Quick and Easy Homemade Chicken Tamales Recipe
Finding a recipe for quick and easy Mexican food can be hard enough but not anymore. These delicious Easy Homemade Chicken Tamales will make you the Queen (or King) of the Kitchen.
Traditionally, tamales are a homemade holiday treat, not just for Thanksgiving, but especially at Christmas! As the years have gone by, making tamales to sell has become a cottage industry in Hispanic neighborhoods. I’ve been glad too because I never thought I could master the HUGE task of making homemade tamales.
Everyone at the dinner table will love you when they enjoy these Easy Homemade Chicken Tamales. These are delicious Mexican chicken tamales for you to make homemade any time you want, not just for the holidays.
Now you can make your chicken tamales from scratch with this quick and easy recipe and save some of the time and hard work required by the old-fashioned tamales that our grandmothers made.
Recipes for quick and easy homemade chicken tamales are a great way to enjoy traditional Mexican food the whole family will love.
Pasquale’s Hot Tamales West Helena, AR
Making Tamales Was Hard!
I remember when I was a little girl, all my aunts, my mom and my maternal grandmother gathering in my grandmother’s kitchen to make tamales. It was an all day affair and it always seemed like the women would divide into teams.
Some prepared the corn husk leaves by washing and soaking them to make them soft and pliable for spreading. Others cooked the chicken, boning it and simmering it in the richly aromatic spices that made us all hungry just passing by and getting a sniff. Still others worked on preparing the masa. It had its own spices and had to be just the right consistency for spreading.
There were several HUGE pots ready to receive the tamales and steam them to perfection. It took HOURS! These are some of my most treasured memories of my aunts and grandmother…and my mother in their midst. They worked, they laughed and they talked from the wee hours of the morning till the youngest of us fell over in exhaustion at the end of the day, with our little tummies stuffed with fresh tamales.
Hard To Give Exact Amounts And Cooking Times
With these old traditional Mexican recipes, it’s always been very hard to give exact measurements for ingredients and cooking times. My mother would always just say “ay que tantear” how much of what ingredient to use or how long to cook something.
Ay que tantear means to use your judgment. Use enough spice to your taste. Cook it till it’s done to your taste. I bet you can imagine some of my earliest cooking disasters from there.
Today, more and more of us baby boomers want to keep and remember these treasured recipes that have been passed down by word of mouth and/or demonstration.
When you see measurements given in these traditional types of Mexican food recipes, stop and take a moment to think about how YOU like your food. Do your best to try the recipe as it’s written, but don’t be too afraid to change things up a little if you want.
My best example is that Hispanic (Mexican American) though I may be, I don’t eat jalapenos, habaneros or pretty much anything hotter than pepper. I use Siracha sauce by the drop and I use the MILDEST picante sauces. I can assure you that my Chiles Rellenos are NOT very spicy and neither is my chicken mole.
You know best how you and your family like your food prepared, so ‘ay que tantear’ the ingredients and cook times you see in any traditional Mexican food recipes.
I’m just sayin’.
Times Are Estimated – Adjust Accordingly
Prep time: 4 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 5 hours
Yields: Depends On How Many Corn Husks You Fill!
Ingredients For Easy Homemade Chicken Tamales
6 cups corn masa mix
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup corn oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 bag corn husks
1-2 rotisserie chicken
2 small cans salsa of your choice, verde, tomatillo, etc.
How To Prepare Easy Homemade Chicken Tamales
Soak the corn husks in warm water until soft. You’ll have to sort them out and use the leaves that are wide enough to either roll or fold in half after they are filled with yummy stuff. You want the corn husks to be soft and pliable in your hands so they don’t tear or break. After 30 minutes to an hour or so, pull one out and try to spread it with your masa. You’ll see what I mean about pliable.
Blend together your corn masa mix, the corn oil, salt to taste, baking powder and the chicken broth to obtain a consistent mixture. You want it to be spreadable like a thick peanut butter consistency.
Shred the rotisserie chicken and simmer it in your chosen salsa or tomatillo sauce. Don’t make it too “juicy” or it will run right out of your tamales. Just use enough salsa or sauce to flavor the chicken and keep it moist.
Once your corn husks are soft enough, your masa is ready and the chicken is ready, spread the masa evenly over one or two corn husks and spread a spoonful of that marinated chicken on top of the masa. Use the smooth side of the corn husk, rather than the rougher textured side. The masa will stick to the smooth side and cook properly. You won’t get good results if you use the rough side.
Fold the sides of the corn husk to center over the masa so that they overlap to make a long package. Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rest against the side of the tamale with a seam. Another way to do it is to roll the filled corn husk like a cigar and fold the “unspread” pointy tip part of the husk up to ‘close’ it. Two ways to do it there. I’m of the cigar rolling method school myself.
Place your filled tamales in a steamer and cook them for 35-40 minutes. Check every 20 minutes. Since this recipe uses cooked rotisserie chicken, the only thing you’re really looking to cook is the masa.
Your tamales are ready when they separate easily from the corn husk. If the masa is not done yet, it will NOT separate from the husk.
Enjoy Your Tamales, Made The Easy Way
Some of you out there may remember (at least I hope so) how tamales used to be made. Labor intensive, but made with love ~ they just seemed to taste all the better for it.
A counter top mixer like a KitchenAid would be a huge help to get your masa ready. Just don’t over work it. The consistency of your masa should be like really thick peanut butter.
Today’s handy tamale spreader makes quick work of spreading the masa over the corn husk in one quick swipe. It used to be a fine art to spread the masa evenly with the back of a spoon!
Now we can enjoy tamales anytime we want them in less than half the time. I do hope that you’ll explore how to make them from scratch and try to make them that way too. It’s important to remember how things were done originally.
Try Making Your Own Homemade Chicken Tamales Today
I do hope you enjoyed this easy shortcut to making delicious homemade chicken tamales for your family at any time of year. Obviously using the rotisserie chicken is a huge help. So is using an electric roaster instead of the old school steamer pot.
As you “practice” making your own tamales, you can incorporate some of the old ways for a more authentic experience.
The most important ingredients of all for your tamales are love and family. Include as many members of your family as possible in preparing the different components of this traditional dish. The memories you make will be as delicious as the tamales!
More Of My Favorite Mexican Food Recipes
Caldo de Res Mexican Beef Soup Recipe
Caldo de Res, or Mexican Beef Soup is a hearty, healthy soup that will stick to your ribs when the weather starts getting chilly outside.
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas Recipe
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas are amazingly full of flavor! These delicious grilled chicken quesadillas are a great idea for picnics, lunch, dinner, road trips, or movie snacks!
Sour Cream Turkey Enchiladas Recipe
This Sour Cream Turkey Enchiladas Recipe is the simple way to fix enchiladas and is very handy when you have tons of leftover turkey from a holiday meal!
Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
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Mexican Orange Sugar Cookies: Polvorones de Naranja
Your family will love these Mexican Orange Sugar Cookies so much, you may need to make two batches! A sweet gift idea, this recipe for Mexican Orange Sugar Cookies is super easy, too.
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Mexican Bread Pudding, or Capirotada is a delicious traditional Mexican dessert that is as easy to make as it is good to eat. A Mexican Bread Pudding is a great way to use stale or leftover bread.