Homemade tamales

Hey friends hey ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Sunday! Hope youโ€™re having a glorious morning.

What types of food do you enjoy to celebrate the New Year?

At our house, thereโ€™s always tamales, Mexican doughnuts (soft buttery doughnuts that will cover your soul in a blanket of happiness), pan de huevo (a sweeter bread, covered with a crunchy egg, sugary topping), tamales, chorizo and menudo.


I used to really love the menudo, especially with lime juice and cilantro. When I was 8, that immediately stopped when I found out what was in itโ€ฆ.

Now, I just eat extra tamales to make up for lost menudo consumption ๐Ÿ˜‰



Makes 1 dozen


-Husks (hojas)- you can find these in the ethnic section of most grocery stores

-bag of frozen organic corn, defrosted (you can also use fresh)

-masa harina (if you canโ€™t find this, use cornmeal and toss it in the Vitamix or a coffee grinder to finely grind)

-2 cans of green chilies

-cheese of choice (Iโ€™m rolling with Daiya), ground flax, butter of choice (Iโ€™ll use organic butter, but Earth Balance is lovely too), a lime, onion, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper (not pictured)


1. Soak the hojas in water, either in a large bowl or in the sink


2. While the hojas are soaking, add the following to the Vitamix or food processor โ€“if youโ€™re going the food processor route, combine the corn, onion, all of the spices, then transfer to a bowl and add the masa and water

-one bag of frozen organic corn

-3 C water

-juice of 1/2 lime

-1 t sea salt

-1/4 t pepper

-1/4 t cumin


-1 T ground flax

-1/4 onion

-2 T melted butter


garlic (I used Garlic Gold) and a pinch of Stevia

-3 C masa harina


3. Mix well, until everything is chopped and combined, but make sure that the mixture still has some texture


4. Next, rinse and dry the hojas.

5. Put 1/3-1/2 C tamale mixture into the center

hojas (2)

6. Now, the fun part: adding the fillings! Get creative here- you can use roasted red peppers, black beans, chili sauce, olives, shredded rotisserie chicken, spinach, cheese of choice- go crazy ๐Ÿ™‚

I rolled with canned green chilies (you can also roast your own), with Daiya (*for the record, Daiya melts BEAUTIFULY in tamales)tamale

Top with more masa,

tamale (2)

Fold each side over, and tie with a piece of hoja that youโ€™ve ripped from the side

tamales (2)

7. In a large pot with about 3 in of boiling water, add the steamer basket,


reduce heat to med-high, add the tamales, cover and steam for 30-40 minutes, until mixture is firm.


(Check every 10 min or so and add water as needed)

8. When the tamales are done, put on a cool face and try to hide your excitement, even though you can see the melted cheese peeking out at you.

tamale (3)

9. Foodgasm.

tamale (4)


Iโ€™m off to get started on the dayโ€™s to-dos ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a Happy Sunday and Iโ€™ll see ya later today!


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  1. Wow! Looks fabulous. I’ve always wanted to make those, but wasn’t sure where to start—thanks for the step-by-step guide!

  2. I love tamales but honestly never knew how to make’em. Thanks for this tutorial! I am working on my vision board, hope to give you a link by tonight ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oooooh, those look heavenly. What a helpful post, one I’m sure my husband will thoroughly enjoy!

  4. Yummmm. I love that these look all goey and comforting, but are still healthy. Mexican is one of the best ethnic cuisines- love me some spice!! Happy Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. THANK YOU! Seriously. We order tamales out on Friday night and I said “How do you actually put these together?” to my friend and Well here I go! Brilliant. I love the twist to yours too.

    Happy New Year!

  6. I’ve never had a tamales! Ahh. haha. i need to change that. yes?

    Today, i bought mesquite. And thought of you girl! Happy hippy new year!

  7. never had tamales before! great looking recipe and tutorial ๐Ÿ™‚ i’ll know where to go when i want to make them!

  8. these look awesome! total foodgasm! Mmmmmmmmm just need some chips and salsa on the side !!!!!!!!!!!!!


  9. yum. Just curious, why vegan cheese but regular butter? Convenience/taste?

    • Fitnessista says:

      real butter retains its molecular structure at high heat (unlike the oils found in butter subs), which makes it easier to digest and metabolize- and it tastes good! daiya is easier on my stomach than regular cow dairy, which gives me a stomach ache and makes my face break out.

  10. Good job on the tamales. I always think they are so hard to make but I love eating them and should learn to make them at home. I just hope they freeze well because I would like to make a batch.

    As for our food during New Years, we have a few tradition including noodle dishes because it means long life.

    We also have a ton of round fruits around. Having 13 different kinds of round fruits during New Yearโ€™s Eve is said to bring good luck and prosperity to the family for the coming year.

    Why 13 round fruits, you ask? 13 is a lucky number to the Chinese, and the fruitsโ€™ round shape resembles coins. They say it means wealth, abundance and prosperity.

  11. Thanks so much for putting this up! Ive always wanted to make tamales but they seem so intimidating..Have a great day!

