Chicken tamale casserole takes all the bold flavors of the traditional dish and takes away the work so you can enjoy the classic flavors even on the busiest days. This cheesy chicken casserole will save the day and fill any of your tamale cravings in no time at all!
Tamales are my jam.
With all that yummy filling and flavor, what’s not too love?
Oh, right, the two hours or so the traditional recipe takes to make.
When I still want my fix, but don’t have time for the traditional process, this yummy casserole saves the day!
What are tamales?
Tamales are a traditional dish in many countries around Central and South America.
However, this casserole is a take on Mexican tamales, which feature corn-based masa or dough wrapped around a meat, cheese or bean filling.
The dough and filling then get wrapped and steamed in a corn husk.
Unlike making traditional tamales, which require hard to find dried corn husks, this casserole uses only easy to find ingredients. To make it you need:
- cornbread mix
- an egg
- canned diced green chiles
- green enchilada sauce
- taco seasoning
- creamed corn
- rotisserie chicken
- shredded cheese
How to Make
Unlike traditional tamales, the prep for this casserole is super easy!
To make it, spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.
Add the cornbread mix, milk, egg, green chiles, 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, and creamed corn to a large bowl.
Stir these ingredients together until just evenly combined and then scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Spread it out evenly with a spatula.
Once it’s in the dish, pop the dish in the oven and bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until the batter’s just barely set and golden brown.
While it bakes, shred or toss the rotisserie chicken and toss it with the rest of the taco seasoning.
Then remove the casserole base from the oven and poke holes all over the top of the cornbread base the way you would with poke cake.
Pour the enchilada sauce evenly out over top of the cornbread base. It should seep into all the holes.
Then spread the seasoned chicken out evenly over top. Top it with the shredded cheese.
Finish by baking the casserole for 15 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown at the edges.
Then remove from the oven and let the casserole rest for a full 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!
If you have leftovers you can store them covered in an airtight dish in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat by warming through in the oven or microwaving them in a microwave safe dish.
Can I Freeze This Casserole?
You can also freeze this.
To freeze, make it up until the point where you spread the chicken out over the cornbread.
Let it cool and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and freeze.
Before baking, let the casserole defrost overnight in the fridge.
Then top the casserole with cheese and bake as instructed until the cheese is bubbly.
Tips and Tricks
- Do not expect a FIRM cornbread crust when you dig in. It will be cooked, and nowhere near raw- but it’s supposed to be a tad on the softer side, similar to the traditional masa in a tamale that surrounds the savory filling. Expect a consistency more in line with corn pudding than a corn cake.
- Top with your favorite toppings, we love fresh cilantro leaves, salsa, & sour cream- but any traditional tex mex toppings will do including a squeeze of lime.
- Want to substitute something for the chicken? Try it with canned black beans that you’ve drained and rinsed, shredded pork or even ground beef.
Other Tex Mex Casseroles You’ll Love
This chicken tamale casserole satisfies my tamale craving without all the work or needing to go out for Mexican food. Make it today and enjoy!
Looking for other Tex Mex casserole ideas? Try these:
If you’ve tried this CHICKEN TAMALE CASSEROLE, or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
Chicken Tamale Casserole
- 1 16 oz pkg cornbread mix
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 7 oz can diced green chiles drained
- 1 10 oz can green enchilada sauce
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning divided
- 1 14.5 oz can creamed corn undrained
- 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- Lightly spray a 9x13" baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Set it aside.
- To a large mixing bowl add the corn bread mix, milk, egg, green chiles, 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, and creamed corn. Stir together until just evenly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until the batter's just barely set and golden brown.
- While the casserole base is baking in the oven, add the chopped chicken to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the rest of the taco seasoning out over top, and toss to coat.
- Use a wooden skewer to pierce holes all over the entire surface of the cornbread- and it's ok it a bit of the batter wants to stick to it.
- Pour the enchilada sauce evenly out over top, just like you would with a poke cake.
- Add the seasoned chicken, spreading it out evenly over top. Top with the shredded cheese.
- Bake the casserole at 400° for 15 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown at the edges.
- Let the casserole rest for a full 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Then top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!