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These keto tamales taste as authentic and flavorful as the originals, with tender shreds of meat, gooey cheese, and a mouthwatering masa!
Keto tamales take me back to childhood Christmases, when I would often come home to find my mom and her friends gathered at a table making tamales. Now that I have my own kids, this recipe is the perfect way to keep the family tradition alive without having to avoid my all-time favorite holiday food.
As a kid, I enjoyed eating tamales more than making them… but these keto tamales take relatively little time and effort, thanks to our Instant Pot. My wife, a Polish Italian, will never have to know the hours of labor it takes to make a high-quality tamale.
To be fair, these keto tamales still take time. However, they are so worth the wait because they eliminate all the problematic ingredients of conventional recipes:
First, the corn. So many Latin recipes include corn, so I needed a low-carb base that could resemble masa. Other recipes for keto tamales have solved this problem with ingredients like almond flour and flax meal -- but I knew we could do even better.
The fat source presented another issue. The tamales of my youth included a lot of Crisco, which I now consider a one-way ticket to inflammation and that “I want to take a nap” feeling after a good Mexican feast. I set out to make the porkiest pork keto tamales, which meant I needed to swap in delicious, delicious bacon fat.
We always have a bowl of rendered bacon fat sitting on our counter, so we had an easy source of fat for our keto tamales. Plus, bacon fat added a delicious salty, smoky flavor to the masa and covered up some of the odd bitterness that almond flour can give off when you cook it in certain ways. Bacon fat gave these tamales a delicious texture that mimicked the originals pretty darn well.
Finally, the meat. While the meat in my mom’s tamales could take hours to cook, the Instant Pot shaved it down to under an hour and created the most tender and flavorful shreds of pork. Full credit goes to my wife for that idea -- she knocked the meat out of the park! Bonus: The Instant Pot also works in this recipe to steam your tamales to perfection.
Like regular tamales, keto tamales reheat beautifully in your microwave or toaster oven. We haven’t tried freezing them ourselves, but they would likely hold up well. Enjoy them all year round!
Approximate nutrition facts per serving (1 tamale):
Saturated fat: 11g
Total carbs: 6g
Net carbs: 2.5g