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Hey, hi! Happy Thanksgiving week!

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

And Happy 19th Birthday to my brother, who is closest in age to me, Kai (Malachi)!!

I can already tell it’s going to be a pretty awesome week. For one, it’s a super short week, so we have that going for us (hello four-day weekend!). Two, Thursday we get to eat till we just can’t eat anymore (bring on all the butternut squash, pomegranate salad and um pies!) and then Friday is the official start to the Christmas season.

I mean, over here we have officially been going hard-core Christmas since Saturday when we cut down the Christmas tree. But that’s just us, or the girls of the family anyway. I mean, it’s been like a winter wonderland here so it’s pretty hard NOT to get in the spirit. All the boys are disgusted in us, if it where up to them they’d put the tree up on Christmas Eve. They are all a bunch of Scrooges if you ask me.

But whatever, this week is still all about Thanksgiving… ok, maybe a little Christmas talk, but then back to Thanksgiving!!

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

Some years, our house is full of people for Thanksgiving and some years it is super small. Of course the year I do not even have a working oven, our table is pretty full. Not huge or anything, but still full. All of my siblings will be here so that’s nine of us, plus Blake who should probably just change his last name to Gerard by now and then three guests. There could definitely be more added on, but as of right now this is the head count.

Guaranteed there will be a handful of last-minute people who show up needing a good meal though. It happens every year. Especially since we eat dinner pretty late in the day. Like 7:30pm or 8:00pm. This gives people time to finds us, get comfy and stay a while. Mom and I always shoot for seven, but then gravy happens and well we honestly both suck at gravy so we never end up eating till like eight. But it’s ok because we kind of like late meals over here.

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

Also, it’s gonna be a crockpot Thanksgiving….should be interesting.

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

I wasn’t really sure I’d have a ton of turkey leftovers this year because I honestly never do, so I made some turkey breast the other week for the sole purpose of making this tamale pie. I have been thinking about it ever since October 31st. Waiting till Thanksgiving for this was not an option.

When cheesy polenta is involved you know it’s going to be good. Just sayin.

This pie could not be more perfect for the day after Thanksgiving dinner. It feeds all those lingering guests and it’s so easy to make. Plus, it’s saucy, creamy, cheesy and delicious. Perfect cozy, family comfort food.

It’s like a tamale, but better if you ask me, because well, you don’t have to do all the work of real tamales. FYI – if you’ve never made tamales before – they are work. I tried a few Christmases ago to make them for twenty plus people and I have regretted it ever since. So I now make tamale burrito bowls and tamale pies to get my tamale fix. It’s brilliant. <–Been watching too many Jamie Oliver you tube videos apparently.

I made this two ways, one family style and one, in cute little individual skillets. The mini skillets make such a fun presentation, but for some reason they didn’t seem to be as saucy as the big family style pie. Either way is good, but if you are only serving four, the skillets are always a crowd pleaser.

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

If you’re not cooking a turkey this year or you just don’t have any turkey leftovers, use chicken. Don’t let a lack of leftovers stop you from making this. This One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie is too good, and way too easy. You just need one-pot, one mixing bowl and an oven. Oh what I would do for an oven! Did I mention that if one of you guys somehow manages to get me an oven (by Thanksgiving) I will send you cookies in the mail for like a year? I really will.

And with that I am done. I need to go buy some crockpots or mini ovens or something to cook all my sides in. The turkey’s getting cooked in this thing. OMG. Someone send help (or ovens!).

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 835 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese shredded plus 4 ounces more for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter

Turkey Mixture

To Serve

  • diced avocado
  • pomegranate salsa * or any salsa
  • 4 ounces crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • in crushed tortilla chips (I forgot to add these the photos but you should do this!)


  • Make the polenta. Pour the chicken broth and milk into a mediumpot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep warm and then just before serving, stir in the cheddar cheese and butter, season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon of butter or extra milk.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Combine the turkey, gravy, red enchilada sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl. Stir in the red pepper and black beans. Once the polenta is done cooking, smooth it out into a single layer and then pour the turkey tamale mixture over he polenta, spreading it in an even layer. Top with cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes and then serve with fresh cilantro, salsa and queso fresco. Enjoy!


