No-Fail Masa Dough in less than 15 minutes
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No-Fail Masa Dough in Less Than 15 Minuets

No-Fail Masa Dough in less than 15 minuets
No-Fail Masa Dough in less than 15 minuets

Lets Make Tamales! Step #2 No-Fail Masa Dough

Welcome to the second step and day number 2 in making your own delicious tamales in our Three Day Tamale Challenge. I always thought it was super hard to make these awesome eats, but that simply isn’t true. YES! It does take some time, three days for this tutorial, but it is worth it! So roll up your sleeves and get prepared to learn the hardest part of tamale making…. MASA!

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Masa Dough

Masa is a corn dough or flour that has been soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution in the nixtamalization process. It is used for making corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas, and many other Latin American dishes.Wikipedia

Masa is important because it is the base for your filling. It is the pillow for your pork, beef, or chicken filling to rest inside. If its too dry it can crumble apart after steamed. If it is too wet, it might not bind your filling at all. Masa is the glue for the perfect tamale, and it in itself needs to be moist, fluffy, and flavorful.

The recipe below is my No-Fail Masa Dough Recipe that uses instant Corn Masa Flour. (Maseca) There are other ways to make masa to be sure, but this recipe results in perfect masa for me every time!

I have begun to experiment with adding different flavors like jalapeno juice, etc into the cold liquids part of my recipe. As long as you pass the masa dough test, you will be fine.

Masa Dough Test

Once you have made your masa according to the recipe below, its time to TEST IT!

Fill a glass with warm water. Roll a small ball of your prepared dough and drop it into the water. If it sinks, the dough is not moist enough. This is actually a good stage to catch it at. You can control how wet your masa will be.

Add small amounts of cold water or stock to your dough in the mixer and keep testing small amounts until you get a sample that floats. NOW your dough is ready. Cover and refrigerate. We will use this masa dough on day three to complete your finished tamales.

No-Fail Masa dough in less than 15 minuets.
No-Fail Masa dough in less than 15 minuets.

No-Fail Masa Dough

This is an easy, no-fail masa dough for making tamales that you can whip together in 30 minutes or less. Fluffy and flavorful, this masa will make your tamales explode with flavor. Can be customized to taste. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword masa dough
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 35 tamales
Author atteberryr


  • 4 1/2 cups Instant Corn Masa Flour. We LOVE and use only Maseca brand.
  • 3 3/4 cups COLD pork stock, or beef stock, or chicken stock You can use cold water, but we suggest using your own homemade stock from when you cook your inside fillings. Make sure it is COLD.
  • 1 1/2 cups COLD Lard You can use shortening, but lard is best. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • 1 tbs Kosher Salt


  1. Measure out 4 and 1/2 cups of Maseca into a mixing bowl. Add your COLD water or stock to the masa flour. Mix with your hands until all the liquid is absorbed and there is no dry flour left in your mixing bowl.

    No-Fail Masa dough in less than 15 minuets.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the COLD lard into a stand mixer. Tip: If you bought the small 16 ounce container of lard, use a butter knife to cut it in half in the container, then the halves in half. Each section is a 1/2 cup. Use the butter knife to scoop it out. This prevents a big mess and makes it easy to get the cold lard into the mixer.  

    No-Fail Masa dough in less than 15 minuets.
  3. Mix the COLD lard and tablespoon of salt on high speed with a paddle attachment for a few minuets until the lard is shiny and white. 

    No-Fail Masa dough in less than 15 minuets.
  4. Add the masa dough to the mixer a little bit at a time. Mix on medium high speed. Make sure it gets thoroughly mixed each time you add dough. Continue until all your dough is mixed. 

  5. This is an important step! Test your masa dough to see if it is ready. How do we do that? Get a measuring cup out and fill it with warm water. Take a small portion of your completed dough and drop it into the warm water. If it floats it is ready, if it sinks to the bottom, your dough is too dry. Start adding small bits of cold water or stock to your dough, mixing it thoroughly. Keep testing it in small amounts until your dough floats! 

    No-Fail Masa dough in less than 15 minuets.
  6. Cover and refrigerate your dough at least an hour before you use it. I like it to sit in the fridge over night before I use it. It can also be frozen and stored up to 3 months in the freezer. 

    no-fail masa dough in less than 15 mins
How do you make your Masa? What flavors and liquids did you use? Have any secret tips you would like to share?
Perfectly Folded Tamales in Five Easy Steps
Perfectly Folded Tamales in Five Easy Steps

Click Here to go to Day Three…..

Until Next time…


Farmer, Crafter, Blogger

Psst…. Did you miss day one? Click here to go back

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