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Classic Chicken Tamales

Prep: 30 min  Cook: 30 min

10 Servings


  • 1 package dried corn husks
  • 6 cups masa harina
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken filling
  • 1 cup red or green enchilada sauce – mild or medium, your preference
  • toppings of choice – (guacamole, enchilada sauce, hot sauce, salsa, cilantro)


  1. Place the corn husks in a large bowl, fill with warm water and place a second bowl on top to weight the corn husks down so they are submerged in the water. Soak for 30 minutes.

 Make the Masa

  1. While the corn husks are soaking, in the bowl of a large stand mixer whisk together masa harina, salt, cumin, chili powder, and baking powder. Add the oil, beat on low until combined, then gradually incorporate the chicken/vegetable stock. Once incorporated, switch to medium-high speed and mix for 6-8 minutes until light and fluffy.


  1. Combine your filling and enchilada sauce in a medium bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or a large cookie scoop to place one scoop of masa in the middle of a corn husk. Use wet fingers to pat masa into a large rectangle long enough to hold your filling. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of filling into the center of the masa and spread with your fingertips to spread the filling into a line going down the center of the dough. Pull the two long sides of the corn husk up above the filling and pinch together to seal the dough over the filling. Fold the touching sides around the tamale, then fold up the narrow/pointed end of the corn husk and wrap with a long thin strip of a corn husk. Set aside and repeat.

Cook the tamales

  1. Fit your stockpot or pressure cooker with a steamer basket. Add 2 cups water to the bottom of the pot. Fill the steamer basket with tamales standing up on one end. Steam for 30 minutes on the stovetop or 20 minutes in your pressure cooker (high pressure) with natural release. Husks should easily peel away from the tamales when they’re done. Serve immediately, or refrigerate or freeze for later use

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