you think that would work ok, or would it be too sweet?