Making tamales is a large undertaking and takes a bit of time and patience, but they are so good!

I like to rinse the corn husks if they seem dusty, then I bring a large pot of water to a boil, then turn off and soak the husks (about 20) in the water for at least 30 minutes. Drain when you are ready to assemble.

  • 1 cup, plus 2 tbsp of quick grits (not instant)
  • 1.5 cups of hot water

Put these together in the food processor with the lid on and let them sit for 10 minutes.

  • Add 1 cup, plus 2 tbsp Masa Harina and run the food process or for a few seconds to mix, then let this mixture sit for 20 minutes with the lid on to hydrate.

Add the rest of these ingredients to the food processor and run it until well mixed:

  • 1.5 cups of corn
  • 4 tbsp of softened lard
  • 8 tbsp of softened butter
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt


There are several fillings you can use. You just want to make sure all meats are precooked and cooled, very well seasoned and not too saucy so all of the sauce doesn’t leak out.

  • Green chiles and jack cheese
  • Shredded beef with red enchilada sauce
  • Shredded pork with red or green enchilada sauce
  • Seasoned ground beef
  • Chorizo


Lay out the corn husks with the point toward you. Add about 1/4 cup of the masa mixture to the husk about an inch from the top edge. I like to use a measured scoop to make them consistent. Spread the masa into a 4 inch square, leaving about 1/2 an inch of room on along the top and along the left side. Place about 2 tbsp of filling in the middle of the masa. Then use the husk to wrap the masa around the filling. Try to have the masa meet and enclose the filling on the sides and bottom. Roll the husk around the outside and fold the bottom upward.


Prepare a large stock pot with a steamer basket, water in the bottom and a washed coin in the bottom of the pan. You can also put the extra corn husks over the steamer basket to create a wider base. Then you can shingle the tamales upright around the edge of the pot until you get them all in place. Put the pot on the stove and heat until you can see the production of steam. You should also be able to hear the coin rattling in the bottom of the pot. Put a lid on the pot and try to maintain the steam for a cook time of 1 hour. You will likely need to add more water a few times, so try to leave a space to pour it in without pouring it on the tamales. If the coin stops rattling or you smell burning, add more water. When done the tamales should be firm and easily pull away from the husk.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *