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 109 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Tamale Pie

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


  • 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


  • 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.


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!
5 from 109 votes

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.

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


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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!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Delicious! I used two pounds of ground beef, but still kept the one box of jiffy. The bread to meat ratio was exactly right for us.5 stars

  2. This recipe is delicious! I subbed Dave’s Famous Jalapeño cornbread for the jiffy and it gave it an extra little kick. Will definitely be making again!5 stars

  3. I made this Tamale Pie for dinner tonight. It was quick, easy and delicious. Perfect weekday meal. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

    1. Hi Sarah, we have tried this recipe with ground chicken with good results. Shredded chicken should work well too!

  4. I added a few things to beef mixture, a jalapeño, 1/2 can of corn, 1/2 can chopped green chilies, and red beans. Cooked it for about 20 minutes before putting in casserole dish. Followed the rest.
    Then for corn bread I added the rest of green chilies.

  5. I would like to make this recipe, but my husband cannot have tomato-based products because he had tongue cancer and the tomato is too acidic. Do you have any ideas as far as moisture and flavor that or not tomato based?

    1. While I haven’t tried it, are roasted red peppers a suitable substitute? You could try pureed roasted red peppers or another favorite vegetable.

  6. Delicious! Only changes/additions I made were to add Del Monte Mediterranean Corn Medley (398 ML drained) and tube Polenta slices (browned in Bacon grease) on top and bottom. No Jiffy Mix in Canada. But, that worked very well. DH loved it! Would definitely make again. Sorry about the Ml’s. Ever since they changed ‘normal measurements’ to this Euro stuff, I’ve been lost! Best Holly too.5 stars

  7. 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!5 stars

  8. 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.5 stars

  9. 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.

  10. 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!5 stars

  11. 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.5 stars