Best Easy Chicago Style Tamale Recipe

Best Easy Chicago Style Tamale Recipe

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that has become immensely popular in various parts of the United States, especially in Chicago. These delectable treats are made by spreading a savory filling onto a corn masa dough, which is then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed to perfection. If you’re looking to recreate the authentic taste of Chicago-style tamales in your own kitchen, we’ve got you covered with this easy recipe.


– 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
– 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
– ¾ cup lard or vegetable shortening
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon cumin
– 1 teaspoon chili powder
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– 1 ½ cups cooked and shredded chicken or pork
– ½ cup salsa verde
– 12-15 dried corn husks


1. Soak the corn husks in warm water for about 30 minutes until they become pliable.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, broth, lard or shortening, baking powder, salt, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Mix well until a smooth dough forms.

See also  Best Easy 2 Bananas Muffin Recipe

3. In another bowl, mix the shredded chicken or pork with the salsa verde.

4. Take one corn husk and spread a thin layer of the masa dough onto it, leaving space at the edges.

5. Spoon a small amount of the chicken or pork filling onto the center of the dough.

6. Fold the sides of the corn husk towards the center, then fold the bottom upwards, creating a neat package. Tie it with a thin strip of corn husk.

7. Repeat the process with the remaining husks and filling.

8. Place the tamales in a steamer basket and steam for about 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the masa dough is cooked through.

9. Let the tamales cool for a few minutes before unwrapping and serving.


1. Can I use store-bought masa harina for this recipe?

Yes, store-bought masa harina works perfectly fine.

2. Can I use a different meat filling?

Absolutely! You can use beef, shrimp, or even vegetarian fillings.

See also  Best Easy Betadine Nasal Rinse Recipe

3. Can I make tamales in advance?

Yes, you can make them a day ahead and reheat them when needed.

4. Can I freeze the tamales?

Yes, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Just ensure they are well-wrapped.

5. Can I use a pressure cooker instead of a steamer?

Yes, a pressure cooker can be used to cook tamales more quickly.

6. Can I substitute lard with butter?

Yes, butter can be used as a substitute for lard.

7. Can I use cornmeal instead of masa harina?

Cornmeal is not recommended, as it has a different texture and won’t yield the same results.

8. Can I add cheese to the filling?

Absolutely! Cheese adds a delicious twist to the tamales.

9. Can I make sweet tamales?

Yes, you can make sweet tamales by adding sugar and fruit fillings.

10. Can I use fresh corn husks?

While dried corn husks are more commonly used, fresh ones can also be used after blanching.

11. Can I use a stand mixer for the dough?

See also  Best Easy Pennsylvania Dutch Milk Pie Recipes

Yes, a stand mixer can make the dough mixing process easier and faster.

Now that you have the recipe and all your questions answered, it’s time to get into the kitchen and start making these mouthwatering Chicago-style tamales. Enjoy!

Scroll to Top