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Tamale Casserole

This Tamale Casserole Recipe is smothered in red sauce and topped with brisket and bubbly cheese. Easy to make and perfect for weeknight dinners! 

Do you ever have that perfect meal that while simultaneously enjoying every bite of it you are dreaming about the next opportunity you will have to make it?  This Tamale Casserole is that meal for me.  It’s like an open-face enchilada, smothered in red sauce, topped with brisket and bubbly cheese, but with a soft, masa-like cornbread underneath.  And can we talk about how I am obsessed with cilantro?  I hear you either love it or hate it, but it really completes this dish.

I also love this meal because it uses simple ingredients, and can easily share ingredients to make two meals.  Cook a nice size brisket in the Crockpot (the same way I make my BBQ Sliders) and then use the leftover meat to make this Tamale Pie.  

We love brisket and use it in everything from BBQ sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, or as a roast with mashed potatoes and carrots. 

I adapted this recipe from Pinch of Yum- she uses pork carnitas (and adds corn) and refers to it as Carnitas Tamale Pie.  Be sure to check out her page for gorgeous step-by-step instructions.

What’s Needed for Tamale Casserole? 

This beef tamale casserole recipe comes together with mostly pantry staples. Here’s what goes into the recipe: 

  • All-purpose flour
  • Yellow corn meal
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Diced green chiles
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Leftover brisket
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Fresh cilantro 

How to Make Tamale Casserole 

  1. Make the crust: Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar, then stir in the oil.
  2. Whisk in the milk, egg, and green chiles until just combined.
  3. Bake in a 9-inch square pan at 400F until set.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
  5. Poke holes in the crust with a fork and pour the enchilada sauce over the soft crust.
  6. Arrange the brisket on top of the crust.
  7. Sprinkle generously with cheese.
  8. Cover with foil, return to the oven, and bake until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Can I Use Masa Instead of Cornmeal? 

A few readers have asked whether they can use masa in place of the cornmeal for a more authentic tamale flavor. You might be able to, but I’ve only made this recipe as written so I can’t say for sure. 

Can I Use Another Type of Meat? 

I don’t see why not! You’re welcome to use another cut of beef, or even shredded chicken or pulled pork. If you try a different variation of this recipe, please leave me a comment so I can try it too! 

Tips for Making Tamale Casserole 

  • For a spicier tamale casserole, use hot green chiles and / or spicy enchilada sauce. 
  • I used shredded Monterey Jack cheese, but almost any shredded cheese will work. 
  • Once the casserole comes out of the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. 

More Easy Beef Dinner Recipes: 

Tamale Casserole

3.72 from 28 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 921kcal
Author: Emily Grace


  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
  • 3 tbsps granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 cups leftover brisket
  • 10 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese
  • Chopped cilantro , to garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
  • Stir in the oil with a fork until the mixture makes soft crumbs.
  • Whisk in the milk, egg, and green chiles until just combined.
  • Bake in a 9-inch square pan for 25 minutes or until set.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  • Poke holes in the crust with a fork and pour the enchilada sauce over the soft crust.
  • Arrange the brisket on top of the crust.
  • Sprinkle generously with cheese.
  • Cover with foil, return to oven, and bake for 20 minutes.
  • When everything is heated through, remove foil and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  • Top with chopped cilantro, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and cut into slices or scoop into bowls.


Calories: 921kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 101g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 317mg | Sodium: 845mg | Potassium: 1822mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 222mg | Iron: 10.5mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @GraceGoodEats or tag #graceandgoodeats!
Recipe Rating


Thursday 9th of November 2023

We thought this was excellent. I used pulled pork but other than that, made it just as receipe stated. Will definately make this again.


Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

After being excited about making and devouring this all day, I’d have to say I am disappointed. This recipe isn’t that great, it’s nothing special in flavor, reminds me nothing of a tamale, and in my opinion is a waste of such a wonderful and expensive cut of meat.


Thursday 19th of July 2018

This sounds great and I have some leftover brisket that I need to use! You might want to double check your nutritional information though because the per serving amount seems a little high.


Saturday 7th of July 2018

What kind of white cheese do you use?

Emily Grace

Wednesday 19th of September 2018

Hi Ava, I use Monterey Jack cheese


Wednesday 10th of January 2018

I am making this as I am writing,The flavors are great for canned sauce!,Can't wait to taste!!

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