Tamale Pie with Chicken


This tamale pie with chicken is a bit of a process, but well worth the rich flavor it produces. My family loved this recipe. In the tradition of Paula Dean with all the butter I could pack in, this recipe is not for those times when you are watching your figure, but when you are looking for something good for your soul.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
10 hrs 50 mins
1 9x13-inch pan



  • 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thick strips

  • ½ cup chili powder

  • (12 ounce) bottle olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (Optional)

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped


  • 4 cups masa flour

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 3 cups hot water, or as needed


  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce

  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives

  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream (Optional)


  1. Combine chicken, chili powder, 2 tablespoons oil, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano in a bowl. Let marinate 8 hours to overnight.

  2. Pour chicken with marinade into a pot; add water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 1 hour.

  3. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and shred using 2 forks; set aside and keep warm.

  4. Add tomatoes, beans, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, onion, and bell pepper to the pot. Cook veggie mixture over medium-high heat until slightly softened and onion is translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust liquid by either adding while cooking covered, or condensing water by cooking uncovered; final product should be the consistency of a thick stew. Combine vegetable mixture with shredded chicken and set filling aside.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

  6. Mix masa flour, chili powder, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper for crust together in a bowl. Mix in butter and lime juice. Add hot water and mix until dough reaches the consistency of a thick cookie dough; mix or knead thoroughly.

  7. Place about 1/2 of the crust mixture into the prepared pan to form a 1/2- to 3/4-inch layer covering the bottom and 3/4 up the sides. Spread filling into crust.

  8. Flatten handfuls of remaining crust mixture to about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness. Lay on top of pie; continue until top is mostly covered. Spread enchilada sauce over crust. Cover with Mexican cheese. Scatter olives on top.

  9. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Serve with a little enchilada sauce and a dollop of sour cream on top of each serving.

Cook's Notes:

You can substitute lard or vegetable shortening for the butter, but I prefer the butter flavor in the crust. You can also use low-sodium chicken stock instead of water, if you'd like. You can use 4 packets of Splenda(R) instead of 2 tablespoons sugar for crust, if you'd like.

You can also put the chicken and spices in a slow cooker in the morning and cook all day. There is no need to marinate if you use this method. You will need to use a little extra water or chicken stock than the recipe above to avoid cooking the chicken dry. Don't put the veggies in the slow cooker, or they will lose all their texture. When you are ready to prep the pie remove the chicken from the pot and shred. Pour the broth into a pot and boil until reduced until about 1 cup of liquid remains. Add veggies to the pot and continue with method above.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full package amount of enchilada sauce and sour cream. The actual amount of sauce and sour cream consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

624 Calories
37g Fat
51g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 624
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 21g 104%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 1490mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 12g 44%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 35mg 174%
Calcium 384mg 30%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 769mg 16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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