This sweet and savory Tamale Pie Recipe is loaded with a cheesy, and spicy filling and then topped with sweet cornbread.  

Meat, cheese, beans, and spices are combined for the filling, while the topping is made of sweet and sumptuous cornbread. Baked in the oven, this casserole is so easy to make ahead and have on hand for guests or the family. Serve it hot while the cheese is still all melted and gooey. It’s sure to be a family favorite!Piece of tamale pie on a white plate with a fork and a dollop of sour cream

Tamale Pie


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Family Favorite 

  • This easy recipe has all the same things that are in tacos or tamales but in pie form. Corn, Black beans, tomatoes, and cheese. The flavors of these alongside some ground beef and a little bit of spice are delectable, not to mention comforting.
  • This recipe only takes one pan! Yay for easy clean-up! If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you’ll have to transfer to a pie dish or 9×9 inch pan… and wash one more dish.
  • The cornbread topping is so sweet and savory and forms a golden crust when baked in the oven.

Tamale pie in a cast iron pan

Ingredients & Variations

FILLING The ingredients for this filling is so easy to find. Remember to cook the ground beef before adding the corn, beans, tomatoes, and chilis.

TOPPING Make this topping out of cornmeal which can be found in the baking section of the supermarket.

Don’t have buttermilk on hand? Use a cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes. Use the extra to serve up these whole wheat buttermilk pancakes for breakfast the next morning! 

VARIATIONS Replace the ground beef with ground pork, shredded chicken, or shredded turkey. Add some spice and replace the cheddar cheese with a spicy pepper jack, or try a milder Monterey Jack or Colby cheese. 

Have a favorite taco topping? Try adding them to the filling mixture for a delicious twist. Some great additions include bell peppers, jalapenos, olives, and cilantro.

Tamale pie on a white plate with sour cream and a fork

How to Make Tamale Pie

Why not try this Tamale Pie?

  1. Cook the filling ingredients while preparing the cornbread mixture.
  2. Add the cheese to the meat mixture and assemble the casserole.
  3. Bake as per the recipe below.

Try serving this pie with some Homemade Salsa and Grilled Corn Guacamole.

Tamale pie in a pan garnished with cilantro

Tips for the Best Pie

  • To save time make the filling, add it to the casserole dish. Before cooking, mix the topping ingredients and then add it just before baking.
  • For a crispy topping, sprinkle the top with some extra cheese before baking (optional). Enjoy!
  • Leftover tamale pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for 5 days. To reheat place it in the air fryer or a preheated oven.
  • Any leftovers can also be frozen. It will last for 2-3 months in the freezer. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Best Taco Inspired Meals

Tamale pie on a white plate with sour cream and a fork
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Tamale Pie Recipe

Tamale Pie is a delicious, sweet, and savory, comforting meal that is loaded with meat, beans, cheese, and veggies with cornbread on top. It's sure to be a family favorite!
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6
Author Melanie


For the Filling:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 ounces black beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces corn
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces diced green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ⅓ cups cheddar cheese shredded (divided)

Corn Bread Topping*

Garnish (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • sour cream


  • Place ground beef, onion, and garlic in a 10 inch oven proof skillet and cook over medium-high heat until meat is browned and onions are translucent. Drain off oil.
  • Mix in the black beans, corn, green chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes while you make the cornbread batter.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • For the cornbread batter, mix the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix until smooth. Add remaining cornbread ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Stir 1 cup cheese into the meat mixture after it simmers. Pack the mixture down into the pan to make a smooth even surface. Spread the cornbread batter evenly over the top. Sprinkle with remaining ⅓ cup cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
  • Let the pie rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with cilantro and sour cream.


A box of cornbread mix can easily be used in place of a homemade cornbread topping.
To make ½ cup of buttermilk, combine ½ cup of milk and 1 ½  teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice.
5 from 9 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 625kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 1103mg | Potassium: 1082mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1336IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American

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About the author

Melanie is a Midwest girl currently living in Nebraska with her husband and daughters. She started rubbing elbows with her mom in the kitchen as soon as she discovered she could lick the bowl clean. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating healthy dinners and indulgent desserts for her family and friends. You can visit Melanie on her blog: Garnish & Glaze.
See more posts by Melanie

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This look so delicious! Would love to do this as a freezer meal. Do you know how it holds up to freezing?