Easy Recipes for a Romantic Dinner at Home

Listen closely amigos, do you hear that? It’s the sound of easy homemade tamales cooking in your kitchen. No need to fret or worry, because with this tamale recipe, you’ll be able to make real homemade tamales in no time at all.

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made to celebrate holidays or special occasions, but why wait for an event when you can make them yourself at home? The satisfaction of making a dish that is filled with various meats or vegetables, cheese and savory spices is immeasurable. And the taste? Oh, the taste! Let me tell you, there’s nothing like biting into a fresh and steaming hot tamale.

But I know what you’re thinking. Homemade tamales sound intimidating and complicated to make. Fear not my friend, because with my easy tamales recipe, I promise you that making tamales at home will be as easy as pie (or should I say tamale?). We’ll be using masa harina (a traditional ingredient in Mexican cuisine).

So let’s get ready to make some tamales! Get your ingredients ready– I suggest checking out the local Hispanic grocery stores for some of these ingredients– prep your kitchen counter and let’s roll up our sleeves together. Believe me; once you’ve made these easy homemade tamales, you’ll never go back to store-bought again.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Tamales Made Easy
Tamales Made Easy

Friends, let me share a little secret with you – tamales are a dish made in heaven! And with this easy tamales recipe, you’ll be transported to a world of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

What’s not to love about homemade tamales? It is a dish that has been passed down for generations, and it is easy to make with ingredients that are easily available. The tamale dough filled with various meats, cheese, and vegetables creates an explosion of flavors in every bite.

Not only are they delicious, but tamales are versatile too! You can customize them according to your taste preferences – replace the meat with cheese for vegetarian tamales or add some spicy green chile for a little heat. The possibilities are endless!

What sets our recipe apart is its authenticity – we use nixtamalized corn flour, which makes all the difference in the world. Combined with chicken broth, lard and salt, this tamale dough packs a flavorful punch. Pair it with some salsa verde or red pork for a delicious and authentic Mexican meal.

And let’s talk about how easy it is to make perfect tamales thanks to this recipe! Our step-by-step instructions will guide you through every aspect of the process, from preparing the masa harina dough to filling corn husks hojas with it. We have also included tips for perfect results and substitutions should you need them.

To summarize, this tamale recipe is easy to make, customizable, delicious and authentic. It is sure to become a staple in your Mexican food repertoire-whether you serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Ingredient List

“Wrapped with love: these tamales are a labor of love but worth every minute.”

The essentials

  • 1 package dried corn husks
  • 6 cups masa harina
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the filling

  • 1-pound lean ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can hominy drained and rinsed
  • 1 can tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ounce package of Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups of chicken or low-sodium vegetable broth

Alternative fillings

Tamales can be filled with various meats and vegetables. Apart from beef filling, you can try these options:

Vegetarian tamales:

Replace beef with stir-fry vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, and carrots.

Cheese and green chile tamales:

Use a mix of shredded cheddar cheese and canned diced green chiles for a delicious vegetarian option.

Red pork tamales (Tamales rojos)

Cook shredded meat with red chile sauce until meat is tender. Use this as your filling mixture.

Salsa verde chicken tamales

Cook shredded chicken in salsa verde. This will give a tangy and delicious flavor to your tamales.

Remember to soak the dried corn husks hojas in warm water to soften them before assembling the tamales. The amount of filling depends on the size of the husks, but start with about 2 tablespoons per tamale.

The Recipe How-To

“The secret’s in the filling: these tamales are stuffed with a mouth-watering pork and chili mixture.”

Once you have gathered all the essential ingredients, it is time to dive into making these delicious tamales. Follow these instructions to make your own homemade tamales!

Step 1: Prepare the Corn Husks

The first step in making tamales is preparing the corn husks. First, place them into a large bowl and pour boiling water over them for about an hour until they become more pliable. After this is complete, rinse the husks off under cold water and pat them dry.

Step 2: Make the Tamale Dough

In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of masa harina, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually add 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, 1/3 cup of vegetable shortening, and beat all ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Make Filling

While getting the tamale dough ready, it’s essential to prepare your filling. For example, if you want to make Red Pork Tamales (Tamales Rojos), prepare a red chile sauce along with cooked shredded pork in advance.

Step 4: Assemble the Tamales

For each tamale on a soaked corn husk or hoja, spread about 3 tablespoons of masa mixture in rectangular shape leaving enough room around to wrap it up later. Add adequate amounts of filling in between the masa layers aligning it right in center.

Fold sides of the corn husk over so that they overlap slightly; fold up the bottom end and tie with small strip of corn husk., then set each tamale aside after having a completed roll.

Step 5: Cook Tamales

Once all tamales have been assembled, arrange them into your pre-steamer pan. Add water to below the steamer rack to avoid contact with tamales then start steaming them together. Let tamales steam over medium-high heat for 40-45 minutes.

Final Step: Enjoy Prime Tamales

Now, once you have cooked your tamales, it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Serve the tamales along with your favorite Mexican garnishes including salsa verde or crumbled queso fresco or Monterey Jack cheese.

