Authentic Mexican Tamales: A Step-by-Step Guide

Authentic Mexican Tamales: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embark on a culinary adventure by making traditional Mexican tamales at home. This dish is a staple in Mexican cuisine and is perfect for any festive occasion or a hearty family meal. We’ll walk through the process of creating tamales from the masa dough to the flavorful fillings and the steaming process. So, roll up your sleeves and prepare for a delightful cooking experience!


  • 2 cups masa harina (corn dough flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 20 dried corn husks
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or pork
  • 1 cup red or green salsa


  1. Prepare the Corn Husks: Begin by soaking the corn husks in warm water for at least an hour or until they are soft and pliable. This will make them easier to fold and prevent them from tearing.
  2. Make the Masa Dough: In a large bowl, mix the masa harina, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the lard or shortening until it’s fluffy, then gradually mix it into the masa harina mixture. Slowly add the broth, continuing to mix until a soft dough forms. The dough should be spreadable but not too sticky.
  3. Prepare the Filling: Your filling could be anything from seasoned and shredded meats to spicy veggies. For this recipe, mix the shredded meat with your choice of salsa to add flavor.
  4. Assemble the Tamales: Take a softened corn husk and spread about 2 tablespoons of masa dough onto the center in a thin layer. Add a spoonful of your filling on top of the masa. Fold the sides of the corn husk inward over the filling, then fold the bottom of the husk up. Secure it with a strip of corn husk or twine.
  5. Steam the Tamales: Fill a large pot with a steamer insert at the bottom with water just below the level of the steamer. Arrange the tamales standing up with the folded part at the bottom. Cover with a damp cloth and the lid. Steam for about 90 minutes or until the masa separates easily from the husks.
  6. Serving: Let the tamales rest for a few minutes after steaming before serving. Enjoy your homemade tamales with additional salsa, sour cream, or a side of rice and beans.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Keep the masa covered with a damp towel while working to prevent it from drying out.
  • For a vegetarian option, use cooked and seasoned vegetables or cheese as the filling.
  • Ensure the water in the steamer doesn’t touch the tamales and refill as needed during steaming.

There you have it, an authentic Mexican tamale that’s sure to impress at your next gathering. With a little practice, you’ll be wrapping and steaming tamales like a pro. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!

By admin

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