Tex-Mex Deep Dish Appetizer Pie

Tex-Mex Deep Dish Appetizer Pie has been around for decades, yet it has no real history. Its roots, however, are tacos — the easy Tex-Mex kind, of course, with an added all-American boost from a puffy crescent roll crust.

With the invention of crescent rolls in a can, cooks began looking for ways to change (once again) the actual format of a taco. (First from its authentic soft tortilla form to the crispy shells most of us equate with tacos.) So, the Pie was born with an utterly delicious crust piled high with seasoned ground beef and loaded with cheese. Less mess and a perfect meal for busy weeknights. Even better, it became a favorite heavy appetizer for casual parties. Think Super Bowl. Or when you have a crowd to feed over the holidays. Comfort food in a pie pan!

Going beyond the basics, my Tex-Mex Appetizer pie is layered so you don’t need sides if it’s for a meal. For a party, you should plan on more than one pie because it’s guaranteed to be a hit. In addition, I’m going to share my own taco seasoning recipe. It’s just like the store-bought packets, yet you can control the quantity of salt. A layer of refried beans, crushed tortilla chips, the meat, and then cheese; that’s all there is to it. You can go the easy route with canned refrieds and a packet of taco seasoning. In this one, I’m making the beans from scratch; they’re just so much better.

Most of the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time. The beans, the meat, shredded pepper jack, a fresh salsa, and chopped green onions for topping. A dollop of sour cream will finish this off. Can’t wait to dive in!

Tex-Mex Deep Dish Appetizer Pie

Serves 4-6

1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent roll dough
¾ pounds hamburger
1 packet taco seasoning mix (see recipe below)
¾ cup water
1 can refried beans (or 2 cups from scratch)
1½ cups crushed tortilla chips
6 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese


1. Spread out crescent roll dough in a 9-inch pie pan and up the sides. Pinch the separate pieces together, then use a fork to prick the dough. Bake in a preheated oven following directions on the can, but for about 10 minutes. It should be done, but not quite. (The elastic-y dough is a little unpredictable.)
2. In a skillet, cook ground beef thoroughly and drain. Reduce heat to medium-low on stovetop, return ground beef to skillet, coat with the taco seasoning mix, then add water. Stir well and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. When the crescent roll pie crust has cooled, spread the refried beans across the bottom.
Add the crusted tortilla chips in an even layer. Spread the beef mixture on top of these two layers. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 375ºF for about 15 minutes — until cheese has melted, but don’t let crust edges burn.
4. Top with salsa, chopped green onions, sour cream.
Taco seasoning mix for the ground beef:

1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon oregano
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
Directions for the taco seasoning:
Mix all above ingredients together. Just add to cooked ground beef to coat, then add ¾ cup water and simmer until thickened.


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