Chicken Tamale Casserole

This chicken tamale casserole is loaded with the flavor of tamales with none of the hard work! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!

My husband had the flu this week and I served him Chicken Tamale Casserole. He sorta thought that was a mean thing for me to do.

In my defense, I asked him on Sunday if he had any special dinner requests for the week (he said no), and I did my grocery shopping Monday morning.

He came home sick and pukey and ouchy feeling on Tuesday. If he didn’t have the good grace to warn me that Mexican food would be a no-no for the week, how can he blame me?

So, I stuck with my original meal plan and I ate the crap outta some Chicken Tamale Casserole. He ate it, too, but he glared at me the whole time.

Which, let’s be honest, isn’t really anything new for me.

I have children. I tend to get glared at during most every meal. It’s part of being a mom. Unless I’m serving these fried tacos, of course. Errbody loves some fried tacos.

My son and I scarfed this down, but Chaddy (the husband, who I am sure loves it that I call him Chaddy on the internet) ate a small portion (against his will, he says), and my daughter took her required 3 bites and asked for something else. Please don’t tell anyone, but I just gave her a box of graham crackers and called it a day.

PrintPrint Recipe

Chicken Tamale Casserole


4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (Jiffy works great)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 pound ground chicken (turkey or beef work just as well)
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the combined cheese, the milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and the green chiles. Stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until just set.
While the cornbread is baking, cook your ground chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked completely through. Drain, if necessary, and salt and pepper the chicken.
Remove the cornbread from the oven and pierce all over with a fork.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the corn bread.
Top with the chicken and remaining cheese.
Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or parsley and serve.

recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Looking for more Mexican flavors? I’ve got you covered!

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Southwestern Avocado Salad Dressing

sopapilla cheesecake bars recipe

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

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62 Responses to “Chicken Tamale Casserole”

  1. Joanne March 23, 2012 @ 8:15 pm (#

    I could eat Mexican food any day, even while deathly ill. I mean…when I’m sick I NEED all that flavor to force its way to my taste buds and let me taste SOMETHING.


  2. Georgia March 23, 2012 @ 8:19 pm (#

    That sounds sooo good. I’m adding that to my list for next week.


  3. Cara March 25, 2012 @ 10:38 am (#

    Can’t wait to try but it was the all too familiar commentary that had me laughing and saying yep in making it! I agree id eat Mexican food all day everyday and I just don’t care if they go hungry anymore! The reason my husband cooks more often is because in not picky whereas he is! I was raised to clean my plate no matter what the dish!


  4. Deborah March 26, 2012 @ 11:53 am (#

    I want!!!


  5. pam March 26, 2012 @ 12:30 pm (#



  6. Glory/ Glorious Treats March 26, 2012 @ 1:30 pm (#

    Yum, this looks so good! I’ve been needing some new recipes to rotate into the dinner routine!


  7. Katie March 27, 2012 @ 9:13 am (#

    I made this last night and can vouch – it’s delicious!! I didn’t have any creamed corn on hand so instead used a 10oz box of Green Giant nibblets in butter sauce and it came out fantastic! I also had to substitute beef for the chicken, which I think I may keep doing. This is absolutely a go to EASY dinner for me now!


  8. JoAnna March 27, 2012 @ 4:15 pm (#

    Fixed this recipe with the beef……DELICIOUS!


  9. katie March 28, 2012 @ 7:46 am (#

    yum! I found this through pinterest… your photo intrigued me. I will definitely be making this recipe in the near future!


  10. Hannah March 30, 2012 @ 12:21 am (#

    Totally made this tonight and it was great. I swapped the creamed corn (didn’t have any) for some kernels and used all extra sharp cheddar cheese. My dad said, “This is like spaghetti on shortbread!” I can confirm that it does not taste like that and it is amazingly delicious.


  11. Rahim April 3, 2012 @ 1:51 pm (#

    First time poster, long time reader.

    I picked up most of the ingredients to make this recipe for tonight but unfortunately I was unable to find a box of corn mix muffins. Would I be able to substitute it with a basic corn muffin recipe? If so, could you or someone else advise to how much corn muffin batter I should make. Would the recipe below suffice as a substitute, both taste and portion wise?

