12 net carbs

Tamale Pie

Mexican low-carb tamale pie is packed with flavor. Delicious spicy beef filling topped with a layer of sweet low-carb cornbread makes a simple and delicious meal for the whole family.

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Tamale Pie

Close up view of low-carb tamale pie on a white dinner plate.

Low-Carb Tamale Pie [Keto]

Total Diabetes Wellness
This scrumptious low-carb tamale pie has beef in a zesty sauce topped with cheese and warm cornbread. You will love the flavors of this Keto tamale pie!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Lunch and Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Net Carbs 12 g
*Net carbs are per serving


Beef Filling

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Cornbread Topping

  • ½ cup masa flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons monk fruit, or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup water

Optional Garnish

  • sour cream, diced tomato, green onion, cilantro


  • Preheat the oven to 325F/165C.
    Close-up view of temperature knob on an oven, preheat oven to cook a meal.
  • In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning, chili powder, and jalapeno.
    Top view of cast iron skillet cooking ground beef and chopped jalapeno.
  • In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste and water until combined. Stir into the beef mixture. Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top.
    Top view of tamale pie in a cast iron skillet with ground beef, jalapeno, and shredded cheddar cheese.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the masa flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and monk fruit (optional). Add in eggs and butter, and stir until well combined. Batter will be thick at this point.
    Top view of glass mixing bowl with masa flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, monk fruit, eggs, and butter.
  • Add in the water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the batter has thinned some. Batter should resemble cornbread, still slightly thick but spreadable.
    Top view of low-carb tamale pie cornbread topping in a glass mixing bowl.
  • Using a spatula, dollop the batter over the beef mixture. Spread mixture to cover the entire top evenly.
    Top view of low-carb tamale pie assembled and ready to be baked in the oven.
  • Bake 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and firm to the touch.
    Low-carb tamale pie in a cast iron skillet.
  • Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream, diced tomatoes, green onion, or cilantro (optional). Enjoy!
    Keto tamale pie served on a white dinner plate.




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Photos of Low-Carb Tamale Pie


Recipe Variations

  • Meat substitutionsYou can use any type of meat in this recipe. Ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken will all work well.
  • Filling substitutions – You can add additional vegetables to the filling as desired. Our favorite veggies to add to this tamale pie recipe are corn, onion, bell pepper, garlic, shredded zucchini, and sliced black olives. Adding veggies will raise the carb count slightly, but not significantly. If you are eating a strict Keto diet, we recommend tracking any substitutions, as those are not included in the nutrition facts for this recipe.
  • Cornbread topping – For an extra pop of flavor, add some thinly sliced jalapeno rings and additional shredded cheese to the top of the batter mix just before baking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use box cornbread for the topping?

To keep this recipe low-carb, we don’t recommend using box cornbread. This is because most cornbread mixes contain a lot of sugar and corn flour, both of which are high in carbs.

Do I have to use a cast iron skillet?

No, you can use any oven-safe skillet OR transfer the dish to a 2-quart baking dish. We love using a cast iron skillet for this recipe because the pan can easily transfer from stovetop to oven.

Is this low-carb tamale pie recipe Keto?

Yes, this low-carb tamale pie is also Keto. This recipe has 12 grams of net carbs per serving, making it appropriate for a Keto diet. If you’re looking to decrease the carb count further, you can substitute coconut flour for masa flour and add cornbread flavoring to the batter mix.

Is tamale pie gluten-free?

Yes! Our tamale pie recipe is gluten-free. Both almond flour and masa flour are naturally gluten-free. As always, since ingredients can vary by brand, be sure to double-check the ingredients on your almond flour and masa flour.

Storage and Reheating Guidelines

  • Make-ahead: This low-carb tamale pie can be made ahead of time and stored covered in plastic or in an air-tight container in the refrigerator to be baked later.
  • Storing leftovers: Store leftover tamale pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing instructions: We recommend you do not bake the recipe before freezing. Simply prepare as directed, transfer to a freezer-safe dish, wrap tightly in plastic or foil and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
  • To reheat: You can reheat tamale pie in the microwave or the oven (or toaster oven.)

