Bean Tamales


  • 4 cups corn masa
  • 1 ½ -1 ¾ oil free red enchilada sauce (I find mine at Whole Foods)
  • 20-24 corn husks
  • Oil free refried beans (canned or homemade)



In a bowl place 4 cups corn masa. Slowly mix in the enchilada sauce until you have a moist paste that will hold its shape. 

 With a spoon gently smear the masa paste onto the entire corn husk, about a ¼ inch thick.  If you like thicker tamales then add more. 

 Then add your refried beans on one side and fold the corn husk over and seal all the sides. You can then fold the tails of the corn husk up.  If you have large corn husks then spoon filling down the middle and fold one side to the middle, then the other side over. Seal the ends, and fold the bottom of the corn husk upwards.

Place them inside a steaming basket, inside a large pot with a lid. Steam for 20 minutes. You can also place them in your instant pot (my preferred method) on a steaming basket, with 2 cups of water.  Hit the steam setting for 12 minutes then release the pressure manually and remove the tamales. Top and enjoy!!

*These freeze great!


Makes 20-24 servings.


  1. Jill on January 22, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Ugh! The link to enchilada sauce won’t work 😩

  2. Amie on January 22, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Just to let you know, the link for the sauce doesn’t work. It doesn’t take you to the individual product, just to the landing page of Amazon. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. Rini James on January 22, 2021 at 11:42 am

    Thank you Kiki!

  4. Karla Seidita on January 22, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Sounds yummy! I’ve never had (or even seen) a tamale…. How do you eat them? Do you eat the husk or just scrape out the filling?

    • pattyann on January 28, 2021 at 10:44 am

      remove the husk after you steam them, the masa has cooked and will stay intact, and will look like the picture, especially if you use the instant pot directions,

    • Tamlyn Laurence on January 30, 2021 at 9:54 pm

      Just open the corn husk and the cooked tamale will fall out. Throw away the husk. Enjoy the tamale.

    • Brandie Henderson on January 31, 2021 at 2:19 pm

      I don’t know if anyone answered this but no. You do not eat the husk. After steaming it you will un rap the husk and eat the tamale inside

  5. Helen on January 22, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Hi just wondering what corn masa is?

    • Maggie on March 14, 2021 at 9:52 pm

      It’s a type of flour made out of corn. It’s bot cornmeal or polenta. It’s especially made for tamales and other dishes.

  6. Grace McAndrew Whitnah on January 22, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Kiki,

    These sound and look amazing. How would I steam them? Sorry I don’t own a steamer.

    Thank you

    BTW. I love your youtube videos. I bought both of your cookbooks YUM!

  7. Micki on January 22, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make these so thanks. Where do I find corn husks?

  8. Dianna on January 22, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Are you going to make them on your youtube channel ? I hope so, they look delicious.

  9. Karen on January 22, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Do you have a replacement for masa? I can’t have corn.

    • Maggie on March 14, 2021 at 9:50 pm

      Tamales are made from corn and there’s no way around it (at least that I’ve ever seen). Now, there’s another similar dish, from Puerto Rico, that is made with green plantains. It would not be as easy as the corn tamales, but there’s no corn in those. They’re called pasteles and you can find and adapt recipes that are available online.

  10. Cyndy on January 22, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    Do you freeze before steaming or after?

  11. Clara on January 22, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Is this 1 1/2- 1 3/4 cups of enchilada sauce?

  12. Lori Dolling on January 22, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Do you have nutritional info?

  13. Cheryl on January 22, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you so much. I love tamales and have missed them. Do you think they would freeze okay. Blessing to you and your family.

  14. Lizette on January 22, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    I made similar tamales. I’ve been making tamales since before I could read, so I had to try to make them close to how I normally make them. I added sliced potatoes, carrots, green olives, artichokes, and salsa with my black beans.. beans tend to dry up so more veggies and salsa help keep it most.

    • Tamlyn Laurence on January 30, 2021 at 9:57 pm

      Aloha Lizette,
      Do you used cooked potatoes and carrots? I like the idea of adding other ingredients. Since Kiki’s recipe has such a short cook time, do raw vegetables become soft?

  15. Julia Jones on January 23, 2021 at 5:25 am

    How much enchilada sauce?

  16. Allie on January 23, 2021 at 6:05 am

    Do you soak your cornhusks before filling?

  17. Daisy on January 23, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to try this!!

  18. Denise on January 23, 2021 at 11:02 am

    Funny thought. When I first saw this on Instagram, I thought it was salmon fillets. I was about to lose my faith in humanity. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I never thought of making tamales without all the lard. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Dawn on January 29, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      Denise, I thought the same thing!! 😂😂

  19. BarbraJo Swingle on January 31, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Just made these! My first time making tamales. So yummy thank you!!

  20. Donna on February 9, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you for this a tamale recipe without oil, I didn’t think it could be done! I have regretted not being able to buy tamales here in Mexico where I live…now this! My next problem will be finding oil free red enchilada sauce. I will probably have to ad lib on that.
    siempre gracias para todo KikI!

  21. Ann on February 11, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Do you soak the corn husks, and how long

  22. Rachel on March 6, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    I’m so glad I remembered seeing this on Instagram! I was just about to make a much more complicated vegan tamales recipe and this was a great reminder to keep it simple! Thank you.

  23. Maggie on March 14, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Brilliant! I’m making these.

  24. Angela Palla on June 3, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    These just won’t cook in an instant pot! I’ve tried for over an hour steaming the tamales in there and the masa part is still uncooked.
    The recipe is off! I tried using just 1 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce and it needed so much more than that with those 4 cups of corn masa.
    Not sure why these won’t cook to look like actual tamales.

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