Owl Creek Farm » Recipes » Main Dishes » Tamale Casserole

Tamale Casserole

by Amy
Print this easy Beef Tamale Casserole recipe for dinner tonight. Everyone will love the delicious filling and cheesy cornbread topping.
Owl Creek Farm Tamale Casserole

If you’ve spend any time on this site, you might have noticed we love Mexican and Texmex meals! This Beef Tamale Casserole, sometimes called Tamale Pie, is an easy to prepare meal with a delicious filling and cheesy cornbread topping.

I try to make my life easier on days that I work my day job, by making quicker meals, or preparing as much before hand as possible. Casseroles are great for pre-prep, they can be put together in the morning, and thrown in the oven when you get home, leaving the normal prep time you’d have to have, to relax. Or if you’re like me, do other chores, because once I’ve sat down to relax, that’s the entirety of what gets done for the rest of the evening. Gotta keep that momentum going!

Unfortunately this morning, my plans of prep work for Tamale Casserole were sidelined by a lack of refried beans in the freezer. I usually do a double batch and freeze what isn’t needed – I’ll get 7 or 8 containers (approximately 2 cups) to use for future meals. Apparently, I had miscounted how many we had left.

So this morning, I started the slow cooker and off I went.

It’s time change week, everything is screwy.

Anyway, I got home (and holy man, did the house smell good!) and stirred the beans, ladled out a couple cups worth, used the immersion blender on them and threw them in with the meat/onion mixture. It’s not much work, really so dinner was done on time and yum! After dinner, I blended the rest of the beans and they’re on the counter cooling, before they hit the freeze.

If you don’t want refried beans, leave them out. It’ll decrease the filling, so you can either just use less filling, or increase the ground beef by about a pound. It’ll still taste fabulous!

Owl Creek Farm Tamale Casserole

Tamale Casserole

Owl Creek Farm owlcreek.ca
Print this easy Beef Tamale Casserole recipe for dinner tonight. Everyone will love the delicious filling and cheesy cornbread topping.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Texmex
Servings 10 people
Calories 386 kcal



  • 2 lbs lean ground beef see notes
  • ½ onion diced fine
  • 2 cups salsa or about one 16oz jar
  • 2 cups refried beans or about one 15oz can; use our homemade recipe for best results (see notes) -- optional
  • ½ cup water if needed (most often when using canned refried beans)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 oz black olives chopped (optional)


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 4 oz diced green chilis
  • 2 cups pepper jack or preferred cheese grated, divided (see instructions)
  • 1 tsp salt

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 jalapeno sliced


  • Preheat oven to 400°f

Prepare the filling

  • Heat skillet on medium heat. Cook ground beef and onions together until the onion is tender and beef is browned, about 10 minutes. Drain if needed.
  • Stir in salsa, refried beans, and seasonings. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 3-4 minutes, then stir in olives, if using. If mixture is very thick, add the ½ cup water. Reduce heat to low.

Make the crust

  • In a medium saucepan, combine cornmeal, evaporated milk, diced green chilis, ½ cup cheese and salt. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring for 5-7 minutes until thickened to about the consistency of thin oatmeal.


  • Spoon filling into ungreased, 9x13" baking dish, then spoon crust mixture on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with jalapeno (if using). Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese in melted.
  • Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Serve with sour cream if desired.


You can cook your own refried beans in the morning and use them that evening. If you don't want to use refried beans, just leave them out, or increase the ground been to 3 lbs to get the same amount of filling.


Calories: 386kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 32gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 1519mgPotassium: 697mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 871IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 320mgIron: 4mg
Keyword casserole, ground beef, refried beans
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CYNTHIA September 16, 2022 - 5:42 pm

This is a great recipe smells good presentation is beautiful really enjoyed it and so did my neighbors thank you hope to see more of your recipes.ID LOVE TO LIVE LIKE E YOU. I know I have a place to go someday when God calls me home . Have a blessed life

kathy roose April 11, 2021 - 4:03 am

Could you use masa(like its used for regular tamales)?

Amy April 11, 2021 - 9:19 am

I think so! I haven’t worked with masa dough before, but just keep an eye on it while it’s cooking, so it doesn’t over or under cook should work out. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!