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How To Make Beef Tamale Casserole

beef tamale

Tamales are a common and popular dish among Spanish, Mexican, and Latin cultures. Typically they are corn-filled dough that is filled with various meats and vegetables. Beef tamales are most notably the fan-favorite and let us say, we are fans. Making individual, traditional tamales can not only be time-consuming but it is also difficult. We thought we’d take these classic tamale flavors and turn them into a flavor-packed beef tamale casserole that is easy to prep and portion for your busy week ahead. 

Ease of Making: Medium

How to Make Beef Tamale Casserole

Beef tamale casserole is typically made by layering cornbread, tamale sauce and seasoned ground beef in a way that mimics the traditional tamale. Casseroles make for easy dishes to feed a family, to make ahead and freeze or to keep for the week and have a warm hearty meal every day. Casseroles are popular because you can put a variety of items in the deep baking dishes and quickly pop it in the oven. If you find that you aren’t a fan of ground beef, you can easily sub in ground chicken, turkey, or any other protein in this dish and make it to your liking. We like our dishes to be quick, easy and flexible for your cooking needs. 

Our beef tamale casserole can also be topped with some of your favorite Mexican inspired ingredients like jalapenos, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, or pico de gallo! 

There are three main components of a casserole: pieces of meat, vegetables, and some sort of starchy binder. Each component serves a purpose of its own. 

  • Starch  – We use a cornbread base to hold up to the flavors of the seasoned meat and vegetables but you can use a variety of starches in casseroles. Potatoes, pasta, rice, or any other grain can serve as an excellent starch in your casserole to bring it together.
  • Pieces of meat – Ground beef is used in this beef tamale casserole but when making a casserole you can use practically any type of protein. Have fun and experiment!
  • Vegetables – There’s no limit to the types of vegetables you can put inside a casserole and oftentimes, casseroles are packed with veggies and you won’t even know it. 

How to Cook Beef Tamale Casserole

Start by preheating your oven, we cook our beef tamale casserole at 400℉. Next, you will want to prep the cornbread layer of your dish, your base. Once mixed add your cornbread mixture to a greased baking dish that is deep enough to hold the rest of the casserole and bake for 20-25 minutes.

It is necessary to brown meat before stewing so that the meat is not raw when you cook and add it to the cooked cornbread layer. While the cornbread bakes, you will add your onions to a hot saute pan with oil and cook until softened. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up into smaller pieces as it cooks. After the meat has cooked, add in your seasonings and sauce.

Remove your cornbread from the oven and carefully layer on your beef and sauce mixture, followed by the remaining vegetables and a layer of cheese to the cooked cornbread and return to the oven to finish baking. This should only take about 5-10 minutes for your cheese to melt. Once your cheese is melted on top, remove your casserole from the oven and serve.  

Meal Prep Tips for Beef Tamale Casserole

  • Reheat your casserole prep in the oven by covering tightly with foil and heating for 20 minutes at 400℉.
  • If at any point you notice your casserole getting too brown or starting to burn, you can cover your dish with tin foil for the remainder of the baking process. This helps protect the top layer of the dish and prevent scorched meat and cheese. 

Beef Tamale Casserole

Layers of cornbread, tamale sauce, and seasoned beef make this the perfect comfort food dish for you and your family.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 each small white onion
  • 1 each green bell pepper
  • 1 each roma tomato
  • 1/4 cup green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Cornbread batter recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

Pre-Cook (Mise En Place):

  • Gather your equipment: mixing bowl, whisk, baking dish, cutting board, knife, saute pan, spatula
  • Pre-heat oven to 400F
  • Dice bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and green onions into small pieces

Cooking Method:

  • First, prepare the cornbread. In a mixing bowl, add the egg, sugar, yogurt, and vegetable oil. Stir, until thoroughly mixed.
  • Then, add the baking powder, flour, and cornmeal. (best to mix in the dry ingredients in batches so that the mixture does not clump)
  • Place the batter in a greased baking dish and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the center is fully cooked.
  • Next, prepare the taco meat. Add oil to a heated pan on medium high heat. Saute the onions until they soften.
  • Add the ground beef and break into smaller pieces. Continue to cook until it has turned golden brown. Then add the spices and tomato sauce. Continue to stir the beef until it is fully cooked.
  • Remove the cornbread from the oven. Carefully add the ground beef mixture on top. Then, layer the rest of the vegetables on top.
  • Finally, add shredded cheese on top and place it back into the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
  • Remove from the oven, and carefully scoop out a serving. Eat and enjoy!

If you love this recipe, check out these other recipes we know you’ll love too:

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