Delicious Chicken Tamales for Your Next Fiesta

Welcome, foodies! Today, I’ll be sharing with you a special recipe that’s close to my heart – Chicken Tamales, or Tamales De Pollo in Spanish. These tasty treats are a popular dish in both Brazilian and American cuisines and make for a perfect snack or meal any time of day.

For those who aren’t familiar with the dish, tamales are a variety of Mexican cuisine that’s made up of dough made from masa harina (a kind of corn flour) filled with different ingredients such as shredded chicken, chilies, salsa, etc. The dough is then wrapped in soaked corn husks and steamed to perfection.

While there are many different types of tamales out there, these chicken tamales stand out for their distinctive blend of savory spices and tender chicken filling. One bite into this classic dish will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of Mexico with its rich aroma and flavors.

As someone who has spent countless hours perfecting this recipe, I can vouch for its deliciousness. So get ready to roll up your sleeves, fire up your stove and join me in making some mouth-watering Tamales De Pollo!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Tamales De Pollo - Chicken Tamales
Tamales De Pollo – Chicken Tamales

If you’re looking for a dish that’s packed with flavor and easy to make, then look no further than these Tamales De Pollo – chicken tamales. I guarantee that once you try this recipe, it will become a staple in your household.

The aroma of the chicken broth infused masa, combined with the flavors of the anaheim chilies, green bell pepper, and garlic cloves will make your mouth water. The fresh cilantro and hot chili peppers add a delicious depth of heat to the tamales. This recipe has a vibrant taste that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

One of the things that I love about these chicken tamales is that they are incredibly versatile. You can eat them as a main dish or serve them as an appetizer for parties and gatherings. The salsa verde recipe that accompanies the tamales is a perfect complement to their flavors, adding an extra kick of heat and acidity.

This recipe uses simple ingredients such as masa harina, chicken broth, and shredded chicken. You can easily find all these ingredients at your local grocery store or farmers market. These tamales are also budget-friendly. You don’t have to break the bank to make a delicious meal.

Lastly, making homemade tamales is a labor of love that brings people together. You can make these tamales with your family or friends and create lasting memories. Making tamales can be a great bonding experience.

In conclusion, this Tamales De Pollo – chicken tamales recipe is perfect for anyone who loves bold and flavorful dishes that can be shared and enjoyed with loved ones. It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, versatile, and brings people together. Trust me; once you try this recipe, it will be hard not to fall in love with it!

Ingredient List

 Juicy chicken tamales, ready to be unwrapped!
Juicy chicken tamales, ready to be unwrapped!

Let’s run through the ingredient list to make sure you have everything you need for this flavorful recipe. First and foremost, we’ll need corn husks, masa harina, baking powder, and chicken broth to make the tamales. We’ll also need cooked shredded chicken, fresh cilantro, hot chili pepper, anaheim chilies, green bell pepper, green onions, garlic cloves, and yellow onions for the filling.

For the salsa verde, we’ll require tomatillos (green tomatoes), olive oil, garlic cloves, yellow onions, cups of chicken broth, sugar, limes juice and zest of one lime each. Lastly spice rack should consist of ground cumin and salt both as per your taste requirement.

To enhance the flavor we’ll use a combination of shortening, duck fat, and butter which will give our tamales that melting texture with added depth. Fresh coarse ground black pepper also gives it an enhanced flavor while lard can be used instead of shortening or duck fat for the original authenticity.

Now that you have an idea of what’s included in this recipe let’s move forward with how to create these delicious chicken tamales!

The Recipe How-To

 Steamy and aromatic, these tamales will make your mouth water.
Steamy and aromatic, these tamales will make your mouth water.

After gathering all your ingredients for this Tamales De Pollo recipe, it’s now time to get into the preparation process.

Step 1: Soak Corn Husks

Firstly, you need to soak the corn husks in warm water for at least one hour until they soften. I usually place a small pot on top of them to keep them submerged; this ensures they stay moist throughout the process.

Step 2: Make Tamale Dough

To make the tamale dough or masa, cream 1 cup of shortening or duck fat with an electric mixer until it has a smooth consistency. Add 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 tablespoon of baking powder and continue mixing. Gradually add 6 cups of masa harina (corn flour) and 3 cups of chicken broth while mixing the ingredients in the bowl. If necessary, add more broth until you achieve a soft dough that feels like play-dough.

