Easy Tamale Casserole

4.73 from 11 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Tamale casserole is a delicious baked Tex Mex meal with seasoned ground beef, corn, and Jiffy cornbread topping. Make this recipe all in one pan for easier cleanup!

plated serving of tex mex tamale casserole

If you love tamales but hate the prep work involved, this casserole recipe will become a favorite. Actually, I think casserole recipes in general are the easiest meals for busy people to prepare.

Almost all of the breakfast bake and dinner casserole recipes I share here on Kevin is Cooking can be made ahead and frozen for later use.

fork on side of plated serving of jiffy cornbread casserole

If you’re in the mood for a casual weekend brunch, make some polenta cakes a day or two ahead. Then just heat and eat when you’re ready for them. For something a bit heartier, make a cheesy sausage baked eggs casserole

What I love about this tamale casserole is that it’s very flavorful, very filling, and there’s a nice contrast in textures. The baked cornbread topping gives it that “tamale” feel without needing to spend hours making authentic tamales.

Ingredient Notes for Tamale Casserole

  • Ground Beef

I suggest using an 80/20 blend of ground beef. You want a little bit of fat for flavor, but not so much that it makes the tamale casserole greasy.

Feel free to substitute ground lamb, pork, chicken, or even ground turkey. If you’d like something a bit lighter in calories, chicken tamale pie is perfect. It uses ground chicken and a has a salsa verde sauce.

  • Cornbread Topping

To keep things simple, feel free to use Jiffy cornbread mix, but for a more authentic flavor, I use homemade cornbread. The recipe is very simple and I think it makes a big difference in the flavor of the topping.

It you’ll be using Jiffy cornbread mix, combine the ingredients in a small bowl, then pour it over the meat mixture just before baking the tamale casserole.

  • Beans– I like to use red kidney beans, but black beans would be fantastic too.
  • Shredded cheese– What casserole isn’t made better with melted cheese? This ingredient isn’t a deal breaker; feel free to omit the cheese if you’d like to reduce the overall calories and fat in the meal.

Video: Making Beef Tamale Bake

This recipe is pretty straightforward and not at all difficult. To see it in action from start to finish, watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

side view: serving of tamale casserole on brown plate

Serving Suggestions

Honestly, I think the tamale casserole is hearty and filling on its own. Something like a side of rajas con crema or Mexican salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette is all you should really need. Oh, and maybe some tortilla chips for scooping up any loose meat from your plate.

close up: tex mex dinner bake with ground beef, corn, kidney beans and cornbread topping

If you’d like to add some toppings, here are few suggestions:

Topping Ideas

plated serving of baked cornbread casserole

This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking on Aug. 24, 2015 and was last updated with new content on Sept. 2, 2021.

Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

plated serving of tex mex tamale casserole

Easy Tamale Casserole + Video

4.73 from 11 votes
Tamale casserole is a delicious baked Tex Mex meal with ground beef, corn, and Jiffy cornbread topping. Make this recipe all in one pan!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes


Cornbread Topping:

  • 8.5 oz Cornbread mix (See Note 1)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk


  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and salt. Saute 3 minutes and add garlic. Cook until onion is translucent.
  • Add ground beef and break up meat with spoon. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Drain excess oil if needed.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, corn, beans, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder and black pepper. Stir to mix and simmer on low for 10 minutes or until thickened. Pour into a greased 9×9” baking dish, top with cheese. Set aside.
  • Mix the cornbread mix, egg an milk in a small bowl. Pour over meat mixture to cover and bake for 20 minutes. Top should be golden brown.



  1. Feel free to use Jiffy, Trader Joe’s or your favorite cornbread mix for convenience, but my homemade cornbread recipe is fantastic.


Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 827mg | Potassium: 706mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1640IU | Vitamin C: 31.3mg | Calcium: 198mg | Iron: 3.8mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image of tex mex ground beef casserole with cornbread topping


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

Free Bonus
5 Secrets to True Tex Mex
Essential recipes & tips for delicious Tex Mex cooking!

email image

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 4 stars
    Just discovered you, looking for easier way to make chili Colorado. I wanted to use pre ground chilies of different kinds and needed some idea of measuring them. You not only solved that for me, I made your recipe for chili Colorado, but used my instapot slow cooker mode. It was melt in your mouth and hubby said better then any restaurant we have tried! So now I am a fan of yours
    Jessica in Oregon

    1. Thank you for the wonderful review, Jessica. I love that you were able to make it in your Instant Pot! Hope you find more recipes here to enjoy.

  2. We have been making an almost identical recipe for generations going back to the 50’s.

    Our recipe is without beans and green pepper, although that is just a personal preference. I like the suggestion of pinto beans which might do the trick for us.

    We place several black olives on the cornbread topping, and sometimes with a little extra shredded cheese.

    This is the ultimate in comfort food, no matter what way you go.


  3. Thank you for all your great recipes happy outlook on life and making me look forward to you website you’re a gem!

  4. Hi Kevin , can I substitute ground beef with ground turkey ? If so , can you suggest any changes in ingredients or seasonings ? Thanks !

    1. I would just change to the ground turkey and follow the rest of the ingredients! Let me know how it turns out!

  5. I fail to understand why anyone would use jiffy cornbread mix. Look at the ingredients (you can Google them)
    One of the preservatives (bht) is banned in Canada, Australia and some other countries as it can be carcinogenic. Buy a package of cornmeal (I use Aunt Jemima) and the recipe is on the back. It is so simple to make. And you likely have the ingredients in your pantry. Plus you control what goes in it. ANYTHING made in a factory can be made by your own loving hands.

    1. That’s exactly why I suggest my Homemade Cornbread in the post Anita. Some prefer homemade and others don’t… it’s great to have choices! I have updated the recipe card to reflect this as well. Thanks!

  6. Why did the recipe call for things Like bell peppers and chipotle sauce that the ingredient list didn’t have on it? Did I miss something?

    1. Hi Bonnie-Maybe go take another look at the ingredients list I just checked and they are in there. 1 bell pepper and 8oz tomato sauce. Hope that helps! Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    I showed my husband this recipe he said when are we having this . So I will get the ingredients and make this recipe.