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How to Make Homemade Tamales in a Microwave: No-Bake Tamales

Did you know that you can make tamales in the microwave?

Did you know that you can make tamales in the microwave?

Making Tamales In the Microwave

Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines in the United States.

As with any type of food, there are Mexican food purists: when I tell people that I make tamales in the microwave, I get reactions varying from "that's interesting" to "that's sacrilegious!" This is definitely an unorthodox approach to making tamales, but the times are changing! We must take advantage of all of the tools at our disposal.

It is also worth noting that "traditional" tamales (according to Wikipedia, the Aztecs were making them around 5000-8000 BC) contained everything from frogs to gophers, and I don't hear any purists complaining about the lack of gopher in their tamales.

The real test is whether or not the finished result is plate-worthy. Try this recipe out and see for yourself. (You can always add the gopher if you insist on being a purist. )

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

6 min

16 min

6 tamales

Supplies needed

  • Microwave-safe bowl or dish, preferably Pyrex or ceramic (see the link below to the one I use).
  • Good-quality plastic wrap


  • 2 cups corn masa
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups desired filling (e.g., cheese, jalapenos, chicken, pork, etc.)
  • 1 bag corn husks

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soften 6 corn husks in warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine masa with chicken or vegetable stock and salt and mix until you achieve a smooth consistency.
  3. Put about 3 tablespoons of masa in the center of each corn husk.
  4. Flatten out the masa, leaving about an inch of space on all sides of the husk to ensure that all the masa will be covered when rolled.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of your filling in each husk.
  6. Fold one end of the husk over to the other side in a rolling motion, folding the ends inward.
  7. Roll like a burrito, making sure each end is tightly sealed.
  8. Stack tamales in a microwave-safe bowl, then cover them in plastic wrap.
  9. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 6-8 minutes, checking after the first 6 minutes for appropriate firmness.
  10. Let tamales cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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