Zesty Chipotle Beef Tamales with Melt-in-Your-Mouth Texture

Are you a fan of exotic flavors that take your taste buds on a wild ride? Do you enjoy the experience of mouthwatering savory dishes that leave you scrambling for more? Look no further than my Chipotle Beef Tamales recipe.

These exquisite tamales combine the traditional masa dough with juicy, tender, and perfectly seasoned chipotle braised beef that is guaranteed to have your taste buds dancing with delight. You’ll love the rich blend of flavors heightened by the canned chipotle chile puree, dried oregano, garlic cloves, red chile powder, and onions chopped to perfection.

This savory dish is an excellent addition to your menu when hosting friends, family or indulging in some self-pampering while enjoying a quiet night in. One of the great things about these tamales is their versatility, from pairing with ranchero sauce to a perfect side of frozen corn kernels. So go ahead, grab a seat and indulge in one of the best Mexican beef tamales recipes out there!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Chipotle Beef Tamales
Chipotle Beef Tamales

Do you love savory, meaty meals with a hint of spice? Are you looking for a new twist on traditional Mexican food? Then get ready to fall in love with my Chipotle Beef Tamales recipe!

This recipe features juicy and flavorful beef that has been slow-cooked to perfection with chipotle chile puree, garlic, and onion. The tender meat is then folded into a fluffy masa dough made with masa harina, hot water, baking powder, and salt. The addition of frozen corn kernels and dried oregano give it a delicious burst of flavor.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the star ingredient: canned chipotle chile puree. This smoky and spicy sauce adds a depth of flavor that will take your taste buds on an incredible journey. The chipotle braised beef filling is wonderfully complemented by the slightly sweet corn masa dough.

Not only is this exquisite tamale recipe packed with robust flavors, but it’s also incredibly versatile. You can make them with lean ground beef or beef brisket for an even more tender result. If you prefer a vegetarian version, swap out the meat for Beyond Beef or Benita beef. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try making cheese or chicken tamales using the same masa dough and technique.

Trust me, once you sink your teeth into one of these mouthwatering tamales, you’ll be hooked! So fire up your stovetop and grab some corn husks – it’s time to make some of the best Mexican beef tamales you’ve ever tasted!

Ingredient List

 Tender and juicy chipotle beef tamales, a delicious and comforting meal!
Tender and juicy chipotle beef tamales, a delicious and comforting meal!

Let’s now delve into the ingredients required to make these Chipotle Beef Tamales. This recipe calls for some specific ingredients that you may not have laying around in your kitchen, so it’s important to plan ahead and purchase all the necessary ingredients before starting.

Here is a list of everything you will need to make 12 tamales:

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 lb beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup canned chipotle chile puree
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Masa Dough:

  • 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot water or beef stock

For the Chipotle Sauce:

  • 2 oz dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Additional Ingredients:

  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

Ensure that all of these ingredient amounts are correct and freshly purchased, so that your Chipotle Beef Tamales turn out great.

The Recipe How-To

 These beauties are the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.
These beauties are the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

Now that we have our ingredients ready, it’s time to start making some delicious chipotle beef tamales. It might seem like a daunting task, but I’m here to guide you through every step of the process. Get your apron on and let’s get started!

Step 1: Prepare the corn husks

Before we can start filling our tamales, we need to prepare our corn husks. Start by soaking them in hot water for at least an hour until they’re pliable. Drain the water then lay the corn husk flat.

Step 2: Make the Chipotle Beef Filling

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté chopped onions and garlic for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned then stir in canned chipotle chile puree, dried oregano, chili powder, and 1 chipotle to add some smokiness and heat.

Once everything is combined, add diced tomatoes and frozen corn kernels then simmer for another five minutes. This will make sure that all the flavors are well combined.

Step 3: Prepare the Masa Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt together then slowly pour in warm water while stirring constantly until a smooth dough is formed.

Step 4: Assemble the Tamales

Spread masa dough onto your soaked corn husk. Place a spoonful of your prepared chipotle beef filling in the center of your masa dough. Fold both sides of your corn husk inward, one side over another so that it overlaps slightly around the masa dough at its center.

Fold up the narrow end of the tamale first, then turn it over and do the same with the other end.

Step 5: Steam the Tamales

When you’re done assembling all your tamales, it’s time to steam them. In a large pot with a steamer insert, add enough water and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.

Arrange the tamales vertically in the steamer basket, folded side down so they stay together. Make sure not to overcrowd your pot so that the steam can circulate evenly around the tamales. Cover the pot with a lid and let it steam for about 75-90 minutes.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Chipotle Beef Tamales

Once they’re done cooking, remove them from the steamer and let them cool for a few minutes before unwrapping them from their husks.

