Friday, September 11, 2015

Crockpot chicken tamale pie with cornbread crust

This healthy crockpot chicken tamale pie cooks low and slow during the day and is finished with a spicy, crunchy cornmeal crust.

crockpot chicken tamale pie with cornbread crust

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. As much as I love summer, especially for its t-shirt and flip flops easy-peasy dress code, I'm always excited when fall arrives. Cooler temperatures, snuggly sweaters, crisp autumn leaves -- I love it.

Fall is also a great time for slow cooker recipes. A good slow cooker recipe can make the whole house smell like home-cooked goodness, without your needing to lift much more than a finger.

While this crockpot chicken tamale pie with cornbread crust is technically finished off in the oven, it's still a hugely easy recipe, perfect for weeknight dinners or for when you have a house full of guests to feed and you actually want to spend time with them instead of locked away in the kitchen.

We normally think of tamale pie as being made with fattier pork cuts; to keep this dish on the healthier side, I've used boneless skinless chicken breasts.

The flavors are bold and just a little spicy, so it's totally kid-friendly. But if you're more adventurous, feel free to add the other half of that jalapeño in the ingredient list to the sauce.

And you'll be happy to know I learned my lesson about photographing food on the floor after the incident with the sweet and spicy slow cooker pork bowls. I never left this tamale pie unattended during the photo shoot because I had company the whole time.

crockpot chicken tamale pie with cornbread crust

This crockpot chicken tamale pie with cornbread crust almost instantaneously became a favorite around Casa de Ninj -- I can practically guarantee it will at your house, too.

Are you psyched for fall? What kinds of things are you excited to make in your slow cooker? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

crockpot chicken tamale pie with cornbread crust

Crockpot Chicken Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust

(inspired by Country Living)

For the crockpot:
2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1/2 of a jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast

For the cornbread crust:
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pepper jack or spicy cheddar cheese, shredded (I use Cabot Hot Habanero)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Combine the first 10 ingredients (tomatoes through chicken) in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and transfer the entire mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish, then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt, then stir in the shredded cheese and cilantro. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and butter, then add it to the cornmeal mixture, stirring until just moistened. Spread the batter over the top of the chicken mixture -- you won't be able to cover it entirely, so leave a little border around the edge. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the topping is browned and crust-like.
-- print recipe --


  1. Looks delicious! Adding it to my list for the near future - thanks for the inspiration.

  2. I love coming home to a crockpot meal after a long day of work and carpool. My family is going to love this meal!~Carolyn @ Cabot