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Red Pork Tamales on decorative golden plate surrounded by forks and cilantro, and a single tamal on a white plate with a cilantro leaf on top.
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5 from 93 votes

Red Pork Tamales + VIDEO

Red Pork Tamales (or Tamales de Puerco en Chile Rojo) is traditional Mexican food at its best. So tasty. So incredibly delicious. They are worth the effort to make.
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Additional Time30 mins
Total Time6 hrs
Course: Mexican
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 40
Calories: 247kcal



  • In a large stock pot, add the pork pieces.
  • Add all the garlic, onion, 1 ½ tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. 
  • Cover with water about 2 inches above all the pot contents. 
  • Place a lid on the pot and cook on low for 2 hours. 
  • In the meantime, soak the corn husks in warm water. 
  • Place an object on top of the husks that’s heavy enough so they can soak. 
  • Once the pork is fully cooked, remove the meat from the pot and let cool. 
  • Reserve the liquid from the pot. 
  • To prepare the red chile sauce: 
  • Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. 
  • Place the chiles in a pot and cover with water. 
  • Bring the pot to a boil. 
  • Immediately turn off the heat. 
  • Let the chiles soak for 5 minutes or until pliable. 
  • To a blender, add the rehydrated chiles, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ tablespoon cumin, and 3 cups pork broth (from the reserved pork liquid). 
  • Blend until smooth. 
  • Taste for salt. Add salt, if needed.
  • Strain the chile sauce. 
  • With the back of your spoon, push the sauce through the strainer. 
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the red chile sauce, and set aside until ready to use. 
  • Once the pork is cool to the touch, shred the pork meat with two forks. 
  • Add the shredded pork meat to a large stock pot. 
  • Pour the remaining red chile sauce to the pork and 1 cup of the pork broth.
  • With your tongs, coat the meat. 
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes. 
  • (If you are making a saucier meat, cook for 30 minutes).
  • Let cool slightly before assembling tamales. 
  • For the Masa: 
  • Add ½ cup of the reserved red chile sauce to the prepared masa. 
  • Mix well until the chile sauce is fully incorporated.
  • The masa will have an orange color. 
  • You can do this by hand or in a mixer. 
  • To Assemble: 
  • Shake off water from the corn husk. 
  • Place the husk in your hand. 
  • Spread about 2 tablespoons of masa on the corn husk
  • (Depending on the size of the corn husk you might need more or less masa).
  • Only spread the masa on the bottom and halfway to the top. 
  • Take a tablespoon of the pork filling and add to the center of the masa. 
  • Fold one side of the husk in. Then the other.
  • Fold the pointy top over to the middle of the corn husk. 
  • Set aside. 
  • Continue assembling until you no longer have corn husks or filling.
  • Fill the bottom of a large steamer pot with hot water. 
  • Insert the steamer and add your tamales with the open side up.
  • Place corn husks on top of the tamales.
  • Cover with a lid.
  • Cook on low for 1 ½ hours - 2 hours. 
  • Add hot water as necessary. 
  • Turn off stove and let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. 
  • The tamales are ready when the tamal pulls away from the husk easily. 



If you like your filling saucier, add more pork broth. 
Check water levels every 30 minutes. Add more if necessary.
Tips for the newbie:
  • Make the filling and masa beforehand.
  • Soak the corn husks the night before. 
  • Buy prepared masa and mix it with the chile sauce. 


Serving: 142g | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 3.4g | Sugar: 0.7g