Mouth-Watering Tamales Criollos – Authentic Mexican Recipe

Are you looking for a dish that combines the traditional flavors of Peruvian cuisine with the comfort and warmth of a homemade meal? Look no further than this Peruvian Tamales Criollos recipe. Allow me to guide you through the steps to make this classic dish that will transport your taste buds to South America.

Peruvian tamales, or tamales peruanos, are a staple in Peruvian cuisine. They are steamed packets of corn dough filled with a variety of meats, vegetables and spices. The criollo version is made with white corn and pork, chicken, or both. This dish is typically served during celebrations or as a special treat for family gatherings.

This recipe makes enough tamales to feed a party or for leftovers throughout the week. You can also freeze them for future use, making them an easy go-to meal.

The recipe includes ingredients typically found in Peruvian households such as roasted peanuts and roasted sesame seeds, ground cumin and dried chili peppers. These give the tamales their signature nutty and slightly spicy flavor profile that will leave you wanting more.

Join me on this culinary adventure and experience the rich culture and flavors of Peru through this Peruvian Tamales Criollos recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Peruvian Tamales Criollos
Peruvian Tamales Criollos

Peruvian Tamales Criollos are a delightful treat that will take your taste buds on a journey through the vibrant and enticing Peruvian cuisine. If you’re looking for scrumptious tamales that are full of flavor, you should definitely try this recipe.

What sets this recipe apart from others is the unique blend of traditional Peruvian spices and ingredients such as roasted peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, chilies, and ground cumin. One bite of these savory tamales, and you’ll be transported to Peru in no time!

But that’s not all – these Peruvian Tamales Criollos are also incredibly versatile! You can tailor them to your liking by adding your favorite protein such as pork or chicken, or even black olives, onions or hard-boiled eggs. This allows for endless possibilities when it comes to satisfying your cravings and making them just the way you like it.

Plus, tamales are great party food! Traditionally wrapped in banana leaf or corn husk, they’re easy to transport and perfect for sharing with friends and family. Impress your guests with this authentic Peruvian dish that will have them coming back for more.

But perhaps what makes this recipe even more special is the fact that it provides a glimpse into Peruvian culture – a mixture of indigenous flavors, European influence and Asian fusion. As you enjoy every bite of these tamales criollos, you’ll also be immersing yourself in Peruvian history.

So don’t wait any longer; let’s explore the magical world of Peruvian cuisine with this recipe for Peruvian Tamales Criollos. I guarantee it will leave you feeling satisfied and wanting more!

Ingredient List

Peruvian Tamales Criollos Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs peeled white corn
  • 2 1/2 lbs pork chops with bones (6 bones)
  • 6 dried red chilies
  • 2 fresh yellow chilies
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 tea spoon black pepper powder
  • 1 tea spoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 20 black olives
  • 50 g roasted peanuts

The ingredient list of Peruvian Tamales Criollos Recipe is very specific with the unique ingredients required for this dish. Pork chops with bones, dried and fresh chilies, roasted sesame seeds, garlic cloves and white corn are some of the essential ingredients that give the recipe it’s Peruvian taste. Some of these ingredients may not be as common as others, so make sure to have everything on hand before you start cooking.

The Recipe How-To

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Before starting the preparation of the Peruvian Tamales Criollos, it is essential to have all the necessary ingredients at hand. Wash and rinse 2 pounds of peeled white corn, and soak in a large bowl filled with water for at least 8 hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, marinate 2 pounds of pork chops bone-in with 6 dried red chilies and 2 fresh yellow chilies. On another bowl, mix roasted peanuts, black olives, and roasted sesame seeds to make the filling.

Step 2: Cook the Pork Chops

In a pot over medium heat, cook the marinated pork chops in enough water to cover them for one hour or until they are tender and fully cooked. Once done, remove from pot and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces using two forks.

Step 3: Make the Aji Roasted Chili Paste

Roast three fresh yellow chilies over an open stove flame or using a griddle until they change color and soften a bit. Once roasted, remove stems and blend them together with one tablespoon of ground cumin and two cloves of garlic until it becomes a paste.