Serve these exquisite tamales hot with some chipotle sauce or ranchero sauce, and enjoy these delicious pestle-shaped delicacies that are oozing with spicy chipotle braised beef filling that is perfectly fluffed

Substitutions and Variations

 That steamy aroma of fresh tamales will make your mouth water!
That steamy aroma of fresh tamales will make your mouth water!

Perhaps you have a dietary restriction, or maybe you’re simply interested in trying something new. Whatever the case may be, there are numerous variations and substitutions that can be made to this chipotle beef tamales recipe.

For those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider substituting the beef with Beyond Beef, a plant-based ground “meat” alternative that is both tasty and nutritious. Similarly, chicken or cheese can also be used as a protein source for your tamales.

If you’re looking to switch up the flavors of your filling, try using different types of chiles such as ancho or red chile in place of the chipotle chili powder. You can also experiment with different seasoning blends such as cumin or paprika to add some depth to your filling.

Another variation worth considering is the sauce used to top off your tamales. While the recipe calls for ranchero sauce, you could also explore other options like a tomato-chipotle sauce or even a barbacoa-style sauce for added layers of flavor.

And if masa dough isn’t readily available at your local grocery store, fear not! There are plenty of online grocery retailers that sell masa harina. Also noteworthy is the fact that corn husks aren’t always necessary – try using banana leaves instead for added texture and flavor!

At the end of the day, there are numerous ways to spin this chipotle beef tamale recipe to suit your personal preferences and restrictions. With some creativity and experimentation, you’ll find yourself with a delicious and unique iteration of this exquisite tamale.

Serving and Pairing

 Traditional Mexican tamales with a smoky twist, you won't be able to resist them.
Traditional Mexican tamales with a smoky twist, you won’t be able to resist them.

As a chef, I believe the joy of cooking lies in the combination of flavors and textures. When it comes to serving and pairing my Chipotle Beef Tamales, I like to think outside the box. This dish pairs well with a variety of sides, toppings, and drinks to enhance your meal’s experience.

To start, you can serve these scrumptious tamales with a fresh guacamole or salsa verde topping for a burst of flavor that complements the smoky chipotle beef filling. Additionally, you can add a side of refried beans or Mexican rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

For a refreshing drink option, you can try pairing these beef tamales with an Agua Fresca, a traditional Mexican drink made from fruits blended with water and sugar. This sweet and fruity drink perfectly complements the spicy flavor profile of the chipotle sauce.

Alternatively, if you prefer an alcoholic beverage, try serving these tamales with a cold Mexican beer or margarita cocktail. These drinks are great for cooling down your taste buds between bites and adding an extra layer of authenticity to your dining experience.

In conclusion, there is no wrong way to enjoy these Chipotle Beef Tamales. With its rich flavor profile, it is incredibly versatile and pairs well with numerous side dishes and beverages. So go ahead, experiment with different toppings or drinks according to your preferences; I guarantee this dish will always satisfy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get your hands dirty and make your own tamales, it's worth it!
Get your hands dirty and make your own tamales, it’s worth it!

As with all tamales recipes, chipotle beef tamales should be made ahead of time for best results. One option is to store the uncooked tamales in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If storing in the freezer, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

To reheat cooked tamales, you can either use a steamer or a microwave. If using a steamer, place the tamales in a steamer basket for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. If using a microwave, wrap each tamale in a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes per tamale.

For best results, do not store the tamales with any sauces as they can make the masa dough soggy over time. Instead, store them individually wrapped in plastic wrap or foil to maintain their freshness.

If you have leftover chipotle beef filling, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It’s perfect for adding to tacos or as a topping for salads.

Remember that reheated tamales will never be quite as good as freshly made tamales – but they’re still pretty darn delicious!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The hint of chipotle combined with the beef creates an exquisite explosion of flavors.
The hint of chipotle combined with the beef creates an exquisite explosion of flavors.

As a chef with experience in Brazilian and American cuisine, I know a thing or two about making exquisite tamales. In this section, I’ll provide you with some tips to ensure your chipotle beef tamales come out perfect every time.

Firstly, when filling the corn husks, be sure to spread the masa dough evenly, leaving enough space for the filling. If the filling is too much, it may rupture the husk during cooking. On the other hand, if there’s not enough filling or masa dough, it will result in an unbalanced tamale.

Secondly, for a fluffy and moist filling, use lean ground beef mixed with chipotle chili powder and tomato chipotle sauce. Add diced onions and corn kernels for an extra crunch. Alternatively, you can use Barbacoa instead of ground beef to give your tamales a smoky flavor.

