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Instant Pot Tamales


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Recipe Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 16 Tamales
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Instant Pot Tamales are a delicious Mexican dish that is relatively easy to make for a weeknight meal. The flavor of these tamales is packed with spices and chicken and is always a crowd-pleaser.

If you love instant pot chicken recipes, then this recipe is for you. Not only is this a delicious dish that will fill your stomach, but you can actually make it in one pot.

6 Instant Pot Chicken Tamales stacked like a pyramid.

Instant Pot Tamales

Tamales are made of masa which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. Tamales are typically filled with meat, cheese, fruit, and vegetables, or whatever you prefer.

Why I Love This Recipe

Chicken Tamales are a great way to get a hearty meal with a lot of flavor in a short amount of time.

  • Easy to make
  • Perfect for picky eaters
  • Fills the house with a delicious aroma

If you love Mexican-inspired Instant Pot recipes you may also enjoy this Instant Pot Beef Carnitas recipe.

6 Instant Pot Tamales stacked like a pyramid on a serving table.

Ingredients

You only need a hand full of ingredients to help you make tamales in the Instant Pot. You will be so glad that you made these homemade tamales.

  • olive oil
  • roja salsa
  • rotisserie chicken
  • salt
  • smoked paprika
  • cumin
  • chicken broth

For the tamales

  • corn husks
  • prepared masa
  • water

Substitutions

Chicken: Use any natural flavored chicken you have on hand.

Salsa: You can use any red or tomato-based salsa that you have on hand.

Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools

You only need a few helpful tools to help you make this delicious recipe.

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tamales

There are 11 steps to make these Instant Pot Tamales, That may seem like a lot of work, but I promise they are worth it and are not complicated to make.

Step 1: Shred the chicken

Set your Instant Pot on saute and add the olive oil. Shred the rotisserie chicken, and add to the pot. Make sure to have ALL bones and skin removed.

Step 2: Add the seasoning

Add the salsa roja, cumin, paprika, and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off and let cool.

Step 3: Remove the chicken

Remove the chicken and place it in a bowl to the side.

Step 4: Mix the masa

Prepare masa as directed on the masa bag.

Step 5: Put the masa on the husk

Smear a thin layer of prepared masa on each corn husk.

Masa on the husk.

Step 6: Add the chicken to the husk

To the middle of the masa layer, add a small scoop of the chicken filling. Fold the corn husk like wrapping a gift. The sides folded in first then the ends.

Chicken filling on the middle of the masa on the husk.

Step 7: Finish filling the tamales

Place the tamale on a tray side edges down. Set aside. Repeat until you are out of chicken filling.

Step 8: Fill the pressure cooker

Place the steam rack on the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of water.

Step 9: Add the tamales to the pressure cooker

Place all the uncooked tamales on the rack, standing upright. Make sure to pack them in to limit movement.

Step 10: Pressure cook the tamales

Lock the lid in place. Turn the valve to “SEALING.” Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure 35 minutes.

Step 11: Release the steam

When the pressure cooking is done, let the steam release for a few minutes. Then turn the valve to “venting.” Remove the lid. Enjoy! 

Variations / Options / Add-Ins

Are you looking for ways to change up this recipe? Here are my favorite swaps when personalizing this recipe.

Beef: Use ground beef in place of chicken if you prefer.

Spicy: Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the filling for a spicy kick.

Broth: Chicken broth can be used instead of water in the instant pot for a little more flavor.

Close up shot of 6 Instant Pot Chicken Tamales stacked like a pyramid.

Serving Suggestions

Need some inspiration on what to serve with tamales? Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with tamales.

  • spanish rice
  • chips and salsa
  • refried beans
  • chips and cheese dip
  • roasted vegetables
6 Instant Pot Tamales stacked like a pyramid.

Tips

  • You can tell the tamales are done if the masa pulls away from the corn husks easily.
  • Don’t spread the masa all the way to the edges of the corn husks so that it doesn’t overflow during cooking.
  • Allow the chicken to cool just enough for you to handle it safely before filling the husks.

FAQs

Do you have questions about Instant Pot Chicken Tamales? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

How to store

Refrigerate the cooked tamales in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

How to reheat

Reheat in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel for one minute.

Can you freeze tamales?

You can freeze the cooked tamales after they’ve cooled. They can be frozen up to 6 months.

Horizontal shot of 6 Instant Pot Chicken Tamales stacked like a pyramid.

More Instant Pot Recipes

If you like Instant Pot recipes, give these recipes a try:

Instant Pot Tamales Recipe

Ready to get cooking? Print off the recipe card below or toggle on Cook Mode to keep your screen from going dark while you follow along on your phone or tablet.

Instant Pot Tamales

Corinne Schmitt
The flavor of these tamales is packed with spices and chicken and is always a crowd-pleaser.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Tamales
Calories 142 kcal

Ingredients
  

Filling

  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 4 cups roja salsa
  • ¾ lb cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Tamales

  • 16-20 corn husks
  • 2 1/2 cups prepared masa
  • 1 cup water

Instructions
 

Corn Husks

  • In a large pot soak the corn husks in a water on low for 2 hours.
  • Drain water.

Filling

  • Set your Instant Pot on saute and add the olive oil. Shred the rotisserie chicken, and add to the pot.
  • Make sure to have ALL bones and skin removed.
  • Add the salsa roja, cumin, paprika, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off and let cool.
  • Remove the chicken and place in a bowl to the side.

Tamales

  • Prepare masa as directed on the masa bag.
  • Smear a thin layer of prepared masa on each corn husk.
  • To the middle of the masa layer, add a small scoop of the chicken filling.
  • Fold the corn husk like wrapping a gift. The sides folded in first then the ends.
  • Place the tamale on a tray side edges down. Set aside.
  • Repeat until you are out of chicken filling.
  • Place the steam rack on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Add 1 cup of water.
  • Place all the uncooked tamales on the rack, standing upright.
  • Make sure to pack them in to limit movement. Lock the lid in place.
  • Turn the valve to “SEALING.” Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure 35 minutes.
  • When the pressure cooking is done, let the steam release for a few minutes.
  • Remove the lid. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 2TamalesCalories: 142kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 9gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 708mgPotassium: 256mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 506IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Need to run to the store for a few ingredients first? Don’t forget to pin this recipe so you can find it when you’re ready to cook!

6 Instant Pot Tamales stacked like a pyramid at the bottom of the image and a text at the upper part of the image reading "Instant Pot Chicken Tamales Recipe"

4 thoughts on “Instant Pot Tamales”

    • Here’s the directions on how to roll them up (it’s step 6 in the post): To the middle of the masa layer, add a small scoop of the chicken filling. Fold the corn husk like wrapping a gift. The sides folded in first then the ends.

      Reply
      • If you fold up top and bottom ends after the sides, then I don’t understand why you can see her meat and masa in the picture of the finished tamales. Help!

        Reply
        • When I make homemade tamales, I fold the sides in, then fold the bottom up, leaving the top open. I place the opened top facing upwards in the pot, but cover it with extra corn husks to prevent it from getting too soggy inside from the steam/condensation. I hope that helps!

          Reply

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