Step 4: Grind White Corn

Drain white corn grains of any remaining water then grind them up using a food processor until you attain a fine consistency; add some amount of water if necessary. Incorporate slowly the Aji Roasted Chili Paste into the corn mixture, stirring continuously until everything is well-combined. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Assemble the Tamales

Spread two tablespoons of prepared dough on top of clean banana leaves or parchment paper, followed by shredded pork on one half side, filling on another half side, slices of hard-boiled eggs and a spoonful of onion salsa criollo over it. Once done, begin rolling each tamal tightly into a firm cylinder.

Step 6: Cook the Tamales

Pour enough water into a large pot and heat over medium to low heat for five minutes. Arrange each of the assembled tamales in the pot standing on its folded end one next to the other. Cover with clean banana leaves and steam for four hours until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the tamal comes out clean.

Once cooked, let cool completely before unwrapping and serving while still hot. You can also store any leftover Peruvian Tamales Criollos in an airtight container and refrigerate up to five days or freeze for up to two weeks.

Note: You can substitute the pork with chicken or another protein of your choice, use different types of chili, or add cheese as additional filling to have variations of the Peruvian Tamales Criollos.

Substitutions and Variations

While tamales criollos are a traditional Peruvian recipe, there is always room for experimentation and personalization in cooking. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try with this recipe:

– Meat: Instead of pork, you can use chicken or beef for this recipe. You can also combine different types of meat or use shredded meat instead of pork chops.

– Corn: If you don’t have access to white corn, you can use yellow or blue corn instead. Just make sure to soak it overnight before using it in the recipe.

– Chilies: The type of chili used in this recipe adds a distinct Peruvian flavor to the tamales criollos. However, if you cannot find dried red chilies or fresh yellow chilies, you can substitute with any chili pepper that is available to you. You could also try using roasted green chili peppers or jalapeño for a different flavor.

– Olives: Black olives add a briny flavor to tamales criollos, but if you don’t like them, feel free to omit them from the recipe or substitute with pimento-stuffed green olives for a milder taste.

– Nuts and seeds: This recipe calls for roasted peanuts and sesame seeds, but you could substitute with other nuts like cashews, almonds, or pine nuts for a different texture and taste.

– Salsa Criollo: The onion salsa criollo is optional but highly recommended as it adds a lovely sweetness and tang to the tamales criollos. You can substitute this with other toppings such as chopped cilantro or parsley, cheese, diced tomatoes or avocado.

Keep in mind that substitutions and variations may change the taste and texture of your final dish however, embracing creativity is one of the best parts of cooking! Try out different flavor combinations until you find what works best for you.

Serving and Pairing

Peruvian Tamales Criollos are a delectable dish that stands on its own. These delicious tamales have a unique flavor profile, which makes it perfect to be paired with other Peruvian cuisine such as Causa Rellena, Anticuchos, and Arroz con Pollo. The tamales are traditionally served with Onion Salsa Criollo on top. The salsa brings out the flavors of the tamales and adds a zesty kick to it.

White wine or a light beer pairs well with these tamales. For those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks, try serving them with Chicha Morada – a refreshing drink made from purple corn or Inca Kola, which is a popular Peruvian soda that has a unique fruity taste.

When it comes to serving Peruvian Tamales Criollos, presentation can make all the difference. Serve the tamales with their banana leaf wrappers still intact for an authentically Peruvian experience. Garnish them with sliced black olives and roasted peanuts; these toppings add texture and flavor to the tamales.

Whether you are hosting a party or just preparing dinner for your family, Peruvian Tamales Criollos are a delightful dish that will impress anyone who tries them. Don’t forget to pair your tamales with an appropriate drink and garnish them well to make them look as good as they taste!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

One great thing about Peruvian Tamales Criollos is that they can be made ahead of time, offering you a chance to get ready for your event or gathering. If you do decide to make them ahead of time, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

To reheat, wrap them in a damp cloth, and then heat them on high heat in a steamer basket for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, microwave them at 30-second intervals until warmed through. You could also heat the tamales by frying them on a skillet with some oil until golden brown and crisp.

