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Tamale Pie with Real Tamales

Real Tamale Pie

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 45 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 70 Minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop/Baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Real tamale pie begins with a great chili recipe. The chili is then topped with real tamales. No silly. You don’t have to make them. Just buy your favorite tamales at your local grocery or Mexican restaurant.



2 T olive oil

1 lb ground chicken, beef, pork or turkey

1 medium diced onion

1 diced red pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded if you don’t this too spicy, and diced

4 cloved garlic, minced

1 c fire roasted corn kernels (I use Trader Joe’s frozen corn)

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 T ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t dried oregano

3 T ancho chile powder or your favorite kind

1/2 to 1 c pitted and sliced deli green olives (I like the ones stuffed with jalapenos)

1 T soy sauce (This gives a salty flavor and adds richness. No this doesn’t make it taste like Chinese food!)

1 15 oz can pinto beans, black beans or your favorite beans (rinsed and drained)

Salt and Pepper

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 c chopped cilantro

1 1/2 c sharp Cheddar cheese

34 large tamales, crumbled and thawed if frozen

3/4 c sour cream

1 t ancho chile powder

1 4 oz can green chiles (diced and rinsed)


Preheat oven to 425.

Heat oil in a 10-12″ cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add your choice of ground meat and cook until almost cooked through. Add diced onions and peppers. Cook until softened. Add garlic. Let cook a few minutes.

Stir in corn and diced tomatoes. Add cumin, coriander, oregano and chile powder. Turn down to medium and let cook until you smell the seasonings beginning to work. Stir in olives and soy sauce and beans. Bring to a simmer and let simmer about 20 minutes to develop flavor.

Season with salt and pepper. Mix in scallions and cilantro. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over chili mixture.

Crumble tamales over cheese.

In a small measuring cup, mix together sour cream and green chiles and ancho chile powder. Spread over tamales.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until skillet is bubbly. Let sit a few minutes before diving in. If you are Manservant you will dip Fritos into this but I just prefer it with a fork!

Keywords: real tamale pie, tamale pie, tamale casserole, tamale skillet dinner, chicken tamale pie recipe