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Tamale Pie

The secret ingredient? Corn muffin mix!

skillet tamale pie
Ralph Smith

Heat up the oven! It's time for a family meal idea guaranteed to please everyone at the table: tamale pie. It's Tex-Mex comfort food at its finest, because nothing is more comforting than ground beef and cheese freshly baked in a warm, savory pie. But we've added a secret ingredient into the mix. "Corn muffin mix is the secret to this scrumptious shortcut pie!" Ree Drummond says. And then, it's so easy to make: Throw everything together in a cast-iron skillet and cook it until the cornbread topping is golden brown, and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Yum!

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Yields: 4 - 6
Prep Time: 0 hours 30 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 50 mins
1 tbsp.

vegetable oil

1 lb.

ground beef

1/2 lb.

fresh chorizo, casings removed

1 tsp.

kosher salt

1/2 tsp.

black pepper


onion, chopped


red bell pepper, chopped


garlic cloves, chopped


14.5-oz. can chopped tomatoes


19-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp.

adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chiles)


8.5-oz. boxes corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy), plus required ingredients

3 c.

grated pepper jack cheese (about 8 ounces)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚. Heat the vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and chorizo and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, beans and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer.
  3. Prepare the corn muffin batter according to the package directions. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and dollop the corn muffin batter over the meat mixture. Spread evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the pan so it doesn't spill over in the oven. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. Place the skillet on a baking sheet and bake until the topping is golden brown and cooked through, and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.
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