Additionally, if you’re planning to freeze the tamales for later use, allow them to cool completely before placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They’ll keep well in the freezer for up to three months without losing their flavor or texture.

When reheating from the freezer, make sure you thaw the tamales in the refrigerator overnight or until completely thawed. Once thawed, they can be reheated like normal tamales – steamed, microwaved or fried on a skillet with some oil.

Don’t forget that these tamales can also be enjoyed cold as a ready-to-eat snack straight from the fridge!

Tips for Perfect Results

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to get cooking! Here are some tips that can help you be successful when making Peruvian Tamales Criollos:

1. Don’t overfill the tamales – While it may be tempting to pack as much filling as possible into each tamale, it’s important not to overdo it. Overfilled tamales can become too heavy and will not cook properly.

2. Properly fold the banana leaves – Folding the banana leaves around the tamales can be a bit tricky, but it’s crucial to ensure that they stay together while cooking. Be sure to follow a consistent method of folding, either from one end to the other or by creating a pocket with both top and bottom ends sealed.

3. Soak the corn husks and banana leaves – It’s very important to soak corn husks and banana leaves in water for at least 30 minutes before using them. If they are not properly hydrated, they will dry out during cooking and your tamales will be ruined.

4. Keep the water level consistent – When steaming tamales, it’s important to maintain a consistent water level in your steamer pot. This will help cook the tamales evenly without drying out or burning.

5. Use a meat thermometer – It can be challenging to know when your tamales are finished cooking, so using a meat thermometer can help ensure that they are fully cooked all the way through.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make perfect Peruvian Tamales Criollos every time!


As you get ready to make the Peruvian Tamales Criollos recipe, you may have some questions on how to ensure that the tamales come out perfectly. Some common concerns that readers have had with this recipe include how to remove the husks from the white corn, what type of chilies can be used and whether they can be substituted, and how long to cook the tamales for. In this FAQ section, I’ll provide detailed answers to these questions and more so that you have everything you need to make these tamales to perfection. So let’s dive in!

What are Peruvian tamales made of?

Tamales are a widely beloved dish in Latin America that takes on various forms and sizes depending on the region, town or family. In Peru, Tamales are made with starchy dough, which consists of corn or potatoes, and mixed with flavorful ingredients such as meats (pork or chicken), cheese, chilies, vegetables, garlic, and other spices for a delicious taste.

What’s the difference between Peruvian tamales and Mexican tamales?

The type of leaf used for making tamales varies across different regions in Central and South America. In Mexico, corn husks are the norm, while banana leaves are common in other places. The method of making tamales in Peru involves the use of white cornmeal, distinguishing it from other types that use yellow corn.

What are Peruvian tamales called?

Adding coriander and culantro to this classic dish of cornhusks and corn creates a subtle and delightful taste. A perfect complement to the dish is a creole sauce made from lime juice and peppers, which is typical of the Peruvian cuisine.

What is the origin of Peruvian tamales?

Tamales have been a part of Mesoamerican cuisine for thousands of years, with their origins dating back to 8000 to 5000 BC. It is believed that the technique of preparing tamales began with indigenous cultures in Mexico and Guatemala, and eventually spread throughout Latin America.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking to impress your guests with a unique and delicious dish, Peruvian Tamales Criollos are the perfect choice. This recipe takes time and effort to make, but it’s well worth it. The combination of flavors and textures will leave your taste buds singing with joy.

The key to making great Peruvian Tamales Criollos is in the ingredients. Be sure to use high-quality white corn, pork chops, and fresh chili peppers, along with other traditional Peruvian spices and seasonings. And don’t forget the black olives, roasted peanuts, and hard-boiled eggs! They really make the dish stand out.

