I hope I whet your appetite for Mexican food with last week’s sopes because I’m back this week with Tamales!

I caught the hint that tamales might be a tad labor intensive when three different people kind of sighed and waved their hand when I suggested I wanted to try making them. There’s a good reason families typically save these to make around special occasions, like Christmas. They take hours to make! But I’ll tell you what, when you’re spending half the day slow cooking meat, grinding chiles, mixing masa with your hands and wrapping and steaming little corn husk packages, you can’t help but pour a little love in there as well.

They were certainly the freshest tamales we’d ever had, as they came right from our own kitchen. I had concerns about simmering the pork (it didn’t dry out after all), the chile concoction (it adds deep, earthy flavor to the pork) and the lard (first time ever venturing to cook with it) but I gave the recipe a try anyway. My husband said these were the best tamales he’d ever tasted and I agreed.


It was actually my 3-year old’s idea for us to make tamales. Last week, Special Agent Oso showed a little girl named Carmen how to make them in “three simple steps” in the new “Tamales with Love” episode. My daughter had to wait patiently while I prepared all of the components but was eager and ready when it came time for assembly. Rolling the tamales, for her, was much like wrapping a birthday present, which is another activity we enjoy in this house. And, of course, we had help from the entire family in eating them.


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  1. Wow you really outdid yourself! I know from experience that these are not EASY. Some of my fondest memories are making these with my husband’s family. And no joke, they are a lot of work. Kudos for trying AND making gorgeous tamales!

    Posted 9.26.11 Reply
    • Thanks so much, Callye! I definitely see how it would be a great activity to get the whole family involved in.

      Posted 9.26.11 Reply
  2. Carolyn wrote:

    I LOVE tamales and these look fantastic. I really should try making them myself sometime!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  3. These look amazing! I have been looking for a good recipe for these!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  4. Jeanette wrote:

    Wow, that sounds like a lot of work, but worth the effort! Your daughter is ambitious (as are you)!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
    • It did look a lot simpler on the animated Disney show, lol. But we did it!

      Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  5. My one experience making tamales, years ago with the chef of a Mexican restaurant, convinced me that it was too complicated. But your post reminds me that it’s time to try again.

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  6. Colleen wrote:

    Magnífico! (And gluten-free!) A lot of work but they sure do look delicious.

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  7. Karina wrote:

    Beautiful! I have always wanted to make tamales. Thank you for this post- you are inspiring me to try.

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  8. Chelsea wrote:

    YUM! I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try making them, but you have me motivated!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  9. Lil Sis wrote:

    Impressive! I heat our leftover tamales up on my panini grill!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  10. naomi wrote:

    I love tamales! And i love this recipe. Wow-labor intensive project, but the payoff is there. These look gorgeous!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  11. Amanda wrote:

    your pictures are SO pretty!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  12. Jay wrote:

    Kudos to you for making authentic tamales! It’s fun to make variations for the filling or masa (like using shredded chicken in salsa verde for the stuffing and adding fresh corn to masa), but your pepper-based sauce for the pork is a classic!

    Posted 9.27.11 Reply
  13. Wenderly wrote:

    Those look so fun and so tasty!!! I am craving Mexican food now! *YUM*

    Posted 9.28.11 Reply
  14. Sam wrote:

    I have longing for that recipe for so long now that I don’t even remember. Super thanks. Love those pictorial display. And the family participation makes it extra special for me.

    Posted 10.1.11 Reply
  15. Eleanor wrote:

    This is easier..go to a Mexican store and buy prepared Tamale Masa. you do not have to make it. You may have to add some salt….
    Your chili MUST be red chile from New Mexico…..same for GREEN

    Posted 12.7.12 Reply