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Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole

by Stephanie

I love making casseroles, and I’ve discovered that microwaving is actually a pretty good way to bake them.  And, this Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole is one of those!  

A big spoonful of Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole over the casserole dish showing the layers of cornbread, chili, and melted cheese.

It takes WAY less time, and they taste just as good.  In fact, sometimes my family thinks they taste even better from the microwave versus the oven.

Tamales in your Cornbread Dressing?

One day, back when life was normal and it was almost Thanksgiving, my mom mentioned something about tamale cornbread dressing, and I was like “what?”  She saw this article about a family down in Austin who has an uncle that makes his famous cornbread dressing with tamales. 

I just kept thinking about cornbread dressing full of tamales until one day I decided to try an experiment and out came this TexMex Tamale Casserole, which is a recipe on my main blog, The TipToe Fairy (a lifestyle blog). 

It tastes really, really good. After making it a few times for my family, I decided it would be a very easy recipe to cut down and make with the microwave.  

A full view of a freshly cooked Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole with chili and melted shredded cheese on top.

Can you use pork or beef tamales instead of chicken?

Yes! I actually have made the oven version of this recipe with beef and pork tamales.  The reason this one is chicken is because there is such a meat shortage, I can only find chicken tamales now. 

I prefer tamales that need to be steamed, but you could also use tamales in the can for this recipe. 

Can you leave out the jalapenos in this recipe? 

Yes! Even though I’m a total Texan, I cannot handle a lot of spiciness.  My husband and my son LOVE the heat, so when I do make this recipe for them, I always include the jalapenos and jalapeno juice.  But…when I make it for the whole family, I leave them out and let them just add the jalapenos on top after it’s cooked.  

Even when there’s no jalapenos, the tamales are usually pretty spicy. 

Is Chicken Tamale Casserole a Side Dish or Main Dish?

It’s both! I’ve served this as the main dish and just had guacamole, sour cream, and salsa as the toppings.  I’ve also served it as a side dish with a rotisserie chicken, enchiladas, and even hamburgers.  

How do you make Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole?

This is one of those throw it all in type of recipes.  I usually start with the cornbread dressing and the broth to soften up the cornbread mix.  Then, I throw everything else in, except the chili and cheese. 

You can probably mix it all up in the casserole dish to save on washing dishes, but I usually mix it up in  a separate bowl and then transfer it to the baking dish. 

Being a Texas girl, we don’t usually do chili with beans.  My personal preference is Hormel Chili with no beans, but you are more than welcome to use chili with beans in this recipe if you’d like. 

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Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole
Yield: 6-8 servings

Microwave Chicken Tamale Casserole

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes


  • 6 oz package of cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons melted salted butter
  • 14.75 oz can of creamed corn
  • 6 tamales, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno juice
  • 15 oz can of chili with no beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese


  1. Spray an 8 x 8 microwave-safe dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine cornbread stuffing mix, broth, corn, and butter, and mix until well combined.
  3. Add the jalapenos and jalapeno juice.
  4. Wrap the tamales in a paper towel and heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Tear up the tamales and add to the cornbread mixture.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the 8 x 8 dish.
  7. Pour the chili over the top and smooth it out to completely cover the top.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Cover the top with a paper towel and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  10. Serve with salsa and guacamole.


Substitute frozen corn or even a regular can of corn, but add 1/2 cup more of broth if doing so.

For less heat, leave out the jalapenos and jalapeno juice.

Feel free to use pork, beef, or chicken tamales in this recipe.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1345mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 17g

Any nutritional information on justmicrowaveit.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate.

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