Tamale Pie Casserole

May 1, 2023
Spicy ground beef or ground turkey and vegetable filling, topped with a thick-and-delicious layer of golden cornbread. Tamale Pie Casserole is a delicious dinner dish that's just perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, or any everyday dinner!

Serving Spoon of Tamale Pie Casserole Image

Do you love casseroles?  At our house, we sure do! 

We probably eat a casserole for dinner about 80% of the time in our house. And, oh, do they hold many memories for me of our dinners together as a family growing up. Yes, I inherited my love for casseroles from my Mom.

Except when ball games or other activities prevented it, our family ate dinner together at the dinner table every night. -- My Mom made sure of that. She had an arsenal of tasty casserole recipes to help her out with putting a delicious dinner on the table each and every night.

With its spicy filling topped with that thick-and-delicious layer of golden cornbread, we hope our family favorite casserole will become one of your family's favorites, too. 

And one of my all-time favorites was her Tamale Pie.

With a spicy meat-and-vegetable filling topped with a thick layer of cornbread, I couldn't wait to dig in when Mom brought this casserole to the table.

Well, I've taken Mom's original Tamale Pie recipe and freshened it up a little to share with you, changing up the cornbread topping a bit to incorporate my mother-in-law's delicious scratch-made cornbread recipe and adding a touch more spice to the filling.

Mmmmmm, that cornbread topping and meaty-spicy filling make such a wonderfully tasty combination. -- Making this Tamale Pie Casserole a delicious dish that's just perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, or any everyday dinner.

What's to Love About This Recipe?

  • Cornbread topping + meaty filling - Tamale Pie Casserole's scratch-made cornbread topping and spicy ground beef filling make for such a wonderfully tasty combination.
  • Family favorite - This delicious dish a family favorite, for sure. It's pure comfort food deliciousness at its best!
  • Perfect for any everyday dinner - Hearty Tamale Pie Casserole is just perfect to serve up for any everyday dinner.

Tamale Pie Casserole in Baking Dish Image

Tamale Pie Casserole Ingredients:

Tamale Pie Casserole is made up of two components -- 1. a ground beef-based filling, and 2. a fluffing from-scratch cornbread topping.

For the ground beef filling, you'll need:

  • Ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • Mild pork sausage
  • Onion & fresh garlic
  • Green bell pepper
  • Canned stewed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • Sliced black olives
  • Chili powder, ground cumin, salt, & pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (melted on top of the cornbread topping toward the end of the baking time)

For the cornbread topping, you'll need:
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
  • An egg
  • Milk
  • Melted butter

How to Make Tamale Pie Casserole:

To create this family favorite, simply brown some ground beef or ground turkey along with a little sausage, onion, and garlic. Then add in chopped green pepper, a can of stewed tomatoes, some corn kernels, sliced black olives, and spices. -- A combination of chili powder and ground cumin give the filling a really nice flavor.

Spoon the filling into a baking dish.

Tamale Pie Casserole Ground Beef Filling Spread in Baking Dish Image

Next, whip up a little buttery scratch-made cornbread batter.

Pouring Melted Butter into Cornbread Batter Image

Spoon the cornbread batter over the filling in the baking dish.

Spooning Cornbread Batter Over Tamale Pie Casserole Filling Image

Be sure to cover the filling completely with a beautiful blanket of batter, right to the edge of the baking dish.

Tamale Pie Casserole Ready to Bake Image

Pop the pan in the oven and bake it up for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, sprinkle the partially-baked cornbread with shredded cheddar cheese. Then bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and the cornbread is done.

Shredded Cheddar Cheese Sprinkled on Tamale Pie Casserole's Partially-Baked Cornbread Topping Image

Then you're ready to dig on in to the magical layers of tamale pie deliciousness!

With its spicy ground beef and vegetable filling, topped with that thick-and-delicious layer of golden cornbread, we hope our family's favorite Tamale Pie Casserole will become one of your family favorites, too.

Check out these other meaty main dishes:

Baked Tamale Pie Casserole in Baking Dish Image
Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!

casserole recipe, tamale pie casserole recipe, dinner recipes
Main Dishes
Yield: 8-10 Servings

Tamale Pie Casserole

Spicy ground beef (or ground turkey) and vegetable filling, topped with a thick-and-delicious layer of golden cornbread. Just perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, or any everyday dinner!
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 60 M


For the Cornbread Topping:
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 T. butter, melted
For the Filling:
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1/2 lb. mild pork sausage
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 c. sliced black olives
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese


