Tamale Skillet Pie

This meal is one of “those recipes” — one that tastes like you had all of the time in the world to put it together. But in actuality, you had only 15 hurried minutes to get something edible into the oven. Um, I think that is happening to me every.single.day, lately.

There are definitely a few ways to make this yummy dinner in less than 20 minutes, so let me share a few tips that will help make this as simple as possible:

  • keep a batch (1 – 1½ dozen tamales) in the freezer
  • keep a pound of browned ground beef in the freezer
  • keep the ingredients on hand to make your own homemade enchilada sauce ((so easy and tastes WAY better))

Even if you don’t have pre-cooked ground beef, this is still such a speedy meal. Just brown a pound of beef in the cast-iron skillet you plan on using for the tamale pie. I prefer 96/4 lean ground beef, because there is no grease to drain ((which is both a time & mess saver!)).


For the enchilada sauce — of course, 2 cans of pre-made sauce will get the job done. BUT, trust me, homemade is beyond superior. Truthfully, the more you make it – the better you will become at whipping it up in a flash.


I always add a block of light cream cheese to my enchilada sauce. It cuts through the heat of the chili powder nicely but leaves the flavor in full force.


Arrange the frozen tamales in a cast-iron skillet & top with the browned ground beef.


Pour 3 to 5 cups of sauce over the beef & tamales, taking care to make sure the sauce works it’s way into all the spaces and underneath the tamales. The sauce will soak into the tamales and thicken as it bakes


Top with hand-grated sharp cheddar & jack and ½ cup of diced white onions.


Cover with foil & bake for 50 to 60 minutes.


**This is my favorite part: I preset my oven, programming baking to be completed just in time for the herd to gather around the dinner table. You can place the frozen tamales & beef ((along with the other ingredients)) in the oven ahead – up to 5 hours before baking start time.


Allow the pie to bake for about one hour on 350° and just like that, dinner is served! It was so yummy, I actually made it 2 nights in a row & the herd was pleased as punch for the repeat! ((A sure sign of a winner!))


Skillet Tamale Pie
Serves 8
Simple & speedy this skillet tamale pie tastes like you worked all day but is so perfect for a homemade dinner on a busy night. Creamy, spicy & hearty -- sure to please!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 1 1/2 dozen frozen pre-made tamales
  2. 1 lb pre-browned ground beef
  3. 1 batch homemade enchilada sauce* (approximately 5 cups)
  4. 1 block light cream cheese, softened to room temperaure
  5. 3 c shredded sharp cheddar and/or Monterey jack
  6. 1/3 c diced white onions
  1. Preheat or preset** oven to bake at 350°. Place tamales in the bottom of a 12" cast-iron skillet. Top with frozen or previously browned ground beef and homemade enchilada sauce. Sprinkle shredded cheeses and chopped onion over the top of the pie. Wrap the skillet with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes. Once baking time is complete, remove - allowing to cool 10-15 minutes prior to serving.
  2. Serves 6-8
  1. *or 2 cans enchilada sauce. See link in the body of the post for the enchilada sauce recipe.
  2. **if presetting the oven, program the oven to bake at 350° for one hour, coming on one hour before your planned dinnertime.
Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/


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  2. Kim says:

    For the frozen tamales, do you remove husks before adding to skillet or just remove when eating the dish? Also, from your picture, above it looked like you used a combo of tamales/taquitos/burritos? Going to try this for game tomorrow night 🙂

    • Emily says:

      Yes – remove the husks. I should have added that step to the instructions — it is an important one! And no I used 2 varieties of tamales, pork and spinach. Our local grocer happens to carry a gourmet brand of tamales and the spinach are amazing, but the kiddos would hate them so I used both! It is a hit in our home, I make it every time I have tamales on hand! Thank you for the question!

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

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