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Tamale Pie recipe is quick and easy to make. A spicy beef mixture with Mexican flavors sits on top of creamy grits and replicates the familiar tamale taste and texture.

Tamale Pie

I love tamales, but don’t love the all-day process of making them. This casserole recipe has all the familiar tamale flavors but is quick and easy to make. It’s also a great recipe to use up pantry staples.

Tamale Pie


I’ve seen various recipes for Tamale Pie. Some use cornbread as a base with the meat on top. As well, some recipes have the meat on the bottom with a cornbread top crust. My recipe has grits as the base. It’s topped with Mexican seasoned beef and then cheese.

This tamale casserole is good served with cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocados, and a generous squeeze of lime juice.

Tamale Pie


  1. I used lean ground beef. You can substitute ground turkey or chicken. As well, you can use chorizo sausage which will be very flavorful! Furthermore, you can omit ground beef and use black beans instead.
  2. For even quicker cooking time and a delightful presentation, bake your pies in individual servings. Small ramekins or skillets would be great.
  3. You can use quick-cooking or regular grits. The only difference is the granulation. Quick-cooking grits are ground finer and cook faster. Read the package and cook according to the package directions.


Yes! It makes an absolutely perfect dinner to freeze. I almost always double the recipe and freeze half of it.

To cook, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Bake as directed below.

Mexican casserole. on a plate with a fork.

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary based on the products used.

I updated this post from an earlier version. I made new photos and simplified the recipe instructions.

Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie

A spicy beef mixture with Mexican flavors sits on top of creamy grits and replicates the familiar tamale taste an texture.
Author: Paula
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
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  • ½ cup grits cooked according to package instructions
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 10 ounce can tomatoes and green chilies
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 7 ounce can corn drained
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Spray an 8×8 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray and spoon the cooked grits evenly into the dish.
  • Cook beef and drain. Add the soy sauce, tomatoes and green chilies, tomato sauce, corn, chili powder, and cumin to the beef. Stir to combine.
  • Simmer 10 minutes then spoon over grits. Top with cheese. (At this point you can refrigerate or freeze and bake later.)
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.


Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 734mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 653IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 2mg
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  2. I laid in bed last night wondering if I could use grits and if it would work wrapping in husk, I saw this recipe I’m gonna add some refried beans in the meat mixture and see how it turns out. This sounds delicious

    1. The best tamales for yeaes were made by the Johnson Tamale Co. in Colorado. I can’t find them anywhere now, but they were made with grits instead of Maseca. Delicious. They used a paper wrap instead of corn husks. It was like crepe paper, if that’s any help.

  3. I have not seen or taste tamale before but thought that your pie version of tamale looks delicious.

    This is my first visiting your blog and love to follow your cheerful and all your delicious cooking. Following you now at blogger, Twitter, Pinterest 😀


  4. I can't wait to try this – and I love that it has grits!! YUM-O 🙂

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Your email address will not be published. Have you tried this recipe? Consider giving it 5 stars!