Cooking · Dinner

Chicken Tamale Bake

My husband loves tamales. My mother-in-law Anna makes them in huge batches and brings them up when she visits. It’s a whole involved process that she tried to teach me once (long ago when I was first married), but the thought of authentic cooking was a total brain overload for me back then. I found this recipe and knew I needed to give it a whirl. It starts with a rich cornbread base filled with chilies, topped with enchilada sauce, spiced chicken and cheese. If you like Mexican food, you will love this!

The bottom layer is creamy and golden,full of sweet corn and a little kick from green chilies. Like cornbread on steroids.

The saucy layer combines with gently spiced chicken and gets topped with the melty goodness of mozzarella. You could use pepper-jack or any white cheese of your choice.

Isn’t it gorgeous? Mmmmmm. Delicious too!

Chicken Tamale Bake
adapted from Pinch of Yum

1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided (I used my homemade version)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup shredded white cheese (I used mozzarella)
cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese for topping


Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork (it might stick a little bit to the fork). Pour enchilada sauce over top.
Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with cilantro and Cotija cheese.


12 thoughts on “Chicken Tamale Bake

    1. You could use Parmesan – it’s just a garnish really. So using something else isn’t going to affect it too much.

    1. I take it there’s gluten free cornbread mix? I didn’t know that! Glad to know it’s easily altered for your family.

    1. OOPS!! let me start again….I wonder if using masa instead of the corn muffin mix will work instead. Have you tried that?

      1. I have not tried that. Actually, I’ve never worked with masa so I’m not really sure how to answer your question. If it rises and bakes with the texture of a bread(ish), it would probably work fine. I remember masa still being a little wet after being steamed in tamales…in which case, I don’t think it would go well in this. You need something on the bottom that can kind of soak up the sauce.

  1. I made this with the Las Palmas red chili enchilada sauce and Ancho chili powder instead of taco seasoning, and it turned out great. Kids loved it, husband loved it!

    Since it’s chicken I made it tonight with the Las Palmas green chili enchilada sauce and also added sliced olives, garlic and onions to the chicken mixture, as well as some ancho chili powder. (I have to buy the Ancho chili powder in bulk, we blow through it and use it on everything!) No definitive heat, but Ancho has a deep, smokey flavor with a hint of chili spice. While the cornbread was cooking, I put some of the green sauce in with the chicken mixture and also pour some of the green sauce over the chicken when it goes in to cook, as well as over the punctured cornbread. ( I have to double the recipe, so used the large cans of Las Palmas, which left enough to top off the chicken with.) It came out great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s