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Mexican Tamales

What screams Mexican food more than tamales. Tamales has got to be one of my favorite Mexican dishes. It’s a food that I’ve eaten since before I could walk and as far back as I can remember the women in the family would gather around each year to hash out loads of these tasty treats. Unfortunately, this tamale making skill was wasted on my sisters as I wasn’t invited to said parties and they could care less about learning the culinary ways of our ancestors 😂😂. Thankfully that wasn’t me.

Enjoy the video and the recipe where I take you through the entire process of making Mexican Tamales. If you have any questions let me know.

Here are a few things you might find useful when making Tamales

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Mexican Tamales

Moist, fluffy, and totally delicious
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 907 g masa nixtamalizada any variety will work
  • 541 ml water you might need a bit more or less to get to the right consistence
  • 325 g pork lard can sub for veg shortening – although I wouldn't if you don't have to
  • 17 g salt
  • 7 g baking powder
  • 336 ml stock can be chicken, pork, beef, or vegetable – it's up to you. Just make sure it's low in sodium

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (For a boost of flavor in your masa) You can opt to add only one or all of the following

For the filling

  • You can use whatever filling you want. This recipe is just for the masa (which is the most important part of the tamale). Pork carnitas, barbacoa, smoked brisket, shredded chicken, vegetables, cheese, the choice is yours


  • Start by rehydrating your masa flour. Slowly add the water that's called for in this recipe till your masa ball comes together without being crumbly. You don't want it too wet so as soon as you can form a clean ball and when you tear it in half and it gives you a clean break without being crumbly you are done.
  • Next, whip the lard. In a stand mixer (kitchen beaters work as well) whip the lard on high for 3-4 minutes till it triples in size and looks like whipped cream. Once this happens refrigerate your whipped lard
  • Rehydrate your corn husks in hot water for 30 minutes. After they have been rehydrated, place them on a drying rack so they can drain. I like to drain them for at least 15-20 minutes. One thing I also like to do is place all of the corn husks smooth side facing up. This makes it easier when it comes to the assembly

Making the Tamale Mixture

  • In a stand mixer with the whisk attachement, begin by placing your bowl of whipped lard. On a medium speed slowly start to whip the mixture adding a little bit of the masa ball at a time. Once half of the masa ball has been added, add half of your stock, the baking powder, and the salt (and any other ingredients you plan on adding). Increase the speed to high and whip for 30 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium and add the rest of your masa ball in small increments. Finally add the rest of your stock a little at a time. You are looking for a consistency of a thick hummus.
    To test your mixture, place a small spoonful of your tamale batter into a glass of water and if it floats it's ready. If it sinks to the bottom you will want to add a little whipped lard to the batter.
    Refrigerate till you are ready to use.
  • This batter can be made several days in advance. If you choose to make it ahead, simply give it a quick whip in your mixer prior to using. You might have to add a little stock to get it to the desired consistency.

Making Tamales

  • To form your tamales spread a ⅛ inch layer of masa on the smooth side of the corn husk leaving the top ⅓ empty. Add your filling in the center of the masa.
  • Fold the two edged of the corn husk together where the opposite ends of the masa are now touching. It's like folding the corn husk in half. Once you make that inital fold, fold the corn husk in half again, then pinch the top ⅓ of the husk and fold it down to seal one end.

Cooking Tamales

  • Steam for 60 – 90 minutes then let rest for 10 minutes. Enjoy

Storing Tamales

  • Tamales freeze great. Place cooked tamales in a vacuum sealed bag and freeze. These will stay good for up to a year.

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