Tamales can be stuffed with savory or sweet fillings (or no filling at all); wrapped in plantain leaves or corn husks; eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The variations multiply exponentially.

What ties them all together is the masa, and a family or community custom. And when you’re making tamales, community is important: Having a lot of hands working together helps. That’s why tamales are a holiday tradition in many Latin American communities. Experiment with these varieties, which only scratch the surface of tamale culture, and start your own tradition. Pair them with our Smooth Salsa Verde and a simple Romaine and Watercress Salad.

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