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

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Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
2 hrs
additional:
15 mins
total:
2 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
15
Yield:
15 tamales
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Ingredients

15
Original recipe yields 15 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Filling:
Sauce:
Tamales:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Shred cooled pork with 2 forks.

  • 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.

  • 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

344 calories; protein 9.7g; carbohydrates 30g; fat 20.3g; cholesterol 33.3mg; sodium 643.8mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (4)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/06/2019
absolutely love this recipe. It took the anxiety out making tamales. It’s simple to follow and delicious. I cooked my tamales in the instant pot on manual high pressure for 30 min and allowed them to naturally release for 10 Read More
(2)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
05/03/2019
Some people may like this but it is not how traditional tamales are made. I don't care where this recipe comes from, tamales are not made with tomato sauce or products. The red color comes from chile powder or chiles negro or other red chile not tomato. We never use garlic. This is a "new" addition. At no restaurant will you find tamales made this way. We have a long line of Mexican made tamales in our family I assure you. If you want Tex-Mex, you can make a red chili with pork or add it to cooked roasted pork. If you want Mexican tamales, you can roast or pressure cook your pork and use a mild chile powder or other prepared mild chiles with the pork to make a filling. Use chili paste or powder, cumin, and oregano, and onions for your spices/herbs. Tomatoes are only typically used in pico de gallo, salsa, or salads never in enchilada sauce or tamales if you want traditional. The recipe posted here is very misleading as to what a true tamale should be. Yes, there are variations but the basic ingredients I have given you here. Let's keep it old school traditional. Read More
5 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
12/06/2019
absolutely love this recipe. It took the anxiety out making tamales. It’s simple to follow and delicious. I cooked my tamales in the instant pot on manual high pressure for 30 min and allowed them to naturally release for 10 Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
05/20/2019
This recipe??.my family was pleased and satisfied! Thank you Read More
Rating: 1 stars
05/02/2019
Some people may like this but it is not how traditional tamales are made. I don't care where this recipe comes from, tamales are not made with tomato sauce or products. The red color comes from chile powder or chiles negro or other red chile not tomato. We never use garlic. This is a "new" addition. At no restaurant will you find tamales made this way. We have a long line of Mexican made tamales in our family I assure you. If you want Tex-Mex, you can make a red chili with pork or add it to cooked roasted pork. If you want Mexican tamales, you can roast or pressure cook your pork and use a mild chile powder or other prepared mild chiles with the pork to make a filling. Use chili paste or powder, cumin, and oregano, and onions for your spices/herbs. Tomatoes are only typically used in pico de gallo, salsa, or salads never in enchilada sauce or tamales if you want traditional. The recipe posted here is very misleading as to what a true tamale should be. Yes, there are variations but the basic ingredients I have given you here. Let's keep it old school traditional. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2018
Great recipe! I did have to stream my tamales longer but I think it may have been because I'm at high altitude though. Read More
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