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Southwestern Casserole with a Sweet Corn Crust

This Southwestern Casserole with a Sweet Corn Crust makes a filling one dish meal and it’s packed with vibrant colors and flavor to boot. Serve it with your favorite taco toppings and it’s a homemade fiesta at your own kitchen table.
 Southwestern Casserole With A Sweet Corn Crust

Easy Southwestern Casserole with a Sweet Corn Crust Recipe

Who doesn’t like a casserole, right?  We all have those days when we have to be creative with what we have on hand. I originally shared this recipe in the early days of my website, and wanted to bring it forward as we still enjoy this dish today. This easy casserole combines spicy Southwestern flavors with a sweet cornbread topping. It’s reminiscent of a classic Mexican tamale like these green chile tamales from Epicurious. At our house, this is the sort of dish my sons really go for as it encapsulates the combination of flavors they both love. That makes me happy as most of  the ingredients in this dish are pantry shelf items. Combined with fresh toppings, it completes this one dish meal. It’s very much like my Southwestern Cornbread Salad that can be served as a dip, a side dish or a meal. They also love my Beefy Tamale Pie.
step-by-step images ground beef, corn bread batter and cheese

How to Make the Best Southwestern Casserole with a Sweet Corn Crust Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Southwestern Casserole with Sweet Corn Crust: Ground beef, diced onion, olive oil, garlic, diced tomatoes i.e. chili ready or Rotel tomatoes or similar, taco seasoning, worcestershire sauce, beef broth, chive and onion cream cheese, shredded colby jack cheese.
  • Ingredients to make the sweet cornbread crust: Cornbread and muffin mix, cream style corn, buttermilk and chopped green chiles.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: An 11 x 7 inch baking dish, mixing bowl, skillet, sharp knife and cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, a cheese grater, large spoon or silicone spatula and can opener.
  • I prepared this casserole in an 11 x 7 inch 2 quart baking dish, which made the sweet corn crust a bit thinner. If your family enjoys a thicker crust, use an 8 x 8 baking dish instead.
  • In keeping with the Southwestern flavors, you may also like to add black beans to this casserole.  One cup of fully cooked rinsed black beans will add more flavor plus stretch the dish a bit further.
  • You can add an extra 1/2 cup of the cheese to the cornbread batter, if you like.
  • Cilantro is one of those herbs people either love or hate. We’re in the love category so, I usually toss some into any dish with these flavors. I didn’t include it as an ingredient but, please add some if you love it, too.
  • Store leftover Southwestern casserole chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in single servings in the microwave.

baked casserole in a dish

More Southern Style Casserole Recipes to Make

There’s nothing like a family filling casserole for supper. It’s the kind of dish that rotates through my kitchen year-round. More delicious casserole recipes you may like to try:

Southwestern Casserole with Sweet Corn Crust recipe

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Southwestern Casserole With A Sweet Corn Crust
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5 from 2 votes

Southwestern Casserole With A Sweet Corn Crust

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southwestern Inspired
Keyword: casserole-recipes, easy-ground-beef-recipes, southwestern-casserole-sweet-corn-crust
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 656kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes seasoned for chili
  • 1 1.25 oz package taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water or beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Mexican corn well drained
  • 4 oz onion and chive cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Colby-Jack or Mexican cheese blend divided
  • Assorted toppings: cilantro sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, jalapeno pepper slices
  • Sweet corn crust:
  • 1 8.5 oz box yellow corn muffin mix
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
  • 1/2 cup cream style corn
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies drained (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 11 x 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
  • Drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Cook the ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Add garlic cooking for 1 minute. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
  • Next, add tomatoes, taco seasoning, water and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Add cream cheese and corn to the pan. Stir until cream cheese is completely melted and mixed through. Remove from heat.
  • Crust: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the muffin mix, 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 cup of cream style corn. Add green chilies, if using. (Cook's note: You may add 1/2 of reserved cheese to batter, if preferred)
  • To assemble the casserole: Pour the ground beef mixture into dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Spread corn bread batter evenly over beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the corn crust comes out clean.
  • Serve immediately with sour cream, lettuce, chopped tomatoes or any of your favorite taco toppings.


  • You can add an extra ½ cup of the cheese to the cornbread batter, if you like.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 656kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 948mg | Potassium: 685mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 874IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 452mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!





  1. 5 stars
    I thought the cream cheese mixture would be odd but added it anyway, omg it was the secret ingredient!!! I also added a can of black beans, put the chilies in the meat mixture, used plain chopped tomatoes, and omitted the creamed corn as I couldn’t find it. This was fabulous and will definitely go into the dinner rotation! Thanks so much for an amazing and easy dinner, definitely comfort food!!!

  2. I have a question regarding the 2 1/2 cups of cheese. The recipe uses 1 1/2 cup on top of the ground beef mixture, but nowhere does it tell how to utilize the other 1 cup of cheese. The pictures show cheese being incorporated into the cornbread topping, but the instructions do not list cheese as an ingredient of the topping. Please explain.

    1. From the recipe instructions: To assemble the casserole: Pour the ground beef mixture into dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Spread corn bread batter evenly over beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
      You may add part of the cheese to the cornbread topping, if you like.

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