Almost everyone I know has a tamale pie recipe. This easy Tex-Mex casserole has been a favorite of families everywhere for decades – providing a budget friendly comfort food to busy home cooks. My recipe is an adaption of a recipe from a local Women’s League cookbook that was published early in the 1940s. This classic dish will please your wallet as much as it pleases your tastebuds.
For this recipe you’ll need: olive oil, celery, garlic, onion, canned diced tomatoes, canned corn, canned Ranch style beans, fresh cilantro, butter, chili powder, lean ground beef, salt, pepper, ground chipotle, cornmeal, cheddar cheese
Variations on Homemade Tamale Pie
- I add a lot of cilantro. I am one of those people that LOVES cilantro! If you don’t love it then feel free to cut back or leave it out completely.
- You can use cooked chicken or shredded cooked beef instead of the ground beef in this recipe. You could even use leftover pork – I don’t think fish would work but I haven’t tried it.
- If you’d like to make a vegetarian tamale pie version double up on the beans and leave out the beef.
- Ranch style beans are beans in a seasoned sauce. If you can’t find them pinto beans are fine but you’ll want to taste it and add seasoning.
- If you like spicy food you can use all Ro*Tel tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes.
Tamale Pie Recipe
So, this dish. The meat is spicy with all of that cumin and chile Tex-Mex flavor. The beans and vegetables add texture as well as flavor. My favorite part is the cornmeal crust which is very similar to the cornmeal crust on a classic tamale. When you put it all together with tons of gooey cheese… well… it’s a happy thing, you know?
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cups celery , diced
- 2 cups onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , crushed
- 28 ounces tomatoes , diced
- 14 ounces tomatoes and chiles , diced
- 2 cups corn ,thawed if frozen
- 15 ounces Ranch style beans , or pinto beans
- 1/4 cup cilantro , chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle
- 5 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1-1/2 cups Cheddar cheese , grated, divided use
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish or spray with cooking spray.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the celery and onion until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, corn, and beans – simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the cilantro if desired.
Melt the butter in a heavy pan and cook until done.
Add the chili powder, salt, pepper, and chipotle.
Remove from heat.
Blend 1 cup of water with the cornmeal.
10. Bring the remaining water to a boil in a saucepan.
11. Stir in the cornmeal and cook, stirring constantly, until very thick. Be careful because it may bubble and pop out of the pan and burn you if you’re not careful.
12. Spread half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.
13. Add the meat and spread to cover.
14. Top with the tomato mixture.
15. Top with 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese.
16. Cover with the remaining cornmeal mixture.
17. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
18. Bake for 25 minutes.
19. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.
If you liked this easy Tamale Pie you may also like…
From left to right: King Ranch Chicken, Creamy Burrito Casserole, Candied Jalapenos
Looking for something a little different than this tamale pie recipe? I love this Tex-Mex Cowboy casserole from Aunt Bee’s Recipes. Chile con Queso Chicken Casserole from Written Reality is definitely one of those kinds of recipes my family loves! And… if you’re looking for something Tex-Mex but lighter and healthier check out this skinny bean quinoa casserole from iFoodReal.