Beef Tamales

  • Recipe By
  • Published Dec 25th
  • Ready In6h 30m
  • Servings36
  • Calories347
These are just like the tamales my Abuelita used to make for special occasions. This recipe makes a lot, but if you're going to go to all the trouble of making tamales from scratch, you might as well have a party! You will need butchers' twine and a large pot with a steamer basket to make these. May be frozen up to 6 months in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. To reheat, thaw in refrigerator and then steam or microwave until heated through.

Beef Tamales Ingredients

The following are the ingredients needed to make delicious Beef Tamales for 36 servings:

  • 4 pounds boneless chuck roast
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages dried corn husks
  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups lard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 9 cups masa harina

Beef Tamales Cooking Instructions

  • Prep5h 30m
  • Cook1h
  • Ready In6h 30m

To cook Beef Tamales, you need about 5 hours 30 minutes of preparation time. The time needed to cook this Beef Tamales is about 1 hour , and you can serve your Beef Tamales within 6 hours 30 minutes . The following are the steps to cook Beef Tamales easily:

  1. 1 Place beef and garlic in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Let simmer for 3 1/2 hours, until beef is tender and shreds easily. When beef is done, remove from pot, reserving 5 cups cooking liquid and discarding garlic. Allow meat to cool slightly, and shred finely with forks.
  2. 2 Meanwhile, place corn husks in a large container and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 3 hours, until soft and pliable. May need to weight down with an inverted plate and a heavy can.
  3. 3 Toast ancho chiles in a cast iron skillet, making sure not to burn them. Allow to cool and then remove stems and seeds. Crumble and grind in a clean coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
  4. 4 Heat oil in a large skillet. Mix in flour and allow to brown slightly. Pour in 1 cup beef broth and stir until smooth. Mix in ground chiles, cumin seeds, ground cumin, minced garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, vinegar and salt. Stir shredded beef into skillet and cover. Let simmer 45 minutes.
  5. 5 Place lard and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whip with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add masa harina and beat at low speed until well mixed. Pour in reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until mixture is the consistency of soft cookie dough.
  6. 6 Drain water from corn husks. One at a time, flatten out each husk, with the narrow end facing you, and spread approximately 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the top 2/3 of the husk. Spread about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture down the middle of the masa. Roll up the corn husk starting at one of the long sides. Fold the narrow end of the husk onto the rolled tamale and tie with a piece of butchers' twine.
  7. 7 Place tamales in a steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately one hour, until masa is firm and holds its shape. Make sure steamer does not run out of water. Serve immediately, allowing each person to unwrap their own tamales. Allow any leftovers (still in husks) to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator.


  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 347 calories; 24.4 grams of fat; 23.3 grams of carbohydrates; 9.1 grams of protein; 38 milligrams of cholesterol; 248 milligrams of sodium.

  1. Jan 1st 2010

    This recipe is a good one but two other things should be mentioned when making Tamales, the corn husks must be very clean from the corn silk and when the Tamales are ready to be steamed they ...

  2. Nov 8th 2007

    A little advice about mixing masa: add the lard to your dry ingredients and mix very well by hand. Begin adding your meat broth a little at a time until you get peanut butter consistancy, an ...

  3. Jul 21st 2006

    I have made these a few times now. This recipe is really awesome as is - but I found an easier & tastier way to do it after making it many times the way listed. I use the recipe on this ...

  4. Sep 8th 2005

    I loved this recipe! It was a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort. Everybody who tried them loved them, even those who have lived in Mexico for a couple of years. I scaled up the m ...

  5. Oct 5th 2004

    A cultural note for everyone who says the tamale recipes take too long. Traditionally a family will have a "tamalada"- a get together where family will work together assembling the tamales. ...

  6. Feb 11th 2004

    if you have never attempted tamales, here are some important tips: boil garlic and dried or fresh peppers in water(your favorite kind of pepper)for 30-ish minutes then cook the meat in that ...

  7. Oct 2nd 2002

    This was my first attempt at making Tamales. Instead of combining the masa, lard, and salt myself, I went to the local Hispanic grocery store and bought a 5lb bag of prepared masa. I put 4 ...

  8. Jun 25th 2001

    This is a good recipe. It's easy, but very time consuming. Instead of steaming the tamales by laying them down in a basket, try inverting a bowl in a large pot and standing the tamales on ...

  9. May 11th 2001

    Well tamales are never easy to make, but this recioe made it not very complicated..thank you! What a wonderful taste to the meat. I simmered the meat in a crock pot overnight, so it made t ...