Mexican cornbread casserole includes spices like cumin, oregano, and cinnamon that are staples in Mexican cooking and give it an authentic taste. Even though it is not technically Mexican food, it has all the great flavors of that delicious cuisine.
Just imagine taking a bit of this delicious Mexican casserole with cornbread made with perfectly seasoned ground beef, onions, bell peppers, corn, salsa, and Mexican cheese topped with a delicious layer of cornbread.
The whole family will love this cheesy concoction. When I am in the mood for Mexican food,
I also love making other cornbread casserole recipes like Easy Tamale Pie Recipe, Pinto Beans With Mexican Style Seasonings, Easy Mexican Casserole, or my favorite side dish, Easy Mexican Rice. It is good to keep things interesting in the kitchen by using different spices and food combinations. Your family will appreciate it.
Ingredients For Cornbread Casserole
- Olive oil: use light olive oil and reserve the extra virgin for salads.
- Onion and garlic are a must in all my savory dishes. Food does not taste the same without them.
- Red and green bell peppers: they are widely used in Mexican cuisine, and they not only taste great but make the casserole look very appealing.
- Ground beef: If you can, buy lean ground beef. If the beef is not lean, you will have a lot of excess fat in the pan, and you will have to drain it.
- Cumin and oregano are the most widely used spices in Mexican cooking. They give any dish a truly authentic Mexican flavor.
- Cinnamon: I know most of us don’t use cinnamon in savory dishes, but believe me when I tell you, it will make your food taste amazing. A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly.
- Frozen corn cooks super fast, and it defrosts easily when it comes in contact with hot food. No need to pre-cook it.
- Mexican cheese blend is the perfect cheese for this casserole, but you can use Pepper Jack cheese if you like a little heat.
- Salsa: please buy bottled salsa. It makes things so muy easier. I like the chunky one.
- Cornmeal: a basic ingredient in making cornbread, of course. You might feel like it doesn’t form a batter when mixed with the other ingredients, but it doesn’t matter. It will bake ok.
- Baking powder is essential, or your layer of cornbread will be flat.
- Milk. I like to use whole milk, but you can use 2% or skim milk.
- Eggs contribute to the “fluffiness” of the cornbread layer. Don’t skip them!
How To Make Cornbread Casserole?
- Preheat the oven to 425 F., Heat the oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, and saute onions and bell peppers until the onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- In the same skillet, add the ground beef, garlic, and spices, and cook the beef until there is no pink left. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the frozen corn and cook for one minute to defrost the corn. Turn off the heat and stir in ¼ cup of Mexican cheese blend.
- Place meat mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
- Pour the salsa evenly over the meat.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, salt, eggs, and milk until everything is well combined.
- Pour cornmeal mixture over meat mixture.
- Top with remaining ¾ cups of cheese and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cornbread is cooked and cheese melted and slightly brown.
What To Serve with Mexican Cornbread Casserole?
Dessert! This is a full meal in itself, so while the casserole is baking, you can make dessert. I love to make Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies or No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake. You don’t have to bake them! Because you are already using the oven, why not take advantage and bake a Peach Cobbler Pound Cake or an Easy Chocolate Orange Cake? They are both truly delicious. Another crowd-pleaser is the Lemon Custard Pudding Cake.
Variations For Cornbread Casserole
Change the ground beef for sausage, add Italian spices, mozzarella cheese instead of Mexican blend, and swap the salsa for marinara sauce. You will have a delightful Italian Polenta Casserole!
Add chopped jalapenos and use Pepper Jack cheese instead of a Mexican blend if you want to spice things up. I recommend you add a layer of sour cream to cut a bit of the heat off.
Try adding chopped carrots and peas to ground chicken, and instead of the salsa, use a layer of bechamel sauce for a more “pot pie” vibe.
- If you want a more smooth batter, try mixing the ingredients in the blender. You will obtain a fluffier cornbread.
- If you see a lot of fat in the pan after browning the beef, drain it before putting it in the casserole dish.
- For a more “cheesy” casserole, add the top layer of cheese 10 minutes before cooking time is over.
Mexican Cornbread Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I use 90% lean)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
- 1 cup salsa
- For the cornbread topping:
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute the onions and bell peppers until the onions are translucent for about 3 minutes. Keep an eye on your veggies. You don’t want them to become brown and lose their beautiful color.
- To the same skillet, add the ground beef, minced garlic, and spices. Cook the mixture until you no longer see any pink in the meat. At this time, season with salt and pepper.
- Add the frozen corn and cook for a minute longer to allow it to defrost. Frozen corn cooks fairly quickly, and since you will bake it, it will come out perfectly done.
- Turn off the heat and mix in ¼ cup of the Mexican cheese blend. Stir until the cheese is melted.
- Transfer the meat mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish and top this mixture with one cup of evenly distributed salsa.
- Make the cornbread layer by whisking the cornmeal, baking soda, salt, milk, and eggs. Make sure all ingredients are well combined. Don’t worry if you don’t see an evenly mixed batter.
- Pour the cornbread batter on top of the meat and salsa and sprinkle the rest of the cheese evenly over the batter. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cornbread is cooked and the cheese is melted.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make cornbread casserole ahead of time?
You can have the meat mixture ready and cooked, so all you have to do on the day you want to bake is mix the cornbread ingredients and assemble the casserole. I wouldn’t recommend adding the cornbread batter ahead of time.
- Can I freeze a Corn Casserole?
Yes. Cover it with two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum foil and freeze it for up to 4 months.
- Can you cook corn casserole in a crockpot?
You certainly can. Add sauteed veggies and browned ground beef to the pot of the crockpot and add the rest of the layer as you would on the casserole dish. Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Does corn casserole need to be refrigerated?
This one does because it has meat in it. Cover it and refrigerate it for up to 4 days.