How to make Tamale Pie Casserole

Assemble the Cornbread Topping Ingredients:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate small bowl, combine the lightly beaten egg and milk.
  2. Set aside, with the dry and wet ingredients still uncombined, while you prepare the casserole filling.
Prepare the Filling:
  1. In a skillet, brown the ground beef and sausage with the chopped onion and garlic over medium heat; drain.
  2. Run a knife through the stewed tomatoes while they're still in the can to chop them. Add the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, green pepper, corn, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt, and black olives to the skillet. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Place filling in a 2-quart or 9x13" baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray.
Prepare the Cornbread Topping:
  1. Gradually add the milk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Add the melted butter; stir until just combined.
  2. Spread the cornbread batter evenly over the top of the filling.
  1. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 20 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheddar and continue baking for about 8 to 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and the cornbread is done.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Tamale Pie Casserole ~ Spicy ground beef or ground turkey & vegetable filling, topped with a thick-and-delicious layer of golden cornbread. Such a delicious dinner dish that's perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, or everyday dinner!  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.


  1. I love this casserole! That topping would be gone in a flash with me around. :)

    1. The cornbread topping is sooooooo good, Dorothy ... nice and light and fluffy!

  2. It sounds pretty easy to make and also very delicious. We both love cornbread and tacos are too bad either. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This casserole would be something my family would love!

  4. Black olives....ahh ha!!!!

    1. Yes, Mom ... black olives. Mark loves them, so I tolerate them for him. I knew you'd 'get' me for having the black olives in this!!

  5. This looks so yummy! I have been loving the casseroles being made from the Country Crock Stars campaign! :) Pinning this one to make soon.

  6. A delicious casserole perfect for a weeknight meal or a fun fiesta. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasures

  7. This looks DELICIOUS!!!! I'm pinning it so I can make it sometime soon!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I've always wanted to try this... it looks delish! Thanks so much for coming to share at Super Saturday Show & Tell last week... I hope you'll come back to party with me again tomorrow! http://www.whatscookingwithruthie.com Have a great night! xoxo~ Ruthie

  9. It made me smile to see that you used Country Crock, as I just did my post this week too! :) This is prefect for Cinco de Mayo; can't wait to share it with my readers! This is a recipe I hadn't thought of in years; thanks girl! I'm always loving on your recipes! :)
    Have a great weekend,
    Mackenzie :)

  10. Oh this looks sooo good! I need just a dollop of sour cream and I'd be in heaven!

  11. This sounds easy to make and delicious. I can adjust the amount to be good for just the two of us. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Has anyone had luck freezing this recipe?

    1. I haven't tried freezing it ... though I don't see why you couldn't. You can freeze chili, which is similar to the filling. And you can freeze cornbread, which is the topping. The only question would be can you freeze them together? You could definitely freeze the filling, and then add the cornbread batter once it's thawed ... and bake as usual. Not sure if the cornbread would get soggy if frozen & then thawed post-baking. But as I always say ... try it and see! If you give it a go, please stop back by and let me know how it goes.

  13. I just made this recipe last night. Oh my goodness it is so good! It is definitely going to become a family favorite. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. I just found your blog today and I am loving it. I don't really care for country crock, but this recipe sounds delicious. I will try it with butter and see.

    1. The recipe works great with butter! I've since updated the recipe to be made with butter rather than margarine. Enjoy!

  15. Found your site via Chef-in-Training and I made the tamale pie tonight. It was a big time hit with my family! Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. LOVED THIS MEAL! Hearty and filling but I also loved that there was a good amount of veggies and I used turkey meat and turkey sausage to lighten it up a bit. Fabulous flavor and perfect for a very cold night.

  17. I can't have gluten, do you think I could make this with my own cornbread topping?

  18. hi. looks like a great recipe! can you tell me how many servings it makes? i'd like to make it for a crowd and need to know how many times to multiply the ingredients!


  19. Going to try this for Super Bowl Party. Loved the sour cream idea - Guacamole would be good too. Seems like it would be easy to expand for a crowd and would keep well on a hot plate on the buffet.

  20. All the photos show a square pan, but the directions say 9 x 13. Which is it?

    1. Either shape works, so long as the dimensions/pan capacity works out to roughly what a 9x13" pan would be. The pan in the photos just happens to be a large square casserole dish that I frequently use. Enjoy!

  21. oh my gosh! This was so amazingly delicious. I thought it would be okay and my family was skeptical yet it was wonderful and I didn't even have all of the ingredients. By far the best recipe I have ever got online!

  22. Tracey, just spotted this on Miz Helen's #FullPlateThursday. Looks delish! I've always loved a good tamale pie, and I'm sure this one will be no exception.

  23. Congratulations!
    Your Post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Thanks so much for sharing it with us and hope you have a great week!
    Miz Helen

  24. I had a similar recipe when I was first married many, many years ago. I had almost forgotten how good it was until I saw your recipe. I'll have to give it a try. I'm sure it will be delicious!

  25. Tracey, this sounds fantastic! Pinned 📌
    Visiting today from IMM#104,105&106


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