Overall, this tamales criollos recipe is a fantastic way to experience Peruvian cuisine at its best. Whether you’re looking for something new and exciting for dinner or hosting a special occasion, these tamales are sure to delight everyone at the table. So go ahead and give it a try – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Peruvian Tamales Criollos

Peruvian Tamales Criollos Recipe

Red tamales Peruvian style. One of the most traditional dishes of Peruvian cuisine, people enjoy them for Sunday breakfast served with salsa criolla and crispy french bread rolls. Moist, slightly spicy, and with an exotic flavor provided by the banana leave wrapping; stuffed traditionally with pork or chicken. Try them you will love them!
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Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 4 hrs
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 30 tamales
Calories 253.7 kcal


  • 2 lbs of peeled white corn
  • 2 1/2 lbs pork chops (no bones)
  • 6 dried red chilies
  • 2 fresh yellow chilies, roasted (Aji MIrasol)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into eight pieces (wedges, not slices)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 8 freshh garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 50 g roasted sesame seeds
  • 100 g roasted peanuts (ground)
  • 1/2 lb pork fat
  • 2 cups water
  • 100 g black olives (preferably Peruvian)
  • 1 lb banana leaf (cut in 12-inch X 18-inch pieces)
  • string
  • 10 ears corn on the cob (without kernels)


  • The original recipe is done with Peruvian white corn, it has the biggest grain in the world and it can be cut off the cob and peeled to prepare for the recipe, but I substituted it for just the frozen bags that we can find in any grocery store. Preferably, grind the corn using a grinding machine , not blender (as last resource you can blend the corn in a good blender using very little liquid). Set aside.
  • Blend the salt, pepper, cumin, vinegar and red dried chile (previously roasted and deveined).
  • Cut the meat into medium sized pieces and marinade for about an hour in the previous mix.
  • Brown the meat in a teaspoon of lard, add the left over marinade and the two cups of water, and bring it to a boil, simmer to cook for two hours. Remove the pieces of meat and set aside.
  • Add the broth to the corn, the rest of the lard, peanuts, sesame seeds, 6 yolks and the glass of Pisco ( if you can't find Peruvian Pisco leave it like that, don't substitute).
  • Work the dough until it makes "eyes", or air bubbles. Set aside.
  • To prepare the banana leaves you must pass them quickly over open fire (gas burner) or grill, exposure to high heat will bring out the flavors they release and turn them flexible enough to be used as wrapping. Make sure to take off the thick nerve like center of the leave.
  • To put the tamales together:
  • take about three spoonfuls of dough and place them on the center of a piece of banana leaf.
  • dig a hole in the middle and place a piece of meat, a piece of egg, an olive, one peanut, and a wedge of the fresh aji Mirasol, this may be substituted by any fresh chile, although the aji Mirasol or aji amarillo (yellow chile) has a very distinctive flavor and is just mildly spicy.
  • Close the hole on the dough by adding a little bit more dough or folding and tapping it closed,pushing some of the surrounding dough on it.
  • Wrap well with the banana leaf, closing tightly all four sides on top of the dough. Use another piece of banana leaf to wrap the tamal again starting on the opposite direction and tie tightly using a string cut out of some more banana leaf or a common piece of string. Set aside.
  • Place the corn cobs at the bottom of a deep pot (rather big or medium size)and some of the banana leaves on top of the corn cobs.
  • Add just enough water to cover the leaves.
  • Place the tamales vertically and side by side so the steam travels freely through them and cover them with the rest of the banana leaves.
  • Cook for about 4 hours. Serve with a type of onion salad called salsa criolla.
  • Salsa Criolla:
  • Chop a whole onion julienne style, rinse once with water and salt, and pat dry.
  • Cut one or two small tomatoes in thin wedges.
  • Add two tablespoons of mint leaves, two tablespoons of cilantro leaves, and one fresh aji amarillo (yellow chile) deveined and sliced.
  • Toss everything together and add the juice of half a lime, freshly squeezed.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve each tamal warm, unwrapped, and with a couple of spoonfuls of salsa criolla on top.
  • Decorate topping with a branch of parsley or cilantro. For Sunday breakfast place a roll of fresh french bread on the side of the dish.
  • ENJOY!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 4852gCalories: 253.7kcalCarbohydrates: 18.4gProtein: 12.5gFat: 15.7gSaturated Fat: 5.8gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 86.6mgFiber: 2.8gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword Brunch, Corn, Peruvian, Savory, South American, Vegetable
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.