Easy Green Chile Chicken Tamales


Steeped in tradition and bursting with flavor, tamales are a cherished dish that brings people together to celebrate the rich tapestry of Mexican cuisine. Among the many variations, Green Chile Chicken Tamales stand out for their zesty kick and savory goodness. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll embark on a culinary journey to create these delectable tamales from scratch. From preparing the masa to assembling and steaming, this step-by-step guide promises an easy and rewarding experience in bringing the warmth and vibrancy of Green Chile Chicken Tamales to your table.

Gathering the Ingredients:

The heart of any tamale recipe lies in its flavorful filling and the well-crafted masa. For Green Chile Chicken Tamales, you’ll need ingredients like boneless, skinless chicken thighs, green chiles (fresh or canned), garlic, cumin, oregano, and chicken broth. Additionally, gather masa harina, baking powder, lard or vegetable shortening, and corn husks for the masa.

Preparing the Chicken Filling:

Start by seasoning the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Sear the seasoned chicken in a hot skillet until golden brown, then add minced garlic and diced green chiles. Pour in chicken broth, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and easily shredded. Once cooked, shred the chicken and mix it well with the flavorful cooking liquid.

Soaking Corn Husks:

Corn husks are the natural wrappers for tamales and need to be softened before use. Submerge the husks in warm water for at least 30 minutes, allowing them to become pliable and easy to work with. While they soak, prepare the masa.

Preparing the Masa:

In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whip lard or vegetable shortening until fluffy. Gradually add the masa mixture to the whipped fat, alternating with chicken broth, until a soft and spreadable dough, known as masa, is formed. The consistency should be like a thick cake batter.

Assembling the Tamales:

Lay out a soaked corn husk on a clean surface with the wide end facing you. Spoon a generous dollop of masa onto the center of the husk, spreading it evenly to cover about two-thirds of the surface, leaving the top third and sides uncovered. Place a spoonful of the green chile chicken filling down the center of the masa.

Folding and Tying Tamales:

To fold the tamale, bring one side of the husk over the filling, followed by the other side, creating a cylindrical shape with the masa and filling enclosed. Fold the bottom (narrow) end up to seal the tamale. Secure the tamale by tying it with a thin strip of soaked corn husk. Repeat this process until all the tamales are assembled.

Setting Up the Steamer:

Tamales are traditionally steamed, and having a well-prepared steamer is crucial. Place a layer of soaked corn husks or a damp cloth at the bottom of the steamer to prevent the tamales from sticking. Arrange the tamales vertically with the folded side facing down, ensuring they are snug but not tightly packed.

Steaming the Tamales:

Steam the tamales over simmering water for about 1.5 to 2 hours, checking periodically to ensure there’s enough water in the steamer. The tamales are ready when the masa is cooked through and easily separates from the husk. Allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Testing for Doneness:

To check for doneness, carefully unwrap one tamale. The masa should be firm, moist, and easily pulled away from the husk. The filling should be hot and thoroughly cooked. Adjust the steaming time if needed, as it may vary based on the size of the tamales and the steaming apparatus.

Presenting Your Culinary Masterpiece:

Once your Green Chile Chicken Tamales are perfectly steamed, it’s time to present them with flair. Arrange the tamales on a festive platter, garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or a dollop of sour cream. These tamales are not just a meal; they’re a celebration of flavor and tradition.

Storing and Freezing:

If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. To freeze tamales, allow them to cool completely, then place them in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Frozen tamales can be reheated by steaming or microwaving, maintaining their delicious flavors and textures.

Sharing the Joy of Tamales:

Green Chile Chicken Tamales are a labor of love that deserves to be shared. Invite friends and family to join in the tamale-making process, creating a communal experience filled with laughter and the aromas of delicious food. Share the joy of these tamales with loved ones and continue the tradition of bringing people together through the love of good food.


Crafting Green Chile Chicken Tamales is a culinary adventure that connects you with the heart and soul of Mexican cuisine. From the well-seasoned chicken filling to the perfectly steamed masa, each step in this process is an opportunity to infuse your kitchen with the vibrant flavors and traditions of tamale-making. Embrace the joy of creating a culinary masterpiece that not only delights the taste buds but also brings a sense of celebration to your table. Here’s to the rich tapestry of Mexican cuisine and the joy of sharing it with those you love!

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