Pork Tamales Square Recipe Preview Image

How To Make Pork Tamales

Learn How To Make Pork Tamales so they are moist, flavorful and perfect.
Categories Dinner
Difficulty Easy
Keyword homemade tamales, how to make tamales, tamale recipe
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 25 tamales
Calories 172 kcal
Author Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef


For The Pork:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/4 lb pork shoulder bone-in
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper plus more to taste
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 1 anaheim chile diced
  • 1 dried red chile diced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes diced
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock plus 2-3 cups for filling, see below

For The Tamale Filling

  • 1/2 cup lard
  • 4 cups Maseca
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 30-40 dried corn husks


  1. For The Pork:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Generously coat the pork with salt and pepper. Add the pork to the pot and brown well all sides in the hot oil.
  4. Add the onion, anaheim chile, red chile, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, cayenne and chicken stock to the pot. Cover and place in oven until meat is super tender (will easily pull apart with a fork), approximately 3 1/2 hours.
  5. Once meat is tender, carefully remove from the pot and allow to cool. Remove the bay leaves and discard.
  6. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, in batches), blend the contents of the pot until it is fully pureed.
  7. Fill a large bowl with the dried corn husks and cover with water. Use a second bowl to hold the husks down in the water. The husks should be completely submerged for at least 10-15 minutes to become flexible. Once well-soaked, remove from the water, drain, and set aside.
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer (can also use a hand mixer or do this all by hand), add the lard, Maseca, baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt and mix together.
  9. Combine the blended pork drippings from the pot with the chicken stock to make a total of 5 cups. Add 4 of the 5 cups to the mixer and mix well to combine. Use the remaining 1 cup of the liquid as needed to get the mixture to a creamy paste consistency.
  10. Using your hands or two forks, shred all the meat from the pork shoulder, discarding the bone. The meat should be in small bite-size, shredded pieces.
  11. Assemble a station with the drained, soaked corn husks, the masa mixture and the shredded pork.
  12. On a flat surface, lay down 1-2 corn husks, depending on size. If the husk is small, you can double up to extend its size. Spread on 4 tbsp. of the masa and then 2 tbsp. of the shredded pork. Close the tamale by folding each side of the husks over and then rolling the bottom up (see pictures above). Continue until no more husks or filling is left. This recipe makes approximately 20-25 tamales.
  13. Fill a deep pot with a pasta attachment, or a deep steamer attachment, with 1-2 inches of water and heat over high heat until the water reaches a boil.
  14. Once all the tamales are ready, carefully stand them up on their closed, rolled-up end, and place in the pasta basket. Use each tamale to hold the next in place until they are all secured. You don't want them falling over or opening up as their tasty contents may escape. Some people choose to actually use strands of the corn husks to tie the tamales closed, but I find this step isn't necessary.
  15. Place into the deep pot and steam the tamales, covered, for 40-60 minutes, or until the tamales turn from a creamy, wet consistency to a moist, crumbly consistency.
  16. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Facts
How To Make Pork Tamales
Amount Per Serving (1 tamal)
Calories 172 Calories from Fat 83
% Daily Value*
Fat 9.2g14%
Saturated Fat 2.9g15%
Cholesterol 24.2mg8%
Sodium 255.6mg11%
Carbohydrates 14.5g5%
Fiber 1.3g5%
Sugar 1.3g1%
Protein 7.8g16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.