How to Make

This traditional Mexican dish may take time to prepare, but tamales are actually easy enough for most cooks. 


What Are Tamales?

A Latin American classic, these corn husk-wrapped bundles are filled with a corn-based dough called masa and other tasty ingredients.

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How Do You Eat Them?

Don’t eat the husk! Simply unwrap, scoop out with a fork and enjoy!

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Find out how to make them! 

Curved Arrow


– 24 dried corn husks – 1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-4 lbs.) – 3 qt. water – 1  onion – 2 tsp. salt – 1 garlic clove

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Dough:  – 1 cup shortening – 3 cups masa harina

Filling:  – 6 Tbsp. canola oil – 6 Tbsp. flour – 3/4 c. chili powder – 1/2 tsp. salt – 1/4 tsp. garlic powder – 1/4 tsp. pepper – 2 cans sliced ripe olives


Soak the husks

Rinse the corn husks to remove any debris, then place in a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Soak for at least 2 hours.

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Cook the chicken

Combine chicken, water, onion, salt and garlic in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil,  then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken is tender, 45 to 60 minutes.

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Prep chicken and broth

Remove chicken and let it rest until cool. Pour the broth through a strainer to remove the vegetables. Skim the fat from the top with a big spoon.

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Make the dough

Beat shortening until fluffy, then beat in the masa slowly, alternating with 2 cups of broth. Beat until the dough is uniform and light.

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Test by dropping the dough  in cold water; it should float.


Cook the filling

In a Dutch oven, heat oil and flour over medium heat  until lightly browned. Stir in the seasonings, chicken and  4 cups of broth. Bring to a  boil. then reduce to simmer, uncovered, stir occasionally for 45 minutes.

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On the wide end of a dry  husk, spread 3 tablespoons  of dough to within a half inch  of the edges.  Top each with 2 tablespoons of filling and 2 teaspoons olives.

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Assemble (cont.)

Fold the long sides over, making sure they overlap slightly.

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Assemble (cont.)

Fold the narrow end over and tie with a strip of husk to secure.

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Place a steamer basket in the stockpot over 1 inch of water. Place the tamales in upright and bring to a boil. Steam, covered, until the dough peels away from the husk (45 mins).

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Dig in and enjoy your  hard work! Cooked tamales can be frozen, too! Let them cool, then freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and steam for about 15 minutes.

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