Green Chicken Tamales


These authentic Mexican green tamales (tamales verdes) are stuffed with chicken and a spicy tomatillo sauce. To make tamales from scratch takes time, but it is so worth it. [Recipe originally submitted to]

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
35 tamales


  • corn husks

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  • salt to taste

  • water to cover

  • ¾ pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed

  • 2 serrano peppers, or more to taste

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 1 pound masa harina

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt


  1. Place corn husks in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain, place on a work surface, and cover with a clean, damp towel.

  2. Place chicken in a pot, season with salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain chicken and shred with 2 forks.

  3. Place tomatillo and serrano peppers in a pot while chicken is cooking, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until tomatillos are soft and have changed color, but are not falling apart, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Combine tomatillos, serrano peppers, onion, cilantro, and garlic in a blender; blend into a smooth sauce.

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add tomatillo sauce. Cook until sauce has slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and season filling with salt.

  6. Beat remaining butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add chicken broth, masa harina, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and beat well until combined and the consistency of cookie dough. Test if the masa is ready by dropping a small ball of masa into a glass of cold water; if it floats, it's ready, if not, keep beating for a little longer.

  7. Select 1 wide corn husk or 2 small ones. Spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the the corn husk, filling it up to 2 inches from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Add 1 tablespoon of filling down the center of the masa mixture. Fold sides of husk together, one over the other. Fold the bottom of the husk over the seam of the 2 folded sides. Repeat with remaining husks.

  8. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add tamales with the open side up and cook until filling is heated through and separates from the husk, about 1 hour. Let tamales stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

115 Calories
6g Fat
11g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 35
Calories 115
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 232mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 94mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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