Tamale Pie #SundaySupper

By September 11, 2016 Blog, Recipes 5 Comments
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No matter who you are there is always dishes you adored in childhood and this Tamale Pie is one of my go to favorites.   We really didn’t have a name for it until I saw an article in Bon Appetit a few years back. I could have written that article myself.


This recipe for the treasured cast iron skillet. It’s prized in our kitchen. Even our Son in Law asked for one after one of his visits. I found some old rusted ones in the basement, he sanded them down and we went through the seasoning process. He loves those skillets as much as we love ours – so much so he won’t let Steve’s daughter touch them.


I started making this when I was about 10 years old. I would accompany Mom to the store to collect the ingredients. A small package of ground beef that held more than one pound (I figured the more hamburger the more pie) cans of crushed tomatoes, shredded orange cheese and that blue box of cornbread mix. We left the pepper out when we were young – Mom didn’t like them and the taco seasoning or chili didn’t come until our tastes developed a bit.  I would mix all of this up and pop it in the oven for “my” dinner at the time we called it Monica’s Cornbread Chili – I think I like the sound of Tamale Pie better, don’t you?

img_8699img_8708This was one of my first dinners I could cook myself. No need for a salad, or veggies but Mom disagreed with that part so she took matters into her own hands.


I remember this dish so well and I had to feature it when Sunday Supper featured one-skillet weeknight dinners. This was the one for us. I haven’t made this in years. I called Mom and we reminisced about the recipe. It brought back such memories, the trip to the store, carefully picking out my ingredients and making the dish. I used Poblano peppers from the garden instead of the green pepper, Penzias Chili spices and lots of the pepper flakes – stuff that I never would touch as a child. I regretted passing up the blue and white box Jiffy, I opted for the “healthy” cornbread mix with whole grains. I liked the texture but this is not the stuff I remember.


The pie was really good. Steve went at it with the same gusto we used to have as kids. I think he ate three helpings and that brought back memories. He even requested this be put in the dinner rotation. I can’t wait until the grandchildren are old enough to appreciate this!


Tamale Pie
  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef (or should I say 1 package it can vary between 1 Pound and 1.3 pounds)
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper (Now that I’m older I use Poblano or Jalapeno)
  • 2 16 oz Cans of Tomato Sauce, Crushed Tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes or a mix
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder or Taco Seasoning from a pouch (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • A Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Cup of shredded cheese
  • 1 package of Cornbread mix (or your favorite recipe)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull out your favorite 12” skillet (mine is cast iron but I wont hold it against you if you don’t have one) and brown the ground beef, onions and peppers together. Once the beef is done drain the fat out in a colander and return the beef mixture to the pan. Add the tomatoes, t chili powder or taco seasoning if using, the salt, and red pepper flakes. Let this simmer for five minutes or so and throw in ½ cup of cheese. Turn off the mixture, and scrape down the sides of the pan. Leave the mixture on the stovetop while you mix up the cornbread according to the package directions. Pour the cornbread batter evenly over the chili mixture. Spread out the batter to make sure the chili is covered. Place the “pie” in the oven and bake for 20 + minutes until the cornbread is browned nicely.
  2. If you can, let the pie cool for 15- 20 minutes and transfer the pie to a rack in the middle of the table and dig in.

I can’t wait to check out all of the Sunday Supper tastemakers Easy Skillet Dinners:

Many thanks to Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake for hosting this event.  

You rock Liz!!!


Favorite Skillet Breakfasts

Favorite Skillet Sides

Favorite Skillet Entrees

Favorite Skillet Desserts

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  • Stacey says:

    This looks so good, Monica! I have never made a tamale pie – I need to get to it and try your recipe!

  • Liz says:

    Aw, you’re so sweet, Monica! This tamale pie sounds delicious! I’m happy to have another easy recipe for my weeknight repertoire!!

  • Love how your tamale pie is packed with such wonderful childhood memories …and yummy ingredients. As I’ve got a cornbread mix in my pantry, I’m hankering to give your recipe a try, Monica =)

  • April says:

    This sounds amazing Monica! My family will love it, we’re big Mexican/Tex-Mex fans. I love how easy it is to make too. Definitely PINing this to try soon.

  • Cynthia says:

    Monica, I love the story behind this recipe. I think we can all remember the first recipe we ever made on our own. I love dishes like this – they are such comfort food. I also love that you added some ingredients from your garden to make this more your own.

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