Slow Cooker Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust

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One of our favorite things about this classic southwestern comfort food is the authentic cornbread crust, made with buttermilk. We skimped on calories, but not on cheese, lean protein, or that yummy TexMex flavor. If you didn’t grow up in the southwest, but love the combination of tomatoes, chiles, and cheddar that are essential to the cuisine, then this is a definite must-try.

Slow Cooker Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust

Slow Cooker Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust

Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1/8th of recipe | Calories: 351 | Total Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 89 mg | Sodium: 324 mg | Carbohydrates: 38 g | Dietary Fiber: 9 g | Sugars: 6 g | Protein: 23 g | SmartPoints: 11 |


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar salsa, no sugar added
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reduced fat (block cheese is best for shredding, as it doesn't contain all the added waxes of commercially shredded cheese)
    Cornbread Crust:
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used Hodgson Mill brand)
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg, slightly whipped
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reduced-fat


  1. For the filling:
  2. In a large skillet, add ground turkey and cook over medium heat, while breaking up turkey into small pieces. Cook turkey until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain any fat and add turkey to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except cornbread topping), stir well.
  3. For the cornbread crust:
  4. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder, soda, salt, and pepper. Add egg, buttermilk, green chilies, and 1/2 cup cheese, stir just until combined. Spread batter evenly over the meat mixture, sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Recommended: 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.

More delicious casserole recipes that you will enjoy:

Southwestern Black Bean Casserole

Tuna Casserole

Chicken and Rice Casserole

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7 Comments on "Slow Cooker Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust"

  1. Fee Birdy  July 13, 2015

    Made this with less mince and more veggies, was really tasty (although we added more chilli to suit our tastes) Thank you for a healthy dish that taste great that the whole family will eat!

    • SkinnyMs  July 13, 2015

      You're welcome! 🙂

  2. Melissa  November 11, 2015

    Love tamale pie and was excited for a slow cooker recipe. The taste was good (I did add a can of Rotel for more veggies/liquid) but the cornbread topping was rubbery. i wondered if it was possible to slow cook cornbread but it was not good. I broke it up and it was better in leftovers as it was integrated. This could be so good if you put the meat mixture in a dish after cooking, then topped with the cornbread mix. If you don't cook it might be good to you. Nothing wrong with it, just the cornbread texture was off.

  3. Kim Mitchell  May 15, 2018

    I made this today! OMG it is so yummy! Only thing is I must have a super high powered crockpot! I wanted it for 430 or so today. I decided I needed to use the high setting for 3 to 4 hours. It was perfectly done in 1 1/2 hrs! I was thinking to turn it on warm but decided to shut off and turn on warm around 400 to reheat. I just didn’t want to chance it drying out. This is totally a keeper! I would post a pic but don’t know how…lol THANK YOU FOR THIS GREAT MEAL!

  4. MommaO  June 18, 2018

    Are cooking times the same for a crock pot as a slow cooker? Or are you using term slow cooker interchangeably with crock pot?

    • Gale Compton  June 18, 2018

      They sure are the same. 🙂 BTW, you’ll love this recipe. YUM!


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