Instant Pot Pork and Roasted Green Chile Tamales
I can’t even begin to tell you how flabbergasted I am. I have heard the urban legend of making tamales in an Instant Pot, but didn’t want to believe the tale. Let me just tell you, it’s true!
Did you know you can sear in an Instant Pot?
No need to pull out another pan to sear meat, and sauté the onions. Not only does this appliance help with time, but also cuts on dirty dishes.
How easy is it making tamales in an Instant Pot?
Making classic tamales can be an all-day project and lots of dirty dishes, but with the magic of an Instant Pot, you can make a little over a dozen tamales whenever the craving hits — in under two hours from start to finish.
How to assemble tamales?
Place the wide end of the husk on the palm of your hand, narrow end is at the top. Starting at the middle of the husk spread 2 tablespoons of the masa with the back of a spoon in a rectangle or oval shape, using a downward motion towards the wide-bottom edge. Do not spread the masa to the ends; leave about a 2-inch border on the left and right sides of the husk.
Fill Corn Husks:
Spoon 1 ½ tablespoons of filling down the center of the masa.
Fold both sides to the center; finish off by bringing the pointed end of the husk toward the filled end.
Make sure it’s a snug closure so the tamal will not open during steaming.
Secure by tying a thin strip of corn husk around the tamal. This will keep the tamal from unwrapping during the steaming process, especially if the husk is too thick and will not stay folded.
Do I have to add water to the Instant Pot to steam tamales?
Yes, pour one cup of water into the Instant Pot and insert the steam rack. I arrange a few corn husks on the bottom of the rack. Place the tamales on the corn cusks, standing them upright. Lock the lid in place and steam.
How many tamales fit in an Instant Pot?
I own a 6-quart Instant Pot and 16 tamales fit perfect. I would say one to two dozen tamales will fit in an Instant Pot depending on the size of your tamales and Instant Pot.
How long does it take for tamales to cook in an Instant Pot?
The pork green chile filling for these tamales cooked in one hour and then I steamed the tamales for 38 minutes in the same pot. Traditionally, I cook filling for tamales in a slow cooker, which can take up to 8 to 10 hours, and then the steaming process is another two to three hours.
How to serve tamales?
I love adding a dollop of roasted green chile over these Pork Green Chile Tamales, for added spice. My favorite time to enjoy tamales is in the morning, served with an over easy egg for breakfast and with a hot cup of café de olla.
Instant Pot Pork and Roasted Green Chile Tamales
Instant Pot Pork Green Chile:
- 3 to 4 pounds pork shoulder boneless
- kosher salt
- pepper freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 6 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced
- 16 corn husks
- 2/3 cups lard or shortening
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups masa harina (corn flour), see notes
- 1 ½ to 2 cups warm homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium broth
Instant Pot Pork Green Chile:
- Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Select Sauté on the Instant Pot and warm the oil. In batches, sear the pork until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes a side. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate.
- Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in garlic for 1 minute, return the pork to the pot, add the broth and chile, and give everything a good stir.
- Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to Sealing.
- Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the cook time for 1 hour at high pressure.
- Let the steam release naturally for about 10 minutes, then turn the valve to Venting to release any residual steam.
- Carefully remove the lid and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork mixture to a bowl. Using 2 forks, shred the pork.
- Season with salt and pepper if needed, stir well and let cool to room temperature. Using pot holders, lift out the inner pot, rinse well, and return the inner pot to the Instant Pot housing.
Prepare Hojas (Corn Husks):
- Soak corn husks in water for an hour before using, rinse well with running water to take off any dust or corn husk fibers. To keep corn husks pliable and easy to work with, keep in water while filling tamales. Place a handful of wet corn husks in a colander to drain before using.
- Combine lard, salt, and baking powder using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until well whipped, about 1 minute.
- Add one-fourth of the masa at a time to the lard, beating between additions until thoroughly incorporated.
- Slowly add chicken stock and continue beating until dough is light and has a soft and spreadable hummus-like texture. If it’s too dry, mix in a little more broth; if your dough is too loose, add more masa harina until you get the desired texture.
- Cover the masa and set aside.
