Cup Tamales

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First made popular at San Francisco's Johnson's Tamale Parlor in the 1920's. Cup Tamales are little quick tamales made in small cups rather than wrapped in the customary corn husks. Tamale parlors were very popular in San Francisco in the early 1900's. Roosevelt Tamale Parlor is still open today and in fact was remodeled and reopened in June, 2006.

The recipe below is from the San Francisco Chronicle, May 1995. While not a traditional recipe it does make up a quick batch of cup tamales.
  • PrepN/A |
  • TotalN/A |
  • Serves6, 1 cup tamales


    • 2 cup hominy, cooked
    • 1/3 cup lard; or vegetable Shortening
    • 2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons sauce from a can of chipotles en adobo
    • 1 tomato; diced
    • Cilantro; chopped
    • 5 raisins
    • 3 green olives; chopped
    • Canela, ground (cinnamon)
    • Cumin, ground
    • Cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to: 350 degrees F

Combine hominy, lard, chile powder and salt in a food processor and puree.

Use about 2/3 of the mixture to line individual greased ramekins. Vegetable oil spray works well for this.

Combine meats, salsa, marinade to taste, tomato, cilantro, raisins and olives. Season to taste with cinnamon and cumin.

Spoon into ramekins or casserole. Top with remaining hominy mixture.

Cover each ramekin or the casserole with foil. Place in a water-filled pan and bake for one hour.

To Serve:
To plate, run a thin, small-blade knife around the edge of the ramekin and turn the tamale onto a plate. Top with warmed tamale sauce (optional) and a dollop of crema. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Additional Notes

Leftover Cooked Pork, Beef and/or Chicken; diced
Tamale sauce (optional) see Tamale Sauce recipe
Recipes From - The Gourmet Food And Cooking Resource