Tamales (GF, V)


  • 10 – 15 corn husks + 2 – 3 extra for ties
  • Warm water
  • 8 oz (230g) masa harina flour
  • 0.25 cup oil
  • 0.5 t salt
  • 0.5 t baking powder
  • 0.5 t baking soda
  • 1 – 1.5 cups + 1T water
  • 1 – 2 T lime/lemon juice (optional)
  • Filling of choice – some good options are beans, sweet potato, tofu, or TVP
  • Spices – the spices and flavors you choose should be a good combination that goes with your filling of choice. Make sure that your filling is very flavorful because that is what makes this dish tasty.

Special tools:

  • Large pan/bowl that fits the corn husks
  • Bamboo or metal steamer


  1. In a large pan or bowl, soak your corn husks in warm water for 20 – 30 minutes, or until foldable and soft. Make sure that the water is covering all parts of the husks.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the masa, oil, lemon/lime juice, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the baking powder, baking soda, and 1T water.
  4. Pour baking soda/powder mixture into the masa.
  5. Slowly mix in about 1 – 1.5 cups water until the dough becomes a spreadable consistency, slightly resembling hummus.
  6. Cook your filling. Make sure that it is either mashed or in very small pieces so that it works in your tamales.
  7. Add desired spices/flavors to your filling. Make sure you add enough for it to flavor your whole tamale.
  8. After your corn husks have soaked for 20 – 30 minutes, drain the water and dry individual husks thoroughly.
  9. Place 2 – 3 T of the masa mixture onto the top (widest part) of the corn husk. Spread in a thin layer, leaving 2 – 3 in (5 – 7 cm) space, uncovered.
  10. Place a line of your filling in the center of the tamale, facing from the top to bottom.
  11. To fold, bring the left side of the husk and fold it over the filling, making sure that it stays. Next, bring the right side over the left to form a cylindrical roll. After that, fold up the bottom part (where there is no masa/filling) up onto the top. Rip a 1/2 in (1.5 cm) piece of husk, lengthways, and tie around the middle of tamale, holding the flap from the bottom together with the top.
  12. Repeat steps 9 – 11 will all corn husks, or until you run out of filling or masa.
  13. Once all tamales have been rolled, set up your steamer. Depending on how your steamer is made, your tamales may be laying down, but it would be better if they were standing up, so the filling does not spill out.
  14. Boil 3 – 4 in (8 – 10 cm) of water at the bottom of your steamer.
  15. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, place tamales in the steamer basket. Make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the tamales in any way.
  16. Cook tamales for 1 hour, making sure that the water does not boil off, and the pan becomes dry. This can become a fire hazard, so watch it carefully.
  17. After the hour of cooking, carefully remove tamales from the steamer, being careful of the hot pan and steam. Let cool for 15 – 20 minutes before serving.

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