Cole Cooks: Vegetarian Tamales

Vegetarian Tamales


Making your own homemade tamales can be a great deal of fun.  When our children were young, they loved vegetable tamales with a corn/cheese and pepper filling.   This is our home version of Vegetarian Tamales.

Go To Recipe 

My first note is that our tamale dough is not vegetarian because it uses lard.  If you want a vegetarian option for tamale dough check out these recipes from Dora’s Table and Isabel Eats.  Ias

Homemade tamales are a fairly time-consuming process.  You should check out our full article on making tamales to know what you are getting into.  We like to make the fillings ahead of time and freeze batches for later use when we make tamales.  This allows us to make several types of tamales.

For our full guide to making tamales see this article

Cole Cooks: Guide to Instant Pot Tamales

If you do not care about making a variety of tamales, this veggie filling is simple to make while you are preparing the tamales.  The only part that needs to be done ahead is broiling the chili peppers.  This can be done while you prepare the tamale dough.   


To roast peppers simply run on the broiler.  Place peppers on a baking sheet.  Coat the peppers lightly with oil.  Broil for about 10 minutes, check, turn and continue broiling until charred.  Set the peppers aside to cool while preparing the rest of the filling.

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When the peppers are cool you can remove the skin and seeds.  You will cut the peppers in strips and place a strip or two on each tamale.  Then you top with the filling.Making the corn and cheese filling is simply a matter of combining the corn, cheese and spices in a food processor and lightly combining them using the pulse setting.

Vegetarian Tamales Vegetarian TamalesVegetarian Tamales

Overall this makes about 30 tamales.  As we mention in our overview, we like to go light on the dough and heavy on the filling.  One issue we have with most tamales is that they seem to have too much dough and not enough filling.  The dough will expand quite a bit so go lightly!

Instant Pot Vegetarian Tamales

This is a corn, cheese and green chili pepper tamale that can be cooked in an Instant Pot

Course Main Course
Keyword Instant Pot Vegetarian Tamales
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 30 tamales


  • 4 fresh Anaheim or Poblano chili peppers
  • 16 ounce corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder see recipe
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces queso fresco
  • 1 batch of tamale dough see recipe
  • 30 corn husks soaked in water for at least one hour tear additional corn husks into strips for tying


  1. Set oven to broil. Place peppers on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place under broil for 10 minutes or until charred. Remove and set aside to cool.
  2. In food processor combine corn, cheese and spices. Blend using pulse button until combined.
  3. Place individual tamale husks on work surface. Put about 2 tablespoons of dough on each dusk. Spread across husk into a square.
  4. Remove skin from peppers. Remove tops and seeds from each pepper. Slice into strips. Lay a strip on top of each tamale and top with about 3 tablespoons of corn/cheese filling.
  5. Fold tamale sides so they meet. Pull up bottom and tie with corn husk strip.
  6. To cook place one cup water and steam rack in Instant Pot. Place up to 16 tamales upright in steamer. Set on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let natural release for 10 minutes. Remove tamales and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes


Make sure and see our full guide to making tamales

Cole Cooks: Guide to Instant Pot Tamales

Also see our recipe for tamale dough

Cole Cooks: Homemade Tamale Dough

Other toppings include Shredded Beef Barbacoa, Carnitas, and Chicken Tinga

Cole Cooks: Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

Cole Cooks: Pork Carnitas Recipe

Cole Cooks: Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef



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