Making great tamales takes some practice but they are fun to make and the rewards are worth the effort. Masa is the secret to this ultimate Mexican comfort food. This recipe with cheese and chile is just as delicious with chicken, pork or sweet fillings like dried fruits.

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 105 min

Total time: 115 min

Mexican Tamales
Copyright Recipe © 2015 Woodland Foods


Makes 12 tamales

  • 12 Corn Husks, plus extra to cover

  • 1 3/4 Cups Masa Harina

  • 1 Cup Hot (But Not Boiling) Water, plus 2 tablespoons

  • 4 Ounces Lard, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, slightly softened

  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Sea Salt Flakes

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth

  • 6 Ounces Chihuahua Cheese, cut into 3-inch long sticks

  • 2 Poblano Peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into strips


  1. Place corn husks in large bowl of cold water. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, stir together Masa Harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Allow to cool.

  3. Add cooled masa, lard, sugar, salt and baking powder to food processor . Pulse a few times; process continually for 1 minute.

  4. Add chicken stock in small batches and continue to pulse until dough is light and slightly fluffy.

  5. Set up small steamer basket in medium-sized pot, and add about 1 inch of water.

  6. Divide batter evenly among soaked corn husks, spreading out to form rough rectangle. Place a few strips of poblano and stick of cheese in center. Enclose filling in batter by folding over husk. Fold pointed end up over bottom half of filling. Leave top open. Stand up tamales in steamer basket, open ends up. Cover tamales with additional corn husks, then damp cloth and lid.

  7. Bring water to a boil over medium heat, and continue steaming, adding more water if necessary, for about 1 hour. Tamales should easily come free from husks when properly steamed.