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dominican tamales

Dominican Tamales

A culinary delight from the heart of the Caribbean, Dominican Tamales bring an exciting flavor to the table.

These tamales, influenced by Dominican cuisine, showcase a unique blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish culinary traditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this meal appeals to: Perfect for those seeking an authentic taste of the Dominican Republic, appreciating the diverse and vibrant flavors of Caribbean cuisine.
  • Estimated duration: The preparation demands time and care, offering a delightful culinary experience lasting around 3-4 hours.
  • Nutrition Facts: Dominican Tamales provide a satisfying mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, enriched by the variety of ingredients.

About this Recipe

Dominican Tamales are known for their masa, seasoned with achiote or other local spices, and filled with a variety of ingredients such as meats, vegetables, and olives. Wrapped in plantain leaves, these tamales capture the essence of Dominican gastronomy.

Equipment Required

  1. Large Steaming Pot: Essential for achieving the perfect texture of the masa.
  2. Mixing Bowls: For preparing the masa and fillings.
  3. Plantain Leaves: Traditional wrapping material for an authentic Dominican touch.


For the Masa:

  • Corn Masa Harina: 3 cups, mixed with water and achiote or local spices.
  • Lard or Vegetable Shortening: 1 cup, for richness and flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: 2 cups, for seasoning the masa.
  • Baking Powder: 1 tablespoon, for leavening.

For the Filling:

  • Chicken or Pork: 2 lbs, cooked and shredded.
  • Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, and Onions: 2 cups, finely chopped for a flavorful filling.
  • Olives and Raisins: 1/2 cup each, for a savory and sweet balance.
  • Capers: 1/4 cup, for a tangy kick.
  • Cilantro and Oregano: 1/2 cup total, finely chopped for added flavor.

For Assembly:

  • Plantain Leaves: 10-12 large pieces, for wrapping.


  1. Prepare the Masa: Mix corn masa harina with water, achiote or local spices-infused lard or vegetable shortening, chicken broth, and baking powder until it forms a smooth, spreadable consistency.
  2. Prepare the Filling: Combine shredded meat with chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, olives, raisins, capers, cilantro, and oregano in a bowl.
  3. Assemble the Tamales: Spread a layer of masa on a plantain leaf, add a generous portion of the filling, and fold the tamale, securing the ends with plantain leaf ties.
  4. Steam to Perfection: Arrange the tamales in a steaming pot and steam for 2-3 hours until the masa is fully cooked.


Serve the Dominican Tamales warm, unwrapping the plantain leaves to reveal the delightful combination of flavors within.

Storage Options

Store any leftover tamales in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.

Ingredient Substitutes

Experiment with different meats or add local herbs and spices for a personalized touch.


For futher reading check out this comprehensive article on Regional Tamales. For similar tamales check out: Puerto Rican Tamales and Cuban Tamales.


Dominican Tamales offer a fusion of Caribbean flavors, providing a flavorful experience that celebrates the unique blend of ingredients and spices that define Dominican cuisine. Whether shared during festive occasions or enjoyed as a comforting family meal, these tamales are a true representation of the culinary richness of the Caribbean.