    1 cup cornmeal
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup white sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 egg, beaten
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 cup milk

    Thanks in advance.


    • Karly replied: — April 3rd, 2012 @ 2:02 pm


      Hi there! I’m sorry you couldn’t find the muffin mix. It’s located right near the flour and boxed cake mixes in most grocery stores, for future reference. :)

      As for your recipe, it sounds yummy, but I think it will make for a thicker cornbread base than the boxed mix does. That would be just fine, but you will likely need to adjust the baking time a bit. Otherwise, this recipe ( is supposed to be a copycat recipe for the boxed mix. It should create the same amount that I used.

      Hope you enjoy your dinner! :)


  12. Erin April 5, 2012 @ 5:51 pm (#

    I sent this recipe to my mom a few days ago and we just had it for dinner tonight. It’s yummy! We served it with sour cream and guacamole 😀


  13. Tee May 5, 2012 @ 11:32 am (#

    OMG I LOVE this! The whole pan was snarfed in two days and there are only 2 of us. *tiny amount of shame* I changed out the red sauce for green and I can’t wait to make it again. THANK YOU!!!


    • Karly replied: — May 6th, 2012 @ 12:18 pm


      Ooh, bet it was amazing with the green sauce!


  14. Wendy May 15, 2012 @ 4:36 pm (#

    I made this tonight for dinner. It was nom nom good! I served it with sour cream, and I bet it’s going to be even better tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe!


  15. Kate June 2, 2012 @ 8:32 pm (#

    Made this, loved every bite of it, as did the family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  16. Linda August 25, 2012 @ 9:51 am (#

    Similar to Cooking Light’s Version


  17. Andy December 31, 2012 @ 11:13 pm (#

    Do you think this would freeze well. I think it sounds muy bueno but I can tell my husband would not eat it.


    • Karly replied: — January 1st, 2013 @ 8:40 am

      I haven’t tried it personally, but I think it would freeze wonderfully!


  18. Brenda January 24, 2013 @ 10:57 am (#

    I’m wondering about making this with shredded chicken breast. Has anyone tried that yet?


    • Karly replied: — January 24th, 2013 @ 10:58 am

      Yep, works just fine!


  19. Heather @French Press March 5, 2013 @ 2:47 pm (#

    this looks AMAZING! and I’m with you on the glares
    my daughter, who I lovingly refer to as the fussy one, usually does not even take the three bites:)


  20. Dottie March 5, 2013 @ 3:16 pm (#

    Made this the other night but put a can of diced tomatoes in with the cooked turkey, simmered the excess juice out and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!


  21. Christy June 22, 2013 @ 8:10 pm (#

    Made this tonight with shredded chicken breasts & it was a big hit! Thanks for the great recipe!


    • Karly replied: — June 24th, 2013 @ 7:41 am

      Glad y’all enjoyed it! :)


  22. Joanna July 17, 2013 @ 5:45 pm (#

    We just finished this for dinner tonight! We really liked it! I want to say that I think the pan size must be a non-negotiable. I used a deeper, but smaller area-wise pan and the sides of the casserole were perfect but the middle was extra soupy. I also would love to hear suggestions about adding some vegetables and/or some crunch! Thoughts?


  23. Summer July 21, 2013 @ 6:08 pm (#

    I’m pretty sure you are my hero with that box of graham crackers stunt! New to your blog LOVIN IT you are so funny!


    • Karly replied: — July 23rd, 2013 @ 8:05 am

      Haha! Thank you so much! :)


  24. Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig August 28, 2013 @ 11:13 am (#

    Have you been hiding this from me? I am in love with this idea.


  25. Jen M O August 28, 2013 @ 5:21 pm (#

    I am definitely going to have to make this recipe. I hope your husband feels better soon. I expect to be sick in the winter but it is always worst in the summer.


  26. Emily from Reaching Beyond My Reach September 4, 2013 @ 12:26 pm (#

    Woah. This looks mind-blowingly good! We LOVE Mexican Food around here. I tend to get stuck in taco or enchilada ruts, so this will be an awesome way to mix up the menu. I can’t wait to try it! Thank you for sharing!


