Chili Bites in Mini Cornbread Cups

September 26, 2014
Chili without a spoon?  Sure!  Turn chili into finger food with these tasty {and adorable} Chili Bites in Mini Cornbread Cups.  Perfect for your next party or game day get-together.

Remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup slogan from the 1970s and 1980s ~ "Two great tastes that taste great together?"  Well, the same can be said of chili and cornbread.

The two just go together.

So why not put them together in a two-bite, pick-'em-up-and-eat-'em-with-your-fingers party-perfect treat?  I can see no reason not to!

And so I did.  And I must admit, ...
... I was actually quite proud of myself when I came up with this little idea.

I mean seriously, chili without spoons?  Cool.

I can take no credit for the mini cornbread cup idea ... that's straight out of Taste of the South magazine.  {I show the whole step-by-step process of making Mini Cornbread Cups in a separate post if you'd like to see.}

But pairing the cute and tasty little cups with Hearty Chili?

That idea was all me, my friends.  Mmmm hmmmm, thinkin' "two great tastes that taste great together ..."

And I'm happy to say the Chili Bites were bestowed the "Hubby Seal of Approval," after just one taste.  Which is tough to get.  See, my husband Mark is a tough food critic ... which makes him a really  great taste tester for The Kitchen is My Playground.

That tray of chili-filled cornbread cups in the photo below?  

Gone in a flash, with a "These are good," earned from Mark.  And believe me, "These are good," is high praise from my hubby of minimal words.

So right then and there I knew I had an idea that was a winner.

'Cause seriously, I agree with the Reese's slogan ... "Two great tastes that taste great together."  When you've got that, it just can't  be wrong.

Chili Bites in Mini Cornbread Cups
Source:  Cornbread Cups Adapted from Taste of the South magazine, April/May 2008
(Printable recipe)

For the chili:  {This is my Hearty Chili recipe.  Use your favorite thick chili, if desired.}
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped (add more, if you'd like! I usually do.)
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans dark red kidney beans
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. white vinegar
For the cornbread cups:  {Click to see the step-by-step cornbread cup process.}
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 c. cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 T. ice water

Prepare the chili:
  1. Drain and rinse kidney beans.
  2. Brown ground beef or turkey, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a large saucepan. (Note - when using ground turkey, I put a small splash of olive oil in the pan. Since ground turkey has so little fat, it may stick to the pan without the olive oil splash.)
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium-low to low heat for 45-60 minutes.
Prepare the cornbread cups:
  1. In a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, shredded cheese, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pulse until blended. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture turns into crumbs.
  2. Add egg and ice water. Process just until mixture comes together into a dough and forms a ball.
  3. Roll mixture into 48 balls, each approximately 1-inch in diameter. Grease two mini muffin pans; firmly press each dough ball into the bottom and up the sides of a muffin cup. Use your thumb to ensure the dough is well pressed into the muffin cup.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; then remove cornbread cups to a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Fill with chili and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and/or chopped green onions to serve.


Please enjoy these other savory little bites from The Kitchen is My Playground ...


  1. Yum! These look amazing. I could serve these as finger foods for super bowl parties! I'm pinning it, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much, Leslie! Yes, I agree they'd perfect finger food for a Super Bowl party. Thanks for stopping by and for pinning!

  2. What a great party app! Love cornbread and chili together, I would gobble the whole tray! :-) Saying hello from made from pinterest link party!
    Cathy @ three kids and a fish

  3. Hi Tracey, thanks for linking up to Best of the Weekend - I'm featuring these on my blog tomorrow night!

  4. These cornbread and chili cups look amazingly good!! I would love to include them in the Muffin Tin Month festivities at Swirls and Spice. Hop on over to see what we're up to!

  5. This post will be going on my holiday appetizer list. I just love your Mini Cornbread Cups and will be perfect for a party. Hope you are having a fantastic weekend and thanks so much for sharing this awesome post with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. This looks delicious, love this idea! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  7. I love this idea for appetizers. Too often everything is sweet or cheesy messy. The finger food idea is great!


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