Family Favorite Tamale Pie


Are you on Pinterest or Facebook? I would really appreciate it if you could use one of the buttons above, thanks!Family Favorite Tamale Pie

We have been treated to some amazing meals while I’ve been on the road to recovery. Every single bite of every single meal has been savored and appreciated! It’s been such a treat being able to taste the standard “go to” meals from other families and today’s recipe is one of those.

I met Debbie Tidwell during the aftermath of the April 2011 tornadoes. I’d heard people were setting up to serve food at a nearby community center so I cooked up some things and went over to help. As I walked in, right there in the middle of the kitchen leading the charge, was a determined kindhearted blonde woman with endless energy who, as I came to learn, was no stranger to doing everything in her power to help others.

Shortly after I posted about my accident, I received an email from Debbie telling me she was about to arrange meals to be brought to me while I recovered and just had a few questions for me.

What would we do without women like that in the world?

Y’all, she’s stinking awesome!

This Tamale Pie is one of her go to recipes. As soon as I took the lid off and got a whiff of the cheese, spicy beef, and those french fried onions (I just love those) I had to ask for the recipe. She was gracious enough to share it and I’m tickled to death to share it with you.

Oh mercy, is this ever good!

I feel a cooking session coming on…

Family Favorite Tamale Pie

You’ll need: Ground beef*, Rotel, Taco Seasoning, Corn, Cheddar, French Fried onions, TWO boxes of corn muffin mix, and the fixings for the corn muffin mix (that is the eggs and milk pictured).

*See the recipe at the bottom for a money saving substitution for some of the beef in this.

I know one box of corn muffin mix is pictured but go with two :) However, if you want to make this in a slightly smaller pan you can go with one and just have a deeper casserole. Don’t worry, you can’t mess this up! 
Family Favorite Tamale Pie

Brown your beef and drain it.

Family Favorite Tamale Pie

Add in taco seasoning, corn, rotel, and 1/2 of french fried onions.

Stir it up.

Family Favorite Tamale Pie

Spread this into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

Don’t eat it yet, it’s about to get even better.

Family Favorite Tamale Pie

Mix your corn muffin mix up according to package directions and spread over the top.

Family Favorite Tamale Pie

Bake that at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until the cornbread is lightly golden.

Top with cheese and remaining french fried onions and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Family Favorite Tamale Pie 

Serve with sour cream if you like and ENJOY!

Tamale Pie
  • 1+1/2 pounds ground beef *
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can original Rotel
  • 3 cups french fried onions
  • 2-8.2 ounce boxes corn muffin mix (and ingredients to make it according to pkg directions)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In large skillet, cook ground beef until done, breaking up as you do so with a wooden spoon or whatever you grab out of the kitchen drawer first. Drain off the grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, corn, rotel (juice and all), and half of the french fried onions. Spread into the bottom of a 9x13 dish.
  3. Prepare muffin mixes according to package directions all in one bowl. Spread on top of beef mixture.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 20 minutes or until cornbread is golden on top. Top with cheese and remaining french fried onions. Return to oven until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.
*To save money, you can substitute rinsed and drained canned black beans for some of the beef in this recipe. Add them in step 2.

If you’d like to read the latest update in my journal and see the BIG news in my recovery, please click here.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

~Dalai Lama

~Submitted by Jenny. Submit yours by clicking here.


Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Christy's email list and receive all her new posts directly in your inbox


    • says

      Hey Barbara! We had to scale back the book tour a lot to accommodate my abilities right now but Atlanta is still on it! The other cities we had planned are going to happen in the spring when I’m up and walking better. We should be announcing it soon and then I’ll have the actual dates and location.

  1. says

    Oh, this looks fantastic!! I will have to add this to my menu plan for next week. (Though I’m vegetarian, I can easily substitute the ground beef with “veggie beef”! Works like a charm. :)) And I’m with you, Christy — I’ve never met a french-fried onion I didn’t like! :)

  2. Bonnie Erpenbeck says

    Christy, will make this tonight for supper, was going to have fried corn, fresh tomatoes and fried ham, but this sounds so good, will fix this instead. I am not dumb, I will have left-overs for lunch. Hope you are doing better.

  3. Pat Sparkman says

    I love those onion thingies too. I am so glad you are up and walking a little. I am still praying for you and I an going to try this recipe this week. Get well soon and love your recipes and your humor. God Bless you and your family.