Substitutions and Variations

“Masa perfection: my recipe for masa yields a tender and flavorful dough.”

In the culinary world, it is all about experimenting and trying new things. That is why I am excited to share with you some substitutions and variations for this tamales recipe. With a few tweaks here and there, you can create delectable variations of this dish made with various meats, or even make it vegetarian or vegan.

For those who love Mexican food and want to add spice to their homemade tamales, you can try using red pork or salsa verde as a substitute for the ground beef. For cheese lovers out there, Monterey Jack cheese can be substituted with any other type of cheese to give your tamales an extra cheesy bite.

Vegetarians can opt for vegetarian tamales by replacing meat entirely with vegetables like green chile or corn. Another option is to use beans instead of meat for protein, which is just as delicious and satisfying.

For vegan tamales, you can skip using eggs and unsalted butter entirely. Instead, you can use vegetable shortening or olive oil as substitutes. You can try filling them with a mixture of sautéed veggies like tomatoes, garlic cloves, green peppers or onions. Pair it with a delicious red chile sauce made from scratch and you are all set.

Lastly, corn husks hojas can be substituted with parchment paper if they are not readily available in your local store. But keep in mind that corn husks add their own unique flavor and aroma to the tamale dough since they are infused with nixtamalized corn flour.

Try incorporating some of these substitutions and variations into your next homemade tamales recipe for a fresh twist on a classic dish made easy!

Serving and Pairing

“A steaming hot plate of tradition: tamales are a classic dish in many Latin American countries.”

Ah, the moment has finally arrived! Your homemade tamales are ready to be served and devoured by those eagerly awaiting guests. Before we dive in, let me share some of my favorite drinks and sides to pair with these easy homemade tamales.

First up, drinks! For a truly authentic experience, I recommend serving your tamales with some horchata or agua de jamaica. These sweet and refreshing options complement the savory flavors of the tamales and provide a perfect balance for your taste buds. If you prefer something stronger, grab a bottle of cerveza or even some tequila to sip alongside your dish.

Now, let’s talk about side dishes that go well with tamales. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a simple side salad made up of fresh greens, cherry tomatoes and avocado slices. Another great option is Spanish rice or black beans which both complement the tamales nicely. Don’t forget to add a dollop or two of your favorite salsa – whether it’s salsa verde or red pork chili-based one – as it brings everything together for that perfect bite.

One last idea to elevate your tamale program: make them into an entree! As mentioned earlier, these versatile treats can be filled with various meats or vegetables making them a great option for vegetarians as well as meat-eaters. Pairing them with arroz con pollo, enchiladas or even fajitas make for a complete meal that you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with.

Remember that there is no right or wrong way to serve tamales – it all depends on personal preference – so don’t be afraid to get creative and try new combinations! But above all else—enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Tying it all together: a simple tie with corn husks keeps the tamales perfectly wrapped while they steam.”

Ah, my dear amigos, I know that sometimes life can get a little crazy and preparing a batch of tamales all in one go might not be possible. Fear not, as I am here to assure you that with a bit of planning, you’ll be able to enjoy your homemade tamales for days to come.

If you want to make-ahead the tamales, I suggest wrapping them with parchment paper and storing them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to reheat them. Just make sure they’re properly sealed to avoid freezer burn, which could negatively impact their taste.

When it’s time to consume these delicious treats, simply reheat them by steaming them again. If you thawed them in the fridge overnight, let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before reheating. Place them in a steamer basket lined with corn husks and steam them for about 20-25 minutes (depending on size) until heated through.

One thing to keep in mind is that the texture of the tamale might vary slightly after freezing or reheating, but fear not as they will still taste amazing.

If you have leftover tamale dough or filling, don’t throw it away! You can store it separately in an airtight container and use it in other recipes like empanadas or tacos.

Overall, with these simple tips on make-ahead, storing and reheating homemade tamales, you’ll always have an opportunity to enjoy this beloved dish – hold on tight and let your taste buds sail into Latin America.

Tips for Perfect Results

“Prepping for the fiesta: tamales make a great addition to

Making tamales can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to pay close attention to detail along the way. Here are some tips for creating perfect tamales every time.

Firstly, it’s important to soak your corn husks in warm water for at least thirty minutes before using them to prevent them from tearing or breaking during assembly. Dry or brittle corn husks won’t be able to withstand the tamale-making process, and you don’t want your fillings to spill out.

Secondly, when preparing the dough, make sure you add enough liquid, but not too much. The mixture should be moist but not too wet or dry – this is key to ensure that your tamales stay intact and don’t crumble apart.

Next, add plenty of seasoning. Tamales are meant to be flavorful and savory, so don’t be afraid to use spices like cumin and chili powder in your meat or vegetable filling. Also, salt any layers of cheese generously for a more intense taste.

In addition, it’s better to spread masa thinly on a corn husk than thickly as doing the latter tends to result in super dense tamales. Too much masa will also affect the cooking time and texture of the tamales.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of experimenting with various fillings! Try different concoctions and see which ones suit your taste. Just make sure that whatever recipe you choose has enough moisture content since this dish requires slow cooking which tends to dry out food over time.

