Beef And Cornbread Tamale Pie Recipe

What do you get when you mix a tamale with pie? Absolute deliciousness! This recipe is unique in that it combines all the traditional elements of a tamale in the form of a pie. It's innovative and it's a crowd-pleaser. The combination of the cornbread crust, veggies, spice medley, and beef will satisfy even the hungriest of customers, and there's no doubt that you'll be asking for another slice ... or two. 

Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone came up with this wonderful recipe that is every bit delicious as it is unique. "I love this tamale pie recipe because it really does remind me of tamales! The topping is much closer to the texture of the outside of a tamale than cornbread, which I really like," she shares. And there's a fun story behind why Rapone decided she wanted to start making this dish. "This recipe was 'inherited' from my husband's grandmother, with one tweak I made (I like the cheese on top instead of mixed into the meat, where I feel like it gets lost)," she notes.

Gather the ingredients for this cornbread and tamale pie recipe

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty! You will first need to gather all the ingredients to whip up this tasty dish. Pick up canola oil, ground beef, a yellow onion, green bell pepper, salt, tomato sauce, frozen corn, sliced black olives, sugar, chili powder, cheddar cheese, yellow cornmeal, water, and butter. There are also two optional ingredients — sour cream and Mexican hot sauce.

Once you have those items, you can whip up this beef and cornbread tamale pie.

Cook the beef, onion, and peppers

Take out a large 14" oven-safe skillet or a braising pan for this step. Place it on your stove and turn the heat up to medium-high. Drizzle in the canola oil and then the ground beef. After that, you can toss in the yellow onion, bell peppers, and a teaspoon of salt to add a little flavor to the meat.

Stir to combine the ingredients and let the beef cook and veggies soften.

Add the tomato sauce, followed by the corn, black olives, chili powder, and sugar

At this time, you can toss in the tomato sauce and stir. Please note that the meat does not have to brown or cook long before you throw the tomato sauce in. Place the lid on the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.

When your timer goes off, add the corn and black olives and give everything a good stir. To season the mixture, throw in the chili powder and sugar. Reduce the heat down to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes without the lid. Be sure to stir every 5 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven and start the cornmeal mixture

While the beef mixture simmers, preheat your oven to 375 F.

Then, you can mix up the cornmeal topping. All you need to do is grab a saucepan and add the water. Next, add the cornmeal and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Place the saucepan over your stove and turn the heat to medium. Grab a whisk and continually whisk the water and cornmeal until it gets nice and thick. Once thick, turn off the heat and add butter. Use a whisk to combine. "Just keep whisking and stirring. Once it starts to thicken up (you can feel it get harder to stir or whisk), turn off the heat. You want it thick when you put it over the meat filling, but not so thick that it's gloppy and hard to pour and spread." 

"The method of cooking the cornmeal with the hot water is definitely a special method that creates that awesome topping texture," Rapone says. 

Combine the meat and cornmeal and bake

Now that you have finished making the cornmeal mixture, use a spoon to scoop out the cornmeal and cover the meat mixture. Pop it into the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. Continue cooking until the cornmeal mixture is set.

Once set, add the cheese on top and pop the tamale pie into the oven for 10-15 minutes, so the cheese melts and gets nice and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and serve

Remove the beef and cornbread tamale pie from the oven and place it on a safe spot on your counter. Let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving to ensure you don't burn your mouth. "We love this with just some sour cream and hot sauce for a simple dinner. But, pretty much any favorite taco topping is yummy — jalapeños, black olives, cilantro, even more cheese!" Rapone suggests. "Just have fun with it." 

Beef And Cornbread Tamale Pie Recipe
5 from 42 ratings
Mexican food fans who want a new twist should learn how to make this beef and cornbread tamale pie recipe, which can be topped off with your favorite toppings.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Beef and Cornbread Tamale Pie
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 14.5 oz can tomato sauce (plain)
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 4 oz can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 ½ cups)
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat a large (14") oven-safe skillet or braising pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then add the ground beef, yellow onion, bell pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Stir to combine roughly.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and stir (you don't have to brown the meat first). Place a lid on the skillet and cook for 5 min.
  3. Remove lid, add the corn and black olives, and stir. Add chili powder and sugar and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 min, uncovered, stirring every 5 min.
  4. While simmering, preheat oven to 375 F and make the cornmeal topping.
  5. Make the cornmeal topping: Add water into a medium saucepan. Add the cornmeal and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to the water. Put over medium heat on the stove and cook, whisking continuously, until thick. Turn off the heat and add butter, whisk it in completely.
  6. Spoon the cornmeal mixture over the meat mixture evenly.
  7. Bake 30 minutes, until cornmeal mixture is set. Then, sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven to bake 10 to 15 more minutes until the cheese is melty and golden.
  8. Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and your favorite Mexican hot sauce.
Calories per Serving 525
Total Fat 32.8 g
Saturated Fat 13.9 g
Trans Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 92.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 34.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Total Sugars 6.8 g
Sodium 857.7 mg
Protein 25.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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