Homemade tamales

Homemade Tamales Recipe: Best Latin Flavors For Christmas

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Last Updated on September 30, 2023 by Yvette’s Treasures

Recipe For Homemade Tamales 

Get ready to spice up your holiday season with a delicious and authentic Homemade Tamales Recipe! This Latin-inspired dish is the perfect way to add a burst of flavor to your Christmas celebrations. With traditional ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you’ll be able to impress your loved ones and give them a taste of true Latin cuisine.

From the savory masa dough to the mouthwatering fillings, every bite of these homemade tamales will transport you to the streets of Mexico. So grab your apron and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will leave everyone asking for more!

Homemade Tamales Recipe



The first step to making delicious homemade tamales is to gather all the necessary ingredients. The most important component is the masa, which is the dough that forms the base of the tamale.

To make the masa, you will need corn husks, masa harina (a type of corn flour), lard (or vegetable shortening), baking powder, and chicken or vegetable broth. This combination of ingredients creates a soft and fluffy masa that is perfect for tamales.


The filling is where you can get creative and customize your tamales to your liking. Popular filling options include shredded chicken, pork, beef, or even vegetarian options like cheese and roasted vegetables.

Other flavorful additions could include salsa, beans, or spices like cumin and chili powder. The filling is what adds a burst of flavor to each bite of the tamale, so make sure to choose ingredients that you enjoy.


The wrapper of a tamale is made from corn husks, which are dried and then rehydrated before use. The corn husks not only add flavor, but also help contain the filling while the tamale is being steamed.

You can find corn husks here or at most grocery stores, but make sure to soak them in warm water for about an hour before assembling the tamales.


To add a finishing touch to your homemade tamales, you can serve them with an array of delicious toppings. Popular options include salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and chopped cilantro.

These toppings not only enhance the flavors but also add freshness and texture to each bite. Feel free to experiment with different toppings to find your favorite combination.


Soaking the Corn Husks

Before you start assembling the tamales, it is essential to soften the corn husks. To do this, you will need to soak them in warm water for about an hour until they become pliable. This step ensures that the corn husks do not tear easily when you fold them around the tamale filling.

Preparing the Masa

To prepare the masa, you will need to combine the masa harina, lard (or vegetable shortening), baking powder, and broth in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix the ingredients until they form a smooth and homogenous dough.

The lard or vegetable shortening adds richness and helps create a tender texture in the masa. Make sure to season the masa with salt to taste.

best Recipe For Homemade Tamales

Preparing the Filling

The filling for tamales can be made in various ways depending on your preference. If you choose to use meat fillings, you will need to cook the meat until it is tender and easily shredable.

Once cooked, you can season the meat with spices and herbs according to your taste. For vegetarian fillings, you can simply combine your choice of vegetables, cheese, and spices in a bowl. The filling should be flavorful and moist to complement the masa.

Assembling the Tamales

Now that you have your softened corn husks, masa, and filling ready, it is time to assemble the tamales. Start by spreading a thin layer of masa onto the smooth side of a corn husk, leaving an inch of space at the top and bottom.

Spoon your desired filling onto the masa, being careful not to overfill. Fold the sides of the corn husk toward the center, enclosing the filling, and then fold the bottom of the husk up. Place the tamale seam-side down and repeat until all the masa and filling are used.

Steaming the Tamales

Steaming the tamales is the final step to achieve tender and flavorful results. You will need a large steamer pot with a steamer insert. Arrange the tamales upright in the steamer, ensuring that they are tightly packed to prevent them from unfolding during cooking.

Add water to the pot until it reaches just below the steamer insert. Cover the pot with a lid and steam the tamales over medium heat for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the masa is fully cooked and easily pulls away from the corn husk.

Vegetarian Tamales


Sweet Tamales

If you have a sweet tooth, you can switch up the traditional savory tamales and try making sweet tamales instead. For sweet tamales, you can add ingredients like cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and even fruit fillings like sweetened pineapple or strawberry jam.

The process of making sweet tamales is similar to savory ones, but the outcome is a delightful dessert that can be enjoyed on its own or with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Vegetarian Tamales

For those who follow a vegetarian diet or simply enjoy meatless options, vegetarian tamales are a great choice. You can use a combination of vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms to create a flavorful filling.

Adding beans, cheese, or tofu can also provide a protein-rich element. Vegetarian tamales are a delicious and satisfying alternative that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Christmas homemade tamales recipes

Seafood Tamales

If you’re a fan of seafood, why not try incorporating it into your tamale recipe? Seafood tamales can be made with ingredients like shrimp, crab, or fish. Sauté the seafood with onions, garlic, and spices for a flavorful and aromatic filling.

The delicate flavors of the seafood perfectly complement the masa, creating a unique and delicious tamale experience.

Tips and Tricks for Homemade Tamales Recipe

  • When spreading the masa onto the corn husks, it is helpful to dampen your hands with water to prevent the masa from sticking to them.
  • Make sure to tie the tamales with strips of soaked corn husks to keep them compact and secure during cooking.
  • If you don’t have a large steamer pot, you can use a colander placed over a pot of boiling water to steam the tamales.
  • Leftover tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, gently steam them until heated through, or warm them in the microwave.

Recipe For Homemade Tamales

Serving and Storage

Homemade tamales are best served warm and fresh out of the steamer. Arrange them on a platter and serve with your favorite toppings, such as salsa and sour cream.

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be enjoyed for up to three days after cooking.

My Thoughts On The Homemade Tamales Recipe

Making homemade tamales is a labor of love that brings a taste of Latin flavors to your Christmas celebration. With a few simple ingredients and a little patience, you can create a delicious batch of tamales that will impress your family and friends.

Whether you prefer savory, sweet, vegetarian, or seafood tamales, the possibilities are endless. So gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and get ready to enjoy these delightful treats that are sure to become a holiday tradition. Happy tamale making!


Yvette's Treasures
Homemade Tamales Recipe: Best Latin Flavors For Christmas
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Homemade Tamales Recipe: Best Latin Flavors For Christmas
Spice up your holiday season with a delicious Homemade Tamales Recipe! Impress your loved ones with true Latin flavors this Christmas.

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