Cornbread? Tamales? Why can’t you have both? This easy Chicken Tamale Pie makes any weeknight dinner a fan-favorite. With a cornbread base, a rotisserie chicken and enchilada sauce, you’ll only need one pot for this recipe!
Prep this in less than 30 minutes and let it bake until the cheese is gooey, it won’t be pretty but no one will care.
Tamale pie was always one of my favorite dinners growing up. I have tried over the years to reproduce the flavors and just can’t quite get it right, so I decided to go the chicken route and created a chicken tamale pie that you’re going to love.
The one I grew up eating used hamburger but using rotisserie chicken makes this into a quick weeknight dinner. This tamale pie recipe, while not the same as what I grew up with, has all the best parts. It has a delicious cornbread base with creamed corn and chilies, and it’s topped with chicken and cheese.
These have the flavor of a chicken tamale but that’s about it. A tamale has a cornbread covering, made with masa with a chicken, pork or beef filling that is wrapped in a corn husk and steamed.
What you’ll need for the cornbread base
- Cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder – for the cornmeal, I used finely ground, but you can use a coarse ground cornmeal if you prefer.
- Butter, buttermilk and an egg
- Creamed corn
- Canned green chilies
What you’ll need for the filling
- Rotisserie chicken – or it’s so simple to bake chicken breasts.
- Enchilada sauce – for simple weeknight dinners, I use a prepared sauce.
- Jalapeno – if you want it spicy or a pablano for flavor but not as much spice.
- Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese – use Pepper Jack cheese if you want to add a little more spice.
How to make it
Step 1: Save time and use a rotisserie chicken and prepared enchilada sauce.
Step 2: Prepare a cornbread base using creamed corn and green chilies and bake it in an oven proof skillet. Use all your restraint and don’t eat the cornbread.
Step 3: Add shredded chicken and enchilada sauce and spread it over the baked cornbread.
Step 4: Add cheese and a few jalapeno’s to the top to spice things up. Bake until the cheese is gooey. Serve with avocado, purely optional, as is the amount and type of cheese you use. I’m not sure the photos do this justice.
In the chicken cornbread casserole, the cornbread is light and fluffy and the seasoned chicken and cheese bring all the flavors together to make a delicious dinner. Growing up with casseroles, I’m always searching for one pot meals and I’ll bet chicken tamale casserole will be a favorite in your house.
Don’t expect this to come out in nice pretty slices, it will be messy but delicious. If you want pretty slices, let it cool a little, but good luck getting anyone to wait!
FAQ’s and tips
Yes just follow the directions on the package.
I like a combination of Cheddar and Monterey Jack for the gooey topping. If you want it a little spicer, use Pepper Jack.
Use a glass baking dish or a large glass pie dish.
My understanding is that while this has some Mexican flavors, cornbread tamale pie originated in the Southwest.
More Casseroles to make for dinner:
- Baked Pasta alla Vodka
- Tater tot casserole
- Brisket with Mac & Cheese
- Taco spaghetti
- Sloppy Joe Casserole
- Homemade hamburger helper
- Tex-Mex chicken and rice
Adapted from Jo Cooks
Chicken Tamale Pie
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup creamed corn
- 4.5 ounces diced green chiles
- 2 cups cooked chicken shredded
- ½ jalapeno diced
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese shredded
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cups enchilada sauce homemade or prepared
- Preheat oven to 400º. Butter a 10 inch ovenproof skillet or 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
- CORNBREAD: Combine cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl and whisk together. Add egg, melted butter and buttermilk and whisk together until just combined. Fold in corn and chilies. Pour into prepared dish. Bake for 20- 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. You don’t want this to be under done or it will be soggy.
- Combine shredded chicken with about half of the enchilada sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the cornbread them add shredded chicken.
- Combine cheeses with diced jalapeño and place on top of the chicken.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and it has started to brown. let cool for a few minutes and top with jalapeños, avocado, sour cream, cilantro etc.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Make sure the cornbread is cooked before adding the chicken. A toothpick should come out clean.
- You can adjust how spicy it is by leaving out the jalapeno for less spice or adding Pepper Jack cheese for more spice.
- Let this cool for a few minutes before trying to serve to allow it to set.
- You can use a glass baking dish or deep dish pie pan instead of an oven proof skillet.