- Place the wide end of the husk on the palm of your hand, narrow end is at the top. Starting at the middle of the husk spread 2 tablespoons of the masa with the back of a spoon in a rectangle or oval shape, using a downward motion towards the wide-bottom edge. Do not spread the masa to the ends; leave about a 2-inch border on the left and right sides of the husk.
Fill Corn Husks:
- Spoon 1 ½ tablespoons of filling down the center of the masa. Fold both sides to the center; finish off by bringing the pointed end of the husk toward the filled end. Make sure it’s a snug closure so the tamal will not open during steaming. Secure by tying a thin strip of corn husk around the tamal. This will keep the tamal from unwrapping during the steaming process, especially if the husk is too thick and will not stay folded.
Steam Tamales in an Instant Pot:
- Pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot and insert the steam rack.
- Arrange a few corn husks on the bottom of the rack.
- Place the tamales on the corn cusks, standing them upright. Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to Sealing.
- Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the cook time for 38 minutes at high pressure. Let the steam release naturally for about 10 minutes, then turn the valve to Venting to release any residual steam.
- Carefully remove the lid and transfer the tamales to a plate. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes to set up before serving.
- Drizzle tamales with diced roasted green chile.
- Masa harina is readily available in the Hispanic aisle of your grocery store and online.
This recipe is inspired by this pork green chile tamales recipe on the Instant Pot website.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
18 Comments on “Instant Pot Pork and Roasted Green Chile Tamales”
I make green tomato and tomatillo sauce w added Serrano peppers.
This was my first time making tamales. I love the ease of using the instant pot. The pork was delicious. I forgot to buy Hatch Chiles. I found some canned Chipotles in sauce in my pantry. I used about 6 if them but I rinsed them first before adding them to my instant pot. It turned out very good. I cannot wait to make these year after year!
If I have frozen tamales (uncooked) how long should I cook them in the instant pot?
Stroke of genius to make tamales in a pressure cooker! The thought did cross my mind but I was afraid it could a blown out mess. Mine was perfect and tasty, although I did add some garlic and a cayenne blend seasoning to the masa. Be sure to allow them to congeal for 30 minutes after steaming!
I made these tonight. Really good but I put 1.5 cups of water to steam them and don’t know how I didn’t get a burn notice. Next time I’ll use more water. So tasty though!
Can you use waxed deli paper or parchament as an outer layer over the corn husks then steam in IP
Not wax or butcher paper, yes you can use parchment paper that’s what it’s made for.
I’ve been looking for an IP tamale recipe, thank you! I’m excited to try this but noticed that you have TONS of other tamale recipes—is it possible to adapt this cooking method for those?
Thank you for this recipe! I was searching for a tamale recipe I could make in my instapot, and after reading many yours resonated with me the most. I like how you describe the texture to be “hummus like,” which is pretty accurate and helpful. I also appreciate how you explained the process to be similar to baking a cake, where you slowly incorporate the dry and wet ingredients. I used my own filling mixtures, rotisserie chicken and veggies instead of pork. They turned out awesome and I will definitely make these again!! Thanks Yvette!
With all the children home , we made some tamales. Instant pot worked great!
I’ve always wanted to learn how to make tamales, My Mom & Grandma’s were always the best
Made it to the T and came out wonderful, didn’t really have time to make the masa so I store bought it. Gotten so many compliments on it but also have shared the recipe with many , thank you.
Could you substitute with chicken instead?
Absolutely.. I make chicken tamales with green Chile tomatillo sauce, and cut up strips of green, yellow bell peppers, onions. Similar to chicken fajita without tomatoes, use green Chile instead. My family loves them. Also the rajas con queso. Which is green Chile jalapeno with Oaxaca cheese, its like mozzarella cheese. Those are delicious.. yumm
Thank you Yvette, I was going to try steaming tamales in my insta pot this year! Now I won’t feel like I’m experimenting. Love your recipe, I’m going to give a try this year. I had a great amount of tomatillos in my garden this year and so we’re going to have plenty of fresh green Chile sauce! Yay, To easy fresh tamales anytime!
Born and raised in El Paso ,I grew up eating the same Mexican foods as you .I love your recipes Yvette.
It looks like the magic of the Instant Pot has taken hold at your house! Isn’t it great? Love that you’ve used it to make tamales.