Put a twist on your next Taco Tuesday and turn authentic tamales into a delicious crock pot tamale pie (or tamale casserole). All you need are just a few classic ingredients like ground beef, Rotel tomatoes, Mexican-style seasonings, and Jiffy cornbread for a meal your family is sure to enjoy.
What is Tamale Pie?
Tamale pie is known for its casserole-like texture, thanks to the cornbread mixture topping. It’s a crock pot recipe that is perfect when you’re looking for comfort food with little prep and moderate cooking time.
I particularly enjoy the versatility wonderful recipes like these can have. Whether you want to serve it as is or use some of my serving suggestions below, you can’t go wrong trying different recipes like this one. I’m sure you are going to love it! We like to make a big batch of slow cooker ground beef, then make this easy tamale pie recipe.
- Beef: All you need is just a pound of ground beef. It should be cooked prior to adding it to the slow cooker.
- Veggies: A small white onion and green bell pepper are diced and added to give the pie taste and texture.
- Seasonings: Chili powder, salt, black pepper, and ground cumin are a quick homemade Mexican seasoning that adds plenty of Tex-Mex flavor.
- Tomatoes: Grab a couple of cans of Rotel Tomatoes to make adding diced tomatoes with the right flavor combination much easier.
- Beans: Pinto beans are drained and rinsed before tossing them into the crock pot as well.
- Tomato Paste: Add extra tomato flavor.
- Cheese: I recommend using a block and shredding your own sharp cheddar cheese.
- Tamale topping: You’ll need a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and the ingredients needed to make it (egg and milk). You’ll also add a can of corn (drained).
Step One – Cook beef until no longer pink and add it to the crockpot along with the diced onion, bell pepper, canned corn, and other filling ingredients.
Step Two – Sprinkle over the taco seasoning and give the beef mixture a good stir to combine.
Step Three – Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours. Then sprinkle cheese over the cooked ground beef mixture and stir.
Step Four – In a medium mixing bowl, add the corn meal ingredients and stir until well combined.
Step Five – Cover the meat mixture with the cornmeal mixture.
Step Six – Cover the slow cooker, turn the heat setting to HIGH, and cook for 30 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
How to Serve Tamale Pie
- Tamale pie is perfect as is, meaning you can spoon it directly from the slow cooker and enjoy it immediately.
- If you want to add toppings, consider sour cream, enchilada sauce, sliced green onions, green chiles, avocadoes, additional shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, hot sauce, and salsa.
- When it comes to sides, you can’t go wrong by serving it with black beans, refried beans, Mexican street corn, or a simple dip.
- The pie can also be scooped on top of tortilla chips or served in corn tortillas.
A toothpick inserted and comes out clean is the best test or you can lightly jiggle the slow cooker and see if the center is no longer jiggly.
Some people like to add green chilies, extra beans, and garlic powder to the mix.
Pour any remaining tamale pie into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the oven over medium heat until warmed throughout.
You can try it, although I’ve never done it. The Jiffy cornbread has a unique taste that adds the perfect flavor to the pie. Also, the amount of the jiffy cornbread is just perfect for this recipe.
Slow Cooker Tamale Pie
For the filling:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small white onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 20 oz. Rotel Tomatoes (two 10 oz. cans)
- 15 oz. can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese WAIT TO ADD!
Tamale topping (wait to add)
- 1 8.5-oz. pkg. Jiffy corn muffin mix
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 8.5 oz. can corn drained (this is the smaller can)
- In a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and drain.
- Add ground beef and the remaining filling ingredients to the slow cooker, stir.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
- DON'T FORGET THIS STEP! When the cooking time is done, add the 1 cup of cheese and stir.
- In a small bowl blend the Jiffy mix, egg, milk and drained corn until combined, some lumps are ok. Spread this mixture over the meat mixture in the slow cooker evenly. Cover the slow cooker and turn it on to HIGH and cook for 30 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
- Pour any remaining tamale pie into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the oven over medium heat until warmed throughout.
- For added heat, consider adding one chipotle pepper in adobo (chopped) to the meat mixture.
- Ground turkey or ground chicken is a great substitute for the ground beef.
- A toothpick inserted and comes out clean is the best test if your cornbread layer is set, or you can lightly jiggle the slow cooker and see if the center is no longer jiggly.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.