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Tamale Pie (that tastes like tamales)

I recently was able to experience some homemade tamales now that we live in the South.  When I heard that they were just corn mush surrounding a meat filling I thought they might not be all that exciting, but I was wrong.

These authentic homemade tamales are full of flavor, spice, and a lovely sweet corn contrast.  But, they are also a lot of work.  So I devised a recipe that brings together the delicious authentic flavor of tamales with the ease of a casserole.  It is not quite as exciting as the real deal but it tastes just as good.

Tamale Pie


  • 2 cups masa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking power
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold lard or butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups stock or water


  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Cut in butter or lard.
  3. Add water and mix until a wet dough is formed. Set aside while you prepare the filling.


  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups broth
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • sea salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Saute onions in 2-3 Tablespoons of bacon grease
  3. Add paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic, vinegar, and  1/2 cup of broth
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Add rest of ingredients and simmer until thick and yummy
  6. Transfer filling to a 13″ x 9″ pan. Top with masa topping, spreading it evenly out on top of the filling. Don’t worry if the filling comes through the topping a bit.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown around edges and firm in the center.
  8. We like our served with salsa, cheese, and sour cream on top of a bed of lettuce.

  Leave a Reply

  • Just okay. It was a bit bland, and due to the dryness of the masa, it was definitely not like the real thing.

    Liz April 12, 2016 AT 6:31 pm
  • I have made Tamale Pie on a woodstove as a Kid growing up in Colorado on a Ranch. The best aroma, bar none. Now in Florida making it for Super Bowl Broncos Fans. Using ground Sirloin, onions, garlic, Rotel Tomatoes & Chiles, can of Corn, Chopped Jalapeno minus seeds, cumin, oregano, etc, Made that yesterday, Now made the Masa Harina with Butter, homemade Turkey Stock, baking powder, salt. Now chilling it, and heated up the mixture – very tasty. I could not find my large Corning Dutch style pot, so took the liner out of my slow cooker. Buttered it, and will put all ingredients into it, and then into a Small Table Top Convection Oven. Cook at 375 for 45 or so min. I could not believe that oval Ceramic Cooker liner would fit in there but it did! Even on the metal rack! Hopefully, it will cook beautifully, and perfectly without any drama…

    Trudy February 7, 2016 AT 7:05 pm


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