Four Wonderful Low-carb Tamale Recipes

Anyone who has ever eaten a tamale knows two things — they’re delicious and high in carbs! If you haven’t tried them, they are a Mexican food that’s a cornmeal dough stuffed with meat, veggies, cheese or fruit. You spread the dough on a corn husk or banana leaf, add the filling, wrap it and steam the sealed package to cook.

They are often served during the holidays. But, here in southern California, we can buy them all year round at street fairs out of the backs of people’s trucks! While they are scrumptious, they can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. March 23 is National Tamale Day. To celebrate, we wanted to share some tamale recipes that you can make at home that won’t upset your blood sugar. Two keep the traditional shape, and two are tamale pies that might be easier if you are less comfortable with the steaming technique.  

Keto Tamale Pie


This is a more Tex-Mex take on the dish. This might be perfect if you have never had a tamale and want to ease yourself into it without investing much time. It’s a great one-pan meal. We love one-pan meals for the ease of cooking and faster clean-up! Tamales use all sorts of filling; this recipe uses ground beef to make a chili filling. It also uses coconut flour and a few drops of corn extract to create the perfect topping! A serving has 345 calories, 4.8 grams of carbs and 1.7 grams of fiber. Get the recipe.

Keto Tamales


These tamales are more traditional in form but use clever ingredients to cut the carbs. With almond flour, mozzarella and psyllium husk powder, you can mimic the mouthfeel of the tamale. A little corn extract can make the taste perfect. Because they have cheese in the dough, using cheese as a filling doesn’t work as well. Crockpot carnitas works perfectly, and there is a link in the recipe to that. Because there is cheese in the dough, you do have to let them cool slightly after steaming, or they will stick to the husks when you try to remove them. A serving has 168 calories, five grams of carbs and three grams of fiber. Get the recipe.

Keto Chicken Tamale Casserole


This pie is the exact opposite of the other one on our list. Instead of having a cornbread lid, this has a cornbread base. Just like the other one, it uses an extract to add corn flavor. But, it uses almond flour to keep the carbs low. You could pick which recipe to make based off of your flour preference! This casserole features chicken, enchilada sauce and is topped with cheese. A serving has 405 calories, seven grams of carbs and three grams of fiber. Get the recipe.

Almond Flour Tamales with Red Chile Pork


This is another traditional, steamed tamale. Unlike our other recipe, it doesn’t include cheese, so it can be eaten while piping hot if that is your preference. And, if you want, you can use cheese as a filling with this dough. The recipe calls for red Chile pork, which will be delicious, but it’s up to you! This recipe has a lot of flexibility to let you make it your own. A serving has 245 calories, eight grams of carbs and four grams of fiber. Get the recipe.

These recipes make enjoying tamales at home easy and gentle on your blood sugar. We hope you try one of them soon!

Banner image: Tai's Captures via Unsplash

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