*To make a quick pomegranate salsa, combine 1 1/2 cups pomegranate arils with 1 small seeded + diced jalapeno, juice of 1 lime and 1/4 cup cilantro.
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One-Pot Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie | @hbharvest

Ok, now let’s grab some forks already!

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    1. Hi Jamie,
      I used a 12 inch skillet, but any large casserole dish will work well for you! Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this dish several times following the directions exactly EXCEPT that I use the tubed polenta; It has never turned out runny. Make sure to spread out the polenta evenly on a large cast iron skillet then top with the turkey* mixture (*I have also used cooked chicken) and plenty of cheese. I also give it a quick broil afterwards to crisp it up a bit… comes out perfect every time. I LOVE this dish and am so glad I came across it!

    Thank you for posting, Tieghan!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Happy Friday!! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, thanks for making it and sharing your comment! Sorry about the tube polenta! xx

  2. 5 stars
    So delicious. Made this with leftover turkey I had shredded and frozen after Thanksgiving specifically to make this recipe in the winter months. Loved it, and really easy to whip together. Will definitely be a post-Thanksgiving staple!

  3. I’ve never cooked with polenta before. Could I substitute cornmeal? I’m a pushover for Mexican dishes.

    Also, if you are in the market for crockpots, for this Thanksgiving I bought a Mega Chef brand that was three – 2.5 qt crocks in one unit and each had temp controls for Keep Warm, Low, and High. I was able to make mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes ahead and heated up while I attended to the turkey and gravy. I think that the multi-crockpot will be great for taco night, too.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Sure, cornmeal will work for you here! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  4. 3 stars
    This recipe was good but a lot more soupy than descriptions or photos. We also felt like 2 tablespoons of chili powder was overpowering and would suggest 2 teaspoons instead.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this after Thanksgiving once and now my family pleads for it! It’s a bit of work, but so worth it. This year I’m making it on Christmas day with frozen left overs from Thanksgiving.

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Awesome! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it. Happy Holidays!❄️ xT

  6. 3 stars
    This recipe is a wonderful way to use up the leftover Thanksgiving turkey for a totally different experience. BUT…please specify that the polenta you used is the POWDERED variety. STAY AWAY FROM THE POLENTA IN THE TUBE AS IT WILL NOT SET UP.
    I used the tube-style polenta and the result was a turkey tamale soup. Still had great flavor but disappointing as I ended up with a polenta mixture that was way too runny!

    1. Hey Kyle,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, if the recipe called for pre-cooked, tubed polenta, I would have noted that:) Also, if you click on my link for polenta you will see exactly what I used. xTieghan

    2. Thank you for mentioning that! I assumed it was the tube polenta too. Thankfully, I read your comment before making it!

  7. Do you spread the polenta out into a casserole dish or a cast skillet? Then top with the turkey mixture and then cheese? I am going to make this soon!!
    Thanks 🙂

  8. The recipe and picture looked so yummy I had to try this. I think if you followed the measurements, you would find this recipe won’t set up because there is WAY TOO MUCH liquid in it. Would love to see the receipt re-worked and try it again. Tonight my tamale soup is down the drain.

  9. 5 stars
    SO GOOD!! Better than Round #1 (traditional Thanksgiving meal) and Round #2 (delicious left-over turkey chili w mashed potatoes). THANK YOU :)))

  10. I purchased already cooked polenta at the store. Can I use this for the polenta in this recipe or do I need to find a polenta recipe and make it. This looks really great and I am anxious to make it.

    1. Hey Kay,
      I have never used precooked polenta, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work here. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Holidays! xTieghan

    1. Hey Rebecca,
      Thanks for trying the recipe, it shouldn’t be firm, but not runny. Did you adjust the recipe at all? Let me know how I can help! xTieghan

  11. Is the Polenta you used dry or fully cooked? I could only find fully cooked in a tube. Not sure how to proceed with the recipe. You advice would be much appreciated!

    1. Hey Mary,
      The polenta I used was dry, so sorry I do not have experience using the kind in the tube. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan