Carnitas Tamale Pie Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Carnitas Tamale Pie

56 reviews / 4.8 average

Hi there.

Carnitas. Remember that one?

Still have your face buried in that one?

Have some leftovers of that one?

Me too. Cause as much as I love carnitas, I did not eat 5 pounds of shredded Mexican pork in 2 days. There were too many other distracting things around.

Crust in a steel bowl with a spoon.

So those carnitas? Turns out they make a great topping for one of my favorite recipes ever: Carnitas Tamale Pie.

My original version had chicken. Now apparently I'm a grown up who makes carnitas, so I made this version of tamale pie with carnitas. From the crockpot. That's totally grown up.

Pie with drizzle in a clear baking dish.

Can I tell you something?

We love this.

Chicken Tamale Pie with carnitas on top.

I love putting leftovers to good use.

Bjork loves when I actually make real meals that involve more than cereal, milk, and mangoes.

Oh, the things you thought you knew about us.

 with carnitas in a clear baking dish.

But for me, I just love whole thing together - the melted cheese, enchilada sauce, spicy carnitas, and a sweet, mushy tamale-like crust. I like that it can be cut into squares or just scooped into a bowl. I like that it can should be sprinkled with cilantro. I like the melted white cheese. What if I told you I liked putting guacamole on this?

I just don't stand a chance against Tex-Mex gluttony right now.

Chicken Tamale Pie on a plate and a fork.

PS. I used my regular slow cooker for this recipe which is a Crock-Pot that I've had for the last five years. SO MUCH FOOD has come out of that thing over the life of this blog which is pretty impressive for a $28 kitchen appliance.

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tamale pie

Carnitas Tamale Pie


This is a re-make of my most popular recipe, the Chicken Tamale Pie, made with Carnitas instead! Total comfort dinner food!


  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 2-3 cups leftover carnitas
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese (Jack, White Cheddar, Pepperjack, etc.)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the oil until the mixture makes soft crumbs. Whisk in the milk and egg. Add the cream corn and green chiles and stir until just combined. Bake in a 9-inch square pan (or larger, depending on how thick you want it) for 25 minutes or until set. Since it's a tamale-like base, it won't be completely dry like a cornbread. It's supposed to be just a little mushy.
  2. Poke holes in the crust with a fork. Pour the enchilada sauce over the crust. Squeeze or drain excess moisture out of the carnitas and arrange on top of the crust. Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Cover with foil, return to oven, and bake for 20 minutes. When everything is heated through, remove foil and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  4. Top with chopped cilantro, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and cut into slices or scoop into bowls.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

Keywords: carnitas tamale pie, pork tamale pie, tamale pie

So you're going to have an awesome weekend?

Sweet. Me too.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    That looks amazing. We’ve been having a rainy week and comfort food is the best cure- seeing this makes me crave it even though it’s only 8am here, haha!!

    Will definitely have to try it out soon. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        If it’s not Mexican what would you say iit is? Not Spanish! Maybe Cuban? Either way it looks yummy! 😋

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looks really yummy. Maybe something I try to cook over the weekend. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I do a similar recipe, using either chicken or pulled pork, but using Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. It’s sooo delicious I can eat half the pan myself. 😅

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    So, I was reading a woman’s magazine the other day, with a huge spread of food photos, and all I could think was, “Lindsay’s pictures are WAY better than this!”

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks amazing! I make a polenta tamale pie that my husband loves but I either make it with shredded chicken or ground turkey. I will have to try this recipe soon!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    This rocks! I’m not typically the one who does the cooking, but this recipe has me wanting to hijack the kitchen!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you think there is there anyway to substitute out the wheat flour and make this a gluten free dish? This looks so yummy and such a great twist on the typical enchilada/mexican type casserole!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Definitely! I am not very familiar with GF baking but I know that there are many types of flour that can be GF. Could you replace the whole wheat flour with an acceptable GF flour? The good thing is that it doesn’t have to set perfectly… it’s supposed to be a tiny bit mushy like a tamale, so I think it would be pretty forgiving with another type of flour.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I tend to swap out oat flour for AP in baking, plus 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum to help it bind. It does add a sweeter, oaty flavor though, but I bet it would go quite nicely with the corn masa!

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      I make this all the time with almond flour instead. I’ve also swapped out the carnitas for chicken or taco meat and the sauce can be green or red. All delicious!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    cornmeal is available locally? 😮 what do they call it? is it where they keep the flour in the supermarket?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I actually bought it at SM mall, at a health foods store. They have a whole shelf full of Bob’s Red Mill grain-y type stuff! I was in heaven. I’ve also seen it at the Metro Supermarket at Ayala in the international foods aisle. 🙂

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Yeah, that’s what it was. Hope you can find it! 🙂 They have tons of other good stuff. I need to go back again soon!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, I really love how easy this recipe is! Thank you for sharing! I hope your busy life makes more room for more fabulous recipes! How do you like living in the Philippines? Teaching in an orphanage, is it English you’re teaching? God’s blessings on you and your Family! babs <3

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks fantastic, enjoyed reading it as well, good job – looking forward to trying it!
    Thanks! 🙂

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    My friend Lydia has been telling me about your blog for months–“I made this from Skillful Cook…and this…and this.” But I finally sat down and started reading some of your posts and recipes this weekend. This Chicken Tamale Pie was the first recipe fo yours I’ve made and it was FABULOUS. I love the idea of deconstructing a tamale and making it “inside out” if you will. But, I had to laugh when Lydia’s boyfriend said, “this needs something…like peppers…or onions.” And I stopped him right there. The dish is a *tamale,* not enchiladas, or a tacos, or burritos. A Tamale. He suddenly understood. Or, I think he did, because I’m not really sure if he actually eats tamales, but he cleaned his plate nonetheless.

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!