Moist, tender Instant Pot HEALTHY Salsa Verde Pork and Bean Tamales. With the magic of the Instant Pot, you can now have the best tamales you've ever had minus the pound of lard and in half the time. Believe it! These are incredible!
I really never had much love for tamales until a few years ago when I made them myself. Even then, they were a bit dry, took forever, and they really weren't something I saw myself making more than once a year.
Fastfoward to this recipe! I so badly wanted a tamale recipe in Cami and my Instant Pot cookbook, Master the Electric Pressure Cooker, and it took several duds before I found “THE ONE”. In the book I made a meat lovers version called Barbacoa Beef Tamales with pickled jalapeños and pepper jack, and also a veggie version with a medley of black beans, sweet corn, diced red bell peppers, and goat cheese. Yum, yum, yummy!
I wanted to make an equally amazing version for the blog so when I found myself with plenty of shredded pork from experimenting with the Hawaiian BBQ Tacos, I knew just what to do!
This shredded pork, minus the BBQ sauce, is divine in these tamales! And if you think ahead and reserve the broth for the masa dough, it will add amazing flavor to your tamales.
Now, tamales are known for being a bit time intensive and I'm not gonna lie and say that the pressure cooker gets rid of all the prep work. Here are my suggestions on how you can take this recipe and make it a breeze to put together for dinner.
Make these Hawaiian Barbecue Pork Tacos for dinner one night, toss only half of the pork with Barbecue Sauce and reserve the other half for these tamales. You can also reserve the broth to use in the masa dough. You could even freeze the reserved pork and make tamales another week.
I added my favorite recipe below for an Easy Homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde to toss the pork in. It's super easy to make and you can freeze what you don't use, but if you don't want this extra step, go for store-bought Salsa Verde.
The fresh Tomatillo Avocado Salsa is absolutely heavenly! Again, if you don't want the extra step, use your favorite salsa for topping. But really, at some point in your life, you need to experience this salsa.
My refried bean recipe from Cami and my Master the Electric Pressure Cooker cookbook is my all time favorite, but canned beans will work perfectly here as well. If you can find it, my favorite store-bought refried beans are Taco Bell's Fat Free Refried Beans.
If you don't want to mess with using corn husks (which lets be real, is mostly about the authenticity of it), use squares of nonstick tinfoil. Not only does this get rid of the soaking step, it also skips the tying process, which gets a bit tedious. If you want don't want to mess with rolling the tamales period, this Instant Pot Tamale Pie is for you!
FREEZE! There are so many opportunities for freezing here. You could double the amount of masa dough and freeze half for another day. You could make up your tamales and freeze them before or after pressure cooking them. You could freeze the meat for later, the salsa verde for later, refried beans for later . . .So basically the work you put in at first, will translate to many easy, yummy tamale dinners later.
Finally, tamale fillings are extremely adaptable. Use this amazing masa dough recipe and then look in your fridge for leftovers. Shredded chicken, leftover veggies, cheese, etc etc.
Whew! I think that about covers it! I'm afraid I'm making it seem way too complicated, so enjoy this quick video (made by my pal Kasey) and see just how easy it is to make.
Basically, you make your dough, pat it onto the corn husk, fill it . . .
Wrap it, stack it
Be sure and let me know if you create any new flavor varieties!
