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Texas Tamale Pie

A quick, crowd-pleaser of a dinner!

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For a long time, Tamale Pie was something I only had one experience ever eating, while visiting my grandparents’ ranch. It wasn’t something my mom ever made so I hadn’t had it before and I didn’t have it again for many years, but it is something I ended up thinking about pretty darn often. See, it was delicious. I think my grandma used a box of Jiffy for the topping and the zesty, meaty red filling bubbled around the edges underneath it. It was hearty, a little sweet, so comforting, and I was hooked from the first bite. So naturally, now that I make my own dinners in my own kitchen, it’s something I turn to often and this Texas Tamale Pie is my favorite way to go about it.

I like to keep my Tamale Pie pretty simple because for me the glory is all in the contrast of the sweet cornbread topping and the meaty filling below, so you don’t need a ton of ingredients to make this. You’ll start by browning up some ground beef with some onion and bell pepper, and then seasoning it with salt and chili powder. Green chiles, a can of corn, and some fire-roasted tomatoes make it saucy. That’s it for the filling, which you’ll set aside for now.

The “tamale” part is really a modified cornbread. It’s definitely different in texture from an actual tamale and a little sweeter (depending on the mix you use) but it approximates the experience in the corn and meaty filling department. You can use any cornbread mix you like for this but I’m partial to Jiffy. Just mix your mix with two eggs and some milk and you’re good to go.

Half of that batter will go in the bottom of your baking dish, and it will get followed by some shredded cheese and the meaty filling. The rest of the batter forms the top layer (while the rest of the cheese forms the tippity-top) and it bakes until that meaty filling is irresistibly bubbly and the cornbread batter is soft and just the weensiest bit crispy. It’s a quick crowd-pleaser of a dinner, that’s for sure!

Yield(s): Serves 6

15m prep time

1h cook time

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 13 reviewers

Allergens: Milk

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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (16 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (16 oz) package cornbread mix (such as Jiffy)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat until nearly cooked through. Add onion and bell pepper and continue cooking until meat is browned and vegetables are soft.
  3. Season with salt and chili powder. Stir in green chiles, corn, tomatoes, and 1/3 cup water. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together cornbread mix, eggs, and milk.
  5. Spread half of the cornbread batter into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top evenly with half of the cheese.
  6. Pour ground beef mixture over cheese, then top with remaining cornbread mixture. Spread batter out with a spoon or rubber spatula, leaving about a half inch border around the edge.
  7. Top with remaining cheese, cover with foil, and bake 60 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Yellow Rose Life.