These Instant Pot tamales are so easy to make! They are filled with a delicious chili beef mixture that combines so well with the soft corn dough. They are hearty, flavorful, and a family favorite.

This Instant Pot tamales recipe is a winner because allows you to use your Instant Pot to make the filling AND to steam your tamales!

Tamales typically take hours when prepared using traditional methods, but now you can have them ready in a fraction of the time. You can make any type of tamales with this method, from pork tamales to sweet pineapple tamales!

Once you’ve set up your Instant Pot, you can step away and attend to other tasks while it does the cooking for you. This hands-free approach is perfect for busy days when you have other things to take care of.

Instant Pot tamales with beef served with toppings.

Ingredients

  • chuck roast (1 1/4 pounds)
  • guajillo sauce (2 cups)
  • masa harina (2 1/2 cups)
  • olive oil (2/3 cup)
  • water or beef stock (2 cups)
  • salt (as needed)
  • corn husks (12)

How to Make Instant Pot Tamales

Place the corn husks in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Leave them to soak for at least 20 minutes. This will make them softer and easier to wrap.

Corn husks soaking in a bowl with hot water.

Make the beef filling

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to your Instant Pot. Press the Sauté button and sear the beef on all sides until slightly browned (about 10 minutes).

Meat browned in the Instant Pot.

Pour in the chili sauce, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook on high for 40 minutes then naturally release for 15 minutes.

Some cooked meat taken with a slotted spoon.

Transfer only the meat to a bowl and shred it. The meat should be so tender that this step can be easily done using two forks.

Place the leftover chili guajillo sauce in a bowl and set everything aside.

The beef meat shredded it in a glass bowl.

Make the masa

In a large bowl add masa harina, salt, and water. Using your hands, mix to combine until a soft dough forms.

Add oil to the dough and mix well to combine. You should end with a slightly sticky dough. Taste it and adjust it with salt if needed.

Tamale masa dough in a bowl.

Assemble the tamales

Drain the corn husks and pat them dry with kitchen paper towels.

Take a corn husk and add 2 spoonfuls of dough in the middle. Using the back of the spoon or a spatula, spread the dough in a thin layer.

Spreading tamales dough on a husk using a spatula.

Now, add a spoonful of chili beef filling in the middle and drizzle some sauce on top.

Filling a tamale with meat and sauce.

Fold the right side of the corn husk towards the center, trying to cover a little bit more than half the piece.

Next, repeat with the left side, making some sort of burrito. Last, secure the tamal by folding the pointy edge towards the middle.

Repeat all steps until you’re done with the dough and filling. Save the remaining sauce for serving later with your tamales.

Tamales made and placed on a marble countertop.

Steam

Pour 1 1/2 cups water into your Instant Pot and arrange the rack at the bottom of the pot.

Place some corn husks to cover the rack, so tamales can have a base where to stand. Arrange all tamales by standing them upright.

All raw tamales standing up inside the Instant Pot.

Close the Instant Pot lid, seal the pressure valve, then pressure cook on high for 45 minutes.

Allow to natural release for 15 minutes then move the valve to venting to finish releasing the steam. Your Instant Pot tamales are ready!

Tips & Recipe Notes

  • When cooked properly, the tamales texture should be soft but not mushy, firm enough to hold the filling and the tamales shape.
  • To test tamales doneness, remove one tamal using kitchen tongs, place it on a plate, and let it cool for 2 minutes. Carefully, open the husk and check if it comes away easily. If the dough sticks to the husk, tamales need more cooking time.
  • You can use the chili sauce to mix with the masa harina to make the dough, this will add tons of flavor to your tamales!
  • Be cautious when opening the Instant Pot after cooking. The steam released can be very hot. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to open the lid safely.
  • Instant Pot beef tamales last up to 34 days in the fridge or up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
  • You can also use your Instant Pot for reheating these tamales. Add 1 cup of water to your pot, place the steam rack, and then add tamales in layers. Close the lid and set it to high pressure for 10 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes.
Beef tamales in an Instant Pot.

