This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Making tamales is a big deal. There’s a lot involved from making the masa for tamales to preparing the corn husks.
Why make it more complicated? Here’s an authentic Mexican recipe made in almost HALF the time.
For Father’s Day, Christmas, or any special occasion, you have to try these insanely delicious Instant Pot Chicken Tamales.
Also check out: Instant Pot Red Pork Tamales
This is cooked chicken. You can very easily use rotisserie chicken. Just remove the skin.
- Shred the chicken and add salsa verde.
- Cook on low heat.
You want the mixture to be saucy. Mexican food is all about the sauce.
See the mixture in the picture? This is before adding the chicken broth. You can also add more green salsa for saucier tamales.
Please note: Some people will add the chicken to the center of the masa then top with salsa verde. Then fold and assemble the tamales. To each their own.
- Separate the corn husks and remove any debris like hairs.
- You can soak them for 20 minutes in warm water.
To make tamale making go faster, soak them the night before. Then drain and rinse before assembling.
This way, the corn husks are ready to go and ready to make Instant Pot Chicken Tamales.
Do the corn husks move easily?
If so, great. You’re in business.
If not, then add more hot water and let them soak longer.
There’s no shame in buying pre-made masa. It makes tamale making a lot easier.
For those you interested in a healthier option, there’s also Masa with Olive Oil. It is completely vegan and 100% better for you than the lard kind.
The tamales can be fat, but not too tall, or the lid won’t fit.
Tamales need to be cooked upright. Long tamales will need to be cooked at an angle and less tamales will fit the instant pot.
Assembling tamales is not difficult. It just takes practice.
Tamales are labor intensive enough. You don’t want to make it more complicated for yourself.
The Instant Pot is the best thing ever! Just saying..
- Insert the crate to the bottom of the instant pot.
- Add water to the bottom. This is only 1 cup of water.
- Assemble the tamales inside the instant pot, open-side facing upward.
- Then place the lid.
These Instant Pot Chicken Tamales are going to be delicious.
You can’t make too many like with traditional steamers, but these Instant Pot Chicken Tamales are perfect for a small dinner party.
- Set the valve to SEALING.
- Adjust the settings and set timer.
These Instant Pot Chicken Tamales are done in half the time of steamed tamales. Awesome, right?!!
Tamales are ready when they peel away from the corn husks easily.
Frozen Tamales vs. Fresh Tamales:
- For frozen tamales: HIGH Pressure Cook + 45 minutes and full release. Let them sit in the instant pot for 5 minutes before taking them out.
- For fresh tamales: HIGH Pressure Cook + 35 minutes and full release. Let them sit in the instant pot for 5 minutes before taking them out.
VERY IMPORTANT: If they are not fully ready, return them to the instant pot and cook HIGH PRESSURE for another 5 minutes. Release the pressure again.
The pot will still be hot, and it will come to high pressure quicker.
How Many Tamales Can I Make in an Instant Pot?
You can cook 16 large tamales in the instant pot, or 24 small tamales.
My best advice to those of you who want to make more Instant Pot Chicken Tamales is to make them in batches.
That is, make one batch of tamales. Serve them to your hungry family and guests. Then make a second batch.
If you are making these Instant Pot Chicken Tamales for a party:
- Take out a large pot or a large serving platter.
- Place the tamales as they are ready on the platter or in the pot.
- Make sure to cover them to keep them warm.
The other thing I would do is make them ahead of time, freeze them, then reheat them the day of the party.
- You can freeze cooked tamales for up to 4 months.
- Freshly cooked tamales last up to 5 days in the fridge.
What to drink with tamales? Champurrado, of course!
Instant Pot Chicken Tamales
- For the Filling:
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil.
- Add the salsa verde.
- Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Shred the chicken and add to the pot.
- Add the chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Taste for salt. Add salt, if needed.
- Turn heat off and let cool.
- To Assemble Tamales:
- Soak the corn husks in a warm water for 30 minutes.
- Drain water. Shake off any excess water.
- Smear a thin layer of prepared masa on each corn husk.
- To the middle of the masa layer, add a tablespoon of the chicken filling.
- Fold one side of the corn husk in.
- Fold the other side in.
- Fold the pointy top to the center of the tamale.
- Set aside.
- Repeat until there are no more corn husks left.
- Place the steam rack crate on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Place all the uncooked tamales on the rack, standing upright.
- Lock the lid in place.
- Turn the valve to "SEALING."
- Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure 35 minutes.
- When done, turn the valve to "venting."
- It will release any leftover steam.
- Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid very carefully.
- Place tamales on a plate and enjoy!