Easy Recipe for Tamale Pie (2024)

30 Comments / By Lisa Leake / February 27, 2018 / Recipes

10 Reviews / 4.8 Average

This easy one-dish meal features the flavors of tamales in the simplicity of a pie. It will definitely be making another appearance at our house! Try it if you're a fan of Mexican-inspired recipes.

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Easy Recipe for Tamale Pie (1)

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We were recently planning to have friends over for dinner when I asked my husband what he thought I should cook. He randomly said, “How about tamales?!” I was like “Whaaaa?” And that’s how this easy recipe for tamale pie came to be!

One-Dish Recipe for Tamale Pie

First of all, I’ve never made tamales in my life, and I’m honestly not sure if I even like tamales all that much (I was looking for ideas from the plethora of options I have actually cooked before LOL).

Secondly, I have a hard-and-fast rule to never experiment with new recipes on dinner guests. I think it’s always best to make something you know will turn out well, and leave the possible recipe fails for your immediate family only! Anyone else with me on that?

Easy Recipe for Tamale Pie (2)

Tamales Without the Corn Husks

So, after we made homemade pizza with our friends (haha), I thought it would be nice to fulfill my husband’s desire for tamales with an Easy Tamale Pie. Since I’m not a huge fan of regular tamales myself, and I didn’t feel like hunting down corn husks to make the traditional version, this easy mash-up of cornbread, chiles, and other goodies was the best of both worlds.

By incorporating traditional tamale ingredients, you can still enjoy the authentic flavors in a one-dish meal that comes together in less than an hour!

And bonus, he loved it! So this easy one-dish meal will definitely be making an appearance again at our house. Maybe even for dinner guests. :)

Recipe for Tamale Pie With Cornbread

Not only does the cornbread in this tamale pie make it a lot quicker and easier to make than the original, it’s also completely freezer-friendly and packed with flavor! If one-dish Mexican recipes are your thing, you’ve got to give this one a try.

Easy Recipe for Tamale Pie (3)

Easy Tamale Pie

This easy one-dish meal features the flavors of tamales in the simplicity of a pie. It will definitely be making another appearance at our house! Try it if you're a fan of Mexican-inspired recipes.

10 Reviews / 4.8 Average

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 30 minutes mins

Total Time: 40 minutes mins

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Mexican

Method: Freezer Friendly

Diet: Egg Free, Gluten Free, Peanut/Tree Nut-Free

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Servings: 4 people

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For the meat layer

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bell pepper (cored, seeded and diced (any color))
  • 1/2 jalapeño (or other hot pepper, minced)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted variety is a good option for this)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

For the tamale topping

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal (finely ground)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese (finely shredded)

Suggested accompaniments

  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • cilantro


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  • In a cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof large skillet) heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions while stirring until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Add the ground beef to the pan and cook while breaking it up with a spatula until almost brown all the way through, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bell and hot peppers and cook until soft, another 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Sprinkle the seasonings onto the beef mixture and stir until well combined. Add the diced tomatoes and corn kernels and bring to a light boil then turn off the heat.

  • Meanwhile, in a small pot combine the milk, cornmeal, butter, and salt. Bring to a light boil while whisking constantly. As soon as the mixture begins to thicken, only takes a minute or two, scrape out of the pot and spread on top of the meat mixture into one even layer.

  • Top with shredded cheese and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. If preparing in advance may take longer to bake if putting it in the oven cold.

  • Garnish with sour cream, avocado and/or cilantro (if desired) and serve.


We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

Easy Tamale Pie

Amount Per Serving

Calories 727Calories from Fat 441

% Daily Value*

Fat 49g75%

Saturated Fat 22g138%

Cholesterol 137mg46%

Sodium 943mg41%

Potassium 680mg19%

Carbohydrates 37g12%

Fiber 5g21%

Sugar 7g8%

Protein 34g68%

Vitamin A 1925IU39%

Vitamin C 41.1mg50%

Calcium 344mg34%

Iron 3.9mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Easy Recipe for Tamale Pie (2024)


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