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Instant Pot Shredded Beef Tamales

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Beef Tamales cooked in the Instant Pot in half the time. Along with masa made with bacon drippings and filled with a flavorful shredded beef.

Landscape view of tamale on a white plate with a gold fork and view of been filling inside.

Tamales are a common dish eaten during the holidays and can range from savory to sweet. Families traditionally make large batches and an assembly type line is helpful to get the process moving quickly.

The recipe I’m sharing with you is for a small batch, but of course can be doubled as needed. Make sure to save your bacon drippings for this recipe. Always strain it and store the drippings in the refrigerator.

Steps for Instant Pot Tamales

First, you need an Instant Pot, I’m using the 8 qt model. If you don’t have one then the recipe can still be adapted to cook the shredded beef in a slow cooker or stove top, and steam the tamales on the stovetop.

One tamale on a white round plate.

Second, I mixed the masa in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. If you don’t have one, then try using a handheld mixer or the traditional way of needing it with you hands. Fair warning, this will take you a good 15 minutes of mixing with you hands.

As I mentioned, we’re making this masa with bacon drippings, and oh boy is it good!

You want the masa to be flavorful, so be sure to taste it before you start assembling. I used a low sodium beef broth and added an extra teaspoon of salt.

Third, you need a good flavorful filling. The filling combinations are endless, and can be adapted to what you prefer. For these tamales, I made my easy Mexican Pot Roast, which is similar to ropa vieja.

Other filling options:

Salsa Chicken

Cheese Tamales

Make the filling first and allow it to cool prior to filling the tamales. You also don’t want the meat the have to much liquid, since it can leak out of the tamale.

Assembling The Tamales

Begin by rinsing the husks, to remove any dirt or debris. Then get a large Pot, place your corn husks in, and cover with hot water.

You can also place a pot of water over the stove, bring to a boil, turn off the heat and add the corn husks. Soak them for 20-30 minutes, or until they are pliable. Then drain out the water and lay them out to dry.

Stock pot filled with corn husks ready to be softened in hot water.

Once your filling is ready and cooled you can begin assembling the tamales.

I show all these steps in the Video.

Use a cutting board for your work surface. Place a dry corn husk, rough side down. The masa will be spread on the smooth side. If the corn husk or hoja is too small then you can overlap 2 together.

Corn husk on a cutting board with masa.

Spread an even layer of masa in the middle of the husk and reaching to the sides. Leaving a small edge on the husk. I used a spatula for easy spreading.

Then place your filling in the middle of the masa. Fold both sides to the middle, then fold the bottom part up.

You can also use thin pieces of the corn husk to tie the tamale like a little present.

Wrapped tamales in a glass dish.

Cooking Tamales in the Instant Pot

Once all your tamales are assembled, we can begin cooking them. I used my 8 qt Instant Pot with the trivet insert. If you have a steamer basket this would work better.

Another option is to use the trivet and place a piece of foil on top will some holes for the steam to come through. You just want to make sure the tamales are not touching the water.

Tamales inside an instant pot ready to be cooked.

Additionally, you don’t want the top of the tamales to reach the lid, because then it won’t create a seal and the instant pot won’t come up to pressure.

Set the timer for Manual- High Pressure- 30 minutes. I let the pressure release naturally for a 10 minutes, then released the remaining pressure.

Remove the tamales from the pot and check if the masa is cooked all the way. It will easily release from the corn husk once it’s cooked. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Up close view of a single tamale on a white plate and view of the beef filling.

How to Store and Reheat tamales

Once the tamales are completely cooled, leftovers can be stored in a zip top bag in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for a couple months.

To reheat refrigerated tamales, place a damp paper towel over them and microwave for 2 minutes until heated through. Keep the corn husk on the tamale while you reheat them to prevent them from drying out, then remove the husk before eating.

Up close view of a single beef tamale on a white plate with a gold fork on the side.

Instant Pot Shredded Beef Tamale Recipe

Renee
Beef Tamales cooked in the Instant Pot in half the time. Along with masa made with bacon drippings and filled with a flavorful shredded beef.
5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 16 Tamales

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Cook your filling first and allow it to cool before assembling. I prefer to make my filling the day before. Then continue with recipe.

Corn Husks

  • Rinse corn husks and place in a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil, once boiling turn off the heat. Let corn husks soak for 20-30 minutes until they are soft and pliable. Remove from water and allow the husks to dry off. I also like to wipe them off with a clean kitchen towel.

Masa

  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add masa (corn flour), salt, baking powder, and filtered bacon drippings. If you do not have bacon drippings, then use oil or lard (manteca). Begin mixing on low speed to incorporate.
  • Gradually add in warm beef broth as the mixer is still going on low speed. Once all the broth is added increase speed to medium. Keep mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl every few minutes until a soft smooth dough forms. Taste a little bit of masa for seasoning. If more salt is needed, add salt and mix the dough again.
  • If making tamales right away then set aside, otherwise cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Assembling the Tamales

  • Take one dried corn husk and place it on a work surface. If the husk is too small then overlap 2 husks together.
  • Spread an even layer of masa in the upper middle of the husk. Add shredded beef filling to the middle.
  • Fold both sides to meet in the middle, then fold the bottom end up to the top of the tamale. Place in a dish until all the tamales are assembled.

Steam the Tamales

  • Instant Pot Method: Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot and place the trivet or a steamer basket inside. If cooking multiple batches, add 1 cup of water each time.
  • Place tamales standing up in the instant pot. If you are using the trivet, you can place a piece of foil with holes on top of the trivet so the tamales don't touch the water. If you are filling the entire instant pot, they will be more supported. Otherwise place a ramekin in the middle if the pot is not full.
    Also make sure the tops of the tamales are not touching the lid, otherwise the pot won't come to pressure.
  • Set the timer to high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure.
  • Remove the steamer basket and allow the tamales to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. The husk should easily remove from the tamal.

Video

Notes

Beef Recipes:
Red Shredded Beef
Mexican Shredded Beef
Salsa Chicken
Steamer Method on the stove: 
Place Water in the bottom of a steamer pot with an insert.  Layer tamales standing up and cover with a layer of corn husks and place lid. Bring water to a boil, and lower heat to a gentle boil for at least 1 hour. Periodically check to see that there is still water in the bottom of the pot.
After an hour, remove a tamale from the pot and check if the masa is cooked all the way. It will easily release from the corn husk once it’s cooked. If it does not, then continue cooking and check every 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove the tamales from the pot and allow them to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
 
Once the tamales are completely cooled, leftovers can be stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
 
To reheat refrigerated tamales, place a damp paper towel over them and microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Keep the husks on the tamal while you’re reheating them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 229kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 11gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 374mgPotassium: 229mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 7IUCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and depends on ingredients and amounts used. Thai Caliente makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Keyword Beef Tamales, Instat Pot Tamales, Tamales
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