Go Back
Instant Pot Tamale Party

Instant Pot Tamales

Mary Clare Fraker, MS RD
December 12, 2021: After more annual Tamale Parties, I have done some fine tuning and made some updates to this recipe. First: I scaled up the masa dough ingredients to yield a larger batch that completely fills a 6-quart Instant Pot (about 24 tamales). Second: The more tightly-packed pressure cooker benefits from a slightly longer cook time; I've increased the cook time from 20 to 25 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Time to Build and Release Pressure 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 24 Tamales



  • dried corn husks soaked in hot water
  • masa harina dough use your favorite recipe, purchased dough, or the basic Masa Dough below
  • savory fillings of your choice
  • 1 cup water

Masa Dough:

  • 6 cups dry masa harina
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup avocado oil or fat of your choice, eg. lard, butter, corn oil
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth


Prepare Masa Dough:

  • In a large bowl, combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt. Mix well, then mix in your choice of fat. Slowly pour in the broth or water a bit at a time, while stirring - adding just enough to make a soft, pliable dough.

Assemble Tamales:

  • For each tamale, set a soaked corn husk on a flat surface. Scoop about 1/3 cup of masa dough onto the wider top end of the husk, and spread it into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick, in a rectangular shape tightly bordering the top edge of the husk. Leave at least 1-2 inches of corn husk uncovered on the left and right sides of the dough, and ample space to the bottom of the dough to allow room to fold over the husk to contain the filling.
  • Spoon about two tablespoons of your filling onto the masa, arranging it along the center of the dough from the top to bottom of the slab. Pick up one (left or right) edge of the corn husk, and use it to fold one side of the masa dough over to the center of the filling. Set down the first edge of the corn husk and repeat with the other edge; use the husk to firmly fold over the second side of the masa dough, and press down to join a solid layer of dough covering the filling. After the tamale is formed, gently but tightly wrap the left and right edge of the corn husk around the tamale, then fold the bottom of the corn husk up to close the package. Set the tamale seam-side-down while continuing to fold the rest.

Pressure Cook Tamales:

  • Pour 1 cup water into Instant Pot and place the trivet rack. Arrange the tamales, open-side-up, vertically in the pressure cooker. Lean them against the sides of the pot and prop them up against each other to maximize your capacity, but leave a small amount of empty space to allow enough airflow for the pot to properly pressurize and the tamales to cook evenly.
  • Close the lid and set the valve to sealing position. Press “Steam” and adjust the time to 25 minutes. Let the tamales come to pressure and cook. When the timer rings after cooking, wait for the pressure indicator to release naturally for at least 10 minutes before opening the lid and serving.
Keyword Christmas