Serving Suggestions

In Mexico, tamales are usually eaten on their own without toppings but only served with a hot drink like champurrado, atole, or coffee.

However, serving your tamales with other sides or toppings makes them more fulfilling and fun to eat. As you can see, I served those Instant Pot tamales topped with pico de gallo, pickled onions, and the chili sauce leftovers. They were delicious!

Check my recommendations for what to serve with tamales for more ideas and inspiration!

More Tamales Recipes

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Video

Beef Instant Pot tamales recipe.

Instant Pot Tamales With Chili Beef

12 tamales
Those beef tamales are super easy to make in your Instant Pot! From the flavorful beef filling to the steaming, this recipe is a keeper!
prep 20 minutes
cook 1 hour 35 minutes
total 1 hour 55 minutes

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients 

  • 12 corn husks

For the filling

  • 1 ¼ pounds chuck roast (cut into chunks)
  • 1 ½ cups guajillo sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt (to taste)

For tamales masa

  • 2 ½ cups masa harina
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 cups water or beef stock
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Instructions
 

  • Place the corn husks in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Leave them to soak for at least 20 minutes.

Make the beef filling

  • Add olive oil to your Instant Pot. Press the Sauté button and sear the beef on all sides until slightly browned (about 10 minutes).
  • Pour in the chili guajillo sauce, salt, and ½ cup of water. Cook on high for 40 minutes then naturally release for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer only the meat to a bowl and shred it. Then transfer the leftover chili guajillo sauce in a bowl and set everything aside.

Make the dough

  • In a large bowl add masa harina, salt, and water. Using your hands, mix to combine until a soft dough forms.
  • Add olive oil to the dough and mix well to combine. You should end with a slightly sticky dough. Taste it and adjust it with salt if needed.

Assemble tamales

  • Drain the corn husks and pat them dry with kitchen paper towels.
  • Take a corn husk and add 2 spoonfuls of dough in the middle. Using the back of the spoon or a spatula, spread the dough in a thin layer.
  • Now, add a spoonful of chili beef filling in the middle and drizzle some sauce on top.
  • Fold the right side of the corn husk towards the center, trying to cover a little bit more than half the piece.
  • Next, repeat with the left side, making some sort of burrito. Secure the tamal by folding the pointy edge towards the middle.
  • Repeat all steps until you’re done with the dough and filling.

Steam

  • Pour 1 ½ cups water into your Instant Pot and arrange the rack at the bottom of the pot.
  • Place some corn husks to cover the rack, so tamales can have a base where to stand. Arrange all tamales by standing them upright.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid, seal the pressure valve, then pressure cook on high for 45 minutes.
  • Allow to natural release for 15 minutes then move the valve to venting to finish releasing the steam.

Notes

  • To test tamales doneness, remove one tamal using kitchen tongs, place it on a plate, and let it cool for 2 minutes. Carefully, open the husk and check if it comes away easily. If the dough sticks to the husk, tamales need more cooking time.
  • You can use the chili sauce to mix with the masa harina to make the dough, this will add tons of flavor to your tamales!
  • These tamales will last up to 34 days in the fridge or up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 tamal | Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 404mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was intimated to try to make tamales but decided to give this recipe a try anyway. I’m so glad I did! The instant pot makes it much easier and the meat was tender and so flavorful. Great recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    What a marvelous, flavor packed, chili beef in these easy to make tamales. I can’t wait to make them for my family.

  3. 5 stars
    These look so good. I’ve always been intimated trying to making tamales. Thanks for easy to follow instructions.

  4. 5 stars
    My family loves homemade tamales. Your recipe and with the spices was so easy to make and get on the table. We enjoyed making them and having a great dinner together.

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve never made these before but they came out beautifully. Really tasty and great to use inthe instant pot too.

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for this tutorial on how to cook tamales using a pressure cooker. I love how quickly these tamales can be cooked using my Instant Pot.

  7. 5 stars
    I always wondered if it was possible to make tamales in the instant pot and I am glad I found your recipe, the instructions are very detailed and easy to follow. Bookmarked and shared. Thank you!