Deb Wise's Tamale Pie Mix-up Recipe


This one-pan wonder feeds a crowd.

Deb Wise's Tamale Pie Mix-up
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
8 serves

Looking for an easy, one-pan way to feed a crowd? This homey, comforting casserole will fit the bill nicely. Ground beef, cornmeal, tomato sauce, and corn combine with a layer of gooey cheese to make a hearty take on tamale pie, minus the layers. Serve this dish with a big green salad and dinner is done!


  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 garlic cloves)

  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 2 cups tomato sauce

  • 1 cup frozen or drained canned corn

  • 1 cup cup drained canned sliced black olives

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 ½ cups)

  • Sour cream (optional)

  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together milk and cornmeal; set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 to 9 minutes. Add beef; cook, stirring often, until meat crumbles and is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.

  3. Stir beef mixture into cornmeal mixture. Stir in tomato sauce, corn, olives, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until set and well browned around edges, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven, and bake until cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, top servings with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro.

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