Delicious Shredded Pork Tamales: Easy Recipe to Impress

If there is one thing I love about cooking, it’s the fact that every dish has a story to tell. That story could be rooted in tradition, cultural practices, or even personal history. In this recipe article, I’ll be sharing my take on one of my all-time favorite dishes: Shredded Pork Tamales.

Now if you’re anything like me, you love Mexican food. There’s something about that blend of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients that just speaks to your soul. And let me tell you, these tamales are no exception. Made with homemade pork filling and masa dough, and topped with a scrumptious red chile sauce – these tamales are a true masterpiece.

But don’t just take my word for it – give it a shot! Follow along with me as we discover the magic of authentic Mexican cuisine.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Shredded Pork Tamales
Shredded Pork Tamales

Are you tired of the same old boring meals every day? Do you want to spice up your taste buds with something unique and flavorful? Look no further! This shredded pork tamales recipe will bring the perfect balance of sweet and savory to your dinner table.

First off, the homemade pork filling is made tender and juicy by slow cooking the pork shoulder for hours until it falls apart. Then, it’s shredded and mixed with a red chile sauce that gives it just the right amount of spice without overpowering the dish.

But what makes this recipe truly exceptional is the masa dough. Made from masa harina, shortening, baking powder, and warm water, it provides the perfect complement to the spicy pork filling. The combination of the tender shredded pork and perfectly textured masa dough will leave you wanting more!

Whether you’re looking to entertain guests or treat your family to a delicious homemade meal, these shredded pork tamales are the perfect addition to any dinner party or gathering. Plus, they’re a great make-ahead option for busy weeknights, meaning you can always have them on hand for a quick and easy dinner.

So why not try something new today? Not only will you love this recipe, but everyone who tries it will be asking for seconds!

Ingredient List

 Tender and juicy pork meets fluffy masa in this delicious tamale recipe!
Tender and juicy pork meets fluffy masa in this delicious tamale recipe!

Before we start the recipe, gather all the ingredients to ensure smooth cooking. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Meat Filling:

  • 1.5 lbs Pork Shoulder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced

For the Masa Dough:

  • 6-8 cups Masa Harina
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1.5 cups Shortening or Lard
  • 6 to 8 cups Chicken Broth
  • Red Chile Sauce (see recipe below)

Corn Husks:

  • Dried Corn Husks

Red Chile Sauce:

– 3 Ancho Chiles or Guajillo Chiles
– Boiling water
– Salt (to taste)
– 1/4 cup of soaking water
– Half an Onion, chopped
– Garlic cloves(2 to taste)

Substitutions and Variations:

For a twist and variations, try adding green chili or using homemade pork instead of shredded pork.

Don’t be afraid to change things up! Remember this recipe is yours!

The Recipe How-To

 Make a batch of these tamales and enjoy them as a comforting meal or snack throughout the week.
Make a batch of these tamales and enjoy them as a comforting meal or snack throughout the week.

Step 1: Preparing the Pork

To make the shredded pork, first start with a 3-pound pork shoulder. Cut it into 1-2 inch cubes and season it generously with garlic powder, brown sugar, and chile sauce. Place the seasoned meat in a slow cooker and pour in enough water to cover the meat. Cook on high for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender and cooked through.

Once the pork is done, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. Set aside.

Step 2: Preparing the Masa Dough

In a mixing bowl, combine 4 cups of masa harina, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Gradually stir in 6-8 cups of warm water, mixing until you get a dough that is firm but pliable.

Step 3: Making the Filling

To make the filling, start by sautéing onion and garlic in a pan until they become translucent. Add in your shredded pork and mix well to distribute everything evenly.

Next, add in 2 cups of homemade or store-bought red chile sauce (also known as chile rojo) to your mixture, stirring to combine everything well.

If you prefer a little heat, add some green chile or salsa verde for extra flavor.

Step 4: Assembling the Tamales

Soak about 20 corn husks in warm water for at least half an hour until they are pliable.

Take about 1/4 cup of masa dough and shape it into a ball. Flatten it on a corn husk to form a base. Add about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each corn husk.

Fold over one end of the corn husk to cover the filling, and then fold over the other end of the corn husk so that the dough covers the filling completely.

Step 5: Steaming the Tamales

Arrange your tamales in a steamer and steam them for about an hour.

To check if they are done, do a toothpick test: Insert a toothpick into one of the tamales, and if it comes out clean, your tamales are ready.

Step 6: Serving and Pairing

Serve your homemade pork tamales with some corn salsa or sour cream on top, or any salsa of your preference. For a complete meal serve them with rice.

Enjoy your delicious homemade tamales!

