Mexican Recipe–Tamale Pie

I attended the Latina Blogger’s Conference on Friday. Within a few minutes of arriving a nice man sat down next to me and we started to chat. Not 10 minutes into being at the conference he asked, “Are you actually Latina?”

Ha! Apparently I forgot my sombrero so I can understand it being unclear Winking smile


I obviously get this a lot so it’s ‘no big’ but I thought it was funny.

So, even though I am no longer vegetarian, I’m still Mexican. And even though my Meatless Mexican Monday series is dead in the Rio Grande, I have an easy Mexican inspired recipe for you today…

it's all mexican food

Tamale Pie Recipe

mexican tamale pie recipe healthy crust

I LOVE tamales. But making legit ‘spread the masa, fill then with meat, roll it up, steam…tamales’ is A LOT of work. My family only makes tamales for Christmas. We made a HUGE batch and freeze some for New Year’s. But outside of that we get them from a deli or the lady that sells them outside the store.

But here is the tamale experience in pie form – no corn husks needed!



  • 1 1/4 c corn flour
  • 2/3 c water, add more as needed
  • 3 Tb oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  • 1 pound ground meat of your choice
  • 1/2c onions
  • chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 1/2c salsa
  • Cotija cheese
  • optional: cilantro

mexican tamale pie recipe healthy crust

Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook onion until translucent. Add meat cook through, season to taste. Add salsa.

I used ground beef because I’m going through this new phase of loving it. I don’t know who I am anymore… IMAG2424 (800x450)

Make crust: combine corn flour, water, salt and oil. Mix. Add more water or oil until it combines easily.

Press into a well greased pie pan. I used a cake pan because I couldn’t find my pie pan and spent 10 minutes looking for it when I remembered I broke it a few months ago. mexican tamale pie recipe crust

Bake crust for 10 minutes. Add meat mixture and cheese. Bake until heated through and crust is set another 5 to 12 minutes.

mexican tamale pie recipe

Serve with salsa and cilantro.

IMAG2449 (800x450)



    • says

      Yes, I think eating more meat (not necessarily red meat because at first I ate a lot of chicken and fish) helped keep me full longer and I randomly snacked less.

  1. says

    Definitely pinning this one. I think I could eat Mexican food every day for the rest of my life and be totally happy. I know you used ground beef because you’re digging it lately, but as you implied, I’m thinking this could work well with ground turkey or even vegetarian ground “beef.” Thanks for the recipe! :)

  2. says

    I’ve never made tamales before, but this seems easy enough! I dislike ground beef, so maybe I can make it vegetarian with lentils or something? Any suggestions?

  3. Shannon in Tustin says

    That looks YUM and super easy. I’d likely have to make two with my hungry fam! Thanks Monica. :)

  4. Sarah G. says

    Yum! I am always up for a Mexican recipe (since it is like 80% of my diet anyway) and this is simple enough for me to hopefully not screw up… score! I have never heard of Cotija cheese before, though. Think I can find that in a regular grocery store?

    BTW, I bought a bottle of Sriracha for the first time EVER last night and it made me think of you. Which is kind of weird, I know, but just go with it.

  5. says

    oh yes, my husband loves these type of “stick to your bones” meals. Such a lovely dish. I’m off to get some tasty cotija cheese :) Thanks so much for this recipe.

  6. Erin C says

    Tried your recipe for lunch today-loved it, but I’ll probably just use a bit less salt because some bites seemed to be overpowered with salt (guess I should have mixed it more instead of trying to hurry!). It was super easy and fast to make though! I used the Boca meatless crumbles, and it tasted delicious!

    • says

      I like a lot of salt, so you’re probably right that it’s too much (and I think Boca crumbles are saltier than meat since they come seasoned). I’m scaling back the salt to 3/4 to allow for that. Thanks!

  7. Angelica says

    Looks good–and much easier than traditional tamales! By the way, as a fellow Mexicana, I have to correct you: singular is “tamal” and “tamale” is for gringos. 😉

  8. says

    We do the tamales for Christmas too and freeze the batch. It is a LOT of work. And somehow I have become in charge of kneading and spreading the masa on the hojas.

    I get the question a lot too. And the stare, “but you’re white”. -sigh-

    This sounds yummy and it would hit the tamale craving spot :) pinning and making.

  9. says

    This looks great! I’m a HUGE fan of tamales (getting them literally every time I’m at a Mexican restaurant) but I’ve never been brave enough to try to make them legit at home. But this seems like a great compromise! I can’t wait to try it out!

  10. says

    Sadly, I am not a Mexican, but I am a vegetarian. I’m guessing from the comments above that it wouldn’t be too sinful to use black beans instead of ground beef???

    Also, I will be dousing this with Sriracha, because I even put Sriracha on my salsa. :)

  11. says

    That recipe sounds good. I had to look up the cotija cheese, as I hadn’t heard of that. I have never seen it over here, so I will try substituting parmesan and see how that works out.

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