  4. Debbie Strum says

    God bless the Debbie Tidwells of this world! And bless folks like her who are gracious to share their recipes with others!! You had me for sure when you listed the fried onion rings. I can’t help but pick out a couple bigger pieces to munch on when using them for a recipe! Always have loved those things!

    • says

      Thank you!
      If you’re a member of ww, they have a great tool when you login to their site. Just enter the recipe and how many servings it makes (are you going to eat 1/8, 1/16,etc) and they will give you the points value and nutrition! You’ll love it!

  5. Gene Ballard says

    My husband and grandkids are going to love this when I make it. And by the way… got home from work a few minutes ago and there was my Hamilton Beach Food Processor that I won. Thank you! Thank you! Can’t wait to start using my new processor.

  6. M Burgess says

    It would be helpful if you’d explain some of the ingredients. Never heard of Ro-tel before. Took several months to discover what it was. It’s not for sale (as far as I know) here in the middle of NY State.

    • says

      In the past I’ve tried to avoid using Rotel because folks from other places didn’t know what it was, and I got hundreds of comments saying “why don’t you just use RoTel?” lol.
      I try to be helpful but please keep in mind that I have lived in Alabama all my life and have never had the fun of shopping in a grocery store in New York. We should work out a grocery exchange program 😉
      A substitute for Rotel would be a 12 ounce can of diced tomatoes and a 4 ounce can of chopped green chiles. :)

  7. Debbie says

    I love reading everyone’s variations of the recipe. The original calls for chopped bell peppers but we don’t like them so I always leave them out. I didn’t realize Rotel wasn’t available everywhere! It is a staple in my house! I am sure fresh homemade salsa would be an excellent alternative and I would love to get my hands on some of those homemade French fried onions! BTW I always leave a hole in the middle of the cornbread because it can bubble over! It was my pleasure, although a little intimidating, to cook this for Christy but what an honor that she wanted to share it! Debbie Tidwell

  8. Tracy says

    Had this for supper tonight and we loved it! I didn’t have any french fried onions (and was too lazy to go to the store) so I’m anxious to make it again with them. Also, all I had on hand was the “hot” Rotel tomatoes and it sure gave it a kick…but we like spicy food so that was ok….yummy! Thanks, Debbie and Christy!! :)

  9. grace says

    I especially want to thank you for sharing recipes you have received from friends. I have made a special section just for those because when I want to send on a dinner to someone I never have enough great recipes. I really appreciate them because your family has enjoyed them so much. That is what I strive for.

    Glad your health is improving daily.

  10. Adeline says

    OH Yeah…this is what’s for dinner tonight.
    I grew up with Tamale pie & have not made it in years …just the name brought back memories…!
    Sounds like you’re gettin’ along pretty good….that’s great to hear !

  11. Susan N says

    Fun to read all your “fan repliesj” Christy. I wish there was a “like” i could click on for them. What a neat thing that so many folks have chipped in to help you. If good women like ya’ll were in charge, the world would be in way better shape.
    Your recipe looks so good, like the tip about changing out some meat for beans. I actually like more vegs and less meat so i will go that way when i make it.
    Keep getting stronger in your recovery!

  12. Donna Henderson says

    Making this tonight, Christy. My son is coming over for dinner and I told him I had ground beef thawed out and would either do hamburgers or this new recipe. When I described it, he wanted the tamale pie! I know he’ll love it!

  13. Sharon says

    Hi Christy,
    Had this for dinner tonight. Tasty.
    Didn’t have Rotel so used diced canned tomatoes and canned green chili peppers
    Also wanted to see how this worked in Crock Pot. Worked well.
    Followed all instructions tossed in Crock Pot , cooked for about 3-4hours. Then mixed up corn bread per box instructions, poured into crock pot, put cheese and onions on top, shut lid, cooked for 30 minutes. YUMMY! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Debbie says

      Cheryl – I am the Debbie who made it for Christy. I have never had it turn out dry. I do drain the corn but not the Rotele. I also just put the cornbread around the sides leaving a hole in the center so it doesn’t bubble over. I serve it with a spoonful of sour cream on top. Hope you try it again!

