Skillet Taco Pie

Now if that doesn’t look like a plate full of love, I don’t know what does.

Taco pie. And not your every day taco pie, either. This updated taco pie recipe gets a fabulous start from a {simple} homemade crust made by mixing water, salt and masa harina (the flour used for tamales and corn tortillas – it is widely available in most grocery stores). The crust bakes in a cast-iron skillet, or a pie plate if you don’t have one, and forms a tender, delicious base for the rest of the delectable ingredients. I daresay the crust was my favorite part because the flavor reminded me of the fresh tamales we would eat as young kids when we lived in Texas (we had a friend at church who made tamales from scratch every week and sold them to us by the bucketful).

Topped with a refried bean mixture bumped up a notch with some simple spices and then topped again by seasoned ground beef or turkey – the pie is made even more luxurious with an avocado/cream cheese/garlic blend that nearly knocks it right out of the park. Layered with traditional taco toppings and you have yourself a serious meal. Seriously.

To say this went over well with my family is a huge understatement. A lot of goodness is going on here and we all agreed this is a fantastic way to take taco night to the next level.

P.S. Running FYI: my baby arrived last week which means I’ll be a little MIA over the next couple of weeks as we enjoy this time with our new baby girl. Thanks for your patience! In the meantime, enjoy the recipes that I prepared in advance to post over the next little while.

Skillet Taco Pie

What To ServeRefried Beans {Made in the Slow Cooker and Fat-Free}
Cornbread Muffins
Fresh, seasonal fruit

One Year Ago: Healthy Chicken Nuggets {Baked}
Two Years Ago: Lemon Berry Trifle
Three Years Ago: Slow Cooker Maple Brown Sugar Ham

Skillet Taco Pie

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Skillet Taco Pie

Note: Masa harina is a corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales. It is widely available in the Mexican foods-aisle of most grocery stores.


    For the crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina (see note above)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the fillings:
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup refried black or pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 pound ground beef, chuck or turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the toppings:
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Garnishes:
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Corn chips
  • Sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the crust, in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the water, masa harina and salt. Cook, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 5-6 minutes. It should be the consistency of very soft sugar cookie dough. Carefully press the dough into an oiled 8 or 9-inch cast iron skillet or a similar-sized pie plate. Lightly grease or water your hands if needed so the dough doesn't stick while pressing. Bake the crust until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic powder, cumin, oregano and coriander. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the refried beans and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Spread this mixture over the cooked crust. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and set it over medium heat. Saute the ground beef (or turkey) with the chopped onion and 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, until the meat is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Drain the grease from the skillet. Add the cumin and chili powder and stir to combine. Spread this mixture over the refried beans and transfer the skillet/pie plate again to warm through, 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, puree the avocado, cream cheese, cilantro, lime juice and garlic in a food processor blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove the pie from the oven. Spread the avocado mixture over the top of the ground beef and garnish the pie with shredded cheese, lettuce, corn chips, sour cream or any other taco toppings you like. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature (if serving at room temperature, don't top with the avocado mixture or toppings until ready to serve).

Recipe Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home February 2012

41 Responses to Skillet Taco Pie

  1. LaTrice says:

    My mouth is watering right now!!! 🙂

  2. [email protected] says:

    Hi Mel! Would putting a thick chili in this crust work ok, do you think?

  3. Liz says:

    For any other singles … I halved this recipe and made it in a 5 1/2 inch deep pie plate. I had a little of the crust mix and meat mix extra and put that in a ramekin and froze (just crust/beans/meat) The little pie made supper last night and breakfast this morning!

    The pie plates are from King Arthur – I use them often for 1/2 “pie plate” recipes, single serving mac n cheese, etc.

  4. Jessica says:

    I just made this and it was SO SO good. I just wanted to
    Comment and let others know that I subbed cornmeal for masa harina a very successfully. I realized I’d forgotten to buy it (I’m usually an exact ingredient freak) and didn’t have time to go back to the store. I ground 2 c of cornmeal in my blendtec and just used it. It worked great!
    And just so you know…I literally make 4-6 recipes of yours a week (this week it’s cashew granola, baked oatmeal, chicken cheesesteak sandwiches, turkey chili, baked potato soup and chewy choc chip bars). You are my complete fave food blogger because I know I can totally count on your recipes to be good and wholesome. Thank you thank you.

  5. Sarah says:

    I want to start of by saying “I love you!” Everyone in my house knows you by name, you are pretty much famous. I am also the momma of 4 boys but not courageous enough to try for that girl.

    I wanted to know if this would work in a larger dish? I am part of a dinner swap with 3 other families so I would be making this in more of a 9×13 size dish. Do you think I would need to double it and would it still taste delish? -Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Sarah! Yes, I think this could definitely work in a larger dish. I’d suggest doubling like you said – keep an eye on the masa mixture – if it seems like it will make too thick of a crust, you might leave some of it off. Good luck!

  6. thanks for helping me decide what to do with the ground beef I took out of the freezer this morning!
    Mmm mmm mmm…can’t wait for dinner. 🙂

  7. Zoe says:

    I made this last night and it was so delicious! The crust is amazing and so much better than a tortilla shell! Can’t wait to use it in other dishes 🙂

  8. Susan says:

    Whoa, baby! I finally got around to making this one, and it’s definitely a keeper! My family LOVED it! Very tasty. Thanks so much!

  9. […] Skillet Taco PieMay 2, 2012 … Now if that doesn’t look like a plate full of love, I don’t know what does. Taco pie. And not your every day taco pie, either. This updated taco pie … […]

  10. Skillet Taco Pie | Another Bite Please says:

    […] Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  11. Shannon says:

    This was a hit at my house, especially the avocado topping. I just served it separately for each serving so we could heat up the leftovers without the avocado. It worked out perfectly. Thanks for another great recipe!

