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How To Make The BEST Vegan Tamales! #tamales #vegan #howto #christmas #holiday #tradition #mexican #cheese #chili

How To Make the BEST Vegan Tamales – 2 Ways! Potato & Pinto Bean + Green Chili & Cheese

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: About 25 tamales


A step-by-step guide on how to make the BEST vegan tamales this holiday season. Not only are these fairly easy to make, but they are also packed with flavor and will definitely impress your friends and family!


Tamale Dough

  • ~25-30 corn husks
  • 4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina
  • 33 1/2 cups vegetable broth (+ more as needed)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)

Potato & Pinto Bean Filling

  • ~1/4-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Anaheim pepper, finely diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium russet potato, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Green Chili & Cheese Filling

  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 bag Vegan mozzarella cheese (we used Follow Your Heart)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Toppings of choice, such as:

  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream


  1. Separate the corn husks and soak them in a large bowl of hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until pliable. Drain. 
  2. For the potato and pinto bean filling: In a medium pan over medium heat, add in about 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Once heated through, add the onions, garlic, and Anaheim peppers, and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add in the Roma tomatoes and russet potatoes, along with 1/4 cup vegetable broth, cumin, and chili powder. Allow it cook, stirring often, until the potatoes have softened. Mix in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a potato masher or fork, roughly mash the mixture into the consistency of refried beans. It does not need to be completely smooth, it is up to you. 
  3. For the green chili and cheese filling: In a medium pan over medium heat, add in about 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Once heated through, add the onions, garlic, and Anaheim peppers, and sauté until the onions are translucent and everything is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. For the dough: In a large bowl, add in the masa harina, baking powder, salt, and turmeric. Mix together until uniform, then pour in 3 cups of vegetable broth (to start) and the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Mix until well combined, adding more liquid as needed so that the dough is spreadable (we added 1/2 cup more).
  5. To assemble each tamale, spread about 3-4 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness (depending on your preference). Place 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of the filling into the center*.
  6. Fold in and overlap both sides of husk and fold up the bottom. Rip one or two of the corn husks into thin (1/4″) strips and use these to tie the tamales shut. Refer to images above if needed.
  7. Place the tamales open side up into a large steamer basket. Add water to a large steamer pot, just below the basket, and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Steam the tamales for 1 hour, being sure to add water to the pot when necessary to prevent burning.
  8. Remove tamales from husks and add toppings of choice.*


  • For an oil-free version, find the recipe here.
  • The amount of filling you place the dough will depend on the size of the corn husk. As you go, you will get a feel for how much you need.
  • We typically only use one filling or the other. You may need to make more masa if you make both.
  • To freeze the tamales: leave them in the husks and place them in freezer safe bags. To reheat, place the tamales in a steamer for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened.
  • If you cannot find Anaheim peppers, you can opt for a mix of green bell peppers and jalapenos or even canned green chiles.
  • Instead of sauteeing the Anaheim peppers in the green chile and cheese filling, you can roast them. There are two ways of doing so. The first is broiling them in the oven, and you can find all of those directions here. Secondly, if you have a gas stove, you can roast them directly on the stove top. Turn a burner to medium-high heat and set your pepper directly above the flame on the grate. Use a pair of tongs to turn the peppers often until the skin is completely blackened. Flip often to prevent too much char/burning. Place the peppers in a heat-proof mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Allow it to steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap/foil and then begin to remove the skin from the peppers. You can do this with a paper towel or under running water. Try your best, it is okay if there are still little bits left. Cut the top off of the pepper and remove the seeds. Dice the peppers and set them aside. In a medium pan, sauté the onions and garlic until cooked through. Once finished, remove the pan from heat and mix in the diced peppers.
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Christmas
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan, Gluten-free

Keywords: Tamales, Vegan, Entree, Christmas, Mexican, Gluten-free