We love tamales, and this recipe is by far my most favorite.  I love them more than any tamales I’ve had at any restaurant (except for maybe Berry Hill Bar and Grill).

This recipe is adapted from the Helena Tamales recipe in the April 2005 issue of Southern Living.


  • 1 package of dried corn husks
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • jar of your favorite salsa
  • 2/3  c.  vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2  c.  yellow cornmeal
  • 1  c.  warm chicken broth
  • 2  tsp.  salt
  • 1  tsp.  paprika


  1. Soak corn husks in hot water to cover 1 hour or until softened. Drain husks, and pat dry.
  2. Chicken Filling: Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add shredded chicken and enough of your favorite salsa to coat the chicken.  Mixture should not be too wet.
  3. Cornmeal Dough: Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Stir together cornmeal and warm chicken broth in a medium bowl until well blended. Gradually add cornmeal mixture to shortening, beating at medium speed just until blended after each addition. Add salt and paprika, beating just until blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap, and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Assembling Tamales: Spread 2 TBSP Cornmeal Dough into a 3- x 5-inch rectangle on one side of 1 husk, leaving a 2-inch border at bottom narrow edge and a 1/2-inch border at one long side.  Spoon 2 heaping TBSP Chicken Filling down center of cornmeal dough rectangle, creating a 1-inch-wide strip. Roll husk up, starting at the long side with 1/2-inch border, enclosing meat filling with the first turn. Fold bottom end with 2-inch border over. Repeat procedure using remaining Cornmeal Dough and Chicken Filling.
  5. Line the bottom of your steamer with corn husks.  Add tamales to steamer.  We stack the tamales up to 4 high.  Steam over high heat for 1 hours.
  6. Top with your favorite salsa or with Chili Gravy or Tomatillo-Serrano Salsa.


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