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Tamale Pie (Easy Recipe)

Are you looking for a unique and flavorful meal to serve your family? Tamale pie is the ideal dish that offers something new yet familiar. 

You can tailor it to suit anyone’s tastes, and it’s so easy to make.

No matter your situation in the kitchen, you can whip it up without trouble.

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Homemade Spicy Tamale Pie with Ground Beef

Are you a busy mom trying to feed the family amid the hustle and bustle?

Or maybe an experienced home cook looking for an exciting twist on dinner?

Just starting out and still trying not to burn water?

Tamale pie is the easy answer for everyone! 

Now, let’s explore this delicious Mexican-style comfort food. It’ll undoubtedly spice up your weekly meal rotation.

Tamale Pie 

Tamale pie is the perfect option for a family with wildly varying tastes.

The kids love Mexican food, but Dad only wants good, old-fashioned country cooking. No problem! 

This recipe will satisfy everyone. It’s almost like a tamale casserole, making it the ultimate Mexican comfort food. 

Even better, it’s as filling as it is tasty. You can serve it alone as a complete meal, and there are no sides needed.

And it’s effortless to make, requiring fewer than 10 ingredients.

However, despite its simplicity, tamale pie has an incredible flavor.

It’s cheesy, beefy, and full of green chiles and enchilada sauce. And the corn muffin topping is out of this world delicious! 

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Just give it a try for yourself. Everyone around the table will come back for more. 

Tamale Pie Ingredients - Ground Beef, Enchilada Sauce, Chili Powder, Cheddar Cheese and Corn Muffin Mix

Ingredients in Tamale Pie

Here’s what you’ll need to make this incredible tamale pie: 

  • Ground beef. Ensure you use extremely lean ground beef, at least 80% lean. Season with salt and pepper and other seasonings if desired. 
  • Enchilada sauce, chili powder, and chopped green chiles. These ingredients help give the pie its signature south-of-the-border flavor and spice. 

I use Old El Paso enchilada sauce and chiles. You can substitute whatever brand you like best. 

  • Cheddar cheese. You add cheese to the filling and the corn muffin topping. It makes the dish extra cheesy and delicious.
  • Corn muffin mix. You use this to make the cornbread-like topping. You also need milk and an egg to make the batter according to the package’s instructions. 

Once you mix in the cheddar and green chiles, it’ll remind you a bit of Mexican cornbread.

Some recipes call for tomatoes, Rotel, and other veggies. This one is the simplest version of tamale pie out there.

If you want all the extras, though, feel free to add them.

Tamale Pie Ingredients - Ground Beef, Enchilada Sauce, Chili Powder, Cheddar Cheese and Corn Muffin Mix

How to Make Tamale Pie 

Here’s how you’ll make tamale pie: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Saute the beef over medium-high heat. Saute it for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Drain any excess grease. 

3. Mix in the enchilada sauce, green chiles, and chili powder. Then, remove the mixture from the heat and top it with shredded cheese. 

4. Follow the instructions on the corn muffin box to create the corn muffin batter. Then, mix in the remaining green chiles and cheese. 

5. Spoon the batter on top of the ground beef mixture. 

6. Bake it in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Then, allow the dish to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving it. 

Keep scrolling to see the entire step-by-step recipe and ingredient list below.

Tips & Tricks 

Here are a few final tips and tricks to keep in mind when making this recipe: 

  • Top it with aluminum foil if it cooks too quickly. Sometimes, the top of the pie will brown before the rest. If that happens, wrap it in aluminum foil, and let it keep cooking.
  • Don’t skip the cooling step, as it’s important. Letting the pie cool before slicing it does more than keep you from burning your tongue. It also gives everything time to settle. 

If you cut into it too soon, it might fall apart. Give it at least 5 minutes. If you can wait 10 to 15 minutes, that would be even better. 

  • Add extra seasonings and veggies. If you want even more flavor, add more stuff! This recipe does well with various veggies, herbs, and spices. 

If you want it in the pie, put it in the pie. It’s as simple as that. 

  • Don’t be afraid to top it with your favorite toppings. Cilantro, sour cream, and salsa are popular options. 

You may also want green onions, guacamole, black olives, or other Mexican toppings. You do you, Boo!

  • Be careful when handling it. The skillet will be hot, Hot, HOT. Don’t accidentally grab it with your bare hand. Use pot holders or oven mitts, even when slicing it and removing it.

Now, let’s look at a few fun variations if you want to mix up the recipe a bit. 

Homemade Tamale Pie with Ground Beef in a White Plate


I’ve already talked about adding more veggies and spices to this recipe. Here are a few other variations to try: 

1. Make it vegetarian-friendly. Ground beef is the only ingredient keeping this from being naturally vegetarian-friendly. Leave it out entirely, or substitute beans for extra protein. 

Black beans work exceptionally well in the recipe. 

2. Swap out the meat. If you like meat but don’t want ground beef, that’s okay, too. You could use ground turkey, pork, or chicken. 

3. Add some heat. Go heavier on the chili powder, or add a dash of cayenne or chipotle powder. You can also slice up some jalapenos or poblanos and add them to the beef.

4. A homemade cornbread topping is delicious. Corn muffin mix is one of the easiest ways to make the topping. However, if you want to make homemade cornbread, you can. 

I’m a big believer in making recipes your own. Add, remove, or swap anything you like in this recipe. You’re the one who’ll be eating it, after all! 

How to Store Tamale Pie 

Finally, let’s look at storing, freezing, and reheating. 

  • Storing. To store this pie, start by letting it cool. Then, cover it in plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge. It should remain fresh for up to 4 or 5 days. 
  • Reheating chilled leftovers. Reheat refrigerated leftovers in the microwave. Nuke individual servings on high for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  • Freezing. Transfer the tamale pie to a freezer-safe, airtight container. If the container isn’t air-tight, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. You can leave it in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheating frozen leftovers. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator. Let it thaw overnight. Then, cover the dish in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It should only take about 15 minutes to warm them through.

You can also make the recipe ahead of time and freeze it for later use.

You can follow the directions for reheating frozen leftovers to warm the pie. 

Tamale Pie (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





This tamale pie is so good, you’ll make it all the time! The recipe is packed with ground beef, cheese, green chiles, and a tasty corn muffin mix that can’t be topped!


  • 1 pound 1 lean (80% or higher) ground beef

  • 1 1 (10-ounce) can Old El Paso™ medium red enchilada sauce

  • 2 2 (4.5-ounce) cans Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles, divided

  • 1 teaspoon 1 chili powder

  • 1 1 -1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (+ milk and egg required)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the beef to a 10-inch skillet. Cook it for 5 to 7 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. It should be thoroughly cooked, with no pink left. Drain.
  • Add the enchilada sauce, one can of the green chiles, and the chili powder. Stir it gently. Then, remove the mixture from the heat, and top it with one cup of cheddar cheese.
  • Prepare the corn muffin batter according to the box’s instructions. Add the last can of green chiles and the other 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. Spoon this mixture gently and evenly over the ground beef mixture.
  • Bake it in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the topping turns golden brown.
  • Remove it from heat, and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Transfer it to individual serving plates, and enjoy!
Tamale Pie

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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