Thirdly, make sure you soak the corn husks in hot water for at least 30 minutes to make them pliable and easy to handle. When assembling each tamale, overlap the edges of each husk to enclose the filling securely.

Another significant step is steaming the tamales properly. To do so, place them in a pot with water and steam for about an hour or until fully cooked. Make sure to keep adding water during the cooking process to avoid burning.

Lastly, allow your chipotle beef tamales to cool slightly so that they firm up and become more cohesive before serving. You can top them off with ranchero sauce or cheese tamales for an extra flavor punch!

By following these tips and being patient throughout the process, you’ll undoubtedly have a delicious batch of chipotle beef tamales that you won’t be able to get enough of!


Now that you have all of the information you need to make the perfect Chipotle Beef Tamales, it’s time to move onto some of the most frequently asked questions. In this section, I will address common concerns with the recipe so that you can feel confident and prepared when making your delicious Chipotle Beef Tamales.

What cut of meat should I use for tamales?

Tamales reach a new level of deliciousness when prepared with brisket.

What do Mexicans wrap tamales in?

To experience the savory goodness of tamales, you must first wrap them in either corn husks or banana leaves before cooking. Although the wrapping adds to the flavor, it is important to remove them before indulging in the dish. For a delicious dining experience, pair tamales with pico de gallo and a side of guacamole and rice.

What kind of sauce do you serve with tamales?

When it comes to enjoying tamales, a variety of condiments can be added for flavor enhancement. Some examples include guacamole, sour cream and ranchero sauce. However, the most well-liked among them is the popular red chili sauce, which should not be mistaken for the ranchero sauce.

What is the meat in tamales called?

Red chile pork tamales are a beloved Mexican dish that features succulent pork shoulder cooked in a flavorful red chile sauce. This delicious filling is wrapped in a delicate masa dough that is irresistible. Then, the tamales are steamed in corn husks for several hours to create a mouthwatering, traditional dish.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a perfect tamale, and these chipotle beef tamales are no exception. By following this recipe, you can create an exquisite tamale filled with fluffy, chipotle braised beef that will satisfy even the most discerning tastebuds.

I highly recommend that you try this recipe out for yourself and see why it’s considered to be one of the best Mexican beef tamales recipes available. Whether you decide to use ground beef, beef brisket, or even chicken, the chipotle sauce and red chile powder will provide a spicy kick that complements the masa dough perfectly.

Plus, with the added option of substituting with Beyond Beef or Benita beef tamales, there is something for everyone. So why not gather some friends and family together and make tamales today? Trust me when I say that everyone will be asking for seconds.

So go ahead and give this delicious recipe a try–you won’t regret it. And remember, as they say in Brazil, “Bom apetite!” (Enjoy your meal!)

Chipotle Beef Tamales

Chipotle Beef Tamales Recipe

This traditional Mexican recipe uses an untraditional cooking method.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 24 tamales
Calories 142.5 kcal


Basic Masa Dough

  • 2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 ancho chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 3 3/4 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup lard, chilled


  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 (7 ounce) can canned chipotle chile puree
  • 2 cups hot water


  • Prepare Basic Masa Dough up to three days ahead, and refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • Basic Masa Dough: Combine chicken broth and ancho chiles in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until chiles are tender; cool slightly, Combine broth mixture and corn in a blender; process until smooth.
  • Lightly spoon masa harina into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine masa harina, salt, and baking powder, stirring well with a whisk. Cut in lard with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add broth mixture to masa mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • Tamales: Place corn husks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add oregano, salt, and beef; cook 8 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Add chipotle sauce; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Working with one husk at a time, place about 3 tablespoons Basic Masa Dough in the center of husk about 1/2 inch from top of husk; press dough into a 4-inch-long by 3-inch-wide rectangle. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon beef mixture down one side of dough. Using the corn husk as your guide, fold husk over tamale, being sure to cover filling with dough; fold over 1 more time. Fold bottom end of husk under. Place tamale, seam side down, on the rack of a broiler pan lined with a damp towel. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, Basic Masa Dough, and filling. Cover filled tamales with another damp towel. Pour 2 cups hot water in the bottom of a broiler pan; top with prepared rack.
  • Steam tamales at 450F for 55 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a depth of about 1/2 inch. Let the tamales stand for 10 minutes.
  • Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in microwave for 2 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 2148gCalories: 142.5kcalCarbohydrates: 17.5gProtein: 5.9gFat: 5.8gSaturated Fat: 2.1gCholesterol: 14.7mgSodium: 204.8mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 0.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Brunch, Meat, Mexican, Oven, Potluck, Savory, Steam
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.