Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. 

 Tamale Pie with golden cornmeal crust

Here’s an easy weeknight dinner recipe for Tamale Pie that can be made with ground chicken, turkey, beef or keep it vegetarian and use ground vegetarian “meat”.

The flavorful Mexican-spiced filling is cooked on the stovetop then topped with a simple cornmeal batter before baking in the oven. When it comes out, it is transformed into a golden cornbread-crusted pan of deliciousness!

Why this recipe works:

What I love about this recipe is how fast and easy it is to put together, letting the oven do half the work. It is also very adaptable- use whichever meat or veggie meat you like!

Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

The flavorful base can be achieved with ground meat – chicken, turkey or beef- or try vegetarian ground “meat”,

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

How to make Tamale Pie:

  1. In a nutshell, make the flavorful filling on the stovetop with veggies and your choice of meat.
  2. Season the filling and top with cornbread batter, then put the whole skillet right in the oven.
  3. The Cornbread will bake over top of the filling and when it comes out it will be golden, puffed and delicious!

 

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

Add cheese for extra richness, or leave it off for a leaner option. Jack cheese or cheddar or mozzarella would be good here!

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

Spread the batter over the stew, then top with jalapeños. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400F.

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

Into the oven it goes to bake!

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

When it comes out the crust will be golden and crispy.

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat with seasonal veggies, topped with a delicious cornbread crust. | www.feastingathome.com

My husband loves this topped with a little sour cream and I like to add slices of avocado.

 Tamale Pie with cornbread crust.

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie, a simple weeknight meal, easily vegetarian adaptable and perfect for weeknights! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Easy Skillet Tamale Pie, full of flavor and perfect for weeknights!

Tamale Pie Recipe


Description

Simple Delicious Tamale Pie with your choice of ground turkey, beef or veggie meat topped with a delicious cornbread crust.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 12 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 lb ground meat ( chicken, turkey, or beef) or use vegetarian ground “meat”.
  • 1 bell pepper ( or try cubes of roasted butternut or sweet potato!)
  • 1 can black beans, drained (or sub extra veggies or more meat)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried mexican oregano (or use regular)
  • 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce (or sub 1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and perhaps “up” the spices)
  • 1/4½ cup water
  • 4-ounce can drained green chilies (optional)
  • 12 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro- optional
  • 1 cup grated cheese- optional (jack, cheddar, mozzarella- anything melty)

Corn Bread Topping

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2/3 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced- optional
  • more cheese- totally optional

Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream ( or avocado) and hot sauce ( all optional).


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F

Make the filling: In a 10-11 inch ovenproof skillet or dutch oven, saute onion, garlic, ground meat and bell pepper in the olive over medium heat until meat is golden brown, about 10 minutes. ( If using vegetarian meat option, no need to brown first – cook the onion, garlic and bell pepper until tender, then add the ground veggie meat. Use a metal spatula to prevent sticking. If the veggie meat continues to stick no worries scrape it up when you add the liquids.)

Add the corn and beans, salt and spices. Stir in the enchilada sauce and a little water and optional canned chilies, bring to a simmer over low heat. Taste, adjust salt and spices. If it feels dry, add a little more water to loosen. ( If you used tomato sauce instead of enchilada sauce you may want to add more spices). Bottom line is …you want this stew base to be flavorful and robust in flavor and just slightly liquidy. If it is too liquidy, simmer on low so some of the liquid dissipates. And while it’s simmering, make the cornbread topping.

Make the Cornmeal Crust: Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk , and oil in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk. If it seems dry, just add a few more tablespoons of milk until the consistency seems spreadable.

Stir in optional cilantro into the filling and sprinkle with the optional cheese. While the stew is still simmering on the stove, spread the cornbread batter in a thin layer over top. Simmer 1-2 minutes more, and top with thinly sliced jalapeño ( or more grated cheese) and then place in the hot oven, over a sheet pan, or sheet of foil to catch any overflow. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, check, then continue baking an additional 5 minutes or until puffed and beautifully golden.

Serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream, avocado and hot sauce.


Notes

PS. my husband likes his cornbread top lathered in butter right when it comes out of the oven. Optional of course.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 347
  • Sugar: 7.5 g
  • Sodium: 1085.7 mg
  • Fat: 13.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.4 g
  • Fiber: 6.4 g
  • Protein: 20.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 70.9 mg

Keywords: tamale pie, tamale pie recipe, tamale pie casserole, tamale casserole, cornbread casserole, enchilada casserole, baked tamales, tamales baked, tamales

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Comments

  1. Knowing that cornmeal drains our B vitamins and masa does not, I would like to try masa. Do you foresee any problems with trying masa, and if not, what adjustments do you suggest?
    Thank you for your recipes. I have only tried zuchini lasagna so far and loved it.