Step 3: Prepare Filling

In a separate bowl, mix shredded chicken with your preferred amount of salsa verde – I like using my homemade tangy tomatillo salsa recipe – fresh cilantro, chopped green onions and Anaheim or green bell pepper. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste; set aside.

Step 4: Assemble Tamales

Lay out a soaked corn husk with the narrow end facing you; spread dough evenly over it with your fingers, leaving an inch around each edge. Place about two tablespoons of filling in the center and roll up into a cigar-like shape by folding the narrow end over the filling, then fold up the bottom third and tie it with a strip torn from another soaked corn husk.

Step 5: Cook Tamales

In a large pot, pour one or two cups of water, enough to steam the tamales without touching them. Stand the filled tamales up in the steamer, with the folded edge down, pressing them together slightly. Don’t overcrowd them, and make sure they aren’t too tightly packed in. Cover tightly with a lid or a clean, damp kitchen towel and steam on medium heat for 1 ½ hours.

Step 6: Let Tamales Cool

After steaming, let the tamales sit for 5 minutes, still covered, then uncover and let cool to room temperature. Remove the strip and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Enjoy your homemade chicken tamales; it is an excellent meal to share with family and friends!

Substitutions and Variations

 Bite into a world of flavor with our delicious tamales!
Bite into a world of flavor with our delicious tamales!

If you want to add your personal touch to this chicken tamales recipe, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try:

– Meat: If you’re not a fan of chicken, you can use beef, pork, or shredded turkey as the filling for your tamales. You can also try vegetarian options like roasted vegetables, beans, or cheese.

– Spices: To switch up the flavor profile of your tamales, consider adding different spices or peppers to the filling mixture. Try ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, or chipotle pepper for a smoky taste. For something spicier, use serrano peppers or habanero peppers.

– Sauce: While this recipe calls for salsa verde as a topping for the tamales, you can create different sauces to complement the flavors of your dish. You can make red sauce by using tomatoes or dry chiles, add mole sauce for a rich and savory taste or a green chili sauce instead.

– Corn husks: If you can’t find corn husks at your local grocery store, substitute banana leaves instead. You will need to soften them in hot water before use.

– Filling: Apart from chicken, there are many other creative fillings that you can use for your tamale recipe. You can add stewed potatoes and chickpeas to create a vegetarian option without sacrificing on flavor. In the salvadoran variation of this recipe adding mole with chicken is common.

Remember that tamale-making is all about experimenting! Follow the basic steps and adjust the ingredients to suit your preferences. With practice and time comes perfecting the specific tamale characteristics such as masa firmness and flavor balance.

Serving and Pairing

 Our tamales are wrapped with care and love, just for you.
Our tamales are wrapped with care and love, just for you.

As delightful as Chicken Tamales are, they become even better when you pair them with the right side dishes and beverages. They are hearty and filling on their own, but serving them with a few added extras will make a simple supper feel like a fiesta.

To match the flavors of the chicken tamales, it’s recommended to prepare some salsa verde, which brings a slightly tangy and spicy note to the meal. You can also serve your tamales with other types of salsas depending on your taste preference. The classic tomato-based red sauce or mole would be fitting to pull in different textures to this traditional entrée.

To help balance out the flavors and texture of the Tamales de Pollo, roasted vegetables or simple mixed greens can provide a great addition of freshness without being too heavy. Accompanied by black beans and rice will make it an easy way to double up on protein while adding another dimension to your meal.

Another classic pairing for Tamales is beer or margaritas. The lime flavor in both tequila and lager pairs well with the citrus in the Tamale recipe, bringing out its acidity. If alcohol is not your preference or you fancy something different, horchata, an agua fresca made from rice milk infused with cinnamon, is refreshing enough to snuff out any spiciness from your meal.

When all is said and done, remember that Tamales de Pollo are versatile and can be paired with a wide range of dishes and beverages depending on your liking. So go ahead and experiment until you find what suits you!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Don't wait any longer to try the perfect combination of masa dough and savory chicken.
Don’t wait any longer to try the perfect combination of masa dough and savory chicken.

Tamales de Pollo are a great make-ahead dish! You can make them a day or two before serving, and they will still taste fresh and delicious. Once the tamales are made, let them cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If you want to freeze the tamales for longer storage, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. They should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, remove from freezer and let sit at room temperature for about an hour before reheating.

