California Tamale Pie Recipe

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When I serve California Tamale Pie, I know I’ll see smiles on the faces of everyone at the table. With this recipe, you’ll enjoy the taste and texture of classic tamales, without the time and hassle.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Cook: 6 hours
MAKES:5 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Cook: 6 hours
MAKES: 5 servings


  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) chunky salsa
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Optional toppings: sour cream and fresh jalapeno pepper slices, optional


  1. In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine broth and cornmeal. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Transfer to slow cooker. Stir in the salsa, corn, beans and olives. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until heated through.
  2. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and jalapeno slices if desired. Yield: 5 servings.
Originally published as California Tamale Pie in Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes Annual 2012, p15

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Reviewed Jun. 15, 2014 Edited Jul. 15, 2014

"Can't wait to try this!! My grandma used to make this, minus the beans and salsa, but using rotel tomatoes instead. She used a lot of corn, and olives in it. Probably made a double batch of what this is, as there were about 25-30 of us in the family, and everyone absolutely loved tamale pie!!!! Thanks for recipe, I've been looking for it for years!! My grandmother passed about 25 years ago, my momma, about 20 years ago, my aunt, 20 years ago.. They were the only ones who knew how to make this. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!"

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