Mini Cornbread Cups {Step by Step Tutorial}

September 20, 2014
Adorable, versatile, and delicious.  Pair these Mini Cornbread Cups with your favorite filling for the perfect two-bite appetizer, game day, or tailgating treat.

I am in love with these cute little cornbread cups! An I-want-to-gobble-up-every-last-bite kinda love, that is.

I mean, aren't these cups just adorable?  And just fabulous for making the perfect little two-bite appetizer or game day treat?  Fill them with chili ... or pulled pork ... or barbecue chicken ... or salsa ... or chicken salad ... or ... ah, the possibilities are simply endless.

Look how deliciously precious they look when filled and garnished ...

This particular batch is filled with hearty ground beef and bean chili, and then garnished with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and green onions.

I love the texture the cornmeal brings to these cups.  And the flavor a touch of cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and cayenne deliver up.  They're fabulous filled with anything you would typically pair with cornbread.

Want to see how to make them?  Yes?

Great!  'Cause I took step-by-step photos of the process to share with you.  So, let's get started!

First up, combine some flour, cornmeal, shredded cheddar, and spices in the work bowl of a food processor.  A food processor makes this process super easy, but if you don't have one just put everything in a big ol' mixing bowl.  It'll still work.

Next, cut cold butter into small pieces.  Just like when making a pie crust, make sure the butter is coming right out of the refrigerator so it's nice and cold.  This forms dough of the correct consistency to help bake up a tender crust ... or cup, in this case.

Add the butter pieces to the cornmeal mixture in the food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture is like crumbly sand.  If you're using the mixing bowl method, add the butter pieces and work them into the cornmeal mixture with two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers until the mixture is sandy.  Personally, if not using a food processor, I like to use my fingers best.

Next, add an egg and a little ice water to the sandy mixture.  You want your water truly ice cold so it doesn't melt any of the butter.  I place some water in a glass with ice and dip out what I need.

Process the mixture a bit more in the food processor until it comes together in a 'ballish' form to create dough.  If you're using the mixing bowl method, mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a dough.

We're now ready to create the cornbread cups!

Hey, did you know this funny looking wooden thing is called a Tart Tamper?  I didn't ... I had to look it up to be able to say what it is.  Anyway, you use one of these tampers to make the cups.

Roll bits of the dough into 1-inch balls, place each ball in the cup of a mini muffin pan, and use the tart tamper to press the dough ball into a cup shape.

Don't have a tart tamper?

Never fear!

If you've got a liquor bottle ... or any similar-sized bottle ... like this:

... just turn it over and use the top as your tamper.  Works like a charm!

After pressing each dough ball into cups, use your thumb to really squish the bottom and sides into an even thickness, especially getting your thumb into the bottom ridge where the bottom meets the sides.  It's best if that 'ridge' area doesn't end up too thick ... you want there to be plenty of room for filling after the cups bake!

Then bake up the cups, and remove to a wire rack to cool.

Baked cups can be used immediately, stored for a few days in an airtight container, or frozen for future use.  How great is that?

If saving or freezing for future use, simply pop 'em in a warm oven ... say, around 300 to 350 degrees or so ... for about 3 to 5 minutes before filling to warm 'em up a bit.

Finally, fill the cornbread cups with your chosen filling and serve 'em up.

Adorable.  Versatile.  Delicious.

Can you see  why I'm in love?

Tools I used to make these cornbread cups ...

Affiliate links are included in this post. I receive a small amount of compensation for anything purchased from these links,at at no additional cost to you.

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

  • 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 into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 T. ice water
  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 desired filling to serve.
NOTE:  Cornbread cups may be made in advance, and can be frozen.  When ready to serve, simply place the cups on a baking sheet and warm them in a 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes before filling.


Try filling these adorable Cornbread Cups with ...

1 comment

  1. Great photos, Tracey! I am always looking for something a little different when serving chili...this fits the bill. Thanks for sharing.


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