Homemade Tamales

Homemade Tamales

I have no idea what gave me the idea, but I decided to try my hand at making tamales. I did what we all do when we don’t know how to make something. I consulted the Oracle of Google and came up with this site: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/how-to-make-tamales.

While time consuming, it was so simple to make these! Ali’s directions for making the masa dough were fabulous. Lots of pictures and even an animated gif to show how to assemble the tamales.

First of all, you’ll need to get dried corn husks to wrap the tamales for steaming (you don’t eat them0. If you can’t find them locally, Amazon’s got you covered. Here’s the lowdown on the rest (copied from the original recipe, but reformatted for my tech writing brain and easy reference).

Dinner is served.

Masa Ingredients

  • 6 cups masa harina (Note: this is NOT the same as cornmeal. If you can’t find it at your grocer, you know who has this too!)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup corn oil

Filling Ingredients

  • 2–3 cups filling (see ideas below)
  • 1/2-1 cup salsa (see ideas below)

Masa Directions

You’ll want to use a stand mixer for this. You can make the dough ahead of time if you like. I did, then covered the mixing bowl of dough with a damp towel and put it in the fridge.

  • Using the whisk attachment, combine masa harina, salt, cumin, and baking powder.
  • Add the oil, then beat on low speed until combined.
  • Gradually add the stock, and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Once the stock is incorporated, increase speed to medium, and beat for about 10 minutes or until until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.

Note: This recipe made about twice as much dough as I needed. On the upside, you can freeze the dough for another day!


For the filling, I used leftover roasted chicken (about 2 cups) that I seasoned (to taste) with a teaspoon of fajita seasoning and a few tablespoons of mild salsa.

I also had some leftover braised short ribs that I shredded up and used as it was for a beef filling.

Really, you could fill them with anything and it’s a great way to use up leftover meat or veggies.

Assembly & Cooking

Here I’m going to send you back to Ali’s site, because she does such a great job of explaining how to fill and assemble the tamales, as well as great ideas for go-withs and toppings. While I used the InstantPot to steam mine, she’s got instructions for that and for the stovetop as well. The best part (IMO)? The Girl loved it! Woo hoo! A new recipe to add to the family dinner rotation.

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