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Pork Tamales

After the countless suggestions, and since these are a common holiday recipe, it's time to finally make tamales. Turns out, I really...

After the countless suggestions, and since these are a common holiday recipe, it's time to finally make tamales. Turns out, I really think that homemade tamales are so easy that genuinely anyone could make them if they just show some love. Tender, perfectly moist, and perfect.



Meat Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs (900 g) Boneless Pork Shoulder, cubed

  • 3 Tbsp (40 ml) High Heat Cooking Oil

  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced

  • 4 Cloves Garlic, sliced

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 3 Bay Leaves

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick

  • 2 Sprigs Oregano

  • 5.75 Cups (1.3 L) Filtered Water

Chili Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 Ancho Peppers, deseeded & destemmed

  • 3 Guajillo Peppers, deseeded & destemmed

  • Beef Broth, enough to cover chilis

  • 1.5 tsp Ground Cumin

  • 6 Cloves Garlic

  • 3 Tbsp (40 ml) Neutral Tasting Oil

  • Salt

Husks Ingredients:

  • 40 Corn Husks

  • Boiling water, enough to cover husks

  • 3.25 Cups (395 g) Masa Flour

  • 1 tsp (4 g) Baking Powder

  • 1 Tbsp (14 g) Kosher Salt

  • 1 1/3 Cup (257 g) Lard, room temperature

  • 2.5 - 3 Cups (600-700 ml) Pork Broth


Meat Method:

  1. Start by patting dry the meat with paper towels and cut into 2.5” cubes.

  2. Add high heat cooking oil to a dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until screaming hot.

  3. Add the pork in batches. Sear every side for 2 minutes or nicely brown. Rinse and repeat. Place to the side.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium, add in oil (if needed), and add in thinly sliced onions, sliced garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes or softened.

  5. Add in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Stir in and add back in the meat topped with sprigs of oregano.

  6. Cover with filtered water. Turn the heat to medium-high. Once boiling return to low.

  7. Cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours.

  8. Remove meat (and only meat) and strain all the vegetables out of the broth and reserve the liquid.

  9. Using 2 forks, shred the meat while it is still hot.

Chili Sauce Method:

  1. Start by destemming and deseeding ancho peppers and guajillo peppers.

  2. Place into a bowl and cover (just enough to cover the chilis) with hot broth from earlier. Cover with plastic wrap, press to keep submerged and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

  3. Once chilis are soft and easy to tear, place into a blender with ground cumin and garlic cloves. Add a little rehydration liquid and begin blending.

  4. Blend on high speed until smooth as possible.

  5. Drizzle in neutral tasting oil and once blended and emulsified season to taste with salt.

  6. Add and mix with the shredded meat.

Corn Husk and Masa Method:

  1. Start by placing the corn husks into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit and rehydrate for 20 minutes.

  2. In a separate bowl, add in instant masa flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Whisk together.

  3. In a separate bowl, add in room temperature lard whisking vigorously until creamy.

  4. Add in the masa flour and fold together. Once mixed add in pork broth from earlier.

Assembly Method:

  1. Take a couple corn husks and tear into thin strands to tie the tamales later.

  2. On a rehydrated corn husk, add the masa flour and, using a plastic wrap on top spread it about ¼” thick.

  3. Place the pork in the middle of the masa, folding one side over the meat and folding the other side over to completely shut.

  4. Once a tube is formed, take the bottom of the tamale and tie using the corn husk thread from earlier. Tamp the top of the tamale down.

  5. Fill a large pot with ½” of water and set a large steamer pot in the larger pot.

  6. Bring the water to a simmer and once steaming place the corn husks into the steamer with tied side down.

  7. Cover and steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  8. Serve with chili sauce from earlier or the desired sauce.


May 04, 2023

I am curious if anyone has tried shaping and wrapping the tamales then refrigerating them prior to steaming. I'd like to do all the work the day before then just steam them on the day of the event. The reason I ask is that they came out delicious the day I steamed them—soft, moist, and fluffy. But the next day I re-steamed them for 15 minutes and to my surprise they were dry.

Jasmine Morales
Jasmine Morales
Dec 13, 2023
Replying to

yes with tamales you never re-steam them instead if they are going to be used a later date they are kept frozen ,uncooked to be steamed fresh. tamales dry out very easily to re-heat a cooked tamale microwave with a damp paper towel.


Dec 23, 2021

Is there any other day I can use besides lard ? I can’t find it in the grocery store

Lala Thyravong
Lala Thyravong
Apr 26
Replying to



Dec 21, 2021

How many tamales does this recipe make ?

May 03, 2023
Replying to

I made each tamale with 1/3 cup masa +2 tablespoons filling and that gave me 19 tamales it fed 7 adults. I thought it would make 35 since Josh asked for 35-40 corn husks.


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