Tamale Batter From Fresh Masa

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo


Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentelectric mixer, food processor


  • 2 tablespoons slaked lime (calcium hydroxide or “cal”)
  • ½ pound dried field corn kernels (about 4 cups), sorted and rinsed
  • ½ cup nonhydrogenated lard or vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups fresh masa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup Chicken Broth with Mexican Flavors or Pork Broth with Mexican Flavors, lukewarm
  • Colander with small holes (about 2mm)
  • Electric hand mixer


  1. To Make the Fresh Masa:

  2. Fill a large pot with 2 quarts water, stir in the slaked lime, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the corn kernels, which will immediately turn a brighter yellow. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the kernels to soak for at least 3 hours, but no more than 8 hours. Drain and return the kernels to the pot.

  3. Place about a third of the kernels in a medium bowl and add enough water to cover them by a couple of inches. Rub the kernels against each other between your palms to work off their skins. Swirl the bowl around occasionally, encouraging the loosened skins to float to the top of the water so they can be collected or poured out of the bowl. Add fresh water and continue rinsing and rubbing the kernels until most of them have been peeled. Drain the skinned corn and place it in a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining kernels.

  4. Pinch off the tougher, pointy tip from the end of each kernel. Rinse the kernels in a colander under cool running water and wipe them dry as best you can between two kitchen towels.

  5. Place a third of the kernels in a food processor and process into a grainy meal, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as you go. Sift the meal through the colander into a bowl, scooping out the coarser bits and placing them in a small bowl. Repeat with the remaining kernels. Scoop the collected coarser bits back into the food processor, process, and sift again.

  6. Measure out the amount of masa you need for your recipe. You can also make the masa in advance and keep it refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. Frozen masa must be thawed before using.

  7. To Make the Tamale Batter:

  8. Place the lard in a large bowl and whip with the hand mixer at medium speed until light and creamy, about 5 minutes.

  9. Slowly add about half of the corn masa while continuing to whip at medium speed. Once combined, whip in the salt, baking powder, and remaining masa.

  10. Slowly drizzle in the broth as you continue whipping the batter, scraping down the sides as you go. Once all the broth has been added, raise the mixer speed to high and continue to mix until the batter is light and fluffy, about 10 minutes, scraping down the sides as you go. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also make the batter in advance and keep it refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 day.


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