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Instant pot tamales

Instant Pot Tamales

Make tamales in no time in your pressure cooker. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 24
Author Stephanie Jackson


For the Barbacoa Filling

  • 2 pound beef shoulder roast
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • juice from 1 lime

For the Chile Sauce

  • 15 dried chilis stems and seeds removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp olive oil

For the Tamales

  • 2 Melissa's Produce Tamale Kits


For the Barbacoa

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet sear roast on all sides and transfer into the pressure cooker. 

  2. In a blender add the remaining ingredients for the Barbacoa and blend until smooth.

  3. Pour mixture over the beef and set your pressure cooker to Manual, High Pressure for 60 minutes. Start on the chile sauce while beef cooks. 

  4. Once the timer is up allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release for 10 minutes. Then quick release. 

  5. Transfer beef to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Transfer shredded beef into a large mixing bowl and pour the remaining juice in the instant pot over the beef. Cover and set aside. Clean your instant pot. 

For the Chile Sauce

  1. Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Place chile peppers on a baking sheet and bake for 2 to 3 minutes at 325F. Avoid burning. 

  2. Remove from oven and put peppers in a pot of hot water (about 4 to 5 cups) and allow them to soak for 30 minutes. Save the soaking water. 

  3. Transfer soaked peppers, remaining chili sauce ingredients, and 2 1/2 cups of soaking water to a blender. Blend until smooth. 

  4. Strain chile sauce through a colander into a sauce pot. Use the back of a spoon to push the sauce through. Discard any remaining pepper skin or bits left in the colander. 

  5. Simmer the sauce on low. If your sauce gets too thick you can thin it out with remaining soaking water. 

For the Tamales

  1. Follow the directions on the back on Melissa's Produce Tamale Kits. The kit comes with presoaked corn husks and corn masa mix. 

  2. Layout the corn husks on a flat working area. 

  3. Evenly spoon out the masa batter onto the corn husks. Then spread the batter into a rectangle shape on the corn husk. 

  4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture down the middle of the masa batter for each tamale. 

  5. Roll and fold the tamales. (see video above on rolling tamales)

  6. Add 1 cup of water to your instant pot. Add the trivet or a steam basket.

  7. Arrange tamales in the instant pot with open end up. If any of your corn husks are too tall trim them with scissors. 

  8. Cover and set your pressure cooker to: Manual High, 25 minutes. 

  9. Once the timer goes off do a quick release and remove the lid. 

  10. To serve, remove corn husks and spoon chile sauce over the top of the tamales.