Substitutions and Variations

 With a bit of prep work, this recipe is surprisingly easy to make and oh so satisfying.
With a bit of prep work, this recipe is surprisingly easy to make and oh so satisfying.

When it comes to making tamales, there are many different variations and substitutions that you can make to suit your personal taste preferences. Here are some ideas for ways to customize this shredded pork tamales recipe:

– Meat Substitutions: If you don’t have or don’t like pork, you can use other meats such as beef, chicken or even tofu to make tamales. Make sure that the meat is cooked and shredded before adding it to the masa dough.

– Sauce Variations: Instead of red chile sauce, you can use green chile sauce or salsa verde for a different flavor profile in your tamales. You can also try making a corn salsa or pico de gallo to serve with your tamales for added freshness.

– Masa Dough Additions: To add some extra flavor and texture to your masa dough, you can mix in some grated cheese or chopped herbs such as cilantro or parsley. You can also experiment with adding different spices like cumin, smoked paprika or chili powder.

– Corn Husk Substitutes: If you don’t have corn husks on hand, you can use banana leaves instead. Make sure to soften them by heating them up in boiling water before using them as a wrapper.

– Vegetarian Options: For vegetarian tamales, skip the meat altogether and opt for a roasted vegetable filling instead. You can also add sautéed mushrooms or beans to bulk up the filling.

– Serving Suggestions: While traditional Mexican tamales are typically served with red chile sauce, shredded lettuce and crema, feel free to get creative with your toppings! You could add pickled onions, hot sauce or guacamole on top for added depth of flavor. And don’t forget to offer a side of rice and beans on the side for a complete meal!

Whichever variations you choose to make in this recipe, be sure to enjoy the process! Making homemade tamales takes time and effort, but the final result is definitely worth it.

Serving and Pairing

 These tamales smell divine and will have your mouth watering before they even hit the table.
These tamales smell divine and will have your mouth watering before they even hit the table.

Once your homemade pork tamales are ready, it’s time to serve and pair them with your favorite accompaniments. Since tamales have a rich and flavorful taste, it is important to choose sides that will complement this intensity.

I recommend serving your pork tamales with a side of salsa verde or red chili sauce to enhance their flavors. You can either prepare these sauces from scratch using the same ingredients used in the filling, or you can purchase them from a store. If you prefer some crunchiness, corn salsa is also an excellent choice.

For those who love authentic Mexican food, pairing your homemade tamales with a cold, refreshing margarita can be an excellent idea. A chilled Dos Equis or Corona beer will also do the trick.

If you are looking for some variety, you can add some beef tamales into the mix to balance out the flavor profile. And if you want to go all out, pair your pork tamales with some classic Mexican sides like refried beans and guacamole.

When plating your shredded pork tamales, presenting them on a flat dish is recommended. You can place some extra chile sauce or salsa alongside them as well. Just make sure to garnish with some fresh cilantro or chopped green onion for an added pop of color.

Now that you know what goes well with pork tamales, invite friends over, toast to good times and enjoy this delicious dish!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Serve these tamales with your favorite toppings, such
Serve these tamales with your favorite toppings, such

The good thing about tamales is that they freeze and reheat very well. If you are planning a party or simply want to be prepared in advance, the tamales can be made ahead of time and easily reheated when ready to serve.

To make-ahead, after the tamales are assembled and steamed, let them cool completely then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. You may also want to separate the layers with parchment paper or plastic wrap to prevent sticking. The tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

To reheat, take the frozen or refrigerated tamales out of their storage container and wrap them in damp paper towels. Microwave them on high for 1-2 minutes per tamale depending on the wattage of your microwave oven.

Alternatively, you can reheat them on the stovetop by steaming them again in a pot with a small amount of water at the bottom. Arrange the tamales vertically with the folded edges facing down and cover loosely with a lid or foil. Heat them over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

When serving leftovers, pair with some fresh toppings like salsa verde, corn salsa, green chili, or even red chili sauce. These accompaniments will not only make your leftover tamales taste wonderful but it will also give your meal variety.

Remember that tradition is an essential aspect of making tamales so do not feel hesitant if you have some leftovers pass them along as gifts to others who love Mexican food just as much as you do!

Tips for Perfect Results

When it comes to making homemade pork tamales, there are a few tips that can help ensure the best results. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare your tamales.

First and foremost, be patient. Making tamales is not a quick process, but the end result is worth it. Give yourself plenty of time and don’t rush through the steps.

When preparing the masa dough, make sure to use warm water and shortening or lard that is at room temperature. This will help the dough come together smoothly and prevent any lumps from forming.

It’s also important to make sure the homemade pork filling is well seasoned. You can adjust the spices to your liking, but be sure to taste it as you go and add more salt or other flavors as needed.

