Appetizer Recipes

Savor the Flavor: My Favorite Tamale Recipes Authentic & Delicious

tamale recipes authentic
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Written by Lyndas

Welcome to my kitchen, where I’ll be sharing my favorite authentic and delicious tamale recipes. These traditional recipes have been passed down through generations and are perfect for your next family gathering or holiday feast. From homemade tamales to classic fillings, I’m excited to spill all of my secrets to make your tamale experience truly authentic and flavorful.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to make authentic and delicious tamale recipes in your own kitchen.
  • Discover traditional recipes passed down through generations.
  • Perfect for family gatherings or holiday feasts.
  • Explore homemade tamales and classic fillings.
  • Embrace the flavors and techniques for an authentic tamale experience.

Why this Tamales Recipe Works

This tamales recipe is a crowd-pleaser for many reasons. The flavorful filling features roasted pork shoulder and a homemade red chile sauce, resulting in tamales that are tender, meaty, and packed with flavor. The combination of ingredients and spices creates a truly authentic taste that will transport you to Mexico with every bite. Whether you’re a seasoned tamale maker or trying your hand at it for the first time, this recipe is sure to impress.

What sets this tamales recipe apart is the attention to detail in the filling. The roasted pork shoulder is cooked to perfection, resulting in tender, juicy meat that pairs perfectly with the homemade red chile sauce. The sauce, made from scratch using a blend of dried chiles, brings a rich and complex flavor to the dish. It provides just the right amount of heat and spice, without overpowering the other ingredients.

In addition to the flavorful filling, the masa dough used in this recipe is key to creating the perfect tamale. The dough is prepared by beating corn masa flour, baking powder, and spices until it is light and fluffy. This step is crucial in ensuring that the tamales have a soft and tender texture. The masa provides a neutral base for the filling to shine and adds a subtle corn flavor to each bite.

What Makes This Tamale Recipe Authentic

“This recipe stays true to the traditional tamale making process, using authentic ingredients and techniques passed down through generations. From the homemade red chile sauce to the slow-roasted pork filling, every element of this recipe reflects the flavors and traditions of Mexican cuisine.” – Chef Maria Gonzalez

By following this tamales recipe, you’ll be able to recreate the authentic taste and experience of enjoying tamales in Mexico. The attention to detail in choosing the right ingredients and the step-by-step instructions ensure that your tamales turn out just like the ones made by abuelas and master tamale makers.

Flavorful Filling that Delights the Senses

Ingredients Quantity
Roasted pork shoulder 2 pounds
Red chile sauce 2 cups
Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup, grated
Other essential spices As per taste

The combination of roasted pork shoulder and red chile sauce in the filling is what makes these tamales truly special. The tender, flavorful pork pairs perfectly with the rich and spicy sauce, creating a filling that is a delight for the senses. The addition of Monterey Jack cheese adds a creamy and melty element to the filling, making each bite even more satisfying.

Overall, this tamales recipe is a testament to the beauty and flavor of authentic Mexican cuisine. The combination of a flavorful filling, tender masa dough, and traditional techniques ensures that each tamale is a true culinary masterpiece. Whether you’re making tamales for a special occasion or simply to enjoy with your loved ones, this recipe will impress and delight everyone who tries it.

Ingredients for Pork Tamales

To make these delicious pork tamales, you will need a few key ingredients. This includes corn husks for wrapping the tamales, roasted pork shoulder for the filling, and a homemade red chile sauce. Other essential ingredients include Monterey Jack cheese, instant corn masa flour (masa harina), baking powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, lard (or alternative fat), and chicken broth. These ingredients come together to create a rich and flavorful tamale that will satisfy your cravings.

To help you visualize the ingredients needed, here is a table outlining the main components:

Ingredients Quantity
Corn husks 1 package
Roasted pork shoulder 2 pounds
Red chile sauce 2 cups
Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup
Instant corn masa flour (masa harina) 3 cups
Baking powder 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder 1 teaspoon
Garlic powder 1 teaspoon
Lard or alternative fat 1 cup
Chicken broth 2 cups

With these ingredients on hand, you’re all set to start making your delicious pork tamales. The combination of flavors and textures will leave you craving more with every bite.