Remember these tips during your next tamale-making adventure and enjoy perfect results every single time!


As a seasoned chef, I understand that there may be some questions that arise while trying out new recipes. So to help you get the most out of this easy tamale recipe, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers below. Keep reading to learn more about making tamales step-by-step and the variations you can try with this versatile and delectable dish made from Nixtamalized corn flour.

What is the secret to moist tamales?

When making tamales, it’s essential to add sufficient fat to the mixture to ensure they turn out moist and packed with flavor. In Mexico, lard is typically used, but vegetarians can opt for butter or shortening as an alternative.

What are the steps in making tamales?

Firstly, grab your soaked corn husks and lay them out on a flat surface. Next, use a trusty utensil to swiftly spread the masa onto the husk. Afterward, pick your filling or sauce of choice and center it on top of the masa. Don’t be shy, pile it on to ensure ultimate satisfaction later. Gently fold the husk in half lengthwise, enclosing the filling. Then, roll the tamale into a tightly-wrapped burrito shape. The top of your corn husk should be skinny, take this end and carefully fold it down to seal-off one side of your tamale. Lastly, tie both ends of the husk together securely so that it does not unravel. Get ready to dig in!

What are real Mexican tamales made of?

In Mexican cuisine, there is a well-known dish called “tamales” that features a unique dough mixture made from corn. These small, rectangular-shaped stuffed delicacies can be filled with different ingredients such as beef, pork, chicken, vegetables or cheese. Tamales are typically steamed or boiled in either corn husks or banana leaves which provides a natural flavor to the dish. When serving, it is customary to top tamales with freshly made pico de gallo, alongside a side of guacamole and rice to elevate the flavors.

What makes a good tamale?

When making masa for your Brazilian or American cuisine recipe, it’s important to use fresh nixtamalized corn flour. The fresh flour truly enhances the flavor with its authentic corn taste and moist texture, eliminating the need for added liquid or fats to compensate.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, tamales are a dish made with passion and love. It is a dish filled with various meats, vegetables, and various spices that ignite taste buds to life. Making tamales may seem daunting at first, but with this easy homemade tamales recipe, it’s simpler than you think.

Now you know the secret technique to making real homemade tamales – using nixtamalized corn flour. You have learned about the essential ingredients necessary to make the perfect tamale dough – masa harina, lard, chicken broth, and baking powder.

Whether it’s authentic Mexican pork tamales or beef tamales, vegetarian tamales or vegan tamales, or even cheese and green chile, corn tamales or red pork or salsa verde tamales – the possibilities of flavors are endless.

By following the step-by-step instructions in this recipe article on how to make easy tamale recipes from home, you will be able to make delicious and authentic tamales in no time. Make sure to store them correctly if you’re not serving them all at once.

I hope you take up the challenge of making your very own easy homemade tamales with this recipe article’s guidance soon. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you for it!

Tamales Made Easy

Tamales Made Easy Recipe

Awesome easy tamales, kid friendly. No husks or leaves needed.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 309.9 kcal


For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, cored and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

For the Dough

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans hominy, drained
  • 6 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

For assembly

  • 10 ten sheets parchment paper (10x12 inch)
  • 10 ten lengths kitchen twine (30 inch)


  • First, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato and continue cooking until a sauce has formed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the beef to the mixture and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces, until the meat loses its pink color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken broth and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove the filling from the heat and let it cool.
  • Make the dough. Put the hominy in a food processor and pulse it until it's smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the cheese and butter and pulse until well blended, about 30 seconds more. Add the eggs and the yolk and pulse again. Add the mustard, baking powder, salt, and hot sauce and process until a light, fluffy dough has formed. Transfer the dough to a cake pan, spread it over the bottom, and divide it into 10 portions.
  • To assemble each tamale, place half a portion of dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten the dough into a 3- by 5-inch rectangle, then spread 1/4 cup of filling onto the center of the rectangle. Cover the filling with the other half of the dough and pat it down. Tightly fold the parchment paper around the tamale and secure it with twine (http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/how-to-wrap-a-tamale-877507/).
  • Fit each of two large pots with a steaming basket or colander. Add water to each pot, filling it to just below the bottom of the basket. Remove the baskets and bring the pots of water to a boil.
  • Loosely arrange five tamales in each basket, leaving space for steam to circulate as the tamales cook. When the water is boiling in each pot, set a basket inside and cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Top the towel with a tightly fitting lid and steam the tamales, replacing water as needed until they are firm to the touch, about 30 to 40 minutes. Use tongs to remove the tamales from the baskets (a parent's job). Let the tamales cool slightly before serving with your favorite salsa. Makes 10 tamales.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 208gCalories: 309.9kcalCarbohydrates: 15.8gProtein: 14.8gFat: 20.8gSaturated Fat: 10.2gCholesterol: 117.7mgSodium: 752.9mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 2.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Kid-Friendly
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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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.