Tamale Recipe


I didn’t think I’d be able to make tamales – but this tamale recipe proved me wrong! Mexican food is so delicious, and gives us plenty of options to make healthy meals without breaking the bank.

This is an abbreviated variation of the tamale recipe

from the phenomenal Mexican chef (and Top Chef Master), Rick Bayless, so if you are new to tamales or need some clarification, please go check out the full description and details on his website. I am such a huge fan of his, and rely on his recipes when I need a really down and dirty Mexican dish. He really delivers!!

I abbreviated it, well, mainly because I use this website all the time to make these dishes. Once you make this recipe once, it is very nice to have a simple bullet list of the ingredients and steps, so here it is! I also list the healthier ingredients that we use in our kitchen.


Tamale Recipe

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 26 Tamales

Serving Size: 2 Tamales

Tamale Recipe

This sure looks like a lot of steps, and it does take some getting used to. However, once you've done it, you'll totally get it, and it will be a fantastic make-ahead food that the family will love.


  • 1 8-ounce package dried cornhusks
  • 10 ounces vegan shortening (we use Spectrum)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3-1/2 (to 4) cups Masa harina
  • 2-1/4 cups hot water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 cups Quick Braised Wild Game (or other meat)
  • 1/2 cup Green Tomatillo Salsa (optional)
  • Mole Sauce (optional)


    Prepare Filling
  1. Cook and pull apart the meat. Braised meat works the best.
  2. Mix meat with sauce of your choice (i.e. Tomatillo Salsa, salsa, hot sauce, etc.)
  3. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the Corn Husks
  5. Cover husks in very hot water, weight with plate (completely submerged) and let soak for 2 hours, or until pliable.
  6. Separate 28 of the largest and most pliable husks (at least 6 inches across and 6-7 inches long). If you are short, double up the smaller husks. Place onto towel.
  7. Prepare the batter.
  8. Mix shortening with 2 teaspoons salt and the baking powder until light in texture (about 1 minute).
  9. Beat as you add the masa in three additions.
  10. Reduce to medium-low speed and add 1 cup of the broth.
  11. Keep beating for another minute or so (until 1/2 teaspoon dollup of the batter floats in a cup of cold water).
  12. Beat in enough of the remaining broth to give the mixture the consistency of soft (not runny) cae batter. It should hold its shape in a spoon.
  13. Taste and adjust if necessary.
  14. Refrigerate for an hour or so, then re-beat, adding a bit more broth or water to bring it back to the desired consistency.
  15. Build
  16. Cut 26 thin strips of corn husks. One at a time, form the tamales:
  17. Lay corn husk with tapering end toward you.
  18. Spread about 1/4 cup batter into 4-inch square, leaving at least 1-1/2 inch border on the side toward you and a 3/4 inch border along the other sides (with large husks, borders will be bigger).
  19. Spoon about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the meat filling down the center of the batter.
  20. Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together (this will cause the batter to surround the filling). Again, see Chef Bayless's site for more details.
  21. Fold the empty 1-1/2 inch section of the husk to form a tightly closed "bottom."
  22. Either fold over the top or leave it open (we fold ours).
  23. Secure the tamale in place by loosely tying the string around the tamale.
  24. Cook and Serve
  25. Put steamer into large pot with water and heat. See Rick Bayless's website for details and options.
  26. Set tamales into steamer, alternating criss-cross layers, leaving room between (do not pack too tightly).
  27. Cover with a layer of leftover corn husks.
  28. Cover and steam over constant medium heat for about 1-1/4 hours.
  29. Do not let water boil away - add boiling water to steamer if needed.
  30. Tamales are done when the husk peels away from the masa easily.Let tamales stand in the steamer off of the heat for a few minutes to firm up.
  31. For best results, let cool then re-steam for 15 minutes to re-heat thoroughly.


Serve with or without salsa or other sauce. We LOVE our tamales with mole sauce! We made our own so that it's healthy.




There was an issue loading your timed LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.