How to Make Tamales: The Tamale Making Process

Learning how to make tamales may seem intimidating at first, but with the right guidance, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. In this section, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of making delicious tamales right in your own kitchen.

Gather Your Ingredients

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients on hand. As mentioned in Section 3, you’ll need corn husks, roasted pork shoulder, homemade red chile sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, instant corn masa flour, baking powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, lard (or alternative fat), and chicken broth. Having everything prepared and within reach will make the tamale making process much smoother.

Prepare the Corn Husks and Filling

The first step is to soak the corn husks in water to make them pliable. While they’re soaking, you can prepare the filling by combining the shredded pork with the red chile sauce. This flavorful mixture will be the heart of your tamales, so make sure to evenly distribute the filling for each tamale.

Assemble and Cook the Tamales

Once your corn husks and filling are ready, it’s time to assemble the tamales. Start by spreading a layer of masa dough on each corn husk, leaving space at the top and bottom. Add a spoonful of the filling in the center, then carefully roll and fold the husk to enclose the tamale. Place the tamales in a steamer basket or rack, and steam them for about 60 to 75 minutes, until the masa is cooked through.

And there you have it! A delicious batch of homemade tamales ready to be enjoyed. Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or simply to satisfy a craving, the tamale making process is an art that anyone can master with practice. So gather your ingredients, prepare your fillings, and get ready to savor the flavors of authentic and delicious tamales.

How to Make Tamales

Cooking Tamales: Methods and Tips

When it comes to cooking homemade tamales, there are a few different methods you can choose from. Each method has its own unique advantages and can result in delicious, perfectly cooked tamales. Let’s explore some of the most popular tamale cooking methods.

Stovetop Steaming

Stovetop steaming is a classic method for cooking tamales. To steam tamales on the stovetop, you’ll need a large pot with a steamer basket or rack. Fill the pot with water, making sure it doesn’t touch the tamales when they’re placed in the basket or rack. Bring the water to a simmer, then arrange the tamales in a single layer on the steamer. Cover the pot with a lid and steam the tamales for 60 to 75 minutes, or until they’re fully cooked and the masa is firm.

Instant Pot Cooking

If you’re looking for a quicker cooking method, the Instant Pot is an excellent option. To cook tamales in the Instant Pot, add water to the inner pot and place a rack at the bottom. Arrange the tamales on the rack, close the lid, and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 25 minutes. Once cooked, carefully release the pressure and remove the tamales from the Instant Pot. This method saves time without compromising on flavor or texture.

Grilling Tamales

For a unique twist on traditional tamale cooking, you can also try grilling them. Begin by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Remove the tamales from their husks and place them directly on the grill grates. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are heated through and lightly charred. This method adds a smoky flavor to the tamales and creates a crispy exterior.

When cooking tamales, it’s important to make sure they are fully cooked before serving. To check for doneness, you can insert a toothpick into the center of a tamale. If it comes out clean, the tamales are ready to be enjoyed. Now that you know the different cooking methods, you can choose the one that suits your preferences and get ready to savor the mouthwatering flavors of homemade tamales.

cooking tamales

Tamale Cooking Method Advantages
Stovetop Steaming
  • Traditional method
  • Results in tender tamales
Instant Pot Cooking
  • Quick cooking time
  • Retains flavor and texture
  • Adds a smoky flavor
  • Creates a crispy exterior

Tips for Making Tamales

Making tamales can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help you make the best tamales possible:

1. Prepare the corn husks properly

Before using the corn husks, make sure to soak them in warm water until they become pliable. This will make it easier to wrap the tamales and prevent them from drying out during the cooking process. Additionally, take the time to inspect the husks and remove any debris or damaged sections.

2. Get creative with fillings and flavors

While traditional pork fillings are delicious, don’t be afraid to experiment with different fillings and flavors. Consider adding ingredients like chicken, beef, cheese, or vegetables to create unique and tasty tamales. You can also spice up the masa dough by adding herbs, spices, or even a touch of hot sauce.

