Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe

The Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! | ASpicyPerspective.comThis is the Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe for tamale lovers… Without the patience to make authentic tamales.

Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |
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A friend of mine moved to the US from Mexico about 15 years ago. Every time I see her, she has just made some sort of amazing dish that reminds her of home, and she always brings me a taste.

When talking with her one day, she told me she loved tamales, but almost never got to eat them. This surprised me, with all the traditional Mexican cooking coming out of her kitchen.

Must-Make Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |

Want to know why?


Tamale making is a ridiculously daunting process. She explained no one (at least in Mexico) makes a few tamales. It’s just not worth the time and effort.

If you are going to make tamales, you get several family members together and make dozens, even hundreds, of tamales to be frozen and eaten throughout the coming months.

She said her mother sends her tamales in the mail whenever her extended family has made a large batch, but that is only once or twice a year.

Making Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |

How to Make Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |


I’ve made tamales before, but thinking back, she’s right. It was such an ordeal, I haven’t made them in years.

But you know what I have made? This Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe.

How To: Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |

What I lovingly call my Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe is not authentic in the least.

However it is quick to prep, easy to assemble, gluten free, and offers the essence of good tamales.

Our Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |

You’ve got a spiced meaty filling.

You’ve got a masa (corn flour) coating, that bakes into a pillowy tamale-like top.

You’ve got less supplies involved, less cleanup, and much less cook time.

That means, you’ve got one heck of a family dinner without going to all the trouble of making real tamales.

A Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |

To me, that is more than enough reason to skip the traditional method of tamale making, and make a tamale pie that mimics that flavor of tamales, in a pot-pie form.

Sneaky, right?

Must-Try Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |

Plus, this Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe makes two pies, so you can enjoy one for dinner tonight and save one as a freezer meal, just like with real tamales. *wink*

My friend shook her head at me when I told her about my perfect tamale pie recipe. Yet once she tasted it, she changed her tune.

After all, time-consuming doesn’t always mean better.

Love this Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe - Easy to Make and Gluten Free! |


Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time:10 minutes

Cook Time:40 minutes

4.5 / 5 (3 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe – Rich zesty beef filling topped with fluffy corn flour (masa) top.


For the Filling:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

For the Tamale Top:

  • 2 1/4 cups corn flour (masa)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray two 9 inch pie pans (or one 9 X 13 inch baking dish) with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Brown the meat, then push it to the sides of the pan and add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the onions have softened. Then mix in the frozen corn, crushed tomatoes, green chiles, chile powder, cumin, salt and cheese. Stir well and turn off the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the corn flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add in the chicken broth and butter. Whisk until smooth. Then stir in the cheese.
  4. Pour the meat filling into the prepared pans. Pour the corn batter evenly over the top and spread to the edges of the pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the corn batter comes out clean. Serve warm!

NOTE: If freezing for a later date, complete the recipe above as directed, but do not bake. Freeze uncovered for one hour to harden the top. Then wrap well and place back in the freezer.  When ready to enjoy, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 60- 70 minutes. If the top starts to darken, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Serving Size: 12

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 433 Calories
  • Total Fat: 20.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.9g
  • Cholesterol: 108mg
  • Sodium: 945mg
  • Carbohydrates: 31.7g
  • Fiber: 5.2g
  • Sugar: 1.7g
  • Protein: 32.8g
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10 comments on “Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe

  1. Emily @ Life on Foodposted October 12, 2016 at 8:22 am Reply

    This looks so warm and comforting!

  2. Maria Lichtyposted October 12, 2016 at 9:44 am Reply

    Great way to satisfy a tamale craving!

    Rating: 5
  3. cookbook queenposted October 12, 2016 at 10:25 am Reply

    I’ve looked into making my own tamales and it’s SUCH a daunting process — I can’t wait to try this instead!!

  4. Pegposted October 12, 2016 at 10:54 am Reply

    I am a very big fan of Mexican food so I can’t wait to try this! Keep the great recipes coming!

  5. Gaby Dalkinposted October 12, 2016 at 6:53 pm Reply

    Looks like such a warm and comfy dinner for fall time!

  6. Kevin @ Closet Cookingposted October 13, 2016 at 11:14 am Reply

    Nice tamale pie!

    Rating: 5
  7. Julie | Table for Twoposted October 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm Reply

    i haven’t had a great tamale pie in forever! i’m going to need to make this!

  8. Loriposted January 18, 2018 at 9:31 am Reply

    The flavor of this was very good… But imagine my surprise when the filling disappeared almost completely into the top..I think my measurements were too small or my pan too big for the amount of masa… Would definitely give it another shot tho

    Rating: 3.5
  9. kay w sorensonposted February 25, 2018 at 8:06 pm Reply

    yes. it takes much longer than 10 minutes. you forgot to give an oven temp. is it baked uncovered or covered?

  10. Anhposted April 25, 2018 at 9:50 pm Reply

    I love it that I can use my masa instead of having to get Jiffy corn bread mix. It’s in the oven now. I put foil over it to make sure the masa is cooked and not dried out for the first 20 minutes.
    I used my leftover shredded beef, mixed with some corn and salsa layered with leftover bean dip at the bottom and top with masa mixture. Oh, yikes! I forgot the baking powder…hmmm, now I’m worried. I sprinkled some cheese on top in the last 3-4 minutes of baking. It looks OK, smells great.
    Super quick dinner! Thank you for the recipe.