  14. Kathryn says

    Hi Christy,
    Do you have any suggestions of how to make the topping without the packaged cornmeal muffin mix? We don’t have this product in Australia. I would really like to give your recipe a try! Many thanks : )

  15. Shirley B. says

    Made this this past weekend and my guys reallty liked it alot!
    Thanks for a new staple. AND the trick of cooking a lot of ground beef by boiling it and freezing for use later totally works!!!

  16. Dena says

    I made this for dinner tonight and my family loved it! I only made a few changes to the recipe. I cooked the meat with onions and garlic. I added one can of seasoned black beans and 1 can of Mexican hot sauce. It definitely was a hit and will be made again again! Thanks so much Christy!

  17. cara says

    I love to read reviews so i can adjust accordingly . Wayyyy too much cornbread. Felt like no meat. Did the beans on bottom since didnt have fried onions. Taste good but too much bread with two boxes

  18. Melissa Anderson says

    I made the tamale pie for lunch today. We loved it. We had your blackberry cobbler for dessert. I have tried alot of your recipes the past few weeks. I love that your recipes call for ingredients that we already have and are budget friendly. Thanks for sharing your families great tasting and budget friendly recipes.

  19. Cathy says

    Fixed this to “eat on” while my husband was on a trip. Mine was very dry, too, and I did not drain the Rotel but dumped it all in there. Also, I was startled to find the Jiffy cornbread is sweet! But it was a good contrast with the spicy filling.
    Next time, I’ll add a second can of Rotel and some black beans – I really like that suggestion for adding more vegetable “stuff”.
    Heck, I might even throw caution to the wind and add yellow hominy instead of regular corn!
    Born to be wild! (Or is it mild?)

  20. Jessica says

    I really wanted to love this but it was just awful. I Followed the directions to a “T” and it came out totally dry. The layer of cornbread was almost the thickness of the entire pan! The meat mixture was tasty but it was so thin, it got overwhelmed with the massive mound of cornbread on top. And after baking for 20 minutes , the meat mixture was indeed dry and crumbly. I should’ve listened to the other commenters and AT LEAST doubled the Rotel, and halved the cornbread. Maybe then it would’ve been edible. I was embarrassed to serve this to my family.

  21. Wendy Dement Smith says

    Cut onion into rings pat dry and dredge in flour. Mix 1 ½ c flour, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, 1 ¾ tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar and set aside. Mix 1 ¼ C. milk, 2 eggs and ¼ C. oil until well blended and smooth. Mix in dry ingredients. Heat 1 inch oil in frying pan til it reaches about 375. If you don’t have a thermometer just sprinkle a little flour in and if it “dances” that’s good. Dip onion rings in batter and allow excess to drip off. Place rings in hot oil and fry until golden brown turning once. Drain on paper towel, bada bing French Fried onions. I sometimes make my own because I have forgotten to put on my list get home and realize I forgot them.

  22. Robin says

    Christy, your website, recipes are delightful! I love the simplicity, back to the basics, comfort food. So refreshing! I burden myself with avoiding certain ingredients, certain packaged foods, etc….and it’s nice to be reminded of simpler (less expensive) ways – that will be delicious and everyone will like! So thank you for being YOU and sharing these recipes and your faith. I haven’t made Tamale Pie for ages!

  23. Joyce Boyd says

    Christy, you made my day when I saw this recipe of Tamale pie. I am now 82 and my mother use to make this. Hers was some different. It did not have corn but had pork and beans in it. My husband was a minister and I would invite surrounding pastor
    families to lunch and make this dish. However, with moving I lost the recipe . For a while I remembered it but after not making it for years I wasn’t sure. Now I am
    introducing it to my grandchildren.and great grands. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks.

  24. Samantha says

    Hi again, Christy. We had yet another delicious diner tonight, thanks to you! Another keeper for sure.

    The only things I did differently were that I added minced garlic and diced onion to my ground beef while browning it because I seem to always do that. Also, I used what I had in, a bag of Birds Eye Steam Fresh Southwest Corn. It turned out great.

    I read the comments that some people had problems with it being dry, but mine wasn’t dry at all. I used just the one can of Rotel and the two boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix as the recipe stated and it came out great. The crunchy fried onion and cheddar cheese top was the best part! (I might have added some more shredded cheddar cheese, lol). Thanks again! :)


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *