Get ready to meet your new weeknight dinner hero: Green Chili Tamale Pie. This skillet casserole is pure comfort food, combining savory beef and black bean filling with chili verde sauce and a golden layer of cornbread.
It’s hearty, it’s flavorful, and it brings a bit of Southwestern flair right into your kitchen.
This tamale pie is much quicker and easier to make than traditional tamales. Instead of using masa dough, this recipe uses cornbread mix to form the crust. This makes it a great fresh-and-fast option for busy weeknights.
Here is Why This Tamale Casserole Works
There’s something special about the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes from whipping up a meal from scratch.
The cornbread topping is packed with flavor and literally takes just a minute longer to whip up than a box of Jiffy cornbread mix. But hey, if that boxed mix is what you have on hand, go ahead and use it. No judgment here.
- One-Pan Wonder: Everything cooks in one skillet, making preparation and cleanup a breeze.
- Meal Prep: You can make the filling a day in advance and store it in the fridge. Throw the cornbread topping together and bake the day you serve it.
- Crowd-Pleaser: This cast iron tamale pie combines classic flavors that everyone, from kids to adults, will absolutely love. Whether it’s a family get-together or a simple weeknight dinner, it’s a go-to recipe for a cozy dinner at home.
By the way, leftovers (if you have any!) store well, so you can have a quick lunch the next day or freeze for later.
Ingredients for Chile Verde Tamale Pie
Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.
- Produce: Onion, garlic
- Seasoning: chili powder, cumin, salt
- Meat: ground beef
- Pantry: black beans, green chilies, chili verde sauce or enchilada sauce
- Fridge: Colby Jack cheese,
How to Make Tamale Pie with Cornbread Topping
Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with this tamale casserole recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.
- Prepare the Filling: Sauté onions and spices, add ground beef and cook. Stir in black beans, green chilies, and sauce. Layer in a baking dish and top with cheese.
- Make Cornbread Topping: Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine.
- Assemble and Bake: Spread the cornbread mixture over the meat layer and bake until golden.
Add the ground beef after you saute the onion and garlic.
Add the rest of the filling ingredients.
Mix the cornbread mixture.
Spread the cornbread over the top of the tamale filling.
Chicken Verde Tamale Pie
Replace the ground beef with 1 pound of ground chicken. You can even use leftover cooked shredded chicken.
Skip the ground beef and bulk up the filling with extra black beans, chopped bell peppers, and zucchini. Add a plant-based meat if you like.
If you’re a fan of heat, try adding a finely diced jalapeño or serrano chile pepper to the onion and garlic sauté.
Tips for Success
- Test for Doneness: Insert a toothpick into the cornbread layer. If it comes out clean, your tamale pie is done. If the cornbread is still gooey, give it another few minutes in the oven.
- Use the right size skillet. This recipe makes enough to fit in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a large enough skillet, you can transfer the filling to a casserole dish and then top it with the cornbread mixture. You may need to adjust the baking time if you use a casserole dish that holds more than 10 cups.
- Let It Rest: It’s tempting to dive right in, but letting the casserole rest for about 10 minutes will let the filling to set up and make it easier to scoop.
- Even Mixing: When you mix the cornbread topping, mix just until the ingredients get incorporated. Overmixing can lead to a dense, tough cornbread.
- Check The Leavening Agents: Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh. Stale or expired leavening agents will prevent the cornbread from rising and make it dense and dry.
- If you want a bit of crunch, sprinkle some crushed tortilla chips over the casserole before baking.
Storage and Reheating
In the fridge: Cool the pie to room temperature, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
In the freezer: Let it cool down completely, then pop it in a freezer-safe container. Label it and freeze for 2-3 months.
To reheat: microwave individual slices or warm the whole pie in the oven at 350°F.
More Skillet Recipes
- Deconstructed stuffed peppers
- Hamburger potato casserole
- Spinach artichoke pasta bake
- Chicken pasta skillet
- Roast beef pasta skillet
- One pot meals roundup
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use a store-bought mix if you’re pressed for time.
Absolutely! Swap out the ground beef for an additional can of black beans or try using a meat substitute.
Yes, you can make the filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge. About 30 minutes before it’s time to eat, add the cornbread topping and bake.
This versatile and flavorful Green Chili Tamale Pie is a full meal deal. Easy to make, adaptable to your preferences, and a surefire crowd-pleaser, it brings a taste of Southwest to your dinner table. Don’t forget the bonus: delicious leftovers for the next day.
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- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder**
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup Chili verde sauce or green enchilada sauce
- 3 ounces Colby Jack cheese, grated
- 2 (4 ounce) cans of green chilies
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (175 grams)
- 1 ¼ cups cornmeal (175 grams)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1-½ cups corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°.
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until soft. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt; stir for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the ground beef and stir to break up the meat while it cooks. Drain off the fat then stir in the beans, chili verde sauce (or enchilada sauce), and half of the grated cheese (reserve 1 cup of cheese for the top of the cornbread).
- Remove from the stove; season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Place the green chilies in a layer over the top of the meat mixture. Set aside while you prepare the cornbread mixture.
For the cornbread topping
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the corn, buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir just until combined.
- Drop the cornbread batter evenly over the filling, then spread it in an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the center of the cornbread is baked through.
- Spread the remaining cheese on top of the baked cornbread and leave in the oven for 1 minute to melt the cheese.
- Adjust the amount of chili powder to your liking. Keep in mind that different brands of chili powder vary in spiciness. Also, if your salsa already packs a spicy punch, you may want to cut back on the amount of chili powder.
- If you are using canned corn, one can is equal to about 1-½ cups.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 484Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 960mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 24g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.