  12. Logan says:

    Just made this for dinner tonight! So yum!! Really easy to make and everyone enjoyed it:) there was plenty for 5 adults coupled with chips and salsa.

  13. Mel says:

    Hi Stephanie – yep, you are right. It means to put it back in the warm oven to heat through. Hope that helps! I actually kept my oven on but you could turn the oven off after the pie bakes the first time and just let it sit in the warm oven. Either way should be fine.

  14. Stephanie says:

    I can’t wait to try this!!! Monday night is mexican night at our house. I’m hoping my family will like this, but I’m worried baout the avacado topping (I’m the only REAL avacado lover in my fam).
    I have 1 quick (and possibly silly) question. And the end of the the 2nd paragraph of your instructions, you say “transfer the skillet/pie plate again to warm through, 5-10 minutes.”, are we transferring it back into the already warm oven? That’s the only thing I could think of. Sorry for bothering you with this silliness.

  15. Mel says:

    Brianna – when I made this in the cast iron skillet, the crust was about 1/4 inch thick all the way around. I’m guessing the pie plates make a thicker crust. It doesn’t necessarily get crispy after baking but it should definitely firm up and get golden brown.

  16. Sheila h. says:

    There were no leftovers from my family eating this last night. Thank you for making ages 4 up to 50 happy!

  17. Brianna says:

    I know you are busy now, but I will leave a comment for sometime…or maybe someone who did make it. How thick is the crust supposed to be? And what is the texture o f the crust supposed to be like? I used a pie pan and saw a previous comment that it made two pans worth, so I used a bigger pie pan (9.5 inches), but my crust was still 1/2 inch thick all over. I kept trying to push it up higher onto the sides of the pan, which only semi worked. It didn’t get crispy…and I was worried it was going to be the consistency of cream of wheat, but it wasn’t…it was just different. It just seemed like way too much crust and yours looked so thin!

  18. Lacey says:

    This was sooo good! Such a great change from regular tacos, this is definitely a keeper! The avacado topping was so yummy, and I loved the crust! I used leftover chopped steak instead of the ground beef, and it was great! The beans werent very noticeable at all, and I think this would be a great vegetarian dish, maybe by replacing the meat with a can of whole beans, and maybe some frozen corn to bulk it up.

  19. Mel says:

    Heidi – I’ve never frozen this so I’m not sure but it’s worth a try (and yes, I’d freeze it without the toppings, like you suggested).

  20. Shaura miller says:

    Out of this world D.E.LIC.I.O.U.S! Thank you, Mel, for taking the time to prepare all these recipes in advance for us! Congratulations on your precious baby girl! Hope you get a few winks of sleep here and there!

  21. grace says:

    enjoy your baby girl (and your cinco de mayo)!

  22. […] Yum, yum, yum, yum! I LOVE Mexican food. What a delicious recipe- Skillet Taco Pie! […]

  23. Alisha Broce says:

    Just made this for dinner … definetly a keeper! Although, I don’t have a cast iron skillet and easily made two glass pie pan fulls with the one recipe. Maybe because it wasn’t as deep? In any case, I think the crust thickness was perfect by making two and the rest of the ingredients divided easily as well.

  24. Lindsay says:

    WOW….this looks amazing. This will be on next weeks menu for sure! Thanks!

  25. Amy M says:

    THANK YOU for giving me a way to use the 5lb bag of masa harina in my pantry for which I’ve only used 1/4c in like 6 months.

  26. Courtney says:

    You lived in Texas?! Where? I am a Texan girl through and through. This looks really good. The crust alone looks delicious. And your baby girl is just precious. Congratulations!

  27. Debra Kapellakis says:

    I am drooling! I love Tex-Mex!

  28. Kim in MD says:

    I didn’t know you lived in Texas, Mel! This taco pie looks delicious, and I know my family will be all over this!

  29. Heidi says:

    sounds so good!!! Do you think it would freeze well if I made it all up except the avocado mixture?

  30. Have I missed this fun little fact before, that you lived it Texas as a kid? I’m a Texas girl and have similar stories/memories. But for us it was a family friend who always made homemade tortillas and shared them with us. To this day I think that this is why I love Mexican/Tex-mex so much, all for the warm tortillas! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try, as we have taco week at least once a week and I am always looking for new ideas!

  31. Barbara says:

    Congratulations on your sweet baby. And the taco pie looks wonderful.

  32. drool, seriously. That crust alone is going to force me to make this.

  33. Judith - Texas says:

    Welcome to the world, Baby Girl – you can plan on being spoiled by your Mom and all the guys in the family.

    Thanks for the Taco Pie recipe – must go and buy the ingredients. Didn’t know that you lived in Texas for awhile. Those homemade Tamales are the best and I wish I knew a church lady who sells them.

  34. Kristin says:

    Congrats on the baby!! I have to admit, as a mom of five boys, it would be a boy, but the blessed baby girl will be well loved by those boys!! Taco skillet grocery list is in the making for tonight. I can’t wait to try it!! I should never read your recipes when I haven’t had breakfast yet!

  35. Teresa says:

    Sounds like another winner. I can’t wait to try the avacado mixture! Thats the most exciting development to me!

  36. pam says:

    By the way, your baby is the absolute epitomy of adorableness!

  37. pam says:

    This looks awesome. I’m hungry………..

  38. Wow, this pie looks amazing! A taco without all the hassle!

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