Tamales, a Mexican cuisine staple, are in high demand during the holidays. Learn how to make delicious tamales quickly in your Instant Pot!
Tamales are a holiday tradition in most Mexican families make them around Christmas, Easter and sometimes even in between.
Tamales are a Holiday Tradition
While you can often times buy them at the roadside, from co-workers or even at some grocers, making them yourself is so rewarding.
And although they aren’t the most healthy, they are definitely a holiday tradition for many.
We love our Instant Pot – it is similar to a Pressure Cooker, except that instead of running on your stove, it’s electric. And while that might not interest some, it’s better in some cases because it has more safety features than a regular stovetop cooker.
This thing? Easy. Anyone could succeed at using it. I think plugging it in and getting started is the biggest hurdle. Thankfully Facebook groups help with that fear :)
Tamales in the Instant Pot
I thought it would be fun to make a small batch, and show you how this machine can literally steam them in 25 minutes. Obviously there is always prep work involved, but all in all, a huge time saver!
If you can make the chicken ahead of time then it’s a bonus! I started with frozen chicken – in which case I took it directly out of the freezer, and put it in the Instant Pot and had 4 Breasts cooked in 20 minutes.
- 1 pack Corn Husks (preferably those that are cleaned)
- 2-3 cups of Cooked, Shredded Chicken
- 1 bag of Chile Pods
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 1/2 Onion
- Salt to taste
- 3 C. Masa
- 1 C. Vegetable Oil (or you can use Lard, we just prefer the Oil)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 1/4 C. Chicken Stock (or water)
- 1 tsp Salt
- Jalapenos (Optional - sliced)
- Rinse the Husks and put them in a dish where they can soak - put something of weight down on them so they stay submerged.
- In a separate bowl, mix Masa, Oil, Baking Powder, Salt and Broth - mix well. You don't want it to be doughy, but you don't want it to be runny - after all, you will be spreading it loosely in the husks.
- On the stove, add Garlic, Onion, and Chiles (remove stems) in water - just enough to cover and boil just until soft (should be bright red).
- Transfer the chiles and some of the water to the blender - blend on high until mixed and add extra water from the saucepan (if needed - but you don't want it to be too runny - a thick sauce is your goal!)
- Add salt to taste.
- Pour that chile mixture into the same bowl as the meal so it blends together.
- Clear a space on your counter, and lay out your work area with husks - you aren't making too many at this point so you don't need a production line!
- Use a clean, dry dish towel to rest the husks down on to absorb some of the water.
- Then spread the masa on the husks, not too thick - the back of a spoon works well.
- Place a small amount of meat & filling down the middle, top with Jalapenos (if desired).
- Fold the Tamale into thirds - left, then right, then fold the bottom up - don't squeeze.
- Leave the tops open.
- Add 1 1/2 C. Water to the Instant Pot; place the trivet inside.
- Then lay a piece of foil across the bottom trivet (or a steamer rack if you have).
- Place your tamales standing up (open end UP) - my pot fit exactly 17.
- Place the lid on, lock it, then push Manual (High) for 25 minutes.
- When 25 minutes is up, let it release naturally for a few minutes, then let the rest of the steam out through a quick release.
- Push the Keep Warm button if you don't plan on serving them immediately.
- Keep the husks on until ready to serve.
- Your final count may ultimately depend on the size in which you make your tamales - we used 2 Breasts for 17 and we had enough Masa for about 10-12 additional Tamales (we ran out of meat). Our Instant Pot only fit 17 so it was a great time for us to "stop" at that point - but if you wanted to make more you could easily do another 17.
Do you have an Instant Pot? Here are some recipes you might love: