No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Tamale Pies

It's back to school and back to work -- all the more reason to have dinner ready in the freezer. This recipe can be baked in an eight-inch square baking dish or two nine-inch deep-dish pie pans; you will need to add about fifteen minutes to the baking time.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Yield:
Tamale Pies

Source: Everyday Food, September 2004


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground dark-meat turkey
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 minced jalapeno chiles (seeds and ribs removed for less heat, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups fresh (from 6 ears) or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • Cornmeal Crust
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make filling: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. In two batches, brown turkey, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook onion, jalapeno, and cumin, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes; season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return turkey to pan; stir in tomatoes and corn until combined.

  3. Make Crust. Pour 1/8 of the crust (1/4 cup) into the bottom of each of eight 10- to 12-ounce ramekins. Smooth tops with a spoon; cool 5 minutes. Top each with turkey filling, dividing evenly; sprinkle with cheese.

  4. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until filling is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.

Cook's Note

To freeze this dish, do not add cheese in step 3. Let pies cool completely; do not bake. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; freeze up to 3 months. To cook small pies: Remove plastic wrap from frozen pies, and cover with foil; bake 45 minutes. Remove foil, top with cheese, and bake 30 minutes more. To cook large pies: Defrost overnight in refrigerator. Sprinkle with cheese; bake, uncovered, 45 to 60 minutes.

Reviews (22)

  • Paige Hyder 17 Feb, 2014

    This was horrible. Absolutely no flavor at all. Ended up throwing the whole thing away.

  • Bev S 28 Mar, 2013

    Excellent dish but it takes a large rectangular casserole pan for this quantity of ingredients and serves 12-16

  • JennVincent 29 Nov, 2011

    Does anyone know what grind of cornmeal should be used? It's not specified in the linked recipe for cornmeal crust, and I have found in the past that medium grind cornmeal takes a very long time to cook, and is therefore very high-maintenance. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • jblunt 14 May, 2011

    One of my FAVORITE recipes. My husband begs me to make this.

  • tchicago 1 Feb, 2010

    I added spices, but should have left the turkey in to absorb some of them. Taste was bland.

  • scmacri 11 Oct, 2009

    I cut out the crust to reduce calorie content, and it worked just fine. (By my count, it was about 350 calories per serving). It wasn't my favorite taste, but it could be that I'm not a big fan of ground turkey. I will try again with ground beef and I'm sure I'll love it.

  • laur_n 16 Mar, 2009

    i made this recipe (without changes) for a pot luck at the office. it went over really well! it was easy to make (the hardest part is chopping the onion and jalapenos) and delicious! i baked mine in a 9x13 brownie pan (the only thing i have with a lid for easy transport to work) for 35min. it was great!

  • PiNk_BiRd 23 Feb, 2009

    I did not use ramekins for this dish instead I used small cassarole dishes and they turned out great!! I love this recipe. Simple and tasty!!!

  • MlleGena 22 Feb, 2009

    I didn't have enough ramekins, so I ended up putting it in two casserole dishes. Love the cornmeal crust!

  • slummy41 9 Feb, 2009

    I made this and it turned out great. It wasn't too hard or time consuming. I used ground beef and canned green chiles instead of turkey and jalapenos because that's what I had on hand.

  • samsammys 9 Feb, 2009

    I use ground turkey (sometimes chicken) for anything that calls for ground beef and I have never found it to be fatty. I actually add a little olive oil to help it cook better. I may try this recipe with ground sirloin though.

  • art76 3 Feb, 2009

    Try to change the tomatoes to green tomatoes or tomatillos and 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves.
    In the mexican isle or in the freezer area try to get real mexican tamales, there are different flavors, chicken, pork, kernel, etcetera, and try to use in these recipe, one tamale per person, the same sauce with more hot spices and avoid the crust, finished with a spoon of sour cream and chopped scallions, It's great!!!

  • MissNewEngland 3 Feb, 2009

    Ground turkey is fatty and kind of gross. The ground sirloin was delicious, but agree the whole thing needed extra spice, more chili powder, some fresh garlic sauteed with the meat. Crust made this very nice.

  • sonyafly 2 Feb, 2009

    My last comment cut off. I added 2-3 tablespoons of chilli powder, more salt, chopped frozen bell pepper, used 1lb ground sirloin

  • sonyafly 2 Feb, 2009

    These were tasty. But if you like a lot of flavor, it's best to spice up. I used 1 lb ground sirloin

  • mainjp 2 Feb, 2009

    Delicious. We added about 1 tbs chipotle puree and 1/2 small can tomato puree to add more flavor. I also used pepper jack cheese to add a little bit more spice. I followed cann9111's instructions and baked the crust for about 10 mins - perfect suggestion. Thanks, Martha!

  • nalt 2 Feb, 2009

    Way to go elleann11! I am not Mexican but grew up in West Texas where many Mexican recipes were given a makeover. This is similar to a "tamale pie" recipe I grew up with only lighter and more in keeping with today's health conscious menus. If you have ever tried to make a real tamale, you will have a lot of respect for those Mexican ladies who make dozens at a time and will understand why there are recipes with similar yummy flavors but not all the work.

  • elleann11 2 Feb, 2009

    lighten up's a pie with ingredients that are similar to those in a tamale. enjoy!

  • Marla_10 2 Feb, 2009

    I do not agree on people naming something as tamale.

    I am mexican and a tamale is not like that at all; it does not matter who craeted it.

    Please do not use it as a tex mex kind of food.

    They should not name it tamale at all.

    I am dissappointed on Mrs. Stewart because she herself knows that that is not a tamale. And I am not trying to be rude or anything, it bothers me because even in my country I do not like when they use English to name something who is in Spanish.

  • livnntx 2 Feb, 2009

    I love this recipe. It works well and taste even better. It is a little involved to make but it is worth it. It does well as left overs. The great thing is they are all individual pies and self contained. They worked great for a party and people were surprised and pleased. This will become a favorite in my house. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • cann9111 25 Nov, 2008

    Turned out very well. I was concerned that the cornmeal crust would be mushy. I baked the crust for 10 minutes before adding the turkey. Worked wonderfully. My husband is a picky eater and he liked this.

  • 54dreaming 21 Oct, 2008

    I was disappointed in this recipe. It took too much time to make and didn't even taste good. Most of the pies were thrown away.

Related Topics