How to Make Chilean Humitas

by Boris at on October 12, 2010

Humitas are not tamales.

Humitas consist of tasty corn stuff inside of corn husk leaves.  Unlike tamales, Humitas do not contain any type of dough (corn/flour).

Are there humitas that are not Chilean?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  I do know that Humitas are a classic Chilean dish.  Like Empanadas, and Pan Amasado, Humitas surely must be included in the holy trinity of Chilean cuisine.

Wait there’s also Pastel de Choclo… Make that the four musketeers of Chilean cuisine.

This Humitas recipe make 8-10 Humitas


  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of red chili powder
  • 12-14 ears of corn with husks
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped basil
  • 1 green chili seeded
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a heated frying pan, add butter and onion.  Sautee till translucent.  Add chili powder and remove from heat.

Peel the corn ears carefully so as not to damage the husks, we will need them for wrapping later.

Clean the husks with water and place in hot water for a couple of minutes then remove from water and pat dry with paper towel.  We’re going to need approximately 2-3 husk leaves per Humita.

Cut away the corn kernels from the ears.  Place the corn ears and basil in a food processor/blender and chop till mix is the consistency of a thick paste.

Place corn mixture in a bowl, add sautéed onions, salt and pepper.

On flat surface place 2-3 husk leaves together with the tips facing outward.  Fill with 2-3 tablespoons of corn filling and fold husks into small packet (pictured).  Tie package with colorless string or better yet with husk rolled into string.

In a large pot with boiling water, add Humitas and boil for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from water and serve hot.

They go great with a little chili sauce or powder (Merquen).  And of course with a little red Chilean wine.

Hope you enjoy, and let me know how your version turned out.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gustavo October 18, 2010 at 9:22 am

You really have to try Peruvian humitas! Either in their salty version (with salt and queso fresco) or their sweet version (with sugar, cinnamon and raisins).

Boris at October 19, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Ok. I will. I’ve been meaning to try some good Peruvian ceviche anyway.

Brian February 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Hey, just wanted to say the Humitas are in Ecuador to!, they are very different then described above(no chili peppers at all) but they are pretty good. The Humitas in Quito use cheese more so then pepper

Beni September 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Boris, porque hay que poner las hojas del choclo en agua caliente? nunca habia oido eso.

Gracias por todas tus recetas.

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