I have a little confession to make.

I’m a tamale addict.

I also have an un-explainable need to stop at every roadside taco truck that we drive past in our road trips.

But honestly, that’s another post for another time.

But back to the tamales….the tamale ADDICTION…

As in, we absolutely HAVE to have them every time I am anywhere within 100 miles of a restaurant that serves them.

Now when living back in Colorado that meant I probably ate 3 times my weight in tamales every single year. Easily. But since moving to the frozen north land filled with good hearted Norwegians, amiable Dutch, and brat-making German peoples…well, lets just say finding tamales to eat is much much more of a challenge. I love also that I have managed to pass on my love and passion for tamales on to both my husband and 2 of my 3 girls. We’re still working on the other one.

But about that challenge of finding them around here….

I may not be able to FIND them…so I rise to the challenge of making them. *wink*

So since posting on our Welcoming House FB page on New Year’s eve that our family tradition is home made and steamed tamales, and having my big brother constantly pester me about writing the recipe down for him and the world (gotta love it when your family knows you’re a good cook, right?)…well, here you all go.

They ARE crazy good. And I have had a lot of time over the last almost 20-years of living in the frozen tundra to work on the recipe. Best part of all of it?

Did you know you can either steam them the traditional way, OR STEAM THEM IN THE INSTAPOT?

Yeah. I am gonna go there. I promised on this post earlier this year I would be posting more Instapot/electric pressure cooker recipes for you all since its now the “thing” for everyone. And this recipe is fabulous in the Instapot, if a little fussier on the prep side of things. Still, churning out some fabulous tamales in half the time as the traditional method, yeah, I am all up for that.

After all, it means MORE tamales for me….and that’s a VERY good thing.

Enjoy…and if you have any questions, put them in the comments.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Heather <3



You will need one package of dried corn husks for making tamales. This recipe makes roughly 30 tamales, which is one traditional steamer basket, or 2 instapot run throughs. We always make extra and freeze them. Because…well read above, people.

*Take the corn husks and place them in a large bowl, then cover with hot or boiling water. Weight them down with a plate so they are submerged, to make them easier to roll and use for tamales. I put them on before I ever get started making the meat and dough, which takes about 30 minutes.

Tamale Meat:

4 cups shredded chicken, pork or beef

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning

1 large can red enchilada sauce

1/4 cup medium diced and roasted jalepenos that have been chopped

1 onion, finely diced

(In a blender, puree up the sauce, seasonings, and jalepenos. then add that to the meat and onion)

Set aside for to fill the tamales.

Masa Dough for the tamales:

3 cups Masa

1 cup Lard

1 tsp baking powder

2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water

1 tsp salt

(mix all of these well. It will make a runny dough but you will be able to spread it easily on the corn husks and not have too thick of a dough around the filling)

If you are unfamiliar with how to roll tamales or spread the dough and filling, here is a fabulous simple video on how to do that. Pretty easy. Lets move on to the different cooking methods:


Line the tamales open side up in the steamer basket on top of about 2 qts of water. Make sure there is room for the steam to circulate so you get good even dough consistency, and not icky ones that didn’t cook all the way through. Cover with a lid, and set to a low simmer. From the time it begins to simmer, it takes about an hour before they are done. At that point we lay them out on a rack (well, lets be honest, everyone is acting like they are about to eat each other and might die if they dont get one immediately, so I hand off one to them and then guard the rest with my life.). ANYHOW, lay them out on a cooking rack and let them cool completely if you are going to freeze. We just bag ours up in freezer bags and throw in freezer for quick meals.


Put the tamales in the Instapot or your version of one, on the rack, and then place 1-2 cups of water in the bottom of the instapot (read your directions for time cook as each machine is different). These will steam for 20 minutes under time cook option on your cooker. Once they are done, allow them to naturally release, and enjoy. You can cool and freeze them in exactly the same way.