How to Make Tamales 

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour



  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1 3/4 lbs boneless chicken meat (We like a mix of breast and thighs)
  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/3 cup lard


Submerge and soak the corn husks in hot water until pliable, 1 hour. Let them continue to soak while working on the following steps.

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and let simmer until cooked, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and separate chicken and broth, keeping both. Shred the chicken once it has cooled enough to handle.

Purée the cilantro and 1 1/4 cups of the reserved broth in a food processor or blender until smooth.

In a medium pot, cook the cilantro broth with the garlic, cumin, and salsa. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken, add salt if desired, then remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, chili powder, lard, and 2 2/3 cups reserved broth. Mix with hands until it feels like mashed potatoes and a marble-sized ball of dough floats in water, about 10-15 minutes.

Drain the husks, and pat to dry. Spread about 2 tbs of the masa dough on the husks, leaving at least 1/2 inch empty space around the edges.

Spoon on about 2 tbs of the meat mixture in a line down the center of the masa dough.

Roll the husk to surround the meat with masa, then fold in the edges. Tie the tamales closed with kitchen twine if they don't stay closed on their own.

Place steamer basket in the bottom of a stock pot and pour in as much water in the bottom as you can without filling past the bottom of the basket.

Stand the tamales in, folded side down, leaned towards the center.

Over medium, bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce enough to maintain a simmer.

Steam the tamales until the dough is firm and pulls away from the husk easily, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. While cooking, check on the water level every 15-20 minutes. If more water is needed, boil water in a separate pot, then pour it in down the side of the stockpot.


Throw a party and make a big batch with friends, then freeze the leftovers. Tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, cooked frozen tamales can keep for up to a month. Simply steam to reheat and enjoy.