3. Use a light hand when spreading the masa dough

When spreading the masa dough onto the corn husks, use a light hand to ensure an even and thin layer. This will help the tamales cook evenly and prevent them from becoming too dense. You can use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the dough smoothly.

4. Cook the tamales thoroughly

It’s crucial to cook the tamales thoroughly to ensure they are safe to eat. Steam the tamales for the recommended amount of time, making sure the dough is cooked all the way through. You can test for doneness by unwrapping a tamale and checking if the dough pulls away from the husk easily.

With these tips in mind, you can confidently embark on your tamale-making journey and create delicious tamales that will impress your friends and family. Happy cooking!

How to Freeze and Reheat Tamales

When it comes to tamales, they are worth every bit of effort that goes into making them. But what if you find yourself with leftovers or want to make a big batch in advance? Freezing and reheating tamales is a great way to enjoy them later without sacrificing any flavor or texture. Here’s how to do it:

To freeze uncooked tamales, start by wrapping each tamale tightly in the corn husk. Then, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, making sure to remove any excess air. Label the container with the date and contents. You can freeze uncooked tamales for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.

If you have leftover cooked tamales or want to freeze cooked ones, let them cool completely before freezing. Wrap each tamale individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Again, make sure to label the container with the date and contents. Cooked tamales can be frozen for up to three months as well.

Freezing Tamales Reheating Tamales
Wrap uncooked tamales tightly in corn husks Thaw frozen tamales overnight in the refrigerator
Place in a freezer-safe container or bag Steam tamales on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes
Label with date and contents Alternatively, reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes
Freeze for up to three months Or reheat in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes

To reheat frozen tamales, there are a few methods you can use. One option is to steam them on the stovetop. Simply place the thawed tamales in a steamer basket or colander over simmering water and steam for 10-15 minutes, until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave by wrapping each tamale in a damp paper towel and microwaving on high for 1-2 minutes. If you prefer a crispier exterior, you can reheat them in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

Whether you’re freezing uncooked tamales or storing leftovers, knowing how to properly freeze and reheat tamales will ensure that you can enjoy this delicious dish whenever you’re in the mood. So go ahead and make a big batch, knowing you can savor the flavor of tamales even on busy days.

Helpful Tools for Tamale Making

When it comes to making tamales, having the right tools can make all the difference. Here are some essential tamale-making tools that will help you prepare these delicious treats with ease:

Masa Spreader

A masa spreader is a handy tool that helps you evenly spread the masa dough onto the corn husks. It ensures that each tamale has a consistent layer of masa, resulting in uniform cooking and texture.

Tamale Steamer

A tamale steamer is a must-have for cooking tamales. This specialized pot comes with a steamer insert and lid, allowing you to steam the tamales to perfection. The steamer ensures that the tamales cook evenly and retain their moisture, resulting in tender and flavorful treats.

Corn Husk Soaker

Before using corn husks for wrapping tamales, they need to be soaked to make them pliable. A corn husk soaker, such as a colander or large bowl, is essential for this step. Simply place the husks in water and let them soak until they become soft and easy to handle.

Blender or Food Processor

To make the homemade red chile sauce, a blender or food processor is essential. These appliances help you blend the ingredients into a smooth and flavorful sauce, giving your tamales that authentic taste.

Having these essential tamale-making tools will make your cooking experience smoother and more enjoyable. They’ll help you create perfectly cooked tamales that are bursting with flavor. So gather your tools, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to make some delicious tamales!

More Recipes You Will Love

Looking for more delicious tamale recipes to satisfy your taste buds? Look no further! Here are some mouthwatering variations that will take your tamale-making skills to the next level.

1. Chicken and Cheese Tamales

For a savory twist on the traditional tamale, try making chicken and cheese tamales. These flavorful delights combine tender shredded chicken with melted cheese, creating a heavenly filling that is sure to please. Simply add cooked chicken and shredded cheese to the masa dough, wrap it all up in corn husks, and steam until perfectly cooked. Serve with your favorite salsa or guacamole for an extra burst of flavor.

