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Once I saw a recipe for a tamale pie I was hooked, I just had to make one myself. Growing up, my mother always made tamales on special occasions. Sometimes, we’d do a truly Hispanic Christmas and she’d go all out with tons of Hispanic food.

Let me tell you, her tamales are the absolute best!

I figured making a tamale pie would cut the work of making actual tamales and it really does.

If you’re looking for an authentic tamale recipe that you can easily make and will keep you warm during the holidays then this is it! Also, check out my tips below.


For the dough:

  • 2 cups of cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of flour

For the filling:

  • 1 lb of ground sirloin
  • 1 can of 14.5 oz of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • half an onion
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of hot sauce (optional)
  • mozzarella (how ever much you’d like)
  • sour cream (as a topping)
  • cilantro (as a topping)
  • Jalapenos (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dough.
  2. Grease the baking dish with olive oil.
  3. Place half of the dough in the baking dish, smooth evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. This will be the first layer of the pie.
  4. While the dough is cooking, start cooking the meat.
  5. In a medium pan, heat olive oil on medium heat.
  6. Cook the onions and garlic until slightly translucent and fragrant.
  7. Add the bell peppers and salt and pepper to cook in the pan.
  8. Once the bell peppers are cooked down, add in the can of diced tomatoes.
  9. After about 5-10 minutes, add in the ground sirloin. Chop up the meat into little pieces with the spatula/utensil that you’re using.
  10. Let the meat cook for about 15 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. While it is cooking, add in your tomato paste, plenty of salt & pepper, hot sauce and all of the seasonings.
  11. Take the dough out of the oven once it’s cooked. Poke holes into the dough so the sauce from the meat will seep into the dough.
  12. Once the meat is cooked, take the pan off of the heat and place a thick layer on top of first layer of dough.
  13. On top of the meat layer, place a layer of cheese and jalapenos on top. Then add the left over dough.
  14. Place the dish back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. For another 5 minutes, switch from bake to broil at 500 degrees if you’d like your pie to have a crispy golden brown crust.
  16. Take it out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  17. Once cool, plate and add a dollop of sour cream and cilantro.

Tips for your tamale pie:

*When I was looking for recipes of this dish I saw tons that used corn muffin mix.  I tried to keep it more authentic and not use this mixture. But if you’re not comfortable with that, you can definitely use mix if you’d like.

*I didn’t want to use cheese and I only used a tiny bit because my husband wanted to add it in. The tamales that I’m used to don’t have cheese in them, but it was actually a good addition to the dish.

*Do not get discouraged with all the ingredients that are in this recipe. I have seen other recipes that used taco seasoning instead of all the other seasonings that I added, if that’s something you’d like to do, then go for it!

This dish was so much better than I thought it was going to be! I was so worried that it would turn out horrible but to my surprise it tastes just like a tamale, thank God.

Try it out and let me know what you think, I’d love to hear feedback.

If you’re looking for a healthy dessert to eat after this tamale pie, check out these amazing Healthy No Bake Cookies.

Click here for other blog posts.

Must haves for making your tamale pie

(Here are some affiliate links)

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A wooden spoon for less than $6:

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If you do want to make authentic tamales, here is a steamer pot for only $20:

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Super cute T-shirts that are for Thanksgiving but perfect for the foodie in you + their less than $15!

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Stainless steel garlic peeler that is easy to use and less than $10.

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Coming up next to the blog is how to stay healthy while traveling and a distillery. I cannot wait to share with you all everything that is coming! If you have any recommendations of what I should write about next please share, I want to write about what you want to read about.

If you missed it, check out my previous posts:

The Bee’s Knees: A Review

Affordable At Home Teeth Whitening: A Review

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Did you like the products linked in today’s blog post? Please support Think and Bee Happy by shopping through the provided affiliated links. I use this profit to keep this blog running and maintained. Thank you so much for your support!

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  1. Yummy. This looks like it’s gonna help me to make yummy pie easily at home.