When assembling the tamales, be careful not to overfill them. It can be tempting to add extra meat or filling, but this can cause the tamales to burst open during cooking. A generous tablespoon of filling is typically enough for each tamale.

Wrapping the tamales tightly in corn husks is another key step. Use a small strip of husk to tie the ends of each tamale closed before steaming.

Finally, make sure to steam the tamales long enough to fully cook the masa dough and make the meat tender. This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on how many tamales you are cooking.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious homemade pork tamales that your family and friends will love.


As you start making your homemade pork tamales, it’s common to come across some doubts or questions. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. To help you with that, I’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions when preparing these delicious tamales. Check them out below and feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments section!

What is the secret to moist tamales?

Creating delicious tamales requires a generous amount of fat in the recipe. In Mexico, lard is the typical choice. However, for a vegetarian option, you can use shortening or softened butter instead.

What is the best meat for tamales?

For the base of our traditional tamales, we typically use a combination of pork and beef. I suggest preparing the meat a day in advance, especially if you plan on making a large batch of tamales. To cook the meat, simply place all of the necessary ingredients in a slow cooker and let it heat up on low for 6-8 hours. Once the meat is fully cooked, you’ll want to use two forks to shred it before placing it in a covered bowl for later use.

What part of the pig is tamales made from?

If you’re in the mood for some authentic Mexican cuisine, you might want to try making red chile pork tamales, a popular kind of tamale. These tamales consist of tender pork shoulder cooked in a flavorful red chile sauce, wrapped in soft masa dough and then steamed for a few hours in corn husks on the stovetop. They are sure to delight your taste buds with their irresistible flavor and texture.

What’s the difference between Mexican and Cuban tamales?

When it comes to the contents of tamales, there are some variations depending on their country of origin. Mexican tamales are typically filled with slow-cooked chunks of chicken or pork blended with the masa, while Cuban tamales have a mixture of fried pork and seasoning that has been evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Additionally, Mexican tamales are commonly accompanied by either red or green chile sauce.

Bottom Line

If you’re in the mood for a hearty and delicious meal, you need to try this shredded pork tamales recipe. With its tender shredded pork filling wrapped in masa dough and topped with a homemade red chili sauce, this dish will leave you wanting more.

Making homemade tamales might seem intimidating at first, but with these step-by-step instructions and helpful tips, it’s easier than you think. Plus, the possibilities for customization are endless – try adding different types of chile or experimenting with other meats like chicken or beef.

So why not switch up your dinner routine and give this shredded pork tamales recipe a try? I guarantee that once you taste these homemade tamales, you’ll never go back to store-bought again.

Shredded Pork Tamales

Shredded Pork Tamales Recipe

From msn website from BHG:
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 16 Tamales
Calories 129.9 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded savory pork (see recipe center)
  • 2/3 cup chile, colorado (see recipe center)
  • 16 corn husks (dried, about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide at the top)
  • 2 cups masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup shortening or 2/3 cup lard


  • Prepare Shredded Savory Pork and Chile Colorado as directed. Soak the corn husks in hot water about 30 minutes to soften.
  • Meanwhile, for dough, in a large bowl, stir together masa harina and the water. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes (mixture will appear dry). In a mixing bowl, beat shortening and 1/2 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined (mixture should resemble a thick, creamy paste).
  • For filling, in a medium saucepan, combine Shredded Savory Pork and Chile Colorado; heat through.
  • Drain corn husks well; pat dry with paper towels. For each tamale, spread about 2 tablespoons of the dough into a 5 x 4-inch rectangle on each corn husk so one of the long sides of the dough is at the long edge of the husk. (If husks are small, overlap two small husks.) Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filing lengthwise down the center of the dough. Fold the long edge of husk over the filling so dough edges meet. Roll husk around outside of filled masa mixture. Tie ends securely with strips of cornhusk or 100-percent-cotton kitchen string.
  • To prepare steamer, if desired, place a cone-shape ball of foil in the center of a steamer basket. Stand tamales upright in basket (don't pack tamales too tightly, but fill the space). Place about 1-1/2 inches of water in bottom of steamer or Dutch oven. Place baskets over water. Bring water to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and steam for 40 to 45 minutes or until tamales pull away from corn husks, adding water to pan as necessary. Makes 16 tamales.
  • Make-Ahead Directions: Wrap and freeze the cooked tamales in the corn husks. To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Place the tamales in a steamer basket over gently boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 44gCalories: 129.9kcalCarbohydrates: 11.4gProtein: 1.4gFat: 9.1gSaturated Fat: 2.2gSodium: 1.4mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, For Large Groups, Meat, Mexican, Pork
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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.