Tools used to make Instant Pot Healthy Salsa Verde Pork and Bean Tamales
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Instant Pot Tamales
Instant Pot Tamales cook faster and stay nice and moist. This version here is healthier than any tamale you've likely ever had!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 75 minutes
- Yield: 18 tamales 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican
For the Tamales
- About 16–18 dried corn husks
- 2 1/2 cups drained, canned corn (can substitute fresh corn)
- 2 cups masa harina
- ½ cup warm chicken or vegetable broth (or reserved broth from shredded pork)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- about 1 cup shredded Instant Pot Pork (from this taco recipe)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup salsa verde, bottled or homemade (easy homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde included in the recipe – make it ahead of time if using)
- about 3/4 cup refried beans (canned or homemade)
- pepper jack or quesadilla cheese, cut into matchsticks (16 – 18 sticks)
- Toppings: Mexican Crema, sour cream, or greek yogurt, Tomatillo Avocado Salsa (see recipe below) or favorite store-bought salsa, crumbled cotija cheese
Tomatillo Avocado Salsa (optional, could substitute with your favorite salsa)
- ½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 2 tablespoons diced onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeno, membrane and seeds removed, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and place corn husks inside. Allow to soak and soften for 10-15 minutes.
- To make masa dough: In a blender, add corn and pulse until partially pureed. Pour the corn into a large bowl and add masa harina, broth, baking powder, salt, and coconut oil. Use hands to combine all of the ingredients into a soft dough. Set aside.
- Toss shredded pork with salsa verde using more or less depending on how dominant you want the salsa verde flavor. I tend to use more salsa verde for a stronger flavor.
- Optional: Place refried beans into a freezer safe ziplock, press all the air out and seal shut. Cut one of the bottom corners of the bag for a quick and easier way to add beans to your tamale (see video for demo of this process). Place cheese close by to begin tamale assembly.
- To assemble tamales: Drain corn husks and pat dry. Tear the small husks into ¼ inch strips for tying the tamales after they are filled. Lay several medium-large husks out on a clean surface.
- Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of masa dough, flatten by hand, and place in the top left-hand corner of a corn husk. Use your fingers to spread the dough out onto the top left hand corner of the husk, leaving it about a quarter inch thick.
- Arrange 1-2 tablespoons of shredded pork down the center of the dough. Squeeze about 2 teaspoons of refried beans over the meat (or spoon over the meat if you didn’t use the ziplock trick). Place a matchstick of cheese on top of the beans.
- Starting on the left-hand side, fold the corn husk over so the dough encapsulates the filling. Press to seal the filling inside the masa dough, then roll to the end of the husk.
- Fold the triangle shaped bottom up and tie with one of the strips of corn husk.
- Add 1 1/2 cups water to the pressure cooker pot and place a steamer basket inside.
- Arrange tamales upright in the basket.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
- To serve, unroll tamales from the husk and arrange 2-3 on a plate. Top with Tomatillo Avocado Salsa, crema (or sour cream or yogurt), and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.
To prepare Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
- Add the salsa ingredients to a small bowl and toss to combine. Can be made up to 3 days in advance by omitting the avocado and then adding it in right before serving.
Easy Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- 1 pound tomatillos, husk removed and rinsed to remove the sticky residue, then halved
- 2 jalapeños
- 1 poblano
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. If using regular foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Put all of the ingredients (except for the garlic) on the pan and roast in oven until they soften and become slightly charred, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic after the other vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes so it doesn't burn.
- Pour all of the cooked vegetables and juices into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency – smooth or a bit chunky.
Freezer Instructions: There are a few options when it comes to freezing tamales
- Freeze masa dough – Make a double batch of masa dough and freeze half of it for another day. Let it thaw and soften, then start at step 3 to prepare tamales.
- Prepare tamales through step 7, then freeze. When ready to cook, cook for 30 minutes with a 10 minute natural release.
- Prepare tamales through step 9, let cool, then freeze. When ready to cook, cook for 15 minutes with a 10 minute natural release.
- Any leftover shredded meat will work for filling the tamale
- If making the Homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde included in the recipe, plan ahead and make it a day or two in advance to make it easier
- Squares of tinfoil can be used in place of the corn husk
- To freeze wrapped, uncooked tamales, place them on a parchment lined sheet pan (try not to stack them too much so they don't get stuck to each other) and place in the freezer. Once frozen, place them in a freezer-safe ziplock. See recipe for notes on how to cook from frozen.
Keywords: pressure cooker, mexican food, instant pot tamales