This Tamale Casserole uses simple pantry ingredients to bake up a Mexican-inspired meal that’s always a family favorite. This recipe comes together easily for a weeknight meal that spices up a cornbread mix that’s topped with a seasoned ground beef mixture and baked to savory and cheesy deliciousness.
If you’ve ever made homemade tamales, you’ll appreciate this simple recipe that makes a few ingredient swaps and shortcuts but delivers on the deliciousness of tamale flavors. You’ll love the layered effect that uses a Jiffy cornbread mix that’s made extra tasty and acts as the crust for the seasoned meat topping. It’s all covered with shredded cheese and baked to scrumptiousness. When you’re craving Mexican cuisine or need an easy dish for Cinco de Mayo, make this Tamale Casserole that’s always a crowd-pleaser.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
- Uses simple pantry ingredients
- No special equipment required
- Minimal effort and cooking required
- Can be on the table in under an hour
- Easily adaptable for ingredient swaps
Box Of Jiffy Cornbread Mix – or use your favorite store-bought brand.
Egg – to be mixed with the cornbread mixture.
Sour Cream – use full-fat or reduced-fat.
Can Of Creamed Corn – gives the cornbread mixture additional texture and moisture.
Lean Ground Beef – browned it and drained it before topping it on the baked cornbread.
Taco Seasoning – use your favorite envelope seasoning.
Red Enchilada Sauce – to help flavor the meat mixture and keep it moist.
Shredded Cheese – Cheddar or Monterey Jack works well for the casserole topping.
Toppings – sour cream, tomatoes, green onions
How To Make Tamale Casserole:
STEP 1: Make the cornbread mixture by mixing together the boxed mix, egg, creamed corn, and sour cream.
STEP 2: Bake the cornbread mixture in a greased 8×8 baking dish in a 350 degrees F oven for approximately 40 minutes.
STEP 3: In the meantime, brown and drain the ground beef and then season it with the taco seasoning and enchilada sauce.
STEP 4: Take the baked cornbread and poke holes in the top before pouring the meat mixture over it and topping it with shredded cheese.
STEP 5: Continue baking for an additional 15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with your favorite toppings.
What Are Tamales?
Authentic tamales are made with masa, which is ground corn that’s made into a dough and mixed with a seasoned meat mixture such as pork or chicken. The mixture is wrapped in individual corn husks or banana leaves and steamed to cook them.
Here, this Tamale Casserole recipe offers the same flavor profile, but in a different form using simple pantry ingredients for a time-saving meal.
Can I Use A Different Recipe or a Homemade Cornbread?
Absolutely! If you have a homemade cornbread recipe made from scratch that you love, just use it instead of the boxed mix. Also, If you don’t like the Jiffy mix, or prefer a different store-bought mix, just swap it out. But be sure and add the creamed corn and sour cream to it so that it bakes up with the right texture and taste for this casserole.
Do I Have To Poke Holes In The Cornbread?
That’s really up to you, but I like to because it lets the spiced meat mixture give the cornbread base a little more flavor. You don’t need to poke too many holes if you’re concerned about it becoming too saturated. Just poke a few here and there.
That said, it’s perfectly fine to make this a more layered casserole, where you bake the cornbread mixture and then add the cooked ground beef mixture and cheese on top. Slide it back in the oven to finish cooking and enjoy it that way, too!
- Meat: feel free to swap out the ground beef for ground pork, turkey, or chicken. All will work beautifully with this recipe.
- Spice: While this recipe calls for a standard taco seasoning packet, if you love a spicier filling, add your favorite hot sauce to the meat mixture for more intensity.
- Beans: You can also add beans to the meat mixture to make it a more substantial meal. Pinto or black beans would be perfect for this meal.
- Vegetarian: You can also skip the meat altogether and just use a spicy pinto or black bean mixture in place of the meat. You can also add some sauteed bell peppers for added texture to the bean mixture.
- Cheese: Try pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar or use your favorite cheese.
What To Serve With Tamale Casserole:
This recipe is perfect for having all your favorite Mexican toppings handy so everyone can personalize their own meal. Here’s what I like to have on hand:
- Extra grated cheese
- Sliced black olives
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- Sliced jalapeno peppers
- Sliced green onions
- Tortilla chips
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave until warmed through.
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes:
Slow Cooker Taco Steak Bites with Queso
This Tamale Casserole uses simple pantry ingredients to bake up a Mexican-inspired meal that's always a family favorite. This recipe comes together easily for a weeknight meal that spices up a cornbread mix that's topped with a seasoned ground beef mixture and baked to savory and cheesy deliciousness.
- 1 (8.5 ounce) box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 (14.75 ounce) can of creamed corn
- 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
- 1 (1 ounce) envelope taco seasoning
- 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
- 2 cups shredded cheese, Jack, Cheddar
- Toppings such as sour cream, tomatoes, green onions
- Gather ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl stir together the cornbread mix, egg, sour cream, and creamed corn.
- Once combined pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly golden and baked through.
- In a medium bowl mix together cooked brown and drained ground beef, taco seasoning, and enchilada sauce.
- Poke the cornbread layer with a fork all over.
- Pour the hamburger mix all over the cornbread layer.
- Top with shredded cheese.
- Bake another 15 minutes until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Top with your favorite toppings and serve!
Tips and Tricks
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Use any kind of taco seasoning that you prefer.
- Add beans to the beef if you like.
- Use any kind of cheese your family likes, pepperjack is great!
- Top with things like guacamole, salsa, olives, cilantro, and jalapeno.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 748Total Fat 49gSaturated Fat 24gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 246mgSodium 1010mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 52g