To reheat tamales, it is best to steam them until heated through. You can use a steamer basket over simmering water or even a microwave-safe plate lined with a damp paper towel to help steam the tamales. The time it takes to reheat tamales will vary depending on how many you are reheating, but generally they should take around 10-15 minutes to heat through.

When reheating tamales de pollo, it is important not to overheat them as this may cause the masa to become dry and crumbly. Keep an eye on them as they reheat and make sure they do not dry out.

Always serve the tamales de pollo warm with your favorite salsa on top like salsa verde or red sauce along with some fresh cilantro and lime wedges on the side!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Each bite is a treasure trove of tender chicken and perfectly seasoned masa.
Each bite is a treasure trove of tender chicken and perfectly seasoned masa.

If you want to make the best chicken tamales ever, pay attention to these tips that will help you perfect your recipe.

1. Use quality ingredients: Always try to use fresh and high-quality ingredients to ensure the best taste and texture.

2. Don’t be afraid of spice: If you want your tamales to have a little kick, don’t be shy when adding chili peppers or salsa. Just be sure to taste test as you go so you don’t overdo it.

3. Soak corn husks thoroughly: Soaking husks in hot water for at least an hour prior to using them will make them more pliable and easier to work with when assembling the tamales.

4. Avoid overfilling: Be cautious not to overfill the tamales, as this will cause the masa dough to break apart during cooking.

5. Steam tamales properly: To ensure that your tamales cook evenly, it is important to place them upright in the steamer and pack them tightly together.

6. Let them rest after cooking: Leave the tamales in the steamer for at least 10 minutes after they are done cooking, so they can firm up a bit and become easier to serve.

7. Experiment with fillings: While chicken is a classic filling choice for tamales, feel free to experiment with other fillings like pork or beef, or even vegetarian options like beans or cheese.

8. Serve with fresh toppings: Add some extra flavor to your tamales by serving them with homemade salsa, guacamole or sour cream. Finishing with a sprinkle of cilantro will add an aromatic touch too!

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to make delicious and authentic chicken tamales just like they do in Mexico or Central America!


As with any recipe, you may have some questions that come up while making these delicious chicken tamales. To help you navigate any issues, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and provided detailed answers to each one. So, let’s dive in and answer any queries that may arise along the way!

What is the secret to moist tamales?

To achieve delicious, juicy tamales, it’s important not to skimp on the fat. In Mexico, lard is the go-to ingredient for this purpose. If you prefer to opt-out of using animal fat, you can use softened butter or shortening for a vegetarian-friendly version.

What are tamales de pollo made of?

Tamal de pollo is a type of tamale from El Salvador that is filled with tender shredded chicken, potatoes, chickpeas, and olives. The ingredients are combined with corn masa, a dough made from finely ground corn, and tightly wrapped in banana leaves before being cooked through boiling or steaming.

How to cook the chicken tamales from Costco?

When preparing tamales, it’s important to handle them with care. First, wrap each tamale in a damp paper towel and place them gently on a microwave-safe plate. Next, heat them up in the microwave for 1 minute to 1 minute and 15 seconds, depending on your microwave’s power. If your tamales are frozen, add an extra minute to the cooking time. Once heated, remove them from the microwave and allow them to cool for a minute. Finally, unwrap the tamales from their sustainable wrap and savor their deliciousness.

What is the difference between Salvadoran tamales and Mexican tamales?

According to Norma Castro Flores, who is originally from El Salvador and has been living in Washington, D.C. for over two decades, the Salvadoran tamal differs from the more popular tamales, particularly those from Mexico, because it is not spicy.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Tamales De Pollo recipe is a fantastic dish that will take your taste buds on an unforgettable experience. With its unique blend of tantalizing ingredients and spices, it promises to fulfill your appetite and leave you feeling satisfied. Whether you’re having a family gathering, celebrating a special occasion, or enjoying some quality time with friends, this dish is perfect for any situation.

With these simple instructions, tips, and recommendations, you can create a masterpiece in no time. From prepping the ingredients to cooking and serving, everything has been outlined comprehensively to make it easy for you to prepare this delicious treat.

So why wait? Gather up the ingredients and give this recipe a try today! You’re guaranteed to love it just as much as we do. And don’t be afraid to explore different variations and substitutions to suit your personal preferences. Let your creativity run wild and experiment with different flavors until you come up with something uniquely yours.

In the end, the Tamales De Pollo recipe is not just any ordinary dish but a reflection of the cultural heritage passed down from generations. It brings people together, ignites their passion for cooking and satisfies their desire for good food. So join us in celebrating this wonderful tradition by trying out this mouthwatering recipe!

