Potato Adobo Vegan Tamales


I bet you never thought you could make tamales at home, let alone vegan tamales. But this recipe is from the ecookbook, Vegan Tamales Unwrapped: A Step-by-Step Guide to Savory and Sweet Tamales.

Potato Adobo Vegan Tamales Recipe (gluten-free, too!)

Chef Dora Stone shares over 50 detailed pictures to walk you through the tamale-making process. Then she really delivers with dozens of plant-based tamale recipes. Just a few that you will find include:

  •  Vegan Tamales Unwrapped: A Step-by-Step Guide to Savory and Sweet Tamales (ebook) by Dora StoneRed Chile Jackfruit Tamales
  • Mushroom in Mole Tamales
  • Potato Adobo Tamales (recipe below)
  • Chocolate Tamales
  • Strawberry Tamales
  • Lime Tamales

Dora Stone is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Mexican Chef, and founder of DorasTable.com, She adapts traditional Mexican dishes to the plant-based lifestyle while preserving the beauty and richness of the different regional cuisines of Mexico.

Special Diet Notes: Potato Adobo Vegan Tamales

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Potato Adobo Vegan Tamales
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is reprinted with permissions from Dora's ebook, Vegan Tamales Unwrapped.
Serves: 18 to 24 tamales
  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into small dice
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 3 ancho chiles, dry, deseeded
  • 1 ½ Pasilla chiles, dry, deseeded
  • ½ cup chile soaking liquid
  • 2 garlic, cloves
  • ¼ white onion
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 whole clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or palm shortening
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or broth, warm
  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.
  2. To make the filling, place the diced potatoes in a medium pot with salted cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 6 minutes. or until the potatoes are slightly tender. When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat and pour the cup of peas into the water with the potatoes. Let sit for 30 seconds, then drain.
  3. To make the adobo, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and drop them into the water. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let the chiles sit in the water for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the chiles from the water and place in your blender along with ½ cup of the chile soaking liquid. Add the garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, and white vinegar to the blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Pour the adobo on the cooked potatoes and peas, and mix well.
  6. To make the dough, beat the vegetable shortening, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, until it has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the salt and baking powder, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate.
  8. Add half of the masa harina then add half of the vegetable stock. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina and vegetable stock. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary, add more vegetable stock until you reach that consistency. Taste the dough, and add more salt if necessary. It should be a little bit salty.
  9. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and re-beat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
  10. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer.
  11. To set up your steamer, fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks.
  12. To wrap the tamales, pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks. Take a husk and dry off the excess water with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2 to 3 tablespooons of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3- to 4-inch square. Leave a border of at least ¾ inch on each side of the square.
  13. Place 1 ½ tablespoons of the filling in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.
  14. Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the pot, with the open end on top. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.
  15. Remove the steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool for at least an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.
Chef's Note: If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and reduce the vegetable stock to ¾ cup. To substitute the vegetable shortening, you can use 8 oz. of coconut oil. For tamales without fat, use 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Pingback: Strawberry Tamales from Vegan Tamales Unwrapped - Glue & Glitter

  2. I’m going to make a small batch of these potato/peas tamales, since I’ve a few husks left over from some other vegan tamales I made last night. Since I do not like very spicy food and I do
    not have available the ancho chiles for the adobo, I’ll try to make a little paste using chili powder and all the other spices as well, or maybe I just will put some fresh salsa that I have left over.
    I don’t have enough husks to line the pot and steamer, and I’ve never lined-up pot before;
    however, I do use a wet kitchen towel over the tamales before I seal tightly with the lid on.
    Sometimes I do tie-up the tamales, but last night I didn’t because I didn’t have enough time,
    and the tamales were small and didn’t spill or anything. I did use canola oil that I had and it worked fine for the bean/corn tamales and also my sweet pineapple/raisin tamales. Thanks again for the recipe, which my son found in the internet, and I do have potatoes and peas, so I will surprise him and make a few for him.

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