Rating: 4.5 stars 4.4
310 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 195
  • 4 star values: 75
  • 3 star values: 19
  • 2 star values: 13
  • 1 star values: 8

I looked for a good tamales recipe for years. One day I went to the international market and stood in the Mexican aisle until a woman with a full cart came by. I just asked her if she knew how to make tamales. This is her recipe with a few additions from me. The pork can be replaced with either chicken or beef. This is great served with refried beans and a salad.

Recipe Summary

35 mins
3 hrs
3 hrs 35 mins
16 tamales


Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Chile Sauce:
Husks and Dough:


Instructions Checklist
  • Make filling: Place pork, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until pork is cooked through, about 2 hours.

  • Meanwhile, make chile sauce: Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from chiles. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

  • Transfer chiles and cooking water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain mixture into a bowl and stir in salt. Set aside.

  • Shred cooked pork and mix in 1 cup chile sauce. Reserve remaining sauce for serving.

  • Prepare husks and dough: Soak corn husks in a bowl of warm water until softened, about 30 minutes.

  • While the husks are soaking, beat lard with 1 tablespoon broth until fluffy. Combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; stir into the lard mixture, adding more broth as needed to form a spongy dough.

  • Remove husks from water and pat dry. Spread dough out over husks to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.

  • Place 1 tablespoon pork filling over center of each. Fold the sides, top, and bottom of each husk in toward the center to enclose dough.

  • Arrange tamales in a steamer basket. Place over simmering water and steam for 1 hour.

  • Remove tamales from husks. Drizzle with remaining chile sauce and top with sour cream, or mix sour cream into chile sauce first for a creamy sauce.

Nutrition Facts

236 calories; protein 9.1g; carbohydrates 12.6g; fat 16.6g; cholesterol 36.8mg; sodium 401.4mg. Full Nutrition