10 to 12 tamales
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cinnamon, Corn, corn meal, masa, mexican crema, queso fresco, rice flour, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Tamales
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Uchepos recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 4, Episode 5 “Tamaliza!”


  • 10 large tender ears of corn, with fresh corn husks attached
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup corn meal or rice flour, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground canela or cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • Fresh corn husks from the ears of corn, to make the tamales or dried corn husks
  • Mexican crema, optional topping
  • queso fresco, optional topping

To Prepare

To make the corn dough or masa:
  • Carefully peel the husks from the ears of corn. It helps if you slice 1/4-inch or so from the bottom part of the corn. Place the husks in a large bowl and cover with hot water. (If using dried corn husks, soak in hot water.)
  • Rinse the peeled corn thoroughly. Shave the corn kernels off and place in a food processor or blender along with the sweetened condensed milk. Process until you get as smooth consistency as you can. Incorporate the corn meal or rice flour until you get a moist, but not wet, dough consistency. Season with the cinnamon and salt and mix well.
To prepare the tamalera or steamer:
  • Place water in the bottom pan of a steamer (so that water is under the steamer) and bring it to a simmer. Line the steamer with one or two layers of soaked corn husks.
To assemble the tamales:
  • Lay out a corn husk with the tapering end towards you. If the fresh corn husks are too thin, use 2 or 3 fanned together. Spread about 3 tablespoons of dough or masa into about a 2 to 3-inch square, the layer should be about 1/4-inch thick, leaving a border of at least 1/2-inch on the sides.
  • Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together and fold the folded sides to one side, rolling them in the same direction around tamal. Fold up the empty section of the husk, with the tapering end, from the bottom up. This will form a closed bottom and the top will be left open.
  • Prepare all the tamales and place them as vertically as you can in a container.
To cook tamales:
  • When you have all tamales ready place them, again as vertically as you can, into the prepared steamer, with the open end on top. If there is space left in the steamer, tuck in some cornhusks, so the tamales won’t dance around. Cover with more cornhusks, and steam covered with a lid anywhere from 55 minutes to an hour. You know the tamales are ready when they come easily free from the husks.
  • Serve hot, along with fresh Mexican cream and crumbled queso fresco on the side.

47 comments on “Uchepos

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  1. Oh my! I first ate tamales de elote in Baja California 30+ years ago–SO glad to now have a recipe! Thank you, Pati. Love your recipes–they always work great and taste SO good!!! <3

    1. Hola Paty, a mi me gusta ponerles un poco porque me parece que los hace un poco mas dulces y menos secos, pero pronto voy a tratar de hacerlos sin ponerles leche condensada a ver que tal quedan. Un abrazo!

  2. Pati – I made these tamales today and it brought me back to my childhood in El Grullo, Jalisco. I could not wait to taste them and call my mother to let her know I made them. My mother is in Arizona and I live in Buffalo, New York. You don’t find many people here in Buffalo if any that make these tamales de elote. I couldn’t wait to eat them! They were delicious!!! Gracias Pati!!!

    1. I’m SO happy to hear that you called your mom about these tamales and that they brought you back to your childhood, Liz!!!

  3. Pati, Could you place the filling in custard cups and bake in the oven in a water bath? I have a picky eater who just won’t do tamales because corn husks. Love your show!

  4. I love your recipes. They always turn out great just as I remember from my childhood. Thank you for the happiness you’ve brought to me and my family. Hannah Viveros from Riveride, California 😉

  5. I already subscribe to your email, and enjoy receiving it very much. I have found that the corn in the US does not make proper Uchepos… what do you suggest?

    1. What I try to do is find the very tender summer corn… if the mix is not coming together, you can add a bit of masa harina as well, Mariquita.

  6. This says the recipe makes 10-12 tamales, but this would only be 2 cups of filling, and just the corn will be 7.5 cups (8.5 cups with everything added). Will this make only 10-12 tamales, or is it more like 30-40? I just don’t know if I want to make 3 recipes of this to fill my steamer pot with 36 tamales or if just 1 recipe will fill the steamer.

  7. So if you can’t find fresh corn can you substitute frozen or canned? I wouldn’t want to but if all else fails. Also, what kind of yield do you get from 10 ears approximately (in cups)? Thank you for your recipes! I love your cookbooks….working on a collection here and have made plenty…..still need to try your guava cheesecake!


    1. You can, Rosa! I plan for about 3/4 cup per ear when I get the thawed or already shaved kernels. Enjoy the uchepos and the cheesecake 😄

  8. Pati- Thank You for this recipe! I had these years ago in Cuidad Guzman (outside of Guadalajara).There was one lady that made them every Saturday & they sold out very quickly. Love your show! Keep up the great work!

  9. Pati
    I am in love with your tamale recipes, always successful for me. However, when I attempted to make these I could not manage to get the correct consistency. After adding 2 1/2 cups of corn meal I finally decided to just wrap the filling and see what happen, concerned they would be too dry upon steaming. They were still leaking liquid all over the bottom of the bowl once i finished wrapping in the corn husks…haven’t steamed them yet but what do you think I could be doing wrong? I watched the video for this episode and the filling seems to be pretty thick. I waited about 5 minutes between each addition of corn meal to give it time to absorb the excess liquid as suggested on the video. Any input would be welcome, thanks Pati!

    1. It is tricky because this dough really depends on how watery the corn is… try mixing it with some corn masa harina flour!

  10. Hola, Pati.

    We recently visited Morelia and dined at Lu’s wonderful restaurant at the Hotel Casino. We loved the tarascan soup and the poblano stuffed with uchepos. Would your uchepos recipe be a good filling for poblanos? If so, what sauce would you drizzle on top?

    Lastly, do you happen to have a sopa de tarasca recipe that you’d recommend? Gracias.

  11. Hello, Dear One! I think it would be helpful to know how many actual cups of corn you are using. Sometimes you get big ears of corn and sometimes small ones and that would change how much corn or rice flour you are using. Just a thought. I LOVE YOUR FOOD. You are adorable and so are your boys.


    1. Claro, mejor usar masa fresca para la mayor parte de os tamales. Pero los Uchepos no se hacen con masa nixtamalizada, si no con elote tierno fresco. Lo puedes combinar!

  13. Hola Pati, I tried making the tamales, but they came out to sticky. They were good, but they stuck to the corn husk after they cooked. Any idea what I did wrong? Help?

    1. You can try adding a bit more cornmeal or rice flour, and also wait after they are ready, they should settle in the pot for 10 to 15 minutes…

  14. Hi Pati,
    Can I use American yellow corn meal for this or is it a particular Mexican corn meal? Thanks for this recipe!