  12. I wish I could find a good frozen/pre-prepared tamale. you make them look so good but there is no way I can buy all the ingredients to make just one for me and stash them all in my kitchen. do you know any good brands or ATL restaurants??

  13. Gahhhh I NEED to try these!

  14. Holy yum G!! I saved a shorcut to this page. I am DEF going to *try* and make my own tamales. …a new years reso ?? ;P You made it seem easy enough… I’m hoping mine turn out as good as yours !!

  15. looks very interesting! i’ll just come try these at your familys place k, it will be easier lol

  16. These look delicious! Our old southern new years tradition was always hoppin’ johns but now that i live a life sans meat, that dish is out of the picture. My mexican bf will surely appreciate THIS tradition, however ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Thanks for the how-to…I’ve always wanted to make these!

  18. Oh boy, I don’t blame you for passing on the menudo! Eek!

    Thanks so much for the tamale how-to! I can’t wait to try them out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Ok, totally stupid question from someone who’s never had a tamale…you’re not supposed to eat the husk, right?

    Those look AMAZING. Thanks for posting so many great new recipes to try! Happy New Year!

  20. Thank-you for this post. This is a recipe that I have been debating about attempting for a while and your step by step photos will make it that much easier!

  21. Could these be done in an electric steamer? Do they need space to breathe? Is the prep process long? Thanks for the great post!

  22. Omg Gina, thank you for this post!!!! I honestly had no idea how to make tamales. NONE! And I’m sure that somehow I could have figured this out, but you did all the work for me…and everyone else…thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the step by step. I know that can be time consuming to set camera down, and deal with that every 30 secs, so thank you!

    Have a beautiful Sunday..and enjoy a tamale for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I Love Love Love green chili and cheese tamales. I always wanted to know how to make them, but I was always too scared! You did a great job explaining step by step! Can’t wait to try these out =] Thanks for sharing!

  24. what is the flax for and can you omit it?

  25. Gina those look so yummy and pretty easy too! Do you tie both ends of the hojas to keep the filling from falling out? or is it basically just to keep the hojas from unwrapping?

    After looking at what’s in menudo….I don’t see myself eating it the future either lol maybe a vegan version will make it’s way in your life this year ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy New Year!

  26. I am so glad you posted this “how to” I am always looking for new recipes to give to my clients and you have done it again!!

  27. Tamales are on my meal plan soon!!

  28. Wow! These look yummy, healthy, and easy!! I’m definitely going to try these out! I can’t wait to experiment with new fillings too! The possibilities are ENDLESS! Thanks Gina!

  29. Yummy and sounds SUPER authentico!

  30. great post!!

  31. mi-an dela cruz says:

    yummm!!! i love tamales and def going to try these out! btw, i just made those relleno egg thingies you posted the other day and they are soo good!!! i put daiya cheese instead of goat cheese bc i didn’t have any. also drizzled some spicy red sauce on top…thanks for that recipe! ill be making that again!

  32. Yum, the tamales look great!

  33. My first tamale came with my Guatemalan exchange student in high school. She brought a bunch of Guate comida with her, including tamales. I look back on it now and wonder how she got it here safely cooled since they were already made and in a tupperware. We didn’t get sick, so I guess it worked out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Do you ever make rellenitos de platanos?

  34. I’ve always wondered what is in tamales every time you’ve mentioned them on the blog! Now that I know, I can see why you love them so much! ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. Holeeeeee crap, I need a Daiya tamale STAT!!!!!

  36. Omg those tamales, OMG! I need to get Daiya cheese ASAP. And I’m jealous you have an awesome farmers market near you, I’m hoping when my H gets a new duty station they’ll have a better market and more healthy food stores. We don’t even have a Traders Joes or Whole Foods here ๐Ÿ™

  37. You make them look so easy to make! I can’t wait to try making them myself. I just recently got hooked on tamales. That and soft, chewy churros yummm

  38. Oh G’izzle.

    I attempt *almost* every recipe you post!! THIS one …. I seriously messed up. lol

  39. Thank you!! My last attempt at these was a time consuming disaster, so will try this way (I was initially over ambitious, by starting with a Bobby Flay version, with not too much instruction!).
    & happy new year to you! I am still making me a vision board, but will share as & when ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. gina, your tamales are awesome…. as for the menudo. I made some this weekend and love, love it with lime and cilantro. I served myself a huge bowl full but picked out the tripe. Love the flavors but don’t care for the texture of the tripe. It was muy delicioso… love your blog.

  41. OMG I was totally craving tamales last night but I had no clue how to make them! Thanks for the awesome post (and pics!)!

  42. Mmm tamales! These look delicious!

  43. Made these tonight and they were really good! Getting the tamales all tied up was trickier than I thought it would be though!

  44. OHHH yum!! I have never ever had a tamale!! But they look FABULOUS. I want to eat one NOW! (:

  45. Just got these out of the steamer and had to break one open. They were awesome! I followed your recipe but left out the corn (forgot to pick it up at the grocery store), then added refried beans, hot green chilies, and pepper jack cheese for fillings. This was my first time making tamales, and I’m so pleased with your recipe and how they turned out!

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