2. Sweet Strawberry Tamales

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love these sweet strawberry tamales. The combination of juicy strawberries, sugar, and cinnamon wrapped in fluffy masa dough is a delightful treat that’s perfect for dessert or breakfast. Make a batch of these fruity tamales and watch them disappear in no time. They’re sure to become a family favorite!

3. Chiles Rellenos

Expand your Mexican recipe repertoire with chiles rellenos. This classic dish features roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, dipped in a light egg batter, and fried to golden perfection. The result is a cheesy, slightly spicy treat that will leave you craving more. Serve with salsa or a tangy tomato sauce for a complete and satisfying meal.

These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities when it comes to tamale variations and Mexican recipes. Get creative in the kitchen and experiment with different fillings, spices, and flavors to make each batch of tamales a unique and delicious experience. Whether you’re a tamale enthusiast or new to the world of tamales, these recipes are guaranteed to impress and satisfy.


In conclusion, my journey into exploring authentic tamale recipes has been a truly delicious and rewarding experience. From mastering the art of making homemade red chile sauce to perfecting the tender and flavorful pork filling, I have discovered the secrets to creating authentic and mouthwatering tamales.

These traditional recipes, passed down through generations, are perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a family gathering or a festive holiday feast. The combination of ingredients and spices in the masa dough and filling creates a symphony of flavors that will transport you to the heart of Mexico with every bite.

So, grab your corn husks and get ready to embark on your own tamale-making adventure. These recipes are sure to impress and delight everyone who tastes them. Whether you’re a seasoned tamale maker or a first-time enthusiast, the joy of indulging in these authentic tamales is an experience you won’t want to miss. So savor the flavors, and enjoy the journey!


Can I make these tamales ahead of time?

Yes, you can! These tamales can be frozen before or after cooking. To freeze uncooked tamales, wrap them in the filling and corn husks, then place them in a freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for up to three months. To reheat frozen tamales, simply steam them in a microwave, stovetop, or Instant Pot until warmed through.

What tools do I need to make tamales?

While making tamales doesn’t require any specialized tools, having a few helpful items can make the process smoother. Some essential tools for tamale making include a large pot or tamale steamer for cooking, a blender for blending the red chile sauce, and a slow cooker for slow-roasting the pork shoulder. Other useful tools include a steamer basket or rack, a colander for soaking the corn husks, and a measuring cup or cookie scoop for portioning the masa dough.

Are there other variations of tamales I can try?

Absolutely! Tamales come in endless variations. From savory options like chicken or cheese-filled tamales to sweet versions like strawberry or pineapple tamales, there’s something for everyone. You can also explore other delicious Mexican dishes like enchiladas, chiles rellenos, or mole sauce to expand your recipe repertoire.

Is the tamale-making process difficult?

Making tamales may seem daunting, but it’s actually a straightforward process. To start, you’ll need to prepare the corn husks by soaking them in water. Then, you’ll prepare the filling by combining the shredded pork with the red chile sauce. Next, you’ll make the masa dough by beating the corn dough until it is light and fluffy. Once the dough is ready, you’ll assemble the tamales by spreading the masa on the corn husks, adding the filling, and rolling them up. This step-by-step process will ensure that your tamales turn out perfectly every time.

How do I know if my tamales are fully cooked?

There are a few different methods for cooking homemade tamales. One option is to steam them on the stovetop. To do this, you’ll need to arrange a steamer basket or rack in a large pot of water, place the tamales on the rack, and steam for 60 to 75 minutes. Another option is to cook them in the Instant Pot. Simply add water to the inner pot, place a rack in the bottom, arrange the tamales on top, seal the lid, and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Whichever method you choose, make sure to check for doneness by testing the tamales to ensure they’re fully cooked.

How can I make the tamale-making process easier?

Making tamales can be a time-consuming process, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make it easier and more enjoyable. One tip is to make a larger batch of the red chile sauce and freeze it for future use. This will save you time when you’re ready to make more tamales. Another tip is to use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the masa dough on the corn husks. This will help ensure an even and smooth layer of masa. Additionally, tightly packing the tamales in the pot will result in a longer cooking time, so be mindful of spacing.

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