Looking for a healthy tamales recipe? Making tamales for Christmas is a Mexican tradition that many would like to continue. Traditional tamales are made with high fat lard and generally contain too much sodium. Also, making tamales is often an annual event that involves extended family and friends getting together and making many dozens of tamales, yielding endless leftovers to be eaten.

If you are concerned about your health you might want to consider maintaining the tradition while making a healthy tamales recipe.

Healthy Tamale Recipe

Here is a healthier version of a Mexican tamale from Mexican Kitchen.
This is really an excellent option to make a low-fat version of tamales for those of you that for dietary reasons, or because lard is not sold in your area, or simply is a personal preference not to eat pork or pork products.

INGREDIENTS (makes 16 tamales)

• 2 ½ cups of corn masa-harina the one use for tortillas
• ½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt*
• ¾ Cups Vegetable oil
• 1 ¾ cup of warm chicken broth
• 2 cups of Picadillo or the filling of your choice see notes.
• 16 Large corn husks plus more for the steaming pot.


1. In a large pot, place the cornhusks and cover with hot water to soften them. Leave there for at least 30 minutes. Drain and reserve.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (corn masa-harina, baking powder and salt) and stir in the vegetable oil. Pour the warm chicken broth and mix with a spatula until you form the dough into a creamy texture, similar to soft ice cream. If the dough doesn’t look as creamy as in the picture, add a little more broth, a tablespoon at the time.

3. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the dough on the already soft corn husk using a spoon or spatula. Top with 2 tablespoons of the filling. Fold one left side of the husk to the center and then the right side to the center. Finally, fold the end toward the center of the tamal. Place the tamal on a tray while you finish assembling the rest.
4. Now, get your steamer ready adding a couple of hot cups of water and line the steamer rack with corn husks. If you don’t have a steamer, place loose pieces of aluminum foil at the bottom of the pot to function as a steamer rack.

5. Place the tamales standing up, cover with the rest of the corn husk, a clean dishtowel, and the pot lid.

6. Cook for 60 minutes to 75 minutes over a medium heat. While cooking, add more hot water to the pot if needed, be careful with the steam while removing the lid. To make sure your tamales are done, remove one and if the corn husk can easily be removed from the dough they are ready. The tamales will firm up after cooked.


• Before adding the salt, make sure your chicken broth is not too salty, if you are unsure about it, then first add the broth, mix the dough and then taste to see if it needs salt.
• Try to use a homemade chicken broth if possible to enhance the flavors of the dough.
• Some cooks in Mexico use powdered chicken bullion to add more flavor to the dough. If you want to use that option do not add salt.
• This recipe uses picadillo, but you can use shredded chicken with green salsa, or pork in red salsa, poblano peppers with cheese. Even refried beans taste delicious in tamales.

NUTRITION (per 1 tamale)

Calories: 226
Carbohydrates: 14g
Protein: 7g
Fat: 17g
Fiber: 1g

Click here for complete healthy tamales recipe.