Best & Easy Tamale Pie Recipe 2021

Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie Recipe 2021

It is prepared with a cornmeal crust and ingredients typically used in tamales. It has been described as comfort food.

Despite its name, the cornbread-ground beef combo is nothing like the husk-wrapped masa dish it’s named after. Even calling it a “pie” is somewhat controversial. What it is: a cozy casserole, especially popular in the Southwest, that originated in early 1900.

Most tamale pies consist of a flavorful ground beef base and cornbread topping. But we were inspired by the tamale pie recipe on the blog 2Teaspoons.

Instead of covering the beef with a cornbread topping, there are bakes a cornbread base that gets poked and doused with enchilada sauce. It sounded amazing, but I was skeptical.

Would the crust get soggy? Why don’t more people do it this way? No one else seemed to have as many doubts as me, so I tested the technique, doctoring a box of Jiffy with sour cream and creamed corn.

I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong. Even smothered in enchilada sauce and loaded with taco meat and cheese, the cornbread remained its beautiful cornbread self-not a sad and mushy bottom. In fact, it got even better.

Have you made this recipe? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: The introduction to this recipe was updated on August 31, 2020, to provide more information about the dish.

Easy Tamales in a Pie

I’ve made tamales before, but thinking back, she’s right. It was such an ordeal, I haven’t made them in years.

But you know what I have made again and again? This Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe. What I lovingly call my tamale pot pie recipe is not authentic in the least. However, it is:

  • Quick to prepare
  • Easy to assemble
  • Gluten-free
  • And offers the essence of good tamales.
  • You’ve got spiced meaty filling.

You’ve got a masa (corn flour) coating, that bakes into a pillowy tamale-like top. And You’ve got fewer supplies involved, less cleanup, and much less cook time.

How To Make Tamale Pie (Recipe) – Easy to Make and Gluten-Free!

That means you’ve got one heck of a family dinner without going to all the trouble of making real tamales.

To me, that is more than enough reason to skip the traditional method of tamale making and make a tamale pie that mimics that flavor of tamales, in a pot-pie form.

Plus, this Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe can make two pies, so you can enjoy one for dinner tonight and save one as a freezer meal, just like with real tamales.

My friend shook her head at me when I told her about my perfect tamale pie recipe. Yet once she tasted it, she changed her tune.

After all, time-consuming doesn’t always mean better.

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8 Servings0 Hours 10 Mins0 Hours 40 Mins0 Hours 50 Mins


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 box corn muffin mix (such as JIFFY)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. canned creamed corn
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/3 c. red enchilada sauce
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey jack


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a large oven-safe skillet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together corn muffin mix, egg, sour cream, and creamed corn. Transfer to prepared skillet and bake until golden, 20 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, cumin, and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain fat.
  3. Poke entire surface of cornbread with a fork and pour over enchilada sauce. Add beef and top with cheeses.
  4. Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melty, about 20 minutes. Switch oven to broil, remove foil, and broil until cheese turns golden, about 5 minutes.

Can Tamale Pies Be Frozen?

Yes, this recipe is excellent for meal prepping! But NOTE: If you are making these tamale pot pies in advance to freeze, DO NOT bake beforehand.

Pour the corn batter on top of the pies and place in the freezer uncovered for one hour to allow the topping to harden. Then, wrap well with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, and place back in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Could I Make This Recipe With Chicken or Turkey?

Absolutely you can make the perfect tamale pies with ground turkey or chicken. Use precooked rotisserie chicken to cut back on cooking time for the first part of making your tamale filling

Or, thoroughly sauté cut up bite-sized boneless and skinless chicken breast pieces before adding the other ingredients.

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How Can I Make Vegan / Vegetarian Tamale Pot Pies?

This tamale-inspired recipe can easily be made vegetarian-friendly by swapping out your favorite legumes, such as cooked lentils or canned garbanzo beans, in place of the ground beef, and subbing vegetable broth.

To make this recipe vegan as well, use your preferred shredded cheese substitute and swap cooking oil in place of the melted butter to make the gluten-free tamale pie topping.


  • Tamale Pie Vegetarian
  • Tamale Pie Masa
  • Old School Tamale Pie
  • Tamale Pie with Cornmeal
  • Tamale Pie Allrecipes
  • Taste of Home Tamale Pie
  • Tamale Pie with cornbread topping
  • Tamale Pie pioneer woman

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