Roasted Chile, Cheese, and Bacon Mini-Tamale Pies

You would think that after Christmas we would stop talking about tamales but that is not the case. I’m still craving them or it’s really bad withdrawals. If you have ever made tamales you know they are labor intensive. Do you ever crave tamales but never make them because of the work involved? I know I do so here’s a shortcut to cure your craving.

I know, you saw the title and saw the pictures and probably said, “Those aren’t tamales!” Oh, but they are! They might not be wrapped in cute little cornhusks and steamed for hours, but the true flavors are all there, plus these individual-size pies are simple to make. So if you are ever craving tamales and are intimidated by all the hard work, try out this recipe.

We asked our facebook fans the other day what their favorite tamale filling is and their top choices were traditional savory fillings such as pork with red chile and others said queso con rajas (cheese with roasted chile). I couldn’t agree more. Those are our favorites too and that is why we included those traditional recipes in our cookbook.

These super-simple mini tamale pies are inspired by our tamales de queso con rajas and made with roasted chile and cheese, but I decided to add a special ingredient that makes everything taste better…bacon! These spicy little morsels have cheese, roasted green chile, tomatoes, onions, and bacon. What is not too love about these salty, smoky, and spicy decadent treats? My hubby loved them and said they would be perfect for breakfast with a side of eggs or for a football game as an hors d’oeuvre. (Yes, he actually said the word football and hors d’oeuvre in the same sentence). I almost spit out my drink from the shock of his culinary vocabulary. I think it’s so cute when he gives me ideas.

As a reminder tamales are not only for Christmas. Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of King’s Day and tamales are the food of choice and this recipe would be a great alternative to making or buying traditional tamales.

What is your tamale filling of choice?

Roasted Chile, Cheese, and Bacon Mini-Tamale Pies

Yield: 12 mini tamale pies


7 strips thick sliced peppered bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
2 to 3 roasted and peeled Anaheim chiles, diced
Handful cilantro, chopped

Tamale Masa:
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 MAGGI Chicken Flavor Bouillon Cube, dissolved in 1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1 ½ cups Quesadilla or Monterey Jack cheese


Make filling:
Chop bacon into ½-inch pieces and fry in a large skillet until cooked but not crispy; drain and set aside. Discard the drippings.

In the same skillet used for cooking the bacon, sauté the onion and tomato about 5 to 7 minutes. Add cooked bacon, diced chiles, and cilantro and stir together.

Simmer for a few minutes allowing the flavors to come together. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Make tamale masa:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well with your hands until combined. The dough should hold together when squeezed in your hand.

Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Divide the masa evenly among the wells of a muffin pan (about 2 tablespoons per well).

Using your fingers, press the masa evenly into a thin layer on the bottom and up the sides of each well. The mixture may feel dry to the touch.

Evenly divide the bacon and green chile filling among the masa-lined wells.

Bake on middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle the shredded cheese over the filling. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the filling is bubbling, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the perimeter of each well to loosen and remove the pies. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Inspired by Mini Tamale Pies on

Written by Yvette / Photos by Yvette

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  1. I would make these. Wouldn’t they be a nice surprise for a Super Bowl party?

  2. You’re killing me here with all this “bacon” stuff girl! You can NEVER have enough bacon… it makes everything taste great.

  3. Do you have a source for organic or non-gmo masa?

    • Have you tried Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina? I know they have a gluten free option, but not sure about an organic masa. I’ve also seen organic masa on made by Gold Mine Natural Food Co. although I have never tried it. Best of luck! Keep me posted.

  4. These are particularly cute. I’ve made lots of sopes, but never anything quite like this. As soon as I read the title, I just knew this would be a winner–and it is! Thank you.

  5. I have to try these, great idea for Super Bowl. They look so delicous and simple to make.

  6. OH MY! YES! I CRAVE homemade tamales!!! A friend and I used to get together and make a ton of them! She moved away several years ago and I haven’t made them since… too much involved for just one person… at least that’s my excuse. LOL! I do like chicken tamales, so I might try adding that in… not sure about the bacon, but bacon makes everything better! Also, our filling was a little saucier… lots of mole… does this come out “saucy”? I can’t wait to try these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • This filling is not “saucy” but very moist. What I love about this recipe is that the filling options are endless. You have a vessel — all you need is imagination for some fillings. Happy tamale making Mama Owl!

  7. I crave tamales all year long especially those chile and cheese tamales from your cookbook. Grace and I were just talking about making some during her week off from work. I can’t wait.

  8. I’m TOTALLY making these for dinner tonight! I have everything except the masa harina and the peppers. Walmart, here I come! lol

  9. Mexican soul food. Just like wife’s Tamal de Olla. Will be making these for the big game.

  10. Hola! I’ve been following your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

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