Tamales de Frijoles (Bean Tamales)

In this authentic Mexican recipe for bean tamales, both the masa and the refried beans are mixed with a homemade ancho chile salsa, adding a mild, smoky flavor to every bite.

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 45 mins
24 tamales



  • 24 dried corn husks

  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 cup lard, softened

  • 2 pounds masa harina flour

  • 1 (4 ounce) can canned jalapenos, sliced


  • 6 dried ancho chile peppers, seeded

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 pinch ground cumin

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed


  1. Start the tamales: Place corn husks into a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for about 3 hours. Drain, place on a work surface, and cover with a clean, damp towel.

  2. Make the salsa: Place ancho chiles into a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium heat; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain.

  3. Combine ancho chiles, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in a blender. Add water and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve.

  4. Finish the tamales: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the salsa and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in refried beans until well combined; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  5. Beat lard with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add masa flour and beat until well combined. Add remaining salsa and continue beating until dough is uniformly red in color.

  6. Select one wide corn husk. Starting 2 inches from the bottom of the husk, spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture over the surface, ending about 1/4 inch from the top. Place 1 tablespoon beans and 1 jalapeño slice in the center of masa mixture. Fold the sides of the husk together, one over the other. Fold the bottom of the husk over the seam of the two folded sides. Repeat to make remaining tamales.

  7. 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; cook until filling is heated through and separates from the husk, about 1 hour.

  8. Let tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

165 Calories
10g Fat
17g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 165
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 191mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 85mg 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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