Tamale Casserole

All, Beef & Veal, Mexican

This is similar to a tamale pie, but a LOT easier. In fact, I used to make this is huge batches to take to corporate parties, and it was always a big hit. This is proof that yummy doesn’t mean difficult.

The main tool needed here is a can opener. You also need a skillet to brown the meat and onion, which is optional, since this dish is good either way.


1 lb. hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 lb. shredded cheese, cheddar or blend
3 15 ounce cans of beef tamales
1 16 ounce can pinto or chili beans
1 4 ounce can sliced olives
1 15 ounce can whole kernel corn
chopped cilantro, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a baking dish with cooking spray. (We used to have a rule. Whoever forgot to spray a pan had to clean it later.)

Brown the meat, add the onion, and drain it. Open all the cans.

In the baking dish, dump the tamales, unwrap them, and cut each of them into about four bite size pieces. Drain the corn and olives, and add them to the dish. Drain the beans if there is very much liquid and add them. Add the meat and onion. Mix the mess gently, so you don’t break up the tamales too much. Cover the top with cheese and put in the oven for about 1/2 hour.



After it’s hot and bubbly, let it sit out for 10-15 minutes to cool off and firm up slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro. In the photo at the top of the page, I’m serving it with a simple tomato and avocado salad.

Some people. including me, really like the mouthwatering taste of stuffed green olives in their tamales, and the same thing works here. Try it, and if you like it, add them to the recipe next time. Also, there are a lot of canned beans to choose from. The last batch I made I used Bush’s Chili Beans, but in the past have used many others. You could also try Chile and Beans, since tamales are often eaten smothered in chile anyway. (Notice the fruits themselves are called “chiles” and the dish, like chili con carne, is spelled with an “i” on the end.) Put that in your trivia collection…

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