Tex-Mex Tamale Pies

Tamale pie is a delicious concoction of spicy beef and corn encased in a creamy cornmeal crust. If chili and cornbread collided and fell into a pie dish this would be the result!

The hearty filling is made of ground beef, corn, tomatoes and jalapenos. The crust is more like a creamy polenta than cornbread, remaining soft and moist. With green chiles and extra sharp cheddar, the crust not only goes over top but gets spread over the bottom and up the sides too!

You can add beans to the filling if you like and for a vegetarian version you can completely swap out the beef for 3-4 cups of your favorite beans. Black beans, kidney beans, white beans. . .cool beans. . . whatever beans your little heart desires!

I love casseroles like this where you get lots of different, complementing ingredients and textures in every single bite. Warm, cozy flavors to calm those cold-weather hunger pangs!

Tamale Pies

Tamale Pie

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Tamale Pie

Tamale pie is a delicious concoction of spicy beef and corn encased in a creamy cornmeal crust. If chili and cornbread collided and fell into a pie dish this would be the result!


1 + 1/4 pounds ground beef
sea or kosher salt and ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, minced (seeds and ribs removed for less heat, if desired)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups corn kernels (if frozen, thawed)
1 tablespoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between fingers
Creamy Cornmeal Crust:
2 + 1?4 cups coarse cornmeal
1 + 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 + 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1 small can diced green chiles or 1/3 cup scallions, diced
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
sour cream and/or guacamole for serving


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat brown the beef (season lightly with salt and pepper) breaking it apart as it cooks. Remove the beef from the pan and drain off the grease. Add a few tablespoons oil and over medium-low heat cook onion and jalapenos until tender (season lightly with salt and pepper). Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add ground beef back in along with both diced and crushed tomatoes, corn, chile powder, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over medium-low heat 5-6 minutes. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring 5 cups water and 1 + 1/2 teaspoons sea salt to a bowl in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and slowly add cornmeal while continuously whisking. Once cornmeal is incorporated remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Mix in milk, sour cream, beaten egg, 1 cup of the cheese, green chiles or scallions and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Mixture will be thick.
  3. Grease an 8×8 deep sided casserole dish and spread a thin layer of cornmeal over bottom and up the sides. Add meat mixture and spread evenly, cover with remaining cornmeal, spread evenly and scatter remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top. Place on a baking sheet and bake 30-35 minutes until bubbly and light golden on top. Remove and allow to set 5 minutes before serving with a dollop of sour cream and/or guacamole over top.

Tamale Pie


  1. lori fredrich says

    I often make my tamale pie with leftover chili… and it’s really the best.  Yours looks delicious.

  2. Claudia says

    Talk about your warm, complementing ingredients and texture – yes – it is exactly what I look for in a meal – particularly in the cooler weather. It so pretty – encased – waiting to show you its surprises.

  3. BeadedTail says

    First snickerdoodles and now Tamale pie?  I’m going to be too full for Thanksgiving!  We are certainly going to make this scrumptuous looking dish Reeni!

    Smooches on Moon’s handsome face!

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