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Jan 25, 2015

Stove Top Tamale Pie

Stove Top Tamale Pie from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Tamale Pie doesn't have much resemblance to tamales, and it really isn't a pie.

"So, what is it then?" you ask. There are lots of versions of tamale pie, but it is essentially made with chili topped with either cornbread or polenta and cheese and then baked in the oven.

Stove Top Tamale Pie from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This version of tamale pie is made entirely on the stove top, and takes no time to prepare. Think of it as chili with cheese and cornbread dumplings!

The sweet cornbread topping is the perfect contrast to the spicy chili. If your mom made tamale pie for dinner when you were growing up, you will enjoy this trip down memory lane. If you've never heard of tamale pie, but like chili and cornbread, you'll love this dish too.

I think the best part is the spot where the cornbread and chili meld together, sopping up that chili flavor into the cornbread.

Stove Top Tamale Pie from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Guess what folks. It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day! What is Secret Recipe Club? We are a group of bloggers who are secretly assigned a blog once a month from which to choose a recipe. On reveal day, we all post the recipes we chose.

This month, I was assigned Jess' blog, Flying on Jess Fuel. Jess is so adorable. She is married to a Navy pilot, and they are the cutest couple ever. Jess always stops by my blog on reveal day and has the nicest things to say (thanks Jess!). Needless to say, I was really happy to be assigned her blog. Plus, Jess likes spicy food (as do I)!

There are so many wonderful dishes on her blog. I narrowed my choices down to Jess's Taco Salad and this Stove Top Tamale Pie. I'm definitely making the taco salad soon.

I added some chopped onions to the beef because I had half of an onion in the refrigerator leftover from making this Stir Fry. I also used fresh oregano, because we have some growing in our garden! Other than that, I followed Jess' recipe pretty much as written. I used hot paprika, but you could probably use sweet (I just couldn't find mine!).

I used a 12 inch saute pan so that the chili could peek out from under the cornbread. A more traditional tamale pie has a solid layer of cornbread "crust." If you prefer that, just use a 10 inch pan. I dropped the cornbread batter onto the chili with a small ice cream scoop, but a tablespoon would work just fine.

This was a very tasty dish, and one that I will be making again.

Stove Top Tamale Pie

Recipe from Flying on Jess Fuel, adapted from McCormick's Cooking with Flavor.



1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped (optional)
2 T chile powder (I used chipotle chile powder)
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
1/2 tsp dried or 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 T ground cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, undrained


2/3 C all purpose flour
1/2 C yellow cornmeal (I used medium grind)
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 T vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 C milk


1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C sliced green onions
Cilantro sprigs (optional)


  1. In a large skillet or saute pan, brown the meat over medium high heat. As the meat begins to cook, add the optional onions. 
  2. Drain the grease from the pan, add the spices, tomato sauce, and kidney beans. 
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While the chili is simmering, mix the cornbread ingredients until just combined.
  5. Drop the batter by tablespoon over the chili. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, until the cornbread is fully cooked. 
  6. Sprinkle with the cheese and green onions and cover to cook until the cheese is melted. 
  7. Top with the cilantro sprigs to serve. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. This looks delicious. Thanks for sharing with the SRC.

  2. This is one of my favorite meals to make for guests!! So easy and ALWAYS a crowd pleaser!! Your photos are SO gorgeous, you make it look even BETTER! Thanks for the kind words, you're too sweet. :) Glad you enjoyed my blog!

  3. I've made Jess's taco salad before and it is great. I like your selection though, this dish looks perfect for enjoying this winter.

    1. Glad to hear you loved her taco salad. All the more motivation to make it!

  4. Oh my gosh - this looks seriously tasty. I love anything like this that cooks in one pan, and it looks like the perfect dish for a cold winter evening. I never heard of tamale pie before, but I sure want to try it now.

  5. My oh my that does look delicious!! Perfect cozy, comforting meal for this cool weather!

  6. That is MY kind of recipe! Mmmm......What a GREAT idea and SRC pick - LOVE it for this time of year too! Karen

  7. I have heard of Tamale Pie but have never eaten or made one....THAT is going to change soon!! This recipe is right up my alley. Looks and sounds delicious and easy peasy. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I have been craving cornbread for weeks now and really need to just go ahead and make it! Especially after seeing this tamale pie!!! Happy Reveal Day :)

  9. I am TOTALLY making this - I'll make a vegetarian version - but I'm totally on this. How perfect for this time of year. And your photos are beautiful! Happy reveal month to you!!

  10. Ooh, I have never heard of tamale pie. This would be perfect for my husband. Great pick!

  11. Never heard of a tamale pie! Under which rock have I been living, I ask you?

    great recipe, although I think my pants got slightly tighter now that I read it to the end... ;-)

    Never mind, it's perfect comfort food, and spicy the way I love it too!

  12. Oh, this looks wonderful! This is exactly the type of dinner I love for weeknights - not too hard to prepare, super tasty, great presentation, and excellent leftovers. =) A+ choice for the SRC!

  13. Oh I love Jess' blog. She is so sweet and has the best recipes. You could have picked any of her recipes and they would have been good but I do like a tamale pie. This one looks delicious. Happy Reveal Day!!

  14. Wow, this sounds delicious and is so pretty! I had never heard of tamale pie, but I'm SURE I would love it.

  15. Wow! What a neat little group. This tamale pie looks so darn delicious. I'm a ginormous fan of chili and cornbread. This is going on my to-make list immediately!

  16. What a delicious comfort food! I could see myself enjoying this very much! Excellent choice, thanks for sharing :)

  17. This looks and sounds so much better than the tamale pie my mother attempted to make when I was younger (it involved grits as a topping and it was terrible). This sounds like a great SRC post and something I'll have to try out myself

  18. I've never had tamales or tamale pie before...but this looks delicious! A definite must try! Great SRC pick!

  19. You had me at cheese and cornbread dumplings! Fabulous choice this month!

  20. Looks delicious! Great SRC selection!

  21. Oh Yum! This looks fabulous! I've never tried tamale pie (or anything similar), but this really makes me want to make it!

  22. That is one beautiful pan of food!

  23. Oh my! So tonight I am making a carnita tamale pie--great minds think alike!! But on the stove--genius! I am sharing on google, twitter, and pinning :)

  24. this is actually on my menu for tonight, yours looks SO delicious!!

  25. Oh my does this dish look delicious! Fantastic pick for SRC this month! I will come over to your house for dinner anytime you so wish! ;-)

  26. Yum, this looks amazing! Love the flavors you have going on. Visiting from Group A! :)

  27. Cornbread and chili go hand in hand, and I love the fact that it is cooked on the stove-top.


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