Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

This recipe is a time saver on TWO levels. One, if you were going to make traditional tamales, this recipe cuts the time in half! The prep work is much quicker and so is the cooking time. Two, this recipe starts with cooked shredded meat. That means, LEFTOVERS from another meal--such as a beef roast, pulled pork, grilled chicken, even take-out! So when you prepare one meal during the week, you are actually getting a head-start on the appetizers for your weekend gathering! Isn't that EXCITING!?!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat a skillet over medium–high heat. Add the shredded meat, and following seven ingredients. Stir well and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Simmer until all the liquid in rendered out--approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, Mix 2 cups of masa with the baking powder, salt and cumin. Add the beef stock and mix to a crumbly consistency. Pour in the melted shortening and mix by hand until smooth.
  4. Spray your mini-muffin tins with non-stick spray. Roll the masa mixture into small balls—about 2 teaspoons each. Place one ball in each muffin cup and press with your fingers—or the back of a rounded measuring spoon—to make little shells.
  5. Once the beef mixture has rendered out the liquid, stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fill each masa shell with beef mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Allow the tamale bites to cool 3-5 minutes before extracting them from the muffin tins. Use a small sharp knife to lift one side, then gently lift them out with your fingers.
  8. Garnish with crumbled queso fresco and thyme leaves. Serve warm!
Most Helpful

Wow:-) These little things really have quite a kick to them and I just loved them. Will be making again.

javonsnanna January 22, 2012

Made these for Halloween and they were amazing! I didn't happen to have any precooked meat so I just browned up some lean ground beef and it worked out just fine. My husband the Tamale lover was thrilled! Thanks! PS I love your blog!

ThatGirl November 03, 2010

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