Individual Tamale Pies

How about we talk about combining all of my favorite foods into a comforting, personal-sized meal?

Yeah. That sounds like a good Monday plan. And I’m hoping these are some of your favorite foods, too.

Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |

This meal just screams wrapped in blanket, cozy, winter food. I’ve been eating it for the past 3 days and am just as happy about it each time.

It starts with a thick, chili-like mixture and is topped with fluffy cornbread. I decided to throw in sweet potato at the last minute, which was definitely the right call. Sweet potatoes and black beans are an obvious match, but the added potato texture was what I loved most.

And that little pinch of cinnamon just warms this pot right up!

Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |

I knew my recent cornbread muffins would be just right for the tamale pie topping. They’re not as heavy as cornbread and are easy to whip up using cornmeal, almond meal, and millet flour. I grind whole millet (below) in my blender, but you can also buy it pre-ground. I’m sure oat flour, quinoa, flour, and possibly sorghum would also work well. I like the nutty flavor of the millet in this recipe, plus it adds to the yellow color.

Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |

To make the muffin recipe more on the savory side, I reduced the honey and added green chiles and corn to the mix.

Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |

They baked up like a dream.

Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |

Print Recipe!

adapted from: veggie tamale pie

Individual Tamale Pies

gluten-free // yields 6-8 servings

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (~1 cup)
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced (~1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small/med bell peppers, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons chipotle adobo sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 1, 15oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fine ground cornmeal
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 batch Cornbread Muffin batter (see notes for changes)

Grease 6-8 small oven-safe soup crocks (or similar). If using standard ramekins you’ll fill about 12.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to a heavy bottomed large pot over medium heat. Add the onion with a big pinch of salt and cook for 5-7 minutes, until starting to soften. Stir occasionally. Add in the potato and let cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Stir in the peppers and let cook until softened, 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Stir in the adobo sauce, chili powder, oregano, and cumin for about 30 seconds. Add the black beans, tomatoes (with liquid), corn, water, cornmeal, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a constant simmer for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are just tender. Stir every few minutes.

While simmering, make the cornbread muffin topping (check notes below for a few changes). Let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375° F.

After the potatoes are just starting to tenderize, remove the lid and let simmer for 5 minutes to thicken. Stir every minute or so. Taste and add more salt (likely) and pepper if needed. Add hot sauce or more adobo if desired.

Scoop equal amounts of the bean mixture into the crocks. Scoop 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the batter over each. place crocks on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30-36 minutes. Tops will crack and brown around the edges. Test with a toothpick for doneness but don’t hit the wet layer.

Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.



  • Make these vegan with your favorite vegan cornbread recipe! If it uses an 8x8 or 9x9 pan you should be good to go, but baking time will increase.
  • If you don’t have or can’t find adobo sauce, add in smoky hot sauce to taste after simmering.
  • These reheat perfectly in the microwave. Scoop contents into a bowl (to loosen things up) and reheat.
  • Serving options: Broil cheese on top after baking. Serve with full-fat greek yogurt, hot sauce, cilantro, green onions, etc.
  • You can also bake this in a casserole dish or if you’re using an oven-safe, dutch oven (or similar). Bake time will vary depending on the size. 9-10” will take about 30-35 minutes. If using a glass 9x13 baking dish it will take less time to bake. Look for cracking, and browning around the edges.

For the Cornbread Muffin topping:

  • use 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • use 2 tablespoons honey
  • after whisking the wet + dry ingredients together: Fold in 1/2 cup frozen corn and 1, 4oz can mild green chiles (drained well) These are optional mix-ins. If you don’t add these in, keep the milk amount at 1 cup.
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |
Individual Veggie Tamale Pies |

Christmas Eve dinner? I’m thinking so.