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Fiesta Tamale Pie

Try this easy slow cooker version of the classic tamale pie. This tasty dish is perfect for a family meal or on a party buffet.

Cooking Time7 hr

Cooking MethodSlow Cooker


  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 14 to 16 ounce jar thick and chunky salsa
  • 16 ounces can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


  1. In a large bowl, mix cornmeal and broth; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Brown ground beef in a skillet.
  3. Stir in beef, chili powder, cumin, salsa, corn, and olives.
  4. Pour into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 5 to 7 hours or until set.
  5. Sprinkle cheese over top; cover and cook another 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

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I just finished making this recipe and have to say that the consistency is weird. I did add onions and chopped poblano peppers, but it seems more like a dip than an entre. These ingredients can't go wrong from a flavor standpoint, but I think I will serve corn chips on the side to scoop up the ingredients. If I made this again I would not use a slow cooker, but would put it in a casserole dish and bake it. Not really that successful in my opinion.

I just finished this recipe in the slow cooker. I cooked for 7 hours and has a really strange consistency. I did add onion and chopped poblano peppers. It seems more like a dip than an entre. It's hard to go wrong with these ingredients as they do taste good together, but I wouldn't consider it tamale pie. If I made it again, I wouldn't use the slow cooker. I would put it in a casserole dish and bake it. We are going to eat it for dinner and the taste will be good, but I'm serving tortilla chips on the side to scoop it up.

It would help if the recipe instructions were written correctly the first time!

are you supposed to place the beef mixture in the crockpot and then pour the corn meal mixture on top?

@exanlynn, You should combine the cornmeal and broth, let it stand, and then add the browned beef and other ingredients to the cornmeal mixture. Then pour all of the contents into your slow cooker. Hope this helps! --Editors of RecipeLion

can I use masa harina (for tamales) instead of the cornmeal? How would I proceed?

@snperch, We consider recipes more as guidelines than set-in-stone rules. Feel free to substitute ingredients to your personal taste and preference! Enjoy! --Editors of RecipeLion

Hi all - You combine the beef broth and cornmeal with the browned ground beef and other ingredients listed in step 3 before placing everything in a slow cooker. Hope this helps! -The editors of RecipeLion

What do you do with the cornmeal & broth?

Sounds tasty, but what happened with the beef broth & cornmeal? I'm assuming the beef mixture goes into it and then all into the crockpot?????

@adubay3 7124835, Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We've updated the recipe. Yes, please brown the ground beef prior to adding it to the slow cooker. Let us know how you like it! --Editor of RecipeLion

Do I need to brown the beef before putting it in the crockpot? Thanks.


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