Photo by Fernanda Alvarez

Pork Tamales

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 30 tamales
Serve these delicious, traditional pork tamales with a side of Spanish rice, refried beans and enchiladas. Just make sure you have enough space in your freezer before you get started!

Pork tamales are a holiday tradition in Mexico, enjoyed on Christmas and New Year's Day. They do take a bit of effort to make, but they are totally worth it!

There are two keys to making the perfect tamales. First, you need to make your own masa, or dough. And second, you need to spread the masa thinly on the husk. It also helps if you have the right tools in the kitchen to steam up enough for a large crowd. A large stockpot will help you save time in the kitchen and make enough tamales for your loved ones and guests. After all, it's the holidays, so the more the merrier!

Don't forget to invite your family to help you prepare them. That's almost as fun as eating them!


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The filling
  1. Place the pork in a deep saucepan along with the cold water. Add onion, chili powder, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours, until the pork is very tender.
  2. Remove the meat from the broth. Strain the broth and reserve (allow the broth to cool if you want to remove the fat; if that's not important to you, keep it warm for tastier tamales). Allow the meat to cool and shred using two forks.
Corn husks
  1. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of hot water, using a plate to keep them submerged, until pliable, for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Rinse to remove any corn silk and drain well. Reserve.
The masa (dough)
  1. Mix the lard (room temperature) with the baking powder, the ½ tablespoon chili powder and two teaspoons of salt. Slowly, alternate mixing in the masa harina, with 2 cups of the reserved broth. The result should be a thick, creamy paste.
  1. Starting 1/2 inch from the wide end, spread about 3 tablespoons of the dough down each husk. Leave a 1-inch border on the sides. If the husks are small, use two so the tamales do not fall apart.
  2. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pork filling down the center of the dough, then fold in the sides of the husk, wrapping the dough around the filling.
  3. Fold up the narrow end of the husk. Repeat to create the rest of the tamales.
  4. Set the steamer in a large pot filled with 2 inches of water. Arrange the tamales standing up in the steamer, folded-side down. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and steam until the dough is firm, 45 to 50 minutes. Add water when necessary.
  5. Remove from the steamer and let cool slightly before unwrapping.
  6. Serve up your holiday tamales and ring in the New Year with flavor and style!

Chef Notes

Freeze any leftover tamales for future meals by leaving them in the husks and placing them in freezer bags. To reheat, thaw and wrap in a wet paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes for one or two tamales, or re-steam them. Learn more about Princess House and enter for a chance to win a Princess Heritage® Stainless Steel 30-Qt. Stockpot here!

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