Tamales Oaxaqueños (Oaxacan-Style Tamales)


This authentic homemade tamales recipe comes from the Mexican region Oaxaca. The tamales are stuffed with a homemade masa and chicken filling made with tomatillos and 2 different types of chile peppers - ancho chile and mulato chile. [Recipe originally submitted to Allrecipes.com.mx]

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
36 tamales


  • 11 ounces lard, divided

  • salt to taste

  • 9 cups masa harina

  • 1 cup warm chicken broth, divided

  • 3 fresh tomatillos, husks removed

  • 1 ancho chile pepper - stems, seeds, and veins removed

  • 1 mulato chile pepper - stems, seeds, and veins removed

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 1 pinch crushed dried oregano

  • 1 pound shredded cooked chicken

  • 36 banana leaves, softened


  1. Beat 9 ounces lard in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add salt and continue beating for a few minutes. Add masa harina and beat well until combined. Add chicken broth, 1/4 cup at a time, beating until masa has a smooth and workable consistency similar to cookie dough, about 3/4 cup total. 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, beat the dough a little longer.

  2. Combine tomatillos, ancho chile pepper, mulato chile pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a blender; blend until smooth.

  3. Heat remaining 2 ounces lard in a skillet and cook tomatillo sauce until lightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and a little of the remaining chicken broth. Cook over low heat until chicken filling has thickened, about 10 minutes.

  4. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons masa mixture onto 1 banana leaf, 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 banana leaf together, one over the other. Fold the bottom of the banana leaf over the seam of the 2 folded sides and tie together with kitchen string. Repeat with remaining banana leaves.

  5. 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 leaf, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Let tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note:

Wrapping tamales in banana leaves gives them a wonderful flavor, even though the leaves themselves are not eaten. To prepare the leaves, rinse and wipe them dry. To soften them, pass each one over the low flame of a gas range. Alternatively, you can arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer, or slightly overlapping, and heat in a 200-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

210 Calories
11g Fat
22g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 36
Calories 210
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 110mg 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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