Delicious and Authentic Mexican Tamales: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making this Classic Dish

Unwrap the Flavor of Mexico with our Authentic Tamales Recipe

HFN Mexican Tamale Recipe
HFN Mexican Tamale Recipe
Paid Advertisement

If you’re looking for a traditional Mexican dish that is both flavorful and satisfying, then look no further than Tamales. These savory pockets of dough filled with meat and spices have been enjoyed for centuries and are a staple in Mexican cuisine. In this recipe, we’ll show you how to make delicious and authentic Mexican tamales that are sure to impress your family and friends.

One of the best things about tamales is their versatility. You can fill them with almost anything, including meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and chilies. This recipe features a classic filling of chicken and fresh cilantro, seasoned with garlic, cumin, and hot salsa verde. The filling is then mixed with a homemade ancho chile sauce that adds a smoky and slightly spicy flavor to the dish.

To make the tamales, you’ll need dried corn husks, which are readily available in most grocery stores. The husks are soaked in warm water to soften them before being filled with the masa dough and chicken filling. The dough is made from masa harina, a type of instant corn flour, and lard, which gives the dough its spongy texture. Baking powder is also added to the dough to help it rise.

Once the tamales are assembled, they are steamed for an hour until the dough is cooked through and the filling is hot and tender. The tamales can be served on their own or topped with a creamy chile sauce made from the remaining ancho chile sauce mixed with sour cream.

Paid Advertisement

While tamales may seem like a daunting dish to make, they are actually quite simple with a little bit of practice. Here are some tips to help ensure that your tamales turn out perfectly:

  • Soak the corn husks for at least 30 minutes before using them to make the tamales. This will help to soften them and make them more pliable.
  • Make sure the masa dough is the right consistency. It should be spongy and easy to spread, but not too wet or dry.
  • When spreading the masa dough onto the corn husks, make sure to leave enough space around the edges so that you can fold the husks over and seal the tamales.
  • Don’t overfill the tamales. You want to make sure there is enough room for the dough to expand as it cooks.
  • Steam the tamales for at least an hour, or until the dough is cooked through and the filling is hot and tender. If you’re not sure if they’re done, you can test one by opening it up and checking the dough.

When it comes to food safety, it’s important to make sure that the tamales are cooked thoroughly to avoid any risk of foodborne illness. This means steaming them for at least an hour until the dough is fully cooked and the filling is hot. It’s also important to wash your hands and any surfaces that come into contact with raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.

In conclusion, Mexican tamales are a delicious and versatile dish that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or just to enjoy with family and friends, this recipe is sure to please. So why not give it a try and experience the rich and savory flavors of authentic Mexican cuisine in your own kitchen?

HFN Mexican Tamale Recipe

HFN Mexican Tamales

Recipe Author : Mike Gonzalez
Tamales are much simpler to make than you might think! They can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.

Please Rate this Recipe

Be the First to Rate This Recipe
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 24 tamales


  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 1 tbsp chicken-flavored bouillon powder
  • 1 lbs skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • ¾ lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup hot salsa verde
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 dried ancho chile stemmed and seeded
  • 4 cups masa harina instant corn flour
  • 1 1/3 cups lard


  • Place pork into a Dutch oven with onion and garlic, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 2 hours.
  • Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, stir in salt, and set aside. Shred the cooked meat and mix in one cup of the chile sauce.
  • Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water. In a large bowl, beat the lard with a tablespoon of the broth until fluffy. Combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt; stir into the lard mixture, adding more broth as necessary to form a spongy dough.
  • Spread the dough out over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Place one tablespoon of the meat filling into the center. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.
  • Remove tamales from husks and drizzle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, mix sour cream into the chile sauce.


A tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish, made of masa or dough, which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The wrapping can either be discarded prior to eating or used as a plate.
Keyword Tamales
Did You Like This Recipe?Take a picture and mention us on Pintrest @HispanicFoodNetwork or tag it with #hispanic_food_network! Don’t forget to subscribe to our email list for more recipes!

Did You Know

Pre-Columbian Mayas
In the pre-Columbian era, the Mayas ate tamales and often served them at feasts and festivals. The Classic Maya hieroglyph for tamales has been identified on pots and other objects dating back to the Classic Era (200–1000 CE), although it is likely they were eaten much earlier. While tortillas are the basis for the contemporary Maya diet, there is remarkably little evidence for tortilla production among the Classic period Maya. A lack of griddles in the archaeological record suggests that the primary foodstuff of the Mesoamerican diet may have been the tamale, a cooked, vegetal-wrapped mass of maize dough. Tamales are cooked without the use of ceramic technologies and therefore the form of the tamale is thought to predate the tortilla. Similarities between the two maize products can be found in both the ingredients and preparation techniques and the linguistic ambiguity exhibited by the pan-Mayan term was referring to a basic, daily consumed maize product that can refer to either tortillas or tamales.

Pre-Columbian Aztecs
In the pre-Columbian era, the Aztecs ate tamales with fillings such as turkey, flamingo, frog, axolotl, pocket gopher, rabbit, fish, turkey eggs, honey, fruits, squash, and beans, as well as with no filling. Aztec tamales differed from modern tamales by not having added fat.

One of the most significant rituals for the Aztecs was the feast of Atamalcualiztli (eating of water tamales). This ritual, held every eight years for a whole week, was done by eating tamales without any seasoning, spices, or filling which allowed the maize freedom from being overworked in the usual tamale cooking methods.

Paid Advertisement


Recipe Rating

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.