Dinner/Quick & Easy

Hello, Goodbye Tamale Pie

Tamales take forever… but tamale pie doesn’t!

Looking for a quick and easy dinner? Got a pound of ground beef and a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix? Looks like you’re making Tamale Pie tonight! I made this on a Sunday (along with three other dishes) and it was gone by Monday. That’s how GOOD this is!!! My boyfriend and I gobbled this entire thing up before you can say “Hello, goodbye Tamale Pie”, hence where the name came from 🙂

Tamale Pie, quick and easy dinner

The idea for this dish came from a Pinterest picture. It reminded me of my mama’s Hamburger Pie. Some of you are wondering “What in the world is Hamburger Pie?!” Well my friend, you’ve been missing out! Let me give you the lowdown.

Like Ogres and onions, Hamburger Pie has layers!

Layer #1: MEATLOAF! Where there is meat, there is loaf. The most basic and basic meatloaves serves as the foundation for this dish.

Layer #2: Mounds of mashed potatoes! It’s like whipped cream topping! Only starchy…and not sweet. Not at all.

Layer #3: (the last and most important layer of them all) cheese, cheese, and more CHEESE! Because who wants to live in a world without cheese!?

And…. if you’re my dad, you add your own fourth layer of ketchup, sour cream, and more ketchup. Now, tamale pie does not have meatloaf. It doesn’t even have mashed potatoes. But it does have 3 layers and one of them is cheese, cheese, and more CHEESE 🙂

My favorite part of this recipe is the cornbread topping. An essential part of a tamale is the masa, or corn, on the outside. This cornbread topping has a subtle hint of sweetness, smoke, and spice. Just like the pie, this topping was inspired by another one of my mama’s recipes. Mama is known for her cornbread casserole. If people aren’t requesting her Kiwi Compote, they’re asking for the cornbread! It’s sweet, its salty, moist and full of goodness–just like my tamale pie cornbread topping.

Slice of tamale pie

Enough of the backstory, let’s get to the part where you cook!

(followed by the part where you eat)

For this tamale pie, I strongly recommend using a 12 inch cast iron skillet. This recipe starts on the stove top and gets transferred into the oven. Don’t have cast iron? You can cook the meat on the stove top first and then pour it into a baking dish before adding the cornbread topping. I also recommend placing your skillet or baking dish on top of a large baking sheet. This will make it easier to remove from the oven and if any liquid overflows, you won’t have to clean your entire oven! …I learned the hard way so that you don’t have to!

I choose ground beef for this quick and easy dinner option. If you prefer you can switch it out for ground turkey or even chicken. Whatever you use, remember to drain the fat after cooking it. Too much of the grease leaves a gross film and like most pies, too much liquid inside is a bad thing.

To construct the pie, start with browning your meat, draining the fat, and then adding the onion and spices. I like a little kick to my food so I throw in cayenne pepper. If you like your dinner more on the mild side, leave the cayenne out.  Next, add the red enchilada sauce. This provides a lot of the flavor! You can buy this at the store or make your own if you have a good recipe.

The topping is the easiest part. All you need is one box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, an egg, a can of creamed corn, and a can of green chiles, drained. Mix it all together and smooth it out on top of the tamale meat mixture. From here you’re ready to bake!

What about all that cheese I promised you?!

Don’t worry, you’ll add it halfway through the baking time. This way you get that wonderful, comforting cheesy goodness without burning it. There nothing sadder than burnt cheese.

This baby is best eaten while still hot and dolloped with sour cream (ixnay on the ketchup Dad!) Be sure to leave a comment if you tried this recipe 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Hello, Goodbye Tamale Pie

  • Yield: 1 12inch pie
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25-30 mins


  • 1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin, divided
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz red enchilada sauce
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 (14.75 oz) can creamed corn
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (4 oz) can green chiles, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream and cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Brown ground beef in 12 inch skillet, making sure to break up large clumps of meat. When meat is cooked through, drain fat.

  3. Add onions and garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook until onions are translucent. Then add the red enchilada sauce.

  4. Mix the Jiffy corn mix with the egg, creamed corn, green chiles, and remaining cumin. Dollop the corn mix on top of the beef and smooth out.

  5. Cook skillet in oven for 15 mins. Then sprinkle with cheese and cook for another 15 mins. The tamale pie is done when it is bubbly and the edges of the cornbread are golden.



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