4 Quick And Great Steps On How To Roll Tamales In Corn Husks

Last Updated on March 21, 2022 by

Interested in making tamales from scratch at home? Then you may be wondering how to roll tamales in corn husks! Although it is not incredibly hard, it can be challenging at first. This quick how-to and information tutorial is good for beginners who have never made tamales.

Rolling and folding corn husks require steps. I am going to highlight 4 quick and easy steps that should have you labeled as a tamale-making expert in no time! At the end of following this blog, you should have a better understanding of how to roll corn husks when making tamales.

What Are Tamales?

So, what exactly are tamales? Surprisingly, not everyone knows what tamales are. Since there are so many different variations all around the world, I want to make the distinction that we will be talking about tamales that originate in Mexico.

Tamales are delicious and a favorite in my household! These tamales are traditional and authentic Mexican food that is meant for sharing and creating as a family. It is a tedious process when learning how to roll tamales in corn husks.

There are approximately three to six main ingredients in a tamale. The main ingredient for the masa, or the outer layer of this dish is processed corn flour. The flour is combined with a liquid like water, milk, or oil and turns into a sticky dough. Using corn husks, you spread the dough and shape it.

As you shape it, the tamale masa turns into a boat-like shape. In the center, you can fill it up with whatever savory dishes grab your attention!

 How do you fold a tamale step by step?

The History Of Tamales

Possibly the most interesting thing about learning how to roll tamales in corn husks is also learning about the history of these traditional tamales. They have been around for thousands of years, since before 8000 B.C, long before the Spanish came to Latin America with their beliefs and different ways.

Before they were stuffed with various meats, tamales had a special purpose; to be made for the Gods. It was not uncommon for royalty to also eat these delicious treats with each meal. On the inside, however, the tamales were stuffed with hot peppers and a variety of different beans.

Interestingly enough, when the Spanish colonized Mexico and other parts of Latin America, they liked the tamale and made it their own. These easy-to-eat and make food was perfect for storing and eating on the go. Suddenly, Spanish soldiers were making their own versions while on the road.

However, the Spanish did not like the beans and instead chose to learn how to roll tamales in corn husks with meat like chicken, pork, and beef. The Spanish were actually the ones who brought the majority of cattle. Most meat sources for indigenous Latin Americans were rabbits and turkeys.

How To Roll Tamales In Corn Husks

 How thick should you spread masa on corn husks?

Now that you know the basics about tamales, it is time to learn how to roll tamales in corn husks. The indigenous people of Latin America understood the importance of being resourceful and using anything at their disposal, which includes corn husks. There are two main steps: making the masa and folding.

Making The Masa

How do you make the masa for tamales? There are many ways, but the most common way is to use yellow corn flour for masa. They are easy to find, you can start looking for this special type of flour by searching terms like ‘how to roll tamales in corn husks at home’.

Thankfully, this flour is common throughout the U.S and you can find it in local grocery stores. Once you have the harina for masa, measure out three cups. In a large bowl, put three cups of flour and two more cups of either water or chicken stock alongside any seasonings you want to cook in the masa.

Afterwards, knead the dough and mixture. It should thicken within a few moments creating a bread dough-like consistency. During this step, I recommend also soaking the corn husks for 30 minutes in water to soften them enough to move and fold.

 how to roll tamales in corn husk

Folding The Tamale

Once both the masa and the corn husks are prepared, you can start figuring out how to roll tamales in corn husks. First, spread the mixture onto the smoother side. Lay the husk as flat as possible on a surface. With a spoon, spread the masa on the corn husk.

After the spreading is layered on the tamale, flatten it so that it is foldable and stuff it with vegetables and fillings. Finding the end of the tamale, pinch it so that the masa does not get out of the tamale. After pinching the lower corner, fold each side so that they touch and almost fold into each other.

Now, fold both sides once towards the masa. If you need to tighten it you can use a ribbon, rubber band, or another corn husk to tighten it.

The Benefits Of Eating Tamales

Did you know that there are positive health benefits to learning how to roll tamales in corn husks? There are plenty of beneficial health positives you can bring to your life by eating, cooking, and enjoying tamales. One thing that is especially good is that Tamales are high in iron.

They are also a delicious and highly nutrient carbohydrate. Our bodies need carbs to function and live as our bodies turn carbohydrates and sugars into energy!


Did you learn how to roll tamales in corn husks? This is a topic that many people are intimidated by, but surprisingly it is an easy cooking task to do! If you did learn anything new about tamales and how to roll tamales in corn husks, don’t be afraid to let us know! We want to hear back from you!

Tamales are a family and shared dish. They are traditional and were typically made at home during celebrations and holidays. During these special days, the family would gather at a long table and take turns at their stations putting together and cooking tamales.


How do you fold a tamale step by step?

Folding the tamale is the easiest part! After you spread the masa evenly on the tamale, it is important to fold the corn husk so that the masa is cupped. Then, fold the sides inward to hold down and mold the tamale. This should close the filling from peeking out of the masa. Finally, on the third step, you need to fold the two shorter sides inward.

How do you fold corn husks for tamales?

You should fold corn husks for tamales by first folding them into a 'canoe' shape. The corn husks though should be boiled first so that they are flexible and easy to move. Then, fold inward, so that the masa is condensed into the iconic tamale shape. With one more fold on the shorter sides inward, you are done!

How thick should you spread masa on corn husks?

The answer really depends on your own preference, however, the thickness should be enough to make an impact. It needs to be thick enough so that you do not see the corn husks where the masa covers.

What side of the husk do you use for tamales?

There is one side that is softer with less texture, this one should be pointing up for the masa. It is the side that makes is easier to spread the masa.