Chicken Tamale Casserole


When I think of tamales, I think of the rich masa and a chicken filling. This recipe recreates the masa in the topping, kind of like cornbread, but without sugar. If you don't have masa, use finely ground cornmeal. The filling uses convenience items too, like leftover cooked chicken, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, and a can of chopped green chiles. Top with a good melting cheese of your choice, avocado slices, and chopped tomatoes. Garnish with black olives and sliced green onions, if desired. A little dollop of sour cream would be good, too!

Chicken Tamale Casserole
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins



  • 2 ⅓ cups masa harina

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco®)

  • 2 ⅓ cups chicken broth


  • 2 poblano peppers

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, or as needed

  • cup chopped onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

  • 1 (4 ounce) can mild chopped green chile peppers

  • 3 tablespoons capers

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 pinch ground cloves

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken meat

  • 6 dried corn husks, soaked in water for 30 minutes


  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1 medium avocado, sliced

  • ¼ cup sliced black olives, or to taste

  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes, or to taste

  • ¼ cup sour cream, or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, or to taste


  1. Combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  2. Place vegetable shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium-high speed until fluffy.

  3. Mix in 1/3 of the masa harina mixture on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1/2 of the chicken broth and mix until combined. Add 1/3 of the masa marina mixture, and mix about 2 minutes. Pour in the remaining broth and mix an additional 2 minutes. Add in the remainder of the masa mixture and mix about 5 minutes. The mixture will be a slightly thick batter. Allow to stand while the filling is prepared.

  4. Preheat the oven's broiler. Place poblano chiles directly on the oven rack under the broiler and broil until the skin is blackened and bubbly. Turn the peppers to blacken the skin on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

  5. Place broiled peppers in a paper bag, close the bag, and allow the peppers to steam inside the bag, about 10 minutes.

  6. When peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the skins. Cut the peppers open and remove the seeds and membranes. Slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

  7. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

  8. While the onions are cooking, use some more olive oil to grease a 10x10-inch baking dish, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  9. Add garlic to the skillet and cook about 1 minute. Stir in sliced poblano peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes and juice, green chiles, capers, cumin, and cloves. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

  10. Pour filling into the prepared dish.

  11. Carefully and evenly spread the masa harina mixture on top of the filling.

  12. Remove excess water from each corn husk and place on top of the masa mixture, overlapping as necessary. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.

  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

  14. Remove foil and corn husks. Sprinkle on Monterey Jack cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

  15. Top with avocado slices, black olives, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, and green onions to taste. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

610 Calories
41g Fat
38g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 610
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 41g 52%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 1184mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 7g 23%
Protein 27g
Potassium 484mg 10%

* 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.

You’ll Also Love