    1. Hey Cora- I have not tried this with masa so really not sure here how to convert. If you do try it will you let me know?

      1. Yes, I will definitely let you know. BTW, I find that I can make your zuchinni lasagna with lamb and serve it to people who don’t even like lamb. They still love it.

  2. Delicious! I made it vegan by making ground “meat” with riced cauliflower and finely chopped walnuts and spices. I used a flax “egg” and almond milk in the cornbread.

  3. Made this last night. Anything I can do, one skillet, in my cast iron I love. I omitted the water, my bad, but I hate diluting. Came out perfect. I always use your 5 minute enchilada sauce recipe whenever I can, (timesaver and delicious). I would have liked a little more cornbread topping, (easy fix). Like you husband I like sour cream and cilantro on everything. I also plated it in a pool of hatch chili sauce which easily took care of the semi-dryness I created by not adding the water. Next time just the extra 1/2 cup enchilada sauce I had leftover. Like always, you make “feasting at home” a joy!

    1. Hi Dana- yes, I think it needs the water so it doesn’t get dried out (or extra enchilada sauce). Thanks!

  4. Made this last night. Anything I can do, one skillet, in my cast iron I love. I omitted the water, my bad, but I hate diluting. Came out perfect. I always use your 5 minute enchilada sauce recipe whenever I can, (timesaver and delicious). I would have liked a little more cornbread topping, (easy fix). Like you husband I like sour cream and cilantro on everything. I also plated it in a pool of hatch chili sauce which easily took care of the semi-dryness I created by not adding the water. Next time just the extra 1/2 cup enchilada sauce I had leftover. Like always, you make “feasting at home” a joy!

  5. I did, and I thought about leaving out the 1/2 cup of water as the onion, ground turkey, pepper mixture had a lot of fluid in it when it had cooked down.

  6. Looking for advice. The batter for the cornbread was too thick to spread thinly, I followed the recipe. It also ended up boiling over in the oven. I used a 10″ cast iron skillet, did I miss something? Tasted great!

    1. Hi Maureen- I was planning on making this, this week. Will you double-check that you added all the liquid ingredients in the recipe? Just curious.

    1. Pepper Jack, Mozzerella or cheddar! You would just have to gauge the time for mini pies, look for the golden crust and bubbling around the edges. 🙂

  7. I really like this recipe. Delicious! Quick to fix, super flavorful, and the one pot makes an easy cleanup. Thanks Sylvia!

  8. Just pulled this together with Impossible meat and vegan substitutions for the cornbread. It was delicious! Satisfied my picky meat and potatoes teen and my vegan teen and my husband loved it! Thank you!

  9. Thank you; this is a great recipe that isn’t too difficult and does not require a ton of cleanup. The spices can be doctored as mentioned and a plethora of substations can be made which makes things even easier. It came out great and is so delicious. Bonus that it also looks quite impressive. I’m already looking forward to making it again 🙂

    1. Thanks Shannon, the filling for sure could ( warm to room temp before baking) but I would recommend making the topping right before.

  10. Made this twice now, it is amazing! Every recipe I’ve tried has been wonderful! Thank you so much.

  11. Merci pour cette recette que je vais m’empresser de faire. Je suis sûre que cela va me plaire . Bisous Chris06

  12. Sylvia,
    I have had trouble working with those soy bits being marketed as vegan beef replacement. I put them in a skillet and they stick to the pan. I put olive oil in first, and they become a sludgy me, and I never get the consistency of little chewy bits. How do you cook them? i love the taste and texture, but now wonder if I should be roasting them or something else absurd.

    1. Doug, they do stick! It’s annoying!!! I use a well oiled pan and a metal spatula to scrape up the bits. In this recipe, when you add the liquids they will be easy to scrape up, so just do that and don’t worry too much, it should still turn out. 🙂

      1. Thank you, Sylvia!. As always, looking forward to making your recipes. Tamale Pie will be this coming weekend. I can’t make the Chile Rellenos because the Poblano Chiles they get in this town are the size of jalapeños. Surely I can find a company that ships large Poblanos nation wide.

        You’re tastes are awesome. you hanks for sharing your recipes with us!

        1. Thanks Doug. You could also try pasilla peppers. Sometimes our peppers here are small too, sometimes they are enormous…not a lot of consistency. 🙂

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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