Tamales De Pollo - Chicken Tamales

Tamales De Pollo - Chicken Tamales Recipe

Combined from several different recipes.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 25 tamales
Calories 108.6 kcal


Tamale Filling

  • 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped small
  • 8 -10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped small including the tops
  • 8 -10 tomatillos, washed well and chopped small
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
  • 2 -3 anaheim chilies, seeded and chopped small
  • 1 -2 small hot chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 limes, juice of, to 6
  • 4 limes, zest of, to 6
  • 1 (8 ounce) can chicken stock or (8 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 cooked chicken, skinned, remove meat, chopped small (I bought a cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store)
  • salt
  • fresh fresh coarse ground black pepper

Tamale Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 1/3 cup shortening or 1/3 cup duck fat
  • 3/4 cup water, plus
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 25 -40 corn husks, for tamales


  • Preparing the corn husks:
  • Remove the corn husks from their package.
  • Place into a large bowl and pour boiling water over them.
  • Since they will float, to keep them submerged, set another bowl full of water on top of them.
  • Leave for several hours or overnight.
  • Chicken Tamale Filling:
  • Heat oil in a large heavy skillet and saute the yellow onions, garlic, green onions, tomatillos, bell pepper, and all chiles, until they are soft and hot but not yet beginning to brown.
  • Add the chicken meat, cilantro, chili seasoning, lime juice and zest, and sugar.
  • Stir well.
  • Add enough chicken stock, broth or bouillon to stand at least an inch deep over the top of the ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and then add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings.
  • You may wish to add more sugar and lime juice or a pinch of dry chili flakes if you want a bit more heat.
  • Cool and use to make tamales now or freeze for use later.
  • Basic Tamale Dough:
  • Mix the masa, baking powder, salt, and cumin thoroughly together.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter and fat together until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Gradually beat in 3 tbsp of masa mixture, then 3 tbsp water until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Continue beating in the masa and water, alternately, until the dough is very smooth and of spreading consistency, about 5 minutes.
  • Cooking and Making the Tamales:
  • When ready to begin folding your tamales, remove the corn husks from the water, drain, and pat dry.
  • Put in a plastic bag to stay moist and remove only a few at a time as you need them.
  • Lay one corn husk on a flat surface in front of you.
  • Put about a tbsp of prepared masa dough on the corn husk and flatten with the back of the spoon.
  • The dough should be no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  • Leave at least a 1/2 inch border on each long side of the corn husk that has no masa and at least 1-1/2 inches at the top and bottom.
  • Put about a tbsp of the chicken filling in a line down the center of the masa.
  • Bring the 2 long sides of the corn husk over the masa and filling and overlap them a bit.
  • Then fold the two ends over.
  • You may leave the tamale like this and simply put it in the steamer, folded side down or you may use thin strips of corn husk or thin kitchen twine to tie them shut.
  • The most convenient way to cook tamales is a conventional steamer. However, you can improvise.
  • Fill the bottom of the steamer with water up to the level indicated and bring to a boil.
  • Line the top of the steamer with corn husks, covering the bottom and sides well.
  • Stack the tamales upright, with the tied down flaps upwards.
  • For the best results they should be packed firmly but not tightly, because the husks swell out as the dough cooks.
  • Cover the tamales with more corn husks.
  • Cover the top of the steamer with a thick cloth (a piece of old toweling is best) to absorb condensation.
  • Cover the steamer with a tight fitting lid.
  • Let the tamales cook for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours over a medium flame.
  • Keep the water bubbling, but not boiling violently.
  • To test the tamales for doneness, remove one from the center, and one from the side of the steamer.
  • As you open the husk, the dough should come away easily from the husk and be completely smooth.
  • Once cooked, tamales are very good tempered.
  • They are great to eat right away and they also do very well being gently reheated in an ungreased frying pan.
  • Just keep turning them so that they are heated through evenly and the husk browns but does not burn.
  • They can be refrigerated and will keep well stored that way for about a week.
  • However, it is best to freeze them.
  • To reheat, they can be wrapped in foil, put into a 350°F oven still frozen, and heated through for about 30 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 2067gCalories: 108.6kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3.1gFat: 6.2gSaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 11.7mgSodium: 113.6mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 3.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chicken, Meat, Mexican, Poultry
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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.