  2. Oh wow, this sounds delish. I’m hungry right now!!!

    1. It’s so good!

  3. Sounds and looks delish! I can’t wait for someone to invent a way to transmit smells through the internet, I love the smell of tamales. And perfect timing for Hispanic Heritage Month.

    1. That would be some invention! It is perfect timing.

  4. Looks good and easy to make!

    1. It’s so good!

  5. Amazing recipe. I guess the ingredient list can be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated.

    1. It can be intimidating but it’s so good that it’s okay. It’s so easy to make though.

  6. This sounds like it would be a pretty delicious meal, and it sounds simple enough to make! Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is easy to make! Thanks for reading.

  7. This looks delicious. The colors are so lovely.

    1. Thank you so much! It is amazing.

  8. Looks delicious, and the recipe sounds easy too.

    1. It’s so good and not too hard to make! Thanks for reading.

  9. Wow, this is so great,
    Thanks for writing.

    1. Thanks for reading!

  10. This looks 👀 amazing! Absolutely love Hispanic food. Growing up in the 70s, I have to admit I did find the wooden spoon pic a little frightening 🥄

    1. I love Hispanic food also! hahaha oh boy!

  11. I really want to make tamales for a long time because they look so good. I am going to try to make this pie!

    1. Tamales are amazing, but sometimes they take a long time to make. This recipe takes out all that time. Let me know how it goes for you, I’d love to hear all about it!

  12. I’ve baked cakes and even tried making ice cream. But I haven’t tried pies. I don’t why. It just seems difficult for me

    1. Homemade ice cream is amazing! But pies are not hard at all, the oven does most of the work! You should try it out.

  13. Oh thanks for the comprehensive explanation. I don’t like cooking else I would have practiced your tips

  14. This looks so good! I love tamales, and I’m going to have to give this a try!

    1. Thank you! Let me know how it goes when you do.

  15. What an interesting take on tamale! I’ll definitely be trying this dish!

    1. It makes them so much easier! Let me know how it goes when you do make it.

  16. Looks yummy! Still more ingredients than I enjoy using! 😂

    1. It is so good. You can definitely cut out the ingredients list. Instead of all of the ingredients that I used, you can definitely just use taco seasoning and corn muffin mix.

  17. Sounds like an amazing dish. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s so good! Thanks so much for reading.

  18. It’s great. Love to try it sometime. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You should! It’s so good. Thanks so much for reading.

  19. Looks delicious, but I’m kind of scared to try it out, looks hard! but ill give it a shot anw, and for sure will add the cheese for my husband too! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It was so good. I usually stick to easier recipes because I’m not the greatest cook, but if I can do it, then you definitely can. You can substitute the cornmeal for corn muffin mix and all the seasonings with taco seasoning. That makes it a little easier. Hopefully you try it! Thanks for reading.

  20. I might try this for taco Tuesday.

    1. You should! It’s perfect.

  21. This loooooks absolutely delicious and I’m getting hungry looking at it! I would love to try this but the ingredients and instructions look intimidating. Bookmarking this for future reference!

    1. Aw don’t be intimidated! That’s what I was afraid of. The dish is amazing and I added some tips that are essentially shortcuts. Like instead of using the cornmeal you can use the corn muffin mix and instead of all the seasonings you can use taco seasoning. If I can make it then you definitely can!

  22. It looks delicious! Thanks for recipe. I will definitely try it!

    1. Thanks so much for reading! It was amazing.

  23. I just may purchase the tee that reads “I am just here for the food” 🤣 thank you for sharing the link.

    1. You should! I’m going to also!

  24. OMG, this looks amazing! I need the leftovers shirt 👕 Leftovers are my jam 😋

    1. Thanks! It was so good. I’m going to buy some for myself. They’re perfect.

  25. This looks delicious! I will definitely have to try it out. Thank you for the in depth post.

    1. Thanks for reading! It’s such a good dish. Let me know how it turns out when you do!

  26. Great article! With all the details

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