Easy Chicken Tamale Pie Recipe

If you love Mexican food, then you know tamales might be one of the best items on the menu at any Mexican restaurant you go to. But when you grow up in the American Southwest like recipe developer Kristen Carli, you might also be exposed to something called "tamale pie," which plays with many of the same flavors but looks a little bit different. "Tamale pie is a dish that I grew up with as a kid in the Southwest," Carli told Mashed. "It is essentially chili topped with cornbread."

Or to put it another way, you could think of tamale pie as the casserole version of tamales. Sounds pretty good, right? This particular recipe for easy chicken tamale pie is substantial enough to feed your whole family. It's delicious, though, so don't expect too many leftovers. It calls for shredded chicken, which you can prepare in advance in an Instant Pot and then shred using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Let's take a closer look at how we can make this amazing pie.

Gather your ingredients for this easy chicken tamale pie

To make recipe developer Kristen Carli's chicken tamale pie, you're going to need the ingredients for both the chili and the cornbread topping. For the chili, you'll need one cup of shredded chicken (white or dark), one 15-ounce can of black beans, a 10-ounce can of Ro-Tel (Ro-Tel is green chiles with diced tomatoes), one four-ounce can of green chiles, and one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes. For the cornbread topping, Carli likes to use three boxes of Jiffy brand corn muffin mix, three eggs, and one cup of whole milk. You'll also need a square baking dish in which to bake your easy chicken tamale pie. 

Start by preheating the oven

So, let's get this easy chicken tamale pie started by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, take out your baking dish, place all the ingredients for the chili (i.e., the first five ingredients) into the dish, and stir to combine it well. Just keep in mind that you will be lowering the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit after the initial 15-minute period of cooking your pie. We'll explain why when it's time for you to bake your easy chicken tamale pie.

Mix up the cornbread batter for your easy chicken tamale pie

After you have mixed up the ingredients for the chili base, set the glass baking pan aside for the moment so that you can prepare your cornbread batter. To make the cornbread batter, you should ignore any directions that may be written on the Jiffy boxes. Simply empty the three boxes of mix into a large bowl, break your eggs, pour your milk, and whisk well to combine thoroughly. You might notice that the batter is somewhat lumpy. That's fine, as long as the lumps are small, as they are in the photo above.

Spread the cornbread batter over the chili in the baking pan

The next step is to layer the cornbread batter over the chili in your baking pan. Now, that might sound challenging. How are you supposed to layer a thick and gloppy batter over a thick, soft, and highly textured layer of chili? However, it can be done, Carli assures us, as long as you follow the next instruction to the letter: Using a large spoon, transfer the cornbread batter, spoonful by spoonful, to on top of the chili, trying your best not to disturb the chili. The key to success here is spooning confidently but gently. 

Pop your easy chicken tamale pie into the oven

At this point, all that is left to do to finish making this recipe for easy chicken tamale pie is to bake it. Start by popping the pan into the oven, which, as noted above, should be preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, lower the heat to 350 degrees, and set a time for 15 more minutes. The reason for the half-time switch is that the first 15 minutes at 400 degrees solidifies the cornbread topping while the chili begins to cook. The next 15 minutes at 350 degrees will cook the chili and the cornbread through without drying or burning the cornbread. 

At the end of the total of 30 minutes of bake time, remove from the oven, slice into individual portions, and enjoy!

Easy Chicken Tamale Pie Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
This particular recipe for easy chicken tamale pie is substantial enough to feed your whole family. Give it a try sometime soon.
Prep Time
Cook Time
easy chicken tamale pie
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans
  • 1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel
  • 1 4-ounce can green chiles
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 boxes Jiffy Corn muffin mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking dish, add chicken, beans, Ro-Tel, green chiles, and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together all three boxes of the muffin mix, eggs, and milk.
  4. Spoon batter over the chili.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  6. Lower heat to 350 degrees, and bake for 15 more minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 550
Total Fat 20.3 g
Saturated Fat 5.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 78.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 75.7 g
Dietary Fiber 10.8 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 1,187.3 mg
Protein 16.3 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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