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‘Tis the season…for tamales! Learn how to make the BEST oil-free vegan tamales this holiday season. Not only is this recipe fairly easy, but it is also packed with flavor and will definitely impress your friends and family!

OIl-free Vegan Tamales with Pico de Gallo

Growing up, the holiday season always meant cookies, presents, and tamales. It was something that I always looked forward to and I am so happy that I learned how to make them for myself AND 100% vegan.

We put out a tamale recipe last year (find it here) and a lot of you requested that we put out an oil-free version. So voila, here we are! The oil-free vegan tamales have arrived and they were much easier than we thought they would be. And so tasty!

Vegan Tamales Ingredients Masa

The masa, or the dough of the tamale, is fairly easy to make! It actually requires just 4 ingredients: masa harina, vegetable broth, salt, and baking powder. You can also add turmeric for color, but it is optional.

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

Here is a step-by-step gif for filling the tamales! We also have a video (below) so that you can see it in live action as well.

Sweet Simple Vegan posing with basket of tamales

And here I am posing with this masterpiece of a recipe. I don’t mean to brag…but I think I make a hell of a tamale and I can’t wait for you to dig into these.

Vegan Tamales in a Basket OIl-free Vegan Tamales with Pico de Gallo and Bean Filling

If you make this recipe, let us know what you think in the comments below! + If you post any photos on Instagram, make sure you tag us @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris so that we don’t miss it, we love seeing your photos!

Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.

Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Oil-free Vegan Tamales with Pico de Gallo and Bean Filling

Oil-Free Vegan Tamales (Easy + Gluten-free)

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


Learn how to make the BEST oil-free vegan tamales this holiday season. Not only is this recipe fairly easy, but it is also packed with flavor and will definitely impress your friends and family!


Tamale Dough

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

Toppings of choice, such as:

  • Pico de gallo
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro


  1. Separate the corn husks and soak them in a large bowl or bucket of hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until pliable. Drain and set aside.
  2. As the husks soak, prepare the 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. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add in the masa harina, baking powder, salt, and turmeric. Mix together until uniform, then pour in 3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (to start). Mix until well combined, adding more liquid as needed so that the dough is spreadable (we added 1/4 cup more).
  4. To assemble each tamale, spread about 1/4  cup 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*.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Remove tamales from husks and add toppings of choice.*


  • 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.
  • To freeze the tamales: After steaming, allow the tamales to cool in the husks. 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.
  • This recipe is adapted from our original Vegan Tamales recipe (with oil). It is basically the same recipe, we just used more both and took out the oil and it worked perfectly!
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Christmas
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan, Gluten-free

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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  1. I’m shocked and amazed! I could not have imagined tamales without fat holding the masa together! Thank you for exploring for us, I can’t wait to make these!

  2. How does the mass not dry out? I’ve tried making them with less last or oil and they come out dry and crumbly.