Poblano and Cheese Tamales (Tamales de Rajas con Queso)


This authentic Mexican recipe for homemade tamales is straight from Mexico. Tamales are stuffed with a spicy tomatillo sauce with poblano chiles and cheese - delicious! In Mexico, Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese is used, but those cheeses are hard to find here, so you can substitute with Monterey Jack. [Originally submitted to Allrecipes.com.mx]

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
1 hrs 43 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 58 mins
24 tamales


  • corn husks

  • 10 ounces poblano peppers

  • 1 ¼ pounds fresh tomatillos, husks removed

  • 11 ounces lard, divided

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 4 ½ cups masa harina

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 ¾ cups chicken broth, or as needed

  • 2 ½ cups sliced Monterey Jack cheese


  1. 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.

  2. Line a heavy cast iron grill pan or griddle with aluminum foil and place over high heat. Arrange poblano peppers in a single layer on top. Grill until chiles are blackened, turning as necessary, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer into a resealable plastic bag and let them steam, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel off skin, seed, and cut them into strips.

  3. Place tomatillos in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and cook until they change color, about 5 minutes. Drain and place in a blender. Blend until smooth.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon lard in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add blended tomatillos and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors are well combined, about 5 minutes. Add poblano peppers and cilantro and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, about 10 minutes.

  5. Beat remaining lard in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add salt and continue beating for a few minutes. Add masa harina and baking powder and beat well until combined. Add chicken broth, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough has a smooth and workable consistency that is not too wet, similar to cookie dough. 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 working the dough a little longer.

  6. Select 1 wide corn husk or 2 small ones. Spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the corn husk, filling it up to 2 inches from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Add 1 tablespoon of the tomatillo sauce and a piece of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of the masa mixture. Fold sides of husk together, one over the other. Fold the bottom of the husk over the seam of the 2 folded sides. Repeat with remaining husks.

  7. 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 15 minutes. Let tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:

In Mexico, people use Chihuahua cheese or Oaxaca cheese for these tamales. If you can find them, use them!

When boiling the tomatillos make sure that they don't break open, otherwise they get very bitter.

You can also cook tamales in a pressure cooker. Then the cooking time will only be 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

252 Calories
18g Fat
19g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 252
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 22%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 198mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 13mg 65%
Calcium 145mg 11%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 175mg 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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