How To Make Homemade Tamales

Did you know that tamales are an ancient dish that goes all the way back to 8000 to 5000 BCE? Today they are a staple in Mexican cooking and have made their way all across the globe. Tamales are tasty and filling and are the perfect food to prepare with friends. 

If you’d like to learn how to make homemade tamales, check out this recipe below! 

Important Notes About Homemade Tamales

What are tamales? If you haven’t been introduced to this awesome Latin American meal staple, you are in for a treat. Tamales are little corn-husk wrapped packages that have a filling of pork, chicken, beef, cheese, or vegetables inside. 

To successfully make a tamale recipe, you’ll want to pick up Chef-Grade Masa flour, or masa harina. The first and most important question is, what is masa harina? This key ingredient is the heart of all authentic tamales recipes.

It’s often made with single-origin corn that hails from Oaxaca, Mexico. Masa harina is crafted by a process called nixtamalization, which means that the whole corn is steeped and cooked in slaked lime water. After being dried and ground into flour, it becomes shelf-stable masa flour. 

How to Make Tamales Step-by-Step

Ready to learn how to make tamales? For an authentic Mexican beef tamales recipe, check out our version below. 


50 Dried Corn Husks

5 lbs. Groud Beef

1 4 oz Can of Green Chiles

1 Tablespoon Salt

5 Teaspoons Chipotle Hot Sauce

3 Cloves of Garlic, Pressed or Finely Chopped

1 Tablespoon White Onion, Minced

2 Teaspoons Ground Black Pepper

1 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper

1 2 lb Package of Chef-Quality Masa Flour

2 Tablespoons Lard

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Cups Water

Chile Sauce


First, soak the corn husks in water for at least two hours, and then drain when finished. Prepare the filling by browning the beef, onions, green chiles, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic cloves. Cook 10-15 minutes and then drain and set aside the drippings from the pan. 

Next, make the dough by mixing the drippings, masa flour, lard, and baking powder in a bowl. Add one cup of the water slowly, one teaspoon at a time, until it forms a thick dough. Divide into 50 round circles, and flatten by pressing them between wax paper.

Grab your corn husks, and put one circle of dough in each. Add around 3 tablespoons of the beef mixture to each corn husk, and then fold opposite ends of the circle to enclose the filling. Then roll the corn husks around that, and fold it at one end. 

Fit a double boiler with a steamer over simmering water, and put in a batch of tamales folded-end side down. Raise the temperature to a boil, cover, and steam for at least 20 minutes. Remove corn husks to serve, and top with chile sauce. 

Ready To Make Tamales?

Now that you’ve learned about what goes into homemade tamales, you can make the perfect version for yourself. They’re great to freeze and save for future meals, too. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, check out the rest of our site for more helpful posts!