Additional Information

When it comes to satisfying comfort food, few dishes can rival the heartiness of a classic tamale pie. This beloved Mexican-inspired dish traditionally features a cornmeal crust filled with a flavorful mixture of meats, vegetables, and spices. However, for those following a low-carb lifestyle or managing diabetes, the cornmeal crust can pose a challenge. That’s where this low-carb tamale pie comes in.

Benefits for People with Diabetes

For individuals with diabetes, managing carbohydrate intake is crucial to maintaining blood sugar levels. This low-carb tamale pie offers several benefits for those following a diabetic-friendly diet:

  • Reduced Carbohydrates: By replacing the traditional cornmeal crust with a low-carb alternative, this recipe significantly reduces the carb content without compromising on taste or texture. It allows individuals to enjoy the flavors of tamale pie while keeping their blood sugar levels in check.
  • Balanced Macronutrients: The recipe includes a well-rounded combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich vegetables. This helps slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing rapid blood sugar spikes and promoting better glycemic control.
  • Increased Fiber: The inclusion of vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes provides essential dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps control blood sugar levels, and promotes satiety, making it an excellent addition to a diabetes-friendly meal plan.
  • Flavorful Spices: The use of herbs and spices, such as chili powder and cumin, adds depth and flavor to the dish without relying on added sugars or high-carb ingredients. This allows individuals to enjoy a tasty meal while avoiding unnecessary spikes in blood sugar.

Low-Carb Tamale Pie Recipe Preparation and Variations

  • Low-Carb Crust Alternatives: Instead of the traditional cornmeal crust, this low-carb tamale pie recipe utilizes one of the following alternatives:
    • Cauliflower Crust: A mixture of finely grated cauliflower, almond flour, eggs, and seasonings can create a flavorful and low-carb crust that holds up well during baking
    • Almond Flour Crust: A combination of almond flour, eggs, and melted butter produces a crust that is both low in carbs and rich in flavor. Almond flour adds a nutty taste and a slightly crumbly texture to the pie.
  • Protein Options: While the recipe on Total Diabetes Wellness features ground beef, you can easily substitute it with other protein sources. Consider using ground turkey, chicken, or a plant-based alternative like crumbled tempeh or tofu for a vegetarian version. Experimenting with different proteins can add variety to your tamale pie while keeping it diabetes-friendly.

Tamale Pie Topping Ideas

Get creative with the toppings to enhance the flavor profile of your tamale pie. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Guacamole: Whip up a fresh batch of creamy guacamole using ripe avocados, lime juice, cilantro, and spices. The richness of guacamole pairs perfectly with the flavors of the tamale pie and adds healthy fats to the dish.
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: A dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt on top provides a cool and tangy contrast to the warm and spicy tamale pie.
  • Salsa: Add a spoonful of your favorite salsa, whether it’s mild or spicy, to brighten up the flavors and add a refreshing element to the dish.

Instructions and Tips

  • Sauté the Vegetables: Before combining the filling ingredients, sauté the vegetables (such as bell peppers, onions, and garlic) until they are slightly softened. This step enhances the flavors and ensures a well-cooked, vibrant filling.
  • Seasoning to Taste: Don’t be afraid to adjust the spices according to your preference. Add more chili powder for a spicier kick or experiment with other spices like smoked paprika or chipotle powder to add a smoky depth of flavor.
  • Let it Rest: After baking, allow the tamale pie to cool for a few minutes before serving. This will help the pie set and makes it easier to slice into neat portions.

Storage Instructions

If you have leftovers, the tamale pie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place individual portions in the microwave or oven until warmed through. The flavors may intensify over time, making the leftovers even more delicious!

With this low-carb tamale pie recipe, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of a classic dish while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. By using low-carb crust alternatives and incorporating flavorful spices and vegetables, you can create a satisfying meal that’s both healthy and delicious. Whether you’re following a low-carb diet or managing diabetes, this tamale pie offers a perfect balance of flavors and nutrients to support your dietary needs without sacrificing taste. Try out different variations and toppings to customize the dish to your liking, and savor each bite knowing that you’re taking care of your health without compromising on flavor.

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