  27. Marilyn Jones October 27, 2013 @ 12:25 pm (#

    Why call it Chicken TAMALE Casserole? Because of the corn muffin mix? Why not add some real tamales? This question is from the land of Mexican food….San Antonio


  28. Nancy Long November 13, 2013 @ 3:18 pm (#

    My hubby will be all over this and I have some fresh applesauce in the freezer that will compliment it well!


  29. Michelle January 28, 2014 @ 7:26 am (#

    What is the approx servings for this? Thanks!


  30. vadeem April 11, 2014 @ 4:04 pm (#

    The title was hilarious, the recipe is great!


  31. vadeem @vadeem April 11, 2014 @ 4:22 pm (#

    This is great, would definitely like to try this. Seems different than what I’m used to.


  32. laly April 14, 2014 @ 11:50 pm (#

    i love chicken very much. thank uuuuuuu……


  33. Destiny May 9, 2014 @ 7:16 pm (#

    What an awesome recipe. My Grandmother has a metabolic disorder where she cannot have gluten. We are always looking for recipes that dont have flour in them! Thank you so much!


  34. Robin June 19, 2014 @ 6:18 pm (#

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious!!! Thank you! :)


    • Karly replied: — June 21st, 2014 @ 8:29 pm


      So glad you enjoyed it!


  35. McKenzie July 1, 2014 @ 9:12 am (#

    OMG! You are a master of the kitchen. I’m drooling! Thanks for the recipe :)


  36. Marci July 24, 2014 @ 3:54 pm (#

    I recently discovered your site and it is the bomb-diggity. I’m sharing this recipe on my blog today because we love it so much! It’s all linked back to you :) xoxo
    Thanks for feeding my family!


  37. Cyndi from My Kitchen Craze October 2, 2014 @ 10:30 am (#

    Your kids sound like mine. Son will scarf down whatever I cook but my daughter will only eat nibbles and that’s after I ask her if she wants dessert. I hate when the spouses come home sick. It screws the whole plan you had for dinners or anything really, hehe. This casserole looks so yummy. I’m gonna cook it next week! I heart anything Mexican! Yum! Pinned!


  38. Kate October 5, 2014 @ 3:50 pm (#

    I tried to print the recipe, but error code appears every time I click on the “Print Recipe” button and the page is blank, so cannot print recipe? I want to make this! Thanks for


    • Karly replied: — October 6th, 2014 @ 8:15 am

      Hi @Kate,

      I’m not sure what the problem is! The print button is working just fine for me. You may just need to copy and paste the recipe section into word or notepad and print from there for this one. Sorry about that! I’m not much help with the technical side of things if I can’t replicate the problem myself. :(


  39. Marie October 5, 2014 @ 7:59 pm (#

    Will be trying this recipe sometime this week but I’m going to attempt to sub the red sauce for Verde as I don’t like the traditional kind…..guess we’ll see how that goes :) Thanks for the recipe, love finding new recipes!!


    • Karly replied: — October 6th, 2014 @ 8:14 am


      I bet that will be amazing! :)


  40. Jayne October 9, 2014 @ 9:44 am (#

    This looks delicious! But I got great joy by hearing that you have your little graham crackers and called it a day! My littlest is so finicky, I’m going to start the 3 bite rule!


    • Karly replied: — October 10th, 2014 @ 11:08 am


      Hope the 3 bite rule helps! My kids complained at first, but they’ve gotten used to it. :)


  41. Lauren January 13, 2015 @ 6:26 pm (#

    This was absolutely amazing. Thank you so much! We just tried this tonight and my boyfriend was in food heaven (“terrific”, “amazing”, “just what I wanted”, “just enough kick”). We will definitely be adding this to the usual. Thank you!


    • Karly replied: — January 13th, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

      So glad you liked it!


      • Lauren replied: — January 5th, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

        So I’m not very good at meal planning and decided a bit last minute to make this tonight as a comfort food treat given the cold weather we are having. Anyway, I don’t have any creamed corn in. I have a can of regular corn. Do you think doing a homemade creamed corn recipe would work? I’m worried since cans of creamed corn don’t actually have cream in them lol


        • Karly replied: — January 6th, 2016 @ 12:48 pm

          Hi Lauren!

          I hope I’m not too late to help! I would just swap in the regular corn (drained) and call it a day. No need to make your own creamed corn, unless you really wanted to. I do think homemade creamed corn would work just as well, though. :)



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