Turkey and Black Bean Tamale Pie

Casserole dish of turkey chunks, black beans, topped with Cheddar cheese

My mom is the tamale pie queen, and to many of us children of the ’50s, tamale pies represent the best of comfort food. Here’s an updated version of this classic tamale pie, which uses turkey and black beans. Try substituting hominy for the black beans, or adding a chopped green bell pepper to the saucepan with the onion.–Rick Rodgers

LC Turkey Leftovers Note

Yup. Just what every home cook desperately desires. Yet another inspired use for turkey leftovers. You’re welcome.

Turkey and Black Bean Tamale Pie

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6 to 8
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, or more to taste
  • 2 cups homemade turkey stock or canned reduced-sodium broth
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 12 ounces)
  • One 15 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)


  • 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  • 2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with the flour and chili powder and stir until the vegetables are coated.
  • 3. Gradually stir in the broth, then stir in the tomato sauce and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered and stirring often to avoid scorching, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the turkey, black beans, and corn. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • 4. In another medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups cold water and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, whisk the cornmeal with 1 1/2 cups cold water. Whisk into the boiling water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and boiling, about 1 minute. Spread over the turkey mixture as smoothly as possible. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  • 5. Bake the tamale pie until the turkey mixture is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let the pie stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This delicious recipe makes great use of leftover turkey. The quick polenta layer that subbed for traditional masa added a pleasant textural contrast to the tomato mixture. With its cover of cheese, the cornmeal mixture stayed soft—which I loved. I might use even more cheese on top next time to enhance this effect.


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  1. Wow. This was delicious. Years ago, Quaker cornmeal had a recipe similar to this that I’ve searched for in vain. This is quite close but even more tasty. I have to admit I was out of tomato sauce, but had some El Pato enchilada sauce, so left out the chile powder and salt and it turned out great. I’ll be making this again!

    1. Julia, you made my Memorial Day Weekend! This poor recipe has languished for a decade just waiting for a reader to come along and show it some love. Thank you!

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