Corn Husk Tamales

Even though these are not the only tamales that there are, they are the most popular in Mexico City. I grew up eating this kind and for a long time I really thought a tamal had to always be wrapped in a corn husk. My parents made tamales for a while for their restaurant and I always got the job to clean each husk to make sure they didn’t come with any dirt or weren’t broken. Not a very fun job, but it was better than beaten the dough by hand. For my tamal party I made 7 different flavors of these tamales. For savory tamales the dough is the same, only the filling change. The secret for a great tamal is in the dough. Beating the lard separately first and then adding the rest of the ingredients and keep beating until it becomes fluffy. It’s hard work, but fortunately my KA did that part and made our lives a lot easier that day.

Basic Dough for Tamales
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Makes 20-25
  • •500 gr (1 lb 2 oz) lard
  • •1 kg (2 lb 2 oz) ground corn for tamales, fresh (you can substitute with this)
  • •1 TBSP salt
  • •200 gr (7 oz) Maseca tortilla flour
  1. Using a heavy duty mixer beat lard for about 10 minutes at medium high speed until it turns white and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl mix salt with the tamal and tortilla masas.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and start adding the dry masas, one cup at a time.
  4. Increase the speed to medium high again and beat for about 10 more minutes. The dough will be ready if it floats when you drop a little bit in a glass water.
  5. **To make the tamales:
  6. •You can find corn husks at your Mexican or Latino market. Make sure to wash them very well and soak them for about 10 minutes before using.
  7. •Spoon a little bit of the dough in the middle of the husk spreading it with the spoon.
  8. •Put a little bit of your filling in the middle and wrap the husk tightly. With your hand squeeze the tamal towards the bottom of the husk and fold the top of the husk underneath.
  9. •Use a second husk if the first one is too small and didn't get to cover the tamal. Place in steamer.
  10. •Cook for about one and a half hours. The tamales will be ready when they don't stick to the husk anymore.

My chiquita at work!

Tamal masa

Pork and green salsa tamal.

And that's how you wrap a tamal

The fillings can be anything from mole, gren sauce, slices of peppers with cheese, chicken, pork, beef, etc. There are even some sweet tamales, but that will be my next post.

Mole tamal

Guajillo and raisins tamal

Rajas and quesillo tamal

¡Buen provecho!


  • Lovely! I have to make that speciality soon…



  • ben ben ben we need to get you to open a tamale food truck. i mean come on. lol

  • Someday I will make tamales. I swear it. And when I do…you are absolutely going to be my go-to source!

  • I need to come to your party!!

  • Makes me want to have a tamale-making party! It’s nice to see a recipe for using masa harina instead of having to slake the whole dried corn and take it to the tortillaria for grinding. For a fairly labor-intensive process, you have made it look so easy. Thanks, Ben.

  • Tamales are one of my favorites and we buy them a lot but I've never seen such great directions to make them myself- thank you for the great recipe!

  • no tengo ni tiemp ni paciensa para hacer tamales, pero me has entojado con esta receta. bookmarked to make!


  • And all this time, I thought tamales were “healthy”, but now I know they use lard. I knew it was too good to be true.
    But they taste great all the same.

  • I need to to find someone that can sell me corn husks year round I pay $ 1.50 per 16 oz , 1lb if you can match this price or match it then please contact me at Thanks The Tamale King 1

  • I I like the details of the recipe. I cooked mine in the microwave on self – cooking speed 7. Delicious.thanks

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