Oct 092015

Tamale Chili Bake

I honestly thought Tamale Chili Bake would be disgusting. I am happy to admit to you that I was absolutely wrong. It’s pretty darned good. To me it tastes like Super Bowl Man-Food, not something I’d want to eat every day. But now and then, it’s absolutely worth making. It’s easy too. Easy enough for non-cooks and kids to learn to prepare themselves. Another thing, this is extremely kid-friendly, which is always nice in a food-storage meal.

I prepared it with Hormel canned tamales and Hormel canned chili with beans, both of which are gluten-free and dairy-free. I used dairy-free Daiya as a topping, but you can use storage-friendly Velveeta instead with good results.

If you prefer to “bake” your dish on top of the stove in a skillet then see the easy variation after the main recipe. It makes a very pretty stove-top dish.

Tamale Chili Bake


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chili with beans OR 1 (25-ounce) can
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of beef tamales OR 1 (28-ounce) can
  • 2 cups crushed corn tortilla chips or corn chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh onion (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1-cup shredded cheese OR 3 to 4 ounces Velveeta type cheese, chopped


Start off by chopping your onion (if you’re using it), and shredding your cheese. If you’re using Velveeta-type cheese then cut off a 3 or 4-ounce hunk and plop it in a bowl. Use a fork to mash it into bits. Set the cheese aside.

Open up the beans. Pour them into a 9-inch square pan or an 8 by 11-inch baking dish. Open up the tamales. Drain the juice into the pan, over the chili. Unwrap the tamales. This is important. They will be wrapped in waxed paper. Do not eat the paper. Throw it away. Arrange the unwrapped tamales over the chili. Scatter the crushed corn chips over the tortillas. Sprinkle on the onion and then the cheese.

Bake at 400° for 25 to 30-minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

To make a complete meal serve with sweet pickles, macaroni salad and hot spinach. Applesauce is nice for dessert.


Stove Top Tamale Chili “Bake”

Use a large, deep skillet for you pan. Coat it lightly with oil or no-stick spray. Pour in the chili. Add the juice from the tamales. Lay in the tamales like spokes in a wheel. Top with chips, onion and cheese. Place a good lid on the skillet. Place it over a low flame. Allow it to cook for 10-to 15-minutes, depending on how hot your stove is. Check it now and then to make sure it’s not burning. Try not to stir it unless you absolutely have to. Stirring it will break up the tamales. When the mixture is steaming hot and the cheese is melted turn off the stove. Serve immediately.

Tamale Chili Bake, before baking

Before Baking

Tamale Chili Bake, after baking

After Baking. Just look at that cheesy chili goodness.

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