Homemade Tamales

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This recipe for gluten-free Homemade Tamales sounds so much easier after seeing the photos. I feel like I could make them--and they look so yummy

Let’s be honest. There was a time when, I, like all the other uninitiated, bought my tamales at a grocery store. Or, before they were widely available at the grocer, I had to wait until the nice lady in my office would make them around Christmas and buy a few dozen. A couple of years ago, though, I learned how to make Homemade Tamales. Now, I’m no longer a prisoner! I am free to eat as many tamales as I want! Freeeeeedoooom!

easy recipe for homemade tamales feature

Ok, so maybe it is easier t  just buy the tamales–or order them at the restaurant. But…there’s something so special. So. Very. Special. About Homemade Tamales. Seriously. Fresh, right out of the pot. Just so much yummier than those others. Not that the others are bad…the homemade ones are just better. Softer…like little clouds of yummy…*sigh*

gluten-free homemade tamale recipe fb

Enough of that though–you need to know, before you begin, that there’s a process. An assembly line is required in order to make these efficiently and in a timely manner. You are, after all, making 5 dozen of them at a time. And even if you’re making 5 dozen cookies, an assembly line is required. Seriously.

So, check out the photos, grab a partner and make the tamales of your dreams…

how to make tamales at home sq

Homemade Tamales

Seriously. If you think you can make your homemade tamales right away, you just go ahead. But, just in case–and because I know you really want to wait until this weekend to make it, why do you go ahead and pin this…aren’t those tamales just so perfect…LOL!

what you need to make restaurant-style tamales txt free pin

Here’s the assembly line:

assembly line for making homemade tamales

And, as for the actual making of homemade tamales:

tutorial for making tamales like at the restaurant

Let me know how your homemade tamales turn out…just drop us a line in the comments below!

easy recipe for homemade tamales feature


Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours

I learned how to make Homemade Tamales. Now, I'm no longer a prisoner! I am free to eat as many tamales as I want!


  • 1 bag Dried Corn HusksTAMALE DOUGH:
  • 1/2 of a 4-pound bag of Masa Corn Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Paprika
  • 3 tablespoons Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 cups Vegetable OilTAMALE FILLING:
  • 2 quarts Chicken Broth
  • 4 to 5 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne


  1. On the day BEFORE you want to assemble your tamales, put the Chicken Thighs, Bell Pepper, and one of the Onions in a large pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook over low heat for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until Chicken is cooked through.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in refrigerator overnight.
  3. On the day you're ready to assemble your tamales, place Corn Husks in a large pot and cover with water, set aside.
  4. Skim any fat from the chilled Chicken and Broth.
  5. Remove the Chicken from the broth.
  6. Warm the broth enough to make it pour-able, but not hot.
  7. In a VERY large bowl, combine the Masa and all the dry ingredients for the Tamale Dough--mix well.
  8. Add ALL the Vegetable Oil at one time, and mix well with your hands.
  9. Begin adding the broth one cup at a time, and continue to mix well with your hands until the dough is the consistency of peanut butter,
  11. Place a few pieces of the cooked chicken in a deep bowl, and use a hand-mixer to shred it.
  12. Place the shredded Chicken in a large skillet with a small amount of the broth, over low heat.
  13. Continue to shred a few pieces of chicken at a time, until all the chicken is in the skillet.
  14. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and dry ingredients and mix well.
  15. Heat through, but only until warm.
  17. Remove the Corn Husks from the water and stand in a bowl to drain.
  18. Set up your "Assembly Line": Corn Husks, Dough, Filling, and Tamale Pot.
  19. Put a Corn Husk on a paper plate.
  20. Smear dough about 4 inches long and 1/4 -inch thick on the corn husk, to within about 1/2-inch of the edge of the corn husk on the top and sides.
  21. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the Meat Filling, spreading down the center of the dough, top to bottom.
  22. Roll the Corn Husk from one side to the other, about half way. Fold the bottom of the corn husk up and over the rolled portion, then continue to roll the tamale.
  23. Place the tamale in the basket of the tamale pot.
  24. Continue until the tamale pot basket is full, or you run out of ingredients.
  25. Put water into the bottom of the tamale pot, but do not let the basket of tamales touch the water.
  26. Place the basket in the tamale pot and place over high heat until the water begins to boil.
  27. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for about 2 hours.
  28. When the dough at the top of the tamales begins to look "dry", remove one of the tamales from the center of the pot.
  29. Let the tamale cool, then and un-wrap it. The dough should easily separate from the corn husk. If it doesn't, return the tamale to the pot and cook a little longer.
  30. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  31. Place in freezer bags to freeze. They will keep for a few weeks (maybe 6 months, but our are usually eaten before then). 🙂

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