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Enjoy your own homemade tamales with this delicious recipe

If you enjoy Mexican food and crave the taste of tamales at home, here's the perfect recipe. You'll want to make several dozen and freeze them. Then you can, indeed, have them any time you please!

Plan to spread out this process over a couple of days. The time for steaming is about 3 ½ - 4 hours. Round up an extra-large steamer or you'll be doing them in batches for a very long time!


You will also want to corral a friend or family member and make it a party - a second pair of hands is almost a necessity.

You can make as many or as few as you want, but this recipe will make approximately 86 tamales, give or take, which is about the usable amount of corn husks in a one-pound bag. One pound equals about 110 corn husks; some you will have to discard and some will be used for strings to tie the tamale bundles.

Meat Mixture
5 pounds pork shoulder
3 pounds chicken legs and thighs
1 three-pound hen
(If you have leftovers, just freeze it for the next batch or use it for enchiladas. If you have too little, just make fewer tamales.)

5 Tablespoons chili powder
3 Tablespoons cumin
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoons ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon (or less) salt
¼ cup corn oil

Masa mix

3 pounds masa flour

4 Tablespoons chili powder
4 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons cumin
1 Tablespoon salt
3 cups corn oil
3 quarts mix of pork and chicken broth

Day 1
Cut the pork butt into 4-6 chunks. Place the pork, hen, and legs/thighs into three separate pots. Simmer for about 2 hours or until internal temperatures reach 160/180 respectively. Remove from pots and let cool. Reserve broth, let it cool, and place in refrigerator.

After meat has cooled, shred on large cutting board and combine in one or more bowls. Add the spices and corn oil. Refrigerate the broth and the shredded meat.

Day 2
Soak the corn husks for about 2 hours. Rinse thoroughly and drain on paper towels. Separate the longest husks and reserve for making ties.

Remove the broth and meat from refrigerator. Skim fat from broth and combine to make a total of two quarts (you may need more or less - do not discard remaining broth, yet).

In a large bowl combine the masa and spices - stir thoroughly. Warm the broth and begin adding it a little bit at a time. You will want to use your hands to really mix the flour and liquid. You are looking for the consistence of a nice mud; not too thick or too thin.

Hold the husk with the pointy end at the tips of your fingers and the wide end over the palm. Use approximately 3 tablespoons of masa to coat the inside of the husk. Leave the sides and ends clear. Add a heaping tablespoon of meat on top.

It's faster to load several husks before you start tying off the bundles.

To make a double-tied bundle, bring the sides of the husk together and fold over together. Press down and bring up one end of the tamale. Wrap a string around the closed end and tie. Repeat with the other end; fold it over and tie.

Set up your steamer/steamers and bring the water to a boil. If any husks are left over, add them to the steamer to increase flavor and to layer in between bundles.

That's it. Use a pair of tongs to test occasionally after the first two hours. The masa will thicken and lift cleanly away from the husk when done. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze. They can be reheated in the oven or microwave, or re-steamed.


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