Holiday Party #2

Tamale FiestaTamale Fiesta

A tamalada is a traditional holiday tamale-making party featuring plenty of drinks and snacks. After all the fun, each family goes home with extra tamales for their holiday feast!

Cooking up Great

In our version of a tamalada, the host provides drinks, simple snacks, corn husks, masa dough, and a signature pork filling. Guests bring other fillings for the tamales, and everyone comes together for an afternoon of rolling, chit chat, and good times.

Cocktail Muffuletta

Pork Tamales

  • 1 hour prep
  • 3 hours cook
  • 16 to 20 servings


  • 2-1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4-inch chunks
  • 1 cup drained Lindsay® Sliced Golden Greek Pepperoncini
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 white onion, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 batch prepared masa dough (see recipe below)
  • 16 to 20 dried corn husks
  • Tomato-Olive Salsa (see recipe below)

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large pot over high heat, combine the pork with the peppers, bay leaves, onion, garlic, salt, and peppercorns, plus cold water to cover the pork by an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cook until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. Using tongs, remove the meat from the pan, reserving the liquid for making the masa dough. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat into a bowl.
  2. To assemble the tamales, soak the corn husks in warm water until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Lay a corn husk on a work surface so the skinny tail end is at the bottom of the board. Spread masa over the top portion of the corn husk (excluding the tail) about 1/4 inch thick, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of the dough.
  3. Fold the sides of the husk together, pressing the dough to cover the meat. Then fold the tail of the wrapper up and over the fold in the back. Use string to secure the folds, or use scissors to cut strips from softened husks. (At this point, you can freeze well-wrapped tamales for later use, or proceed to cooking.)
  4. Set a steamer basket in the bottom of a large pan filled with water to reach just to the bottom of the steamer. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Place tamales in the steamer basket, seam side down. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and steam for 1 hour, carefully adding more hot water as needed. Remove tamales from the basket and serve with Tomato-Olive Salsa.
Kate McMillan

Kate McMillan Chef & Event Planner

Kate McMillan is chef and owner of Kate McMillan Catering. She has authored 9 recipe books for Williams-Sonoma and worked as an event planner for Vogue and Glamour magazines. She lives in Northern California with her husband and their three daughters.
Pro Tip

Crack the code

Tie up your tamales using different colored raffia ribbons or striped twine as a key to what filling's inside.

Keep in mind...

Tamales take an hour to steam, so you will want to set to work soon after guests arrive. Get yourself organized: Have pans with steamers on the stove, ready to go. Have corn husks soaking. Set up an assembly line. Offer a quick tutorial on tamale rolling and a brief overview of the fillings, then get to work!

Make that masa!

You can buy tamale dough at Mexican grocery stores, but prepping your own is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. In a large bowl, whisk 4 cups of dry masa harina with 1 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. baking powder. Add 2 cups of very hot broth and knead to a smooth dough, adding more broth if needed.
  2. Using a mixer, beat 1 1/3 cups lard with 1/4 cup broth until fluffy. Add the wet masa, beating until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, then beat at high speed for 1 minute before assembling the tamales. Or, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tasty Tamale Fillings

Mix things up and ask your guests to bring their favorite flavors ready to roll. Meaty or vegetarian, sweet or savory, there isn't much that doesn't taste amazing when hidden inside pillows of corn masa.

Roasted Chile & Cheese

Roasted Chile & Cheese

Pair strips of green pepper with Queso Oaxaca for a mildly spicy vegetarian option.

Picadillo Beef

Picadillo Beef

Sauté ground chuck with onions, chopped green olives, and a minced chipotle pepper.

Red Chile Chicken

Red Chile Chicken

Simmer chicken thighs in salsa or enchilada sauce for this kid-pleasing favorite.

Banana & Brown Sugar

Banana & Brown Sugar

Add cinnamon and other spices, plus raisins, pecans, or pineapple. Time for dessert!

DIY Corn Husk Vases

DIY Corn Husk Vases

By Brittini Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

Using leftover corn husks from the tamales and some recycled cans, you can create a beautiful centerpiece your guests will love. And it will only cost you a few dollars to make.

  1. corn husks
  2. recycled cans
  3. hot glue gun
  4. acrylic paint
  5. paint brush

Start by painting the corn husks with acrylic paint. Let the husks dry on a flat surface.

Once the husks are dry, glue the first layer of corn husks to the can. Completely cover the can with one layer of corn husks. Then, add a second layer of corn husks that are more intentionally placed to add an element of design.

Add flowers or succulents, and you're ready to entertain.

Photography by Amelia Tatnall of Bloom & Lo

DIY Corn Husk Vases Steps

Brittni Mehlhoff DIY & Home Decor Expert

Brittni Mehlhoff is a craft stylist living in Atlanta, GA. In addition to styling, she is the founding editor of Paper & Stitch, a DIY lifestyle blog that features accessible, modern project ideas and recipes for a hip and happy home. Her work has been featured in numerous craft books, print publications, and popular sites, such as Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Apartment Therapy, and many more. In 2014, Paste magazine named Paper & Stitch #2 on its list of top 10 DIY blogs to follow.

Pro Tip

A cheerful casa

Think bright colors for paper goods and linens, lively music, and galvanized tubs filled with ice cold beers and Mexican sodas.

Tomato-Olive Salsa

Perfect for topping your homemade tamales or snacking with tortilla chips.

  • (6oz) can Lindsay® California Black Olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small glass or ceramic bowl, and set aside.


..that’s Spanish for "drinks." Put out a bucket of Coronas and Negra Modelos and everyone’s happy. But add a signature beverage and your guests will be impressed!



  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Lime juice
  • 1 oz Cointreau

Shake with ice, then pour into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with lime.



  • 8 oz Mexican beer
  • 2 oz Bloody Mary mix
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix together, then pour into an ice-filled glass. Serve with a lime wedge.

Agua Fresca

Agua Fresca

  • 1 cup watermelon juice
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. honey

Stir together and refrigerate 1 hour. Serve over ice garnished with mint.



  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Stir well to dissolve honey. Serve over ice, dusted with more cinnamon.

Like appetizer & wine parties? Then you’ll love this party...

Perfect Pairings Party Guide