Tamales Rojos de Pollo (Red Chicken Tamales)


These chicken tamales are stuffed with shredded chicken in a spicy Mexican red sauce made with ancho and mulato chiles. The masa for these tamales is made with lard and chicken broth.

close up view of a Red Chicken Tamale (Tamale Rojos de Pollo) on a plate with a fork
Prep Time:
1 hr
Cook Time:
1 hr 20 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 35 mins
35 tamales


  • corn husks

  • 1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  • 1 pinch salt to taste

  • 1 cup mulato chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • cup ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 8 cumin seeds

  • boiling water as needed

  • ½ pound lard

  • 1 pound masa harina

  • 3 cups chicken broth, or as needed

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt


  1. Place corn husks in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for a few hours. Drain, place on a work surface, and cover with a clean, damp towel.

  2. Place chicken in a pot, season with salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain chicken and shred with 2 forks.

  3. Heat a griddle over medium heat and toast mulato and ancho chiles until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak until soft, about 25 minutes. Combine ancho and mulato chiles, garlic, cumin seeds, and about 1/2 cup of the soaking water in a blender; blend until a thick, smooth, mole-like sauce forms, adding more water if necessary.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon lard in a saucepan over medium heat and add the sauce; cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and cook until flavors are combined and chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes.

  5. Place remaining lard in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add masa harina, chicken broth, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and beat until all ingredients are well combined. 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. 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 chicken filling 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. Let tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.


The corn husks should be soaked in hot water for several hours so that they are soft and pliable. Make sure you soak and drain them well in advance.

You can also use shredded pork instead of chicken.

Editor's Note:

This recipe was originally submitted to Allrecipes.com.mx.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

131 Calories
8g Fat
12g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 35
Calories 131
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 229mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 109mg 2%

* 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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