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Beef Tamales Recipe


If you’re looking for a delicious and flavorful meal to spice up your dinner routine, look no further than this Beef Tamales Recipe. This traditional Mexican dish is packed with savory beef, aromatic spices, and wrapped in a tender corn masa dough. Get ready to impress your family and friends with this mouthwatering recipe that is sure to become a favorite!

Origin and History Of This Recipe:

The origin of tamales dates back to ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, where they were considered a staple food. The word “tamal” comes from the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Aztecs, and means “wrapped food.” Tamales were traditionally made for special occasions and celebrations, such as weddings or religious ceremonies. Today, tamales are enjoyed all over the world and come in a variety of flavors and fillings.

Things To Expect In This Post Article:

In this post, we will walk you through the process of making Beef Tamales step-by-step. From the ingredients list to cooking time, serving suggestions, and storage instructions, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also share some tips and tricks to help you perfect this classic dish at home.

Ingredients List:

  • 2 pounds of beef chuck, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups of masa harina
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • Corn husks, soaked in warm water

Preparation Steps:

  1. In a large pot, cook the beef chuck, onion, and garlic until the beef is browned.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the masa harina and beef broth until a dough forms.
  4. Spread the masa dough onto a soaked corn husk, spoon the beef mixture into the center, and fold the husk to seal.
  5. Steam the tamales for 1-2 hours until cooked through.

Cooking Time & Servings:

This Beef Tamales Recipe takes approximately 2-3 hours to prepare and cook. It yields about 12 tamales, depending on the size.

Personal Touch:

Growing up, my family would make tamales together during the holidays, and it has become a cherished tradition. The aromas of the spices and tender beef cooking always bring back fond memories of those special times spent in the kitchen with loved ones.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving, these Beef Tamales provide a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. They are rich in iron, vitamin B12, and fiber, making them a satisfying and nutritious meal option.

Health Conditions And People To Avoid This:

Unfortunately, individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should avoid this recipe, as it contains masa harina, which is a type of corn flour that may contain traces of gluten. Additionally, those with beef allergies or sensitivities should also steer clear of this dish.

Nutrition and Benefits To The Body:

The beef in these tamales is a great source of protein, iron, and vitamin B12, which are essential for building muscle, maintaining healthy blood, and promoting nerve function. The masa harina provides complex carbohydrates for energy, while the spices add antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.


Eating too many tamales can lead to excess calorie intake and potentially contribute to weight gain or digestive issues. Moderation is key to enjoying this dish without overindulging.

Tips and Tricks:

  • To add a kick of heat, try adding diced jalapeños or chipotle peppers to the beef mixture.
  • For a healthier twist, use lean ground turkey or chicken in place of beef.
  • Experiment with different fillings like cheese, beans, or vegetables to create your unique tamales.

Equipment Needed:

  • Large pot
  • Mixing bowl
  • Steamer or large pot with a steaming basket
  • Wooden spoon
  • Kitchen towels
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Skillet

Variations or Substitutions:

For a vegetarian version, swap the beef for sautéed mushrooms, beans, or tofu. You can also customize the spices to suit your taste preferences, adding more or less chili powder, cumin, or paprika.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve your Beef Tamales with a side of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for a complete meal. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice for an extra burst of flavor.

Storage and Reheating Instructions:

Any leftover tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply steam them for a few minutes until heated through, or place them in the microwave for a quick meal option.


Now that you have all the information you need to make Beef Tamales at home, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get cooking! We hope you enjoy the process of creating this delicious and comforting dish as much as we do. Don’t forget to share your tamales with friends and family and spread the love of homemade Mexican cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Are Beef Tamales Healthy?

A: Yes, beef tamales can be a nutritious option when made with lean beef and a variety of wholesome ingredients. However, they can be high in calories and fat if prepared with fatty cuts of meat and excessive amounts of cheese or sour cream. To make a healthier version, you can use lean ground beef, whole wheat flour for the masa, and plenty of vegetables.

Q: How Long Do Beef Tamales Last in the Fridge?

A: Beef tamales can typically last in the fridge for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container. Make sure to let them cool completely before refrigerating and reheat them thoroughly before consuming to ensure food safety.

Q: Can You Freeze Beef Tamales?

A: Yes, beef tamales can be frozen for longer storage. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil and place them in a freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply steam or microwave until heated through.

Q: What is the Best Meat for Beef Tamales?

A: The best meat for beef tamales is usually a lean cut of beef, such as flank steak or sirloin. You can also use ground beef for convenience. Be sure to cook the meat thoroughly before mixing it with the masa to ensure proper food safety.

Q: How Spicy Are Beef Tamales?

A: The spiciness of beef tamales can vary depending on the amount of chili peppers and spices used in the filling. You can adjust the level of spiciness to suit your taste preferences by adding more or less chili peppers or using a milder variety of peppers.

Q: What Are Some Creative Ways to Serve Beef Tamales?

A: Beef tamales can be served in a variety of ways to add variety to your meals. You can top them with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole for extra flavor. They can also be served with a side of Spanish rice, black beans, or a simple salad for a complete meal.

Q: What Can I Use as a Vegetarian Substitute for Beef in Tamales?

A: If you follow a vegetarian diet, you can substitute the beef in tamales with ingredients such as cooked lentils, black beans, or chopped mushrooms. These alternatives will provide a similar texture and flavor to traditional beef tamales while still being meat-free.

Q: Can I use pre-made masa harina for this recipe?

A: Yes, pre-made masa harina works well for tamales. Just follow the package instructions for preparing the dough.

Q: How can I tell when the tamales are done cooking?

A: The tamales are ready when the masa dough is firm and no longer sticky. You can also test by inserting a toothpick into the center, and it should come out clean.

Q: Are there any alternative fillings I can use instead of beef?

A: Yes, you can get creative with your fillings by using chicken, pork, cheese, or even sweet fillings like fruit or chocolate.

Q: How can I prevent the tamales from becoming too dry when steaming?

A: Make sure to wrap the tamales tightly in the corn husks and keep the steamer well-ventilated to avoid condensation dripping onto the tamales.

Q: Can I make tamales in advance and reheat them later?

A: Yes, tamales are a great make-ahead dish. Simply store them in the refrigerator or freezer and reheat when ready to enjoy.

Remember to adapt these questions and answers to your specific recipe and audience to make them more relevant and engaging. Happy cooking!

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