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Copycat Amy’s Mexican Tamale Pies

They are almost too cute to eat.

Copycat Amy's Mexican Tamale Pies- easy to make, and completely meat-free!

Almost, but not quite.

And when you see how easy these little pies are to prepare, you might give up buying frozen meals for good.

They take just THREE simple steps, the first of which is to simply throw a bunch of cans into a pot and wait. Not much harder than microwaving a frozen meal, is it?

vegan mexican tamale pie

The perfect comfort food for a chilly Fall night.

Copycat Amy's Mexican Tamale Pies. Meatless and easy to make.

Katie’s Mexican Tamale Pies

(makes 4-5 pies)

  • 1 can (15oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into tiny pieces (optional)
  • 1 can (15oz) corn, drained (or 1 3/4 cup fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp each: onion and garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: hot sauce or red pepper flakes (for a spicier version)
  • for the topping: 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cups water, and optional 2 tsp oil. Or you could probably just use instant polenta and slice it on top.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small pot and cook on low-medium for 40 minutes, stirring very occasionally as it bubbles. (If you prefer, you can even make this in a crockpot!) Meanwhile, if using the homemade polenta topping, combine all other ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. As soon as it starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and stir constantly until it thickens. Preheat the oven to 350 F and portion the bean mixture into oven-proof dishes or aluminum pans (as shown in the picture directly below these instructions). Top with polenta, smooth the tops, and bake 45 minutes. I also set the oven to “broil” for a few minutes at the end, to achieve more of a crust on top. You can either eat in the dish, or go around the sides and pop the pies out. (Note: if you sub fresh corn and/or unsalted tomatoes, you’ll probably want to add a little extra salt.)

View Tamale Pie Nutrition Facts

Mexican Tamale Pies

Above, before being covered with the cornmeal topping.

tamale pie

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Published on September 26, 2012

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164 Comments

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  1. Robin Newberger says

    Hey Katie!
    I love your recipes. I’m making these tamale pies right now and I’m wondering if the measurement for cornmeal to water is right. I have a mix that’s very, very water with all the cornmeal in the bottom. I’m thinkin’ I have to drain off some of the water. I’m sure it will still turn out great, but wanted to ask! Thanks.

    • Unofficial CCK Helper says

      Maybe it depends on your climate, as I’ve never had a problem. But if you do end up with too much liquid you can always either just keep simmering until it evaporates or you can put in the fridge overnight and it will thicken.

  2. Lindsay says

    I followed the recipe exactly. The corn meal would be better as mashed potatoes. I will add a touch more seasonings too. Otherwise it was a great recipe.

  3. Annie says

    This was really good. I’m allergic to zucchini so I subbed spiraled butternut squash and diced sweet potatoes. I also used prepared fresh pinto beans and squeezed one lime into the mix. The only part that wasn’t perfect was the cornmeal. I couldn’t find instant polenta. Since I doubled the recipe, this is a great organic, vegan meal that we love.

  4. staci says

    Wheeee! I’m SO happy to see someone else (besides me) loved the Amy’s Tamale Pies because I was seriously thinking I was the only one. I haven’t been able to find them in any store or online since 2003. I take that back…for a very brief period of time, my DH found them in vending machines on the UCLA campus and would buy them out for me whenever he found them.
    Auughhhh! It would drive me nuts because it was on Amy’s website, but not in any store in Newport Beach or Pasadena, Monrovia or Duarte. I talked to store managers are several grocery stores telling them I would be happy to buy an entire case at one time, if they would stock it. Only one manager ever bothered to respond to me (it was a “nope” – jerk). Von’s Pavilions Ralph’s Stater Bros, Albertson’s…
    Your recipe is fabulous and even looks like the real deal! I do have to add that CILANTRO was in Amy’s and for me, that’s what made it stand out from other brands’ tamale pies. That fresh hit of cilantro and the occasional black olive slice.

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