1. Food
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Tamale Dough using Masa Harina

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (7 Reviews)


Mexican woman preparing fresh masa harina
Fumiaki Yamazaki/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Use this basic dough to create your own tamales. You can use Masa Harina, a corn flour or fresh masa from treated corn called Nixtamal.

For more tamale help, sign up for the 6-day Beginners Guide to Tamales e-course to be delivered right to your e-mail inbox.


  • 6 cups masa harina
  • 5 cups warm water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups lard
  • 3 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoon chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt


In a mixing bowl combine masa and warm water or broth until combined. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or so to let the masa soften. Then mix it on low speed until a dough forms.

After the Masa Harina is prepared, gradually add in the salt, cumin and onion powder by sprinkling them over the dough as you mix it.

In a separate bowl, whip lard or shortening about three minutes or until fluffy. Add the lard to the dough a little at a time while mixing until well combined.

The mixture should be about the consistency of peanut butter. If not, add more masa harina, water or broth as necessary.

Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Awesome recipe, Member trinaburgos

I am Canadian, married to a Mexican. I wanted to surprise my husband with these when he came back from being out of town for a couple of weeks. My sister-in-law is the best cook I know, and I brought them to her so she could be my guinea-pig taster. She loved them so much, she asked for the recipe, and she has been preparing tamales for years! Love it...the only thing I changed was a bit less of the salts and spices added, I did to taste.

10 out of 10 people found this helpful.

See all 7 reviews

  1. About.com
  2. Food
  3. Mexican Food
  4. Main Dishes
  5. Tamales 101
  6. Tamale Dough Recipe using Masa Harina

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.