Fabulous, Skinny Tamale Pie



This Mexican-style casserole is amazingly good! My husband and I love it so much we ended up having it for dinner 3 days in a row. I stored the leftovers in individual plastic containers and put them in the freezer. This dreamy recipe is skinny due to using very lean ground beef and after browning, draining the fat. In addition, using just a bit of reduced-fat cheese, it doesn’t need much. Instead of making a corn bread topping from scratch, I’ve topped this pie with Marie Callender’s low fat corn bread mix! What a terrific find! It helps to make this dish come together very quickly. One skinny serving now has 389 calories and 8.6 grams of fat plus 5 grams of fiber. Savor every skinny bite because it’s really delicious!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook and Bake Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients for Tamale Filling:

1 pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey, I used Trader Joe’s extra lean ground beef (96/4)

2 cups onions, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 can (14½-oz) diced & fire roasted tomatoes (with green chiles) or 1 can of diced tomatoes, in juice

⅓ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients for Corn Bread Topping:

1 package (1 lb.) Marie Callender’s Low Fat Southwestern Corn Bread Mix, see shopping tip


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9″ 2-quart casserole dish or oven proof 9″glass bowl with cook spray and set aside.

2. For the tamale filling: In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, add the ground beef, onions and garlic. Cook stirring often, breaking up beef until meat is browned. Pour into a colander to drain the fat. Add back to pan.

3. Stir in beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, chili powder. salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. To make corn bread topping: Add to a mixing bowl 1½ cups water and corn bread mix. Mix by hand until lumps disappear.

5.. Pour the tamale mixture into the casserole dish. Spread evenly. Top with corn bread batter and spread evenly.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the corn bread comes out clean.

7. Cool a bit and cut into 8 slices. This dish will keep for several days in the refrigerator and freezes great.

Makes 8 slices  (each serving, 1 slice)

Food Fact

It’s argued as to where tamale pie originated. It’s a toss-up whether it came from Mexico, Texas or California. Early recipes called for pork or beef cubed or hashed but today it’s usually made with ground beef.

Shopping Tip

Most large supermarkets sell Marie Callender’s Southwest Cornbread Mix. It’s usually found in the baking aisle where the other cornbread mixes are displayed. Their low fat corn bread mix will also work for this recipe.

Weight Watchers (old points)
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 11

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 slice
389 calories, 8.6g fat, 23g protein, 61g carbs, 5g fiber, 976mg sodium, 16g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 slice of Cooks Illustrated Tamale Pie
541 calories, 29g fat, 27g protein, 44g carbs

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26 Responses to “Fabulous, Skinny Tamale Pie”

  1. Renee Young Says:

    This dish is awesome. My family loved it. Yummy.

  2. admin Says:

    I’m so glad this recipe was enjoyed by your family Renee! It’s one of my favorites too. If you have any leftovers, it freezes great.

  3. Stephanie ” Says:

    Should I freeze baked or unbaked? I am thinking of making single-size servings in ramekins (or jumbo muffin tin). If frozen, what is the best way to thaw? Thank you!!!!

  4. admin Says:

    Stephanie, I’d bake the casserole first and then freeze. Sounds so fun to make them it in ramekins! This is one of my all time favorites…Enjoy!

  5. Laura Abbott Says:

    Mmmmm……we had this for dinner tonight! So delish. Husband had 2 monster portions. Thanks. I am going to try the mu shu wraps next.

  6. admin Says:

    Thanks for the terrific feedback Laura! It’s one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy the mu shu wraps!

  7. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com Says:

    Oh, I love tamale pie! And I really like how you’ve made this lower calorie and lower fat… though if I eat the whole thing myself it won’t be a “skinny” meal, will it? 😉

    I’d love if you’d come join my How To Tuesday link party, too.

  8. admin Says:

    Thanks for the invite Katie! This tamale pie is so yummy and you are right, not so skinny if you eat the whole thing. Lol!

  9. Stephanie Says:

    Finally made this! My family loved it. I will freeze it in ramekins next time and report back 🙂

  10. admin Says:

    I’m thrilled to hear it Stephanie! And I’d love to hear how it works out in the ramekins.
    Best wishes,

  11. Miz Helen Says:

    What a great recipe! Have a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. admin Says:

    Thanks so much Miz Helen!

  13. Ms. Rocki D Says:

    Am I missing where it says how many servings this is? I looked it ove4r but can’t seem to find it.

  14. admin Says:

    This casserole serves 8. I hope you get a chance to make it. It’s super easy and very yummy!
    Best wishes,

  15. Christine Mann Says:

    this is awesome!! What a great idea! I was just this morning trying to think of a way to do some sort of enchiladas or something, without using the tortilla shells, this will work perfectly, thank you!!! 🙂
    oh- I found you over at the New Nostalgia link up 😉
    Have a fabulous week!

  16. admin Says:

    Thanks Christine…Enjoy!
    With my best wishes,

  17. Diane Balch Says:

    Pinning this love the cornbread topping and that its rich without being high in calories.

  18. admin Says:

    Thanks Diane…You’re the best!
    I love stopping by each Friday to share something yummy on your link party!

  19. kristi@ishouldbemoppingthefloor Says:

    Yum-O. You’re featured today at Mop It Up Monday. Have a fabulous week!

  20. admin Says:

    Wow Kristi…Thanks so much for featuring my Fabulous, Skinny Tamale Pie. I already include a link to your party each week on Skinny Kitchen and I just added Featured On! Thanks for hosting such a fun party each week.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com
    Wishing you all the best,

  21. Top Ten Web Sites For Healthy Recipes Says:

    […] of skinny recipes for every occasion.  If you’re looking for a place to get started, the Fabulous, Skinny Tamale Pie is delicious!These are 10 of my favorites healthy foodie web site.  I’m sure there are ten more […]

  22. admin Says:

    Wow…Thank you so much for including me in your Top Ten Web Sites for Healthy Recipes! I’m so flattered and happy.
    You do a terrific job on your site!
    With my very best wishes,

  23. Jessica Says:

    I want to make this recipe this week! however, I cannot find Marie Callenders cornbread mix ANYWHERE around my area and I’ve been to 3 major grocery stores. So today I just picked up Betty Crocker’s mix and it says to add the egg and milk and whatever else. Your directions say just to add water. Just wondering if I should leave out the egg and milk or not! Thanks!

  24. admin Says:

    Jessica, I’m so sorry you’ve had so much trouble finding Marie Callenders cornbread mix. I regret to say I’ve never tried Betty Crocker’s cornbread mix. Maybe try it using 1 egg and the amount of milk it calls for but use nonfat milk. I sure wish I could be of better help to you. Sorry!

    If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turned out.
    Best of luck to you,

  25. Jessica Says:

    Thanks so much! I’m making one for the family I work for and one at home tomorrow. I found another corn muffin mix that was just add water so I think that may work out close to the same as the Marie Callender. Ill try both ways and let you know! Thanks again

  26. admin Says:

    Sounds great Jessica. I can’t wait to hear how you liked it!

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