easy tamale pie in a Skillet
When the urge for a cozy bowl of comforting chili and golden cornbread hits, there’s nothing quite like a fabulous tamale pie to satisfy that craving.
What’s tamale pie, you may ask? It’s nothing short of a weeknight dinner lifesaver. It’s a cornbread chili casserole, made extra easy with our one-skillet cooking. method.
The virtues of this tamale pie are plentiful:
- It’s easy and quick, taking less than an hour from start to finish
- No need to cook and transfer anything into a casserole dish; everything is done in the same large pan, cast iron, or skillet
- There are only 10 basic ingredients needed
- It’s a all-in-one meal deal, with protein, carbs, and veggies all taken care of
How to make tamale pie
- Simply stir together some onions, garlic, olive oil, and chili powder. It might seem like a lot of chili powder, but after all is said and done, it’s just the right amount of little kick. Just enough to taste the zing, but not overly so.
- Don’t skimp on the garlic. Garlic makes everything better. And it’s a super food.
- Add in diced tomatoes, black beans, and lean ground beef to the aromatics already sizzling in the skillet.
- Stir in the shredded cheese. Cheddar, monterey-jack, or Mexican blend cheese all work well here. Now a good time to season with kosher salt and add more chili powder if you prefer more kick.
- Stir all that goodness together until nice and hot. Smooth beef mixture in an even layer, as you’ll want an evenly thick layer of cornbread on top.
- Keeping with the easy and quick dinner theme, feel free to use your favorite cornbread mix, as long as the package is about 15 oz.
- If you don’t mind making your own cornbread batter from scratch, this one is truly unbeatable.
Common Questions and ANswers
You can use your favorite brand of dry cornbread mix, and prepare it according to the package instructions; rather than bake it by itself, you’ll bake it on top of the beef chili mixture. Your box or package of dry cornbread mix should be about 15 oz.
Yes, you can sub the ground beef with lean ground turkey, chicken, or pork. You can even make it meatless by adding an extra variety of beans or using plant based ground “meat.”
This dish does reheat very well. Be sure to store leftovers in an airtight container to retain moisture. For best results, reheat in an oven-safe container, covered, for about 10 minutes at 350F.
More to cook and eat
- Mexican Breakfast Casserole Recipe (Gluten-free) – this one gets requests all the time from friends and family. It’s perfect for weekend brunch or breakfast-for-dinner!
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole with Rice – this gluten-free recipe is as easy as it is delicious; your family will quickly gobble this up.
- Avocado Black Bean Corn Salad with Lime Dressing – we love taking this to all the gatherings and potlucks, as it can be made in advance and always gets devoured.
Tamale pie, In Action:
Easy Tamale Pie
This recipe is quick and easy for weeknights, making smart use of your favorite cornbread mix. It’s simply delicious for all your busy weeknights.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- 2 TB oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2–3 TB chili powder
- kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
- 1 (15oz) box of your favorite cornbread mix, plus any required ingredients listed on the package
- Optional garnishes: Fresh Tomato Salsa, sour cream, sliced green onion, shredded cheese
- Preheat: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 450F*
- Aromatics: In a 12 inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, warm up the oil until hot. Add onion, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook just until onion is soft. Stir in garlic and cook 30 more seconds.
- Cook: Stir in ground beef, drained beans, and drained tomatoes. Cook and break up the meat with a spatula until fully browned, about 5 min. Off heat, stir in cheese. Season with kosher salt to taste. Add more chili powder if desired. Smooth beef mixture into an even layer in the skillet.
- Prepare Cornbread: According to package instructions, mix the cornbread batter. Spread cornbread batter evenly on top of the beef mixture in skillet.
- Bake: Bake until edges are golden brown, approx. 15 minutes. Check center of cornbread for doneness. If needed, cover loosely with foil and bake another 5 minutes or until center is cooked through. Let rest at room temperature 10 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired.
If you don’t have an oven-proof 12-inch skillet, you can layer casserole into an oven-safe baking dish instead.
*Bake time may need to be adjusted, depending on thickness/brand of your cornbread in chosen baking dish. Brands of boxed cornbread mixes vary, so adjust bake time as needed for center to bake through.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ♡
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 681
- Sugar: 4.7 g
- Sodium: 1252.5 mg
- Fat: 20 g
- Carbohydrates: 128.4 g
- Fiber: 50.9 g
- Protein: 17.5 g
- Cholesterol: 19.2 mg
- Category: Main dish
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Mexican American
Keywords: Tamale Pie, Tamale Casserole, Tamale Bake, Cornbread Chili Casserole