Making great tamales takes some practice, between getting the feeling of the masa dough just right, forming and folding them, keeping the steamer air-tight and knowing when they are done. However, when they are done perfectly, this simple combination of masa, sweet corn, chicken and cheese makes for a truly satisfying meal.

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 110 min

Total time: 115 min

Sweet Corn, Chicken and Cheese Tamales
Copyright Recipe © 2015 Woodland Foods


Makes 12 tamales

  • 12 Corn Husks, plus extra to cover

  • 1 3/4 Cups Masa Harina

  • 1 1/8 Cups Hot (Not Boiling) Water

  • 2 Large Ears Fresh Sweet Corn, husked and cleaned

  • 4 Ounces Lard

  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

  • 6 Ounces Chihuahua Cheese, cut into 3-inch strips

  • 2 Cups Shredded Chicken


  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. Cut kernels from corn, and place in food processor. Process to medium-coarse, paste-like puree. Add cooled masa, lard, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pulse a few times; process continually for 1 minute. Mixture should be light and well-combined.

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

  5. Divide batter evenly among soaked corn husks, spreading out to form rough rectangle. Place 2 tablespoons shredded chicken and 1 stick 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, then lid.

  6. 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.