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Real Homemade Tamales

Rated as 4.44 out of 5 Stars

"I had been looking for a Tamale recipe for years. One day I went to the international market and stood in the Mexican aisle till 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 substituted with either chicken or beef. This is great served with refried beans and a salad."
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3 h 35 m servings 236
Original recipe yields 16 servings (16 tamales)


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  1. Place pork into a Dutch oven with onion and garlic, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 2 hours.
  2. Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, stir in salt, and set aside. Shred the cooked meat and mix in one cup of the chile sauce.
  3. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water. In a large bowl, beat the lard with a tablespoon of the broth until fluffy. Combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt; stir into the lard mixture, adding more broth as necessary to form a spongy dough.
  4. Spread the dough out over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Place one tablespoon of the meat filling into the center. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.
  5. Remove tamales from husks and drizzle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, mix sour cream into the chile sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 236 calories; 16.6 12.6 9.1 37 401 Full nutrition

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Most helpful positive review

A few things for the beginner: it's better to boil the peppers(any kind will do) and all the flavorings for 30ish minutes, and then cook the meat in that broth. Also, the water should cover th...

Most helpful critical review

This recipe doesn't say what to do with the onion that cooked with the meat, or the cooking liquid. Do you discard both? When you strain the chile mixture after blending, what part are you throw...

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A few things for the beginner: it's better to boil the peppers(any kind will do) and all the flavorings for 30ish minutes, and then cook the meat in that broth. Also, the water should cover th...

If you are going to take the time to make tamales, be sure to double or triple the recipe, the Tamales freeze well. You also want them to turn out perfectly. This is a good recipe but the instru...

The directions for preparing the Masa are right on. It's a lot easier than you would expect. To simplify the meat preparation I simply used boiled chicken with monterey jack or queso fresco chee...

Tamales are a Christmas tradition here and these are the real deal. I got raves on mine this year from our friends that we gave a dozen to. The chili's used here are very mild, so I use cascabel...

Good recipe! I used canola oil rather than lard and instead of using a can of beef broth, I used broth from cooking the pork roast. I also used hot chili peppers to spice it up a little. They...

Excellent! I had a hard time spreading the masa on the husks. I ended up using a moist corn husk to flatten/spread out the masa evenly. The review by Trptgoddess1 on 2/2004 was great and the m...

I had tried other recipes and had almost given up.This recipe is fool proof I've made it many times since running across it and it works every time.Depending on if I'm making beef or chicken,I u...

This is a good just need to add your own touches. For the can go to your Hispanic Mkt and buy the Masa (dough) already prepared . All you have to do is add salt to taste,...

My husband is from New Mexico, and this is the type of food he is used to eating.I am from the deep South and had never made tamales before.I made these for dinner , and he absolutely loved them...