Tamale Pie


I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but...man I miss good Mexican food. One of my favorite things to eat when I am back at home is a tamale. There is nothing like a simple, authentic tamale. If you haven't had the pleasure of having a tamale before, it's typically some slow cooked beef wrapped in masa (or corn meal), and then steamed in corn husks. You can get a pretty decent version at in the Trader Joe's freezer section. But to get the real deal, I would recommend heading to Mexico...or Southern California. I promise, you'll love it. 

Since I can't find a decent tamale around these parts, I took matters into my own hands and made a tamale pie. Granted, this tamale pie is not exactly like a tamale, but it has all the same components. It's a hearty layer of ground beef that is seasoned with multiple chili powders, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Then I topped it with a layer of corn bread. 

Oh yeah, I bet I won you over with that. Who doesn't love corn bread?


When it's completely baked, the corn bead forms this amazing crust on top that is crunchy on top and soft on the inside. Paired with the spicy beef, oh man....delish!


It's almost like a Mexican version of an Irish Shepherd's Pie. It hearty and delicious. This is definitely a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. But all those calories are well worth it. 





  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 small can tomato paste

Corn Bread:

  • 1 1/4 corn meal
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large pan, saute onion, pepper, and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef and spices, breaking apart the beef with the back of a spoon or spatula. Once beef is fully cooked, add tomato paste and about 1 can's worth of water. Cook down until water has evaporated.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together corn meal flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together until just combined.
  4. Pour corn bread batter over the ground beef. Bake for 25 minutes or until cornbread is cooked through.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.