Hot Tamale Casserole Recipe
Hot Tamale Casserole Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Hot Tamale Casserole Recipe

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If you enjoy tamales, you’re going to love this appetizing layered dish. It’s ooey-goey good with just the right amount of heat.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 30 min.
MAKES:6 servings
Contest Winning Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 30 min.
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Nutritional Facts

1 serving equals 369 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 86 mg cholesterol, 837 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 32 g protein.


  1. In a small heavy saucepan, bring the water, salt and cayenne to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil; slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon for 15-20 minutes or until polenta is thickened and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the beans, enchilada sauce, chilies, olives, chili powder and cilantro; heat through.
  3. Spread polenta into a greased 8-in.-square baking dish. Top with meat mixture. Cover and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 2-5 minutes or until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Hot Tamale Casserole in Taste of Home February/March 2010, p57

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Reviewed Sep. 14, 2011

"I think the trick to this is to really make sure the polenta is cooked before putting it in the 8X8 dish. There needs to be a film around the polenta and it needs to be so cooked that you can basically scoop it out as one solid mass. I also add some crushed red peppers, which makes it a little spicier. All-in-all this is a fabulous dish that I've made several times!"

Reviewed May. 21, 2011

"We thought this was really good! The only thing was that it made a lot for just a small 8x8 pan. But it still tasted great! I would definitely make it again. Perfect amount of flavor."

Reviewed Mar. 30, 2011

"This was a good tasting recipe, but nothing that was anything special. Would rather make the real thing than the casserole."

Reviewed Dec. 18, 2010

"Too much effort for the result. Bland, soupy, and the polenta was flavorless. My son like it."

Reviewed Aug. 25, 2010

"For a casserole, this sure took a lot of work and ingredients! My husband swore he liked it okay, but I thought it was dull and nothing special for all the prep work. The cornmeal polenta was tasteless and this just didn't have the spice or heat I would expect from a Mexican dish."

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