Tamales for Beginners
I love tamales, but they are very time-consuming.

This recipe is for you who would like to try making them. They aren't difficult, they just require some time from start to finish.

If you don't want to invest in a tamalera (tortilla cooking pot), you can rig one to fit a tall soup pot, or pasta pot by finding a stainless steel trivet or round rack that fits in your pot. Cover it with foil, then poke holes in the foil. It has to sit high enough above the tamales, so they get steamed, not water-logged.

Do what the Mexicans do and have a "Tamalada," which is to invite some people over, and set up an assembly line. Make some margaritas or mojitos. Aye, caramba!


corn husks
tamale dough
filling (s)
chicken stock
additions to masa dough
shredded cheese
tamalera (tamale cooker)
lard or Crisco

This recipe is for 32 tamales, which easily freeze.

Some easy tamale fillings:

black bean and corn salsa with cheese
sauteed chiles and cheese with onions
mixed sauteed bell peppers with cheese and spices
sauteed garlic shrimp with cheese

Take them to a party, and they may be the first thing to disappear.

I make dozens of these for customers between mid-November and Xmas Eve, at which time, I go into tamale withdrawal until Cinco de Mayo.

How to videos are on the net.

Best Re-Heat Method for frozen tamales: Put them in a crockpot for 2-3 hours on high, no water, and cover. Microwave is fine, if they are not frozen, but the crockpot or oven are best for frozen ones.


  • 1-2 recipes tamale fillings of choice (good way to use leftovers, too)
  • 1 lb. shredded cheese
  • masa:
  • 4 cups tamale masa - tortilla mix will not work
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
  • 4-6 chopped scallions
  • 1/2 tbs. cumin powder
  • 1 tbs. garlic powder
  • optional: minced jalapenos
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ground pepper
  • other seasonings, such as Goya Sazon (I used 2 packets for the beautiful color and flavor - see pics), taco seasoning, chile powder, etc.
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 1/4 cups lard or Crisco
To see directions and other information about this recipe, please follow this link