Fiery Jalapeño and Cheese Tamales Fiesta


Get ready for a fiery fiesta in your kitchen with these spirited jalapeño and cheese tamales. We take the Mexican classic of masa harina dough stuffed with a zesty cheese filling and inject it with some extra spice from chopped jalapeños. 

The spicy kick contrasts deliciously with the sweet and salty hints of cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese tucked inside the soft corn dough. 

After an hour of steaming wrapped in corn husks, these tamales emerge hot, pillowy, and bursting with gooey melted cheese and flaming jalapeños in every scrumptious bite. Topped off with fresh cilantro, this tamale recipe is sure to ignite your tastebuds and have you shouting ¡Olé!

Fiery Jalapeño and Cheese Tamales Fiesta

Preparation and Cooking Times

  • Preparation Time: 1 hour (including dough preparation)
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours

Servings and Serving Size

  • Servings: 12 tamales
  • Serving Size: 1 tamale

Nutritional Profile (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 330
  • Fat: 17g
  • Carbs: 38g
  • Protein: 9g

This hearty appetizer provides a balanced nutritional profile. The corn-based masa dough offers complex carbs, while the cheese boosts fat and protein. 

Paired with veggies and greens, these tamales make for a flavorful fiesta. Enjoy moderately as the cheese and oil do increase total fat and calories.


  • Dried corn husks: 12 husks
  • Masa harina (corn flour): 300 grams (10.6 oz / 2 cups)
  • Baking powder: 5 grams (0.18 oz / 1 teaspoon)
  • Salt: 5 grams (0.18 oz / 1 teaspoon)
  • Unsalted butter, softened: 115 grams (4 oz / 1/2 cup)
  • Vegetable broth or water: 240 ml (8 fl oz / 1 cup) [240 grams / 8.5 ounces]
  • Jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped: 100 grams (3.5 oz / 2 medium jalapeños)
  • Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese: 150 grams (5.3 oz / 1 1/2 cups)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped: 15 grams (0.5 oz / 1/4 cup)

Method of Preparation

  1. Soak Corn Husks: Soak the corn husks in warm water for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare Masa Dough: Mix masa harina, baking powder, salt, and butter. Gradually add broth or water, mixing until a soft dough forms.
  3. Assemble Tamales: Spread masa on each husk, add jalapeños and cheese, fold the husk to enclose the filling.
  4. Steam Tamales: Place tamales in a steamer and cook for 1 hour, or until the masa separates easily from the husks.
  5. Serve: Let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Tips for Culinary Success

  • Masa Consistency: The dough should be soft and spreadable; adjust with more broth or masa harina as needed.
  • Cheese Options: Experiment with different cheeses for varied flavors.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of jalapeños based on your heat preference.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can I prepare these in advance? Yes, tamales can be made ahead and reheated when needed.
  • How long can I store the tamales? Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.
  • Can I use canned jalapeños? Fresh jalapeños are recommended, but canned can be used in a pinch.
  • Are tamales gluten-free? Yes, as long as masa harina and other ingredients are gluten-free.