Tamales de Puerco (Red Pork Tamales)


This authentic red pork tamales recipe comes from Jalisco, Mexico. The tamales are filled with pork shoulder and a spicy tomato sauce.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
15 tamales



  • 1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed

  • ½ onion

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • salt to taste

  • water to cover

  • corn husks


  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes

  • 4 dried chile de arbol peppers

  • 4 small guajillo chile peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 1 ¼ cups lard

  • 4 ½ cups fresh corn masa dough

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder


  1. Cut pork into 3 chunks and place in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil; skim foam from surface. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove pork and let cool. Strain broth and reserve.

  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil while pork is cooking. Add tomatoes, arbol chiles, and guajillo chiles, and boil until chiles are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking water, and allow to cool.

  3. Place corn husks in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain, place on a work surface, and cover with a clean, damp towel.

  4. Combine tomatoes, 1/2 cup cooking water, chiles de arbol, guajillo chiles, and cornstarch in a blender; blend until smooth. Strain tomato sauce through a fine-mesh sieve.

  5. Beat lard with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy. Combine masa, 1 cup reserved pork broth, 1 tablespoon salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl and mix until smooth. Add masa mixture to lard and mix until it has a smooth cookie dough consistency. Test if the masa is ready by dropping a small ball of masa into a glass of cold water; if it floats, it's ready, if not, keep beating for a little longer.

  6. Shred cooled pork with 2 forks.

  7. Select 1 wide corn husk or 2 small ones. Spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the the corn husk, filling it up to 2 inches from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Add 1 tablespoon of the tomato sauce and pork down the center of the masa mixture. Fold sides of husk together, 1 over the other. Fold the bottom of the husk over the seam of the 2 folded sides. Repeat with remaining husks.

  8. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add tamales with the open side up and cook until filling is heated through and separates from the husk, about 1 hour. Let tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note:

Masa can be found at select Mexican markets. If not available, you can make it with instant corn masa flour: mix 4 cups of masa harina with 3 cups of pork broth, until moist and pliable. If necessary, add more broth.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

344 Calories
20g Fat
30g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 15
Calories 344
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 644mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 172mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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