Vegetarian Masa Dough for Tamales

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Recipe for Vegetarian Masa for Tamales. Vegan tamale masa dough? You bet. Check out this innovative recipe from Southwest cooking expert Gwyneth Doland.


  • 2 pounds freshly ground masa for tamales, or 3 cups masa harina mixed with 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup solid palm oil or vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock


  1. Makes Enough for 24 Medium Tamales
  2. If you’re using masa harina, pour it into a bowl and add the 2 cups warm water. Work the mixture into a dough with your hands, then set it aside to rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the palm oil or vegetable shortening to the work bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a regular hand mixer in a large bowl) and beat it together with the salt and baking powder until light and fluffy.
  4. If you’re using a standing mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. While beating, add the reconstituted or fresh masa by handfuls into the work bowl. Add the stock and beat until combined. Taste the mixture and add salt if necessary.
  5. Continue beating until the masa is light and fluffy, about 15 or 20 minutes. The masa is ready when a grape sized ball of dough floats in a glass of cold water. If the dough sinks, continue beating 5 minutes longer, then test it again.