Gluten-Free Ground Beef Tamales


  • 2 1/2 – 3 dozens corn husks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped, divided
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and 4 of the cloves diced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces dried New Mexico chilies
  • 2 ounces dried ancho chiles
  • 2 ounces dried pasilla chiles
  • 4-6 cups water, for boiling
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed, toasted
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups Gluten-Free masa/Tamale flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups homemade beef broth, warm


1) Separate the husks carefully. Soak them in a sink filled with warm/hot water for 30-45 minutes to soften.

2) Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté half of the onions until translucent. Add diced garlic and beef and cook until brown, but not over cooked, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a big mixing bowl and set aside.

3) Remove all the tops of the dried chilies and shake out the seeds. In a medium stockpot, place the dried chilies and cover them with water. Add the cumin, the remaining diced onion, peeled garlic, salt and sugar. Boil for 15-20 minutes until the chiles are very soft and the water has reduced down to two cups. Transfer the chiles and the water to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the pureed chiles to remove the remaining seeds and skins. Pour the chili sauce into the cooked meat, sprinkle a dash of salt and black pepper and mix until well incorporated. Taste to check seasonings and add more if necessary. Refrigerate the meat until ready to use.

4) In a small bowl, beat the vegetable shortening with a hand mixer until fluffy and set aside. Using another (large) bowl, combine the masa, baking powder, and salt. Pour the broth into the masa a little at a time while mixing with your hand. Add fluffy vegetable shortening to the masa and beat using a hand mixer until the dough has a spongy texture. Cover with a damp towel and set aside.

5) Rinse, drain, and pat dry the corn husks. Set them out on a baking sheet pan.

6) Wrapping the Tamales; Lay the husk flat on a plate or on a flat board with the smooth side up. Spread a thin, (or your preferred thickness) layer
of masa over the surface of the husk evenly with the narrow end facing your left side and the wide end facing the other. Add a spoonful of the meat filling in the center of the masa. Roll up to cover the tamale, and then fold the narrow end up to the center then roll to enclose the filling. Pinch the wide top to close the filling. Reserve the remaining meat filling, if any.

7) In a large/deep steamer, stand the tamales up with the pinched end up. Load the steamer into a large pot filled with 2-inches of water. (Making sure the water is not touching the tamales). Lay a damp thin towel over the tamales (this will catch the drip of the moisture from the lid) and cover with lid. Steam the tamales for 2 hours. Add more water if necessary, but be
sure to keep the water at a low boil, checking periodically to make sure the water doesn’t boil away.

When done, the tamales pulls away from the husk, and should be soft, firm and not mushy. To serve, unfold the husk top with a spoonful of the remaining beef filling on top, or serve as is. Enjoy! 🙂

Note: While I’m aware that a ‘Authentic Mexican Tamal or Tamale(s) recipe calls for lard or vegetable shortening, using olive oil and/or canola oil as a substitute for the formers is my personal preference. We  are still getting the same awesome flavor of the tamales but a lot healthier.


Thanks for dropping by, please enjoy!

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