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Gluten Free Tamale Pie

Gluten free tamale pie is cornbread topped with a savory meat filling. All the goodness of a classic tamale but without all the effort!

This Gluten Free tamale Pie is a fan favorite at my house.  A few years after we were married (and pre-food allergies), I stumbled on a recipe for tamale pie and knew I had to try it.

I’ve always loved a good tamale, and making it into a one-dish meal certainly sounded appealing. It was a good one and we made it many times, but it was forgotten after we had to start eating gluten free.

A few months ago I was sorting through all my old recipes and came across the tamale pie. Now that I feel we’ve gotten this gluten free thing down, I was so excited to whip up a gluten free version of it! 

I used my favorite gluten free cornbread recipe as the base, and made a few other tweaks to get just the right flavor combination. I think you’ll love this simple, flavorful, and EASY dish!

Gluten free tamale pie is cornbread topped with a savory meat filling. All the goodness of a classic tamale but without all the effort!

You’ll notice I use my cast iron skillet A LOT. I love it because it is easy to clean, cooks evenly, and browns the edges just perfectly. Plus it doesn’t have all the chemicals that traditional non-stick cookware is coated with and it cleans up easily. That’s a lot of wins in my book! Here’s a link to the one I use, which is listed under $20 right now on Amazon.

Please note that because cast iron is porous, you’ll want to use your pan only for gluten free.

You can customize this gluten free tamale pie by piling on your favorite toppings. Think sour cream, chopped avocados or guac, green chiles, fresh cilantro, a little squeeze of lime or even refried beans. It’s a fun dish the kids will love as much as the parents! You could even make individual ones by baking in well-greased muffin tins and scooping out with a spoon.

Gluten free tamale pie is cornbread topped with a savory meat filling. All the goodness of a classic tamale but without all the effort!

Technically speaking, my husband is the only person in our family who has to eat gluten free. But about a year after his diagnosis I realized it wasn’t practical to make two separate dishes of everything for dinner. The worries of cross contamination further complicated things so I decided to throw out all the wheat flour and just make the same thing for everyone. Our kids still eat wheat bread and sometimes pasta and snacks (they have their own “gluten” kitchen downstairs), but I haven’t baked with wheat flour in years.

You might expect that our kids complained or have been begging for ‘regular’ food again, but they’ve actually done the opposite! Our oldest has repeatedly told me that I’m a better cook since we started eating gluten free, and they often say how much better the gluten free food tastes. That’s why I love dishes like this gluten free tamale pie. They taste great to everyone, and everyone can eat the same meal, together.

~Celeste

 This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you. As always, I only link to products that we use and love and therefore think you will love, too!

a black cast iron skillet with layers of cornbread, ground beef, and cheese

Gluten Free Tamale Pie

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Gluten free tamale pie is cornbread topped with a savory meat filling. All the goodness of a classic tamale but without all the effort!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapenos (I removed the seeds)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Mama's Almond Blend)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if using a flour blend that contains xanthan)
  • 3/4 cup gluten free cornmeal (I used Arrowhead Mills)
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn, optional

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet.
  2. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, chili, salt and pepper and cook a few more minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce and simmer 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  4. Meanwhile, make the cornbread by whisking together melted butter, sugar, egg, sour cream, and milk.
  5. Add flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and corn and whisk gently just until combined.
  6. Preheat oven to 425. While oven is preheating, put a 10" cast iron skillet in the oven with 1 T butter. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can use a casserole dish but only heat it in the oven for a minute or 2. Either way, pull the pan out as soon as the butter is melted. Watch it closely so the butter doesn't burn.
  7. When oven and pan are preheated, pour cornbread batter into pan.
  8. Top with meat mixture. The meat won't completely cover the cornbread and that's ok 🙂
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, top with cheese, and broil for 2 minutes. If using a casserole dish instead of cast iron, continue baking for a few minutes instead of broiling.
  10. Serve with sour cream, fresh cilantro, chopped avocados or guacamole, refried beans, and/or green chiles.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 517Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 614mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 28g

Did you make this recipe?

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Gluten free tamale pie is cornbread topped with a savory meat filling. All the goodness of a classic tamale but without all the effort!

 

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Lorna

Sunday 28th of March 2021

I was afraid it would be too spicy for my husband, but it wasn’t with 1 teaspoon of chili powder. I used stewed tomatoes and a small amount of tomato paste instead of tomato sauce and added sliced black olives. Delicious!

thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com

Monday 29th of March 2021

So glad you enjoyed it!

Bethany

Thursday 14th of May 2020

I have a question about the cornbread base. Do you usually put sour cream in your cornbread, or is that added for this recipe specifically? Thank you!

thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com

Thursday 14th of May 2020

I have gone through a few cornbread recipes over the years and one of them featured sour cream. You could easily make this recipe with any cornbread :)

Laurie Russo

Friday 23rd of August 2019

Amazing! The whole family enjoyed it tremendously!

thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

So glad Laurie, thank you!! -Celeste

Brianna H (@FlippinDelish)

Wednesday 27th of April 2016

I grew up eating Tamale Pie! It has been ages since I made it though. My family would make it with the cornbread on top of the filling instead of the filling on top of the cornbread. Either way, it make a great filling meal!

thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com

Thursday 28th of April 2016

We used to make it that way too, but I changed things up a little this time ;) It's such a fun meal, isn't it?

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

Monday 25th of April 2016

Cast iron meals are the BEST haha! Love love love mine ;)

thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com

Monday 25th of April 2016

Yes! I don't know how I ever cooked without one :)

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