Tamales sans lard?

Does anyone have a good recipe or substitution suggestions for masa filling for tamales that does not use lard or vegetable shortening?

Ms. T
  • Posted by: Ms. T
  • March 6, 2011


John H. March 10, 2019
Ms. T. March 7, 2011
Thank you both for the suggestions! I decided to put my tamale-making plans on hold this weekend so I could concentrate on a savory tart for this week's contest, but I will try these recipes next time. Nutcakes, I was actually planning to do chicken chile verde--how did you know? I have a salsa verde recipe that I love. I think it might become enchiladas instead, since those are easier to pull off during the work week.
Helen's A. March 6, 2011
I have also been trying to find a way to cut down on the fat in the tamales that I love so much. I finally compromised and came up with my Tamale Cups. I them made out of grits/polenta then filled with a chile verde, but you could fill with what ever you like: http://helensallnightdiner.blogspot.com/2011/02/tamale-cups.html
Hope this helps!
nutcakes March 6, 2011
I've read several posts elsewhere where people endorse this recipe using Canola oil. I is supposed to be on the Azteca site, but the recipe links are broken. You can fill with whatever you like. In this recipe, I'd likely make my own tomatillo sauce--it is so easy and roast my own chicken, but a 60 minute tamale can't be beat either. I'm sure you can find better folding instruction, if you need them.

60 minute Chicken Tamales

This recipe was the 1st place winner for the "Best Commercial Gourmet Tamale" at the Indio International Tamale Festival Indio, CA - Dcc. 2, 2000

Yields aprox. 25 Tamales


6 Cups Maseca corn flour for tamales (that is the coarse stuff, someone said they prefer the fine)
1 LARGE can chicken broth (49 oz.)
1 Cup neutral flavored vegetable oil (corn, canola, etc.)
1 1/2 tsp.Baking powder
2 Large rotisserie chickens from your local supermarket
2 Jars green tomatillo/chile sauce (12oz.)
1 Bag corn husks (shells)


Soak the corn husks in warn water until soft.

Blend with an electric mixer, Maseca, corn oil, salt, baking powder and the chicken broth to obtain a consistent mixture.

Shred the chicken and marinate in the green tomatillo sauce.

Spread masa evenly over corn husks. and spread a spoonful of marinated chicken on top of the masa.

Fold the sides of the corn husk to center over the masa so that they overlap to make a long package.

Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rests against the side of the tamale with a seam

Place the tamales in a steamer and cook tamales for 35 - 40 minutes. Check every 20 minutes. (I steam them for a full hour.)

The tamale is cooked when it separates easily from the corn husk.

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