Tamale Pie Recipe

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This scrumptious tamale pie recipe includes taco-spiced beef, fluffy cornbread, and melted cheese and french fried onions on top. It tastes as good as it sounds.

Forkful of tamale pie.

There’s a sweet story to tell about this tamale pie recipe. I met my friend Debbie during the aftermath of the April 2011 tornadoes. I was recovering and so were many families. We met at a local church and when she saw that I was recovering too, dear Debbie wanted to bring over some food to help keep me off my feet. 

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 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! It’s like a cross between a Mexican casserole and a cornbread casserole. You get all those delicious Mexican flavors on the bottom, with a fluffy cornbread topping. Fortunately, this tamale casserole is so easy to make for supper as well. It’s easy to see why this comfort food main dish is now a firm family favorite in my household.

I feel a cooking session coming on…

Ingredients for tamale pie recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Ground beef
  • Rotel
  • Taco seasoning
  • Corn
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • French fried onions
  • Corn muffin mix
  • The fixings for the corn muffin mix (eggs and milk)

How To Make Tamale Pie

Brown ground beef.

First, brown your ground beef and then drain it.

Add taco seasoning to ground beef.

Then add in the taco seasoning…

Add corn to ground beef.


Add rotel tomatoes to ground beef.

Rotel tomatoes…

Add 1/2 of the fried onions to the ground beef.

And 1/2 of the french fried onions.

Stir up the ground beef mixture.

Stir up your ground beef mixture.

Spread into the bottom of a baking dish.

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

Don’t dig into the pie yet, it’s about to get even better thanks to that Jiffy mix.

Add corn muffin mix to mixing bowl.

Now, you need to make the cornbread mixture.

Add the Jiffy corn muffin mix to a mixing bowl and mix according to package directions.

Add milk to corn muffin mix.

This usually includes milk…

Add eggs to corn muffin mix.

And a couple of eggs.

Mix corn muffin mix together.

Mix those ingredients together.

Spread corn muffin mix over the top of the ground beef.

Then spread the cornbread mix over the top of the ground beef mixture in the baking dish.

Top tamale pie with remaining cheese and fried onions.

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

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

Baked tamale pie recipe.

Your tamale pie should look like this fresh out of the oven. YUM!

Serve tamale pie with sour cream.

Serve with sour cream and guacamole if you like and ENJOY!


  • You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It’s best to reheat in the oven to make the top nice and crispy again.
  • This tamale pie recipe also freezes really well. Just make sure it is sealed in an airtight container and you can feel good making a large batch and freezing some for later. I find that it usually stays good for 2 to 3 months. Just take it out of the freezer the night before to let it thaw out before you go ahead and warm it up for some good eatin’.

Recipe Notes

  • You can add some black beans or even a kidney bean can in place of some of the beef. This way, you get more fiber and it’s a little easier on your pocketbook.
  • Another option is to substitute the lean ground beef for ground turkey, ground chicken, or even rotisserie chicken or cooked and shredded chicken breast.
  • Feel free to substitute the cheddar cheese for Monterey Jack cheese or a Mexican cheese blend.
  • You can also substitute the whole kernel corn for creamed corn if you prefer or have it on hand already.
  • Here are some additions you can add to this tamale pie recipe:
    • A can of black olives, drained.
    • A cup of chopped bell pepper and a cup of chopped yellow onion. Saute them in the skillet with the ground beef.
    • 1 teaspoon of chili powder for added heat.

You may also enjoy these ground beef recipes:

Ground Beef Stew (with a secret!)

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Tacos

Beef Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

Stuffed Peppers With Ground Turkey or Beef

Crunchy Beef Casserole Recipe

Serve tamale pie with sour cream.

Tamale Pie

This scrumptious tamale pie recipe includes taco-spiced beef, fluffy cornbread, and melted cheese and french fried onions on top.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pie, tamale
Servings: 4
Calories: 440kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can whole kernel corn drained
  • 1 can original Rotel tomatoes
  • 3 cups french fried onions
  • 2 boxes corn muffin mix and ingredients to make it according to pkg directions
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • In a large skillet, cook the 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.
    1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • Stir in the taco seasoning, corn, Rotel tomatoes (juice and all), and half of the french fried onions. Spread into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
    1 packet taco seasoning, 1 can whole kernel corn, 1 can original Rotel tomatoes, 3 cups french fried onions
  • Prepare the Jiffy cornbread mix according to package directions all in one mixing bowl. Spread the cornbread batter on top of the meat mixture.
    2 boxes corn muffin mix
  • Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 20 minutes or until the cornbread topping is golden. Top with shredded cheese and remaining french fried onions. Return to oven until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.
    3 cups french fried onions, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


To save money, you can substitute rinsed and drained canned black beans or kidney beans for some of the beef in this recipe. Add them in step 2.


Calories: 440kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. 2 stars
    The flavor was great but I thought the filling needing something moist. It was too try for my taste, even with the sour cream. A generous portion of guacamole would be good but I didn’t have any. My adult grandsons loved it. Trying to think of what to add before cooking to make it a little saucy.

    1. I’ve been making a version of this for years, before it ever had a name…I make my filling more like a chili, with canned crushed tomatoes and rotel and add additional seasoning, like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and a bit of oregano.

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