Mouth-Watering Ancho Pork Tamale Recipe for Foodies


Are you in the mood for an authentic Mexican dish that will satisfy your cravings and transport you to the heart of Mexico? Then look no further than my Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales Recipe.

This dish has been a staple in my family for generations, and I’m excited to share it with you. The combination of tender pork and ancho chilies creates a rich and flavorful filling inside a corn masa shell.

As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I’ve spent years perfecting this recipe to make sure it’s not only delicious but also easy for you to replicate in your own kitchen.

So, get ready to impress your family and friends with this authentic Mexican dish that’s packed with flavor and love.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Xochipilli's Ancho Pork Tamales
Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales

Are you ready to take your taste buds on a journey through the bold and vibrant flavors of Mexican cuisine? Look no further than Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales Recipe – a dish that is sure to elevate your love for authentic Mexican food.

One reason why you’ll love this recipe is the use of ancho chilies. These dried, smoky peppers add a bold and complex flavor to the tender pork shoulder, creating a delicious depth that cannot be matched by any other ingredient. The addition of dried cherries lends a subtle sweetness to the dish, perfectly balancing the richness of the ancho chili.

Not only is this recipe packed with flavor, but it is also incredibly versatile. The masa harina-based dough can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including cheeses, beans, or vegetables, making it a perfect vegetarian option. However, when paired with succulent pork shoulder, it creates an unbeatable combination that will leave you craving for more.

Another thing that sets this recipe apart from others is its traditional preparation method. While it might seem daunting to soak corn husks and steam tamales for hours, the end result is well worth the effort. Plus, there’s something special about indulging in an authentic dish that has been enjoyed by generations of Mexicans.

In conclusion, Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales Recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves authentic Mexican food or anyone who wants to try something new and exciting. With its unique blend of flavors and traditional preparation method, this dish will undoubtedly become a family favorite. So what are you waiting for? Dust off your steamer and gather your ingredients – it’s time to make some unforgettable tamales!

Ingredient List

“Spice up your kitchen with this flavorful and authentic Mexican dish.”

Here’s what you’ll need to make Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales. Don’t worry if some of the ingredients are unfamiliar – they can be easily found at most grocery stores.

For the Pork Shoulder and Chile Ancho

  • 10 lbs pork shoulder, bone-in
  • 5 dried ancho chilies
  • 3 dried guajillo chilies
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the Tamale Filling

  • Reserved cooked pork (from above)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Juice from squeeze of a fresh lime or two
    -1/2 dried cherries

Corn Mixture and Dough Preparation (Masa Harina)

  • corn husks (about 3 per tamale)
  • 6 cups masa harina flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • Salt to taste
  • About 4.5 cups hot water or chicken broth
  • 2 cups lard or vegetable shortening

For the Tamale Sauce

  • 10 -12 ancho chilies plus some red chili so that it won’t be too hot if using it. Remove seeds and break into pieces.
    (- One garlic clove)
    (-Pinch salt)

Note: Tamale fillings and sauces are versatile! Don’t hesitate to mix up the recipe according to your tastes.

The Recipe How-To

“These tamales will have you feeling like a pro with their traditional preparation and unique taste.”

So, you want to make your own Pork Ancho Tamales? Trust me, nothing beats a homemade tamale straight from the steamer. The process can be time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth it. In this section, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step preparation of pork ancho tamales that will surely satisfy your cravings for authentic Mexican food.

Step 1: Soak the Corn Husks in Hot Water

The first thing you need to do is soak the corn husks in hot water for 30-60 minutes until they become pliable. Separately, soak the dried cherries in hot water for 10-15 minutes and then drain the water.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

In a large pot, boil 10 pounds of pork shoulder with 6 cloves of garlic, a sliced onion, and 3-4 dried ancho chiles until the pork is cooked thoroughly. Remove the pork from the pot and let it cool down a bit before shredding it into bite-sized pieces. Reserve the cooking liquid.

In another pot, sauté diced onions until they’re translucent. Add 2 tablespoons of ground cumin and stir for a minute or two. Add diced ancho chiles, diced guajillo chiles, and some red chili flakes for additional heat (optional).

Add the shredded pork into this mixture along with 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a healthy pinch of salt. Mix all ingredients well and then add reserved pork broth to moisten everything up.

Take your drained cherries and mix them with some frozen corn kernels in another bowl before adding it to your pork mixture.

Step 3: Make the Masa Dough

In a large bowl, combine about 5 cups masa harina (can be found at most grocery stores), 4-5 cups warm chicken broth, 1 tablespoon salt, and some freshly squeezed lime juice until the dough consistency is smooth. If it’s too dry, add more chicken broth.

Step 4: Assemble the Tamales

Take a soaked corn husk and spread masa dough evenly over it, leaving space on each end to fold. Spoon a generous amount of pork filling on top of the masa dough and wrap the husk around it. Tie one end with a bit of string or a strip of corn husk to keep everything in place.

Step 5: Steam the Tamales

Arrange tamales upright in a steamer basket with open ends facing up. Cover with extra corn husks to prevent the water from getting in. Add boiling water to your steamer and then steam your tamales for about 1-2 hours.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

Once your pork ancho tamales are steamed, let them cool for a few minutes

Substitutions and Variations

“Wrap up some love and share these tamales with friends and family for a special occasion.”

One of the great things about this Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales recipe is its versatility. You can easily make substitutions to cater to your preferences or dietary needs without sacrificing taste.

Firstly, if you prefer a spicier kick, you can substitute some or all of the ancho chilies with guajillo or red chilies. Keep in mind that these chilies tend to be spicier than ancho chilies, so adjust the amount to your liking. Alternatively, if you want a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of chilies or even use bell peppers instead.

For those who don’t eat pork, don’t fret! You can still make delicious tamales by substituting the pork shoulder with chicken breast or beef brisket. Chicken broth can also be used instead of pork broth to impart a different flavor.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, consider using vegetable broth instead of chicken or pork broth. You can also add vegetables such as diced zucchini or bell peppers for a more balanced meal.

For those who have dietary restrictions or preferences, masa harina made from corn is typically gluten-free and vegan-friendly. This means almost anyone can enjoy authentic Mexican tamales!

Lastly, get creative with your fillings and add-ins. You can swap dried cherries with raisins, cranberries or diced prunes. Frozen corn kernels can also be replaced with cooked black beans for a tasty vegetarian option. The possibilities are endless!

Remember, don’t be afraid to experiment and make this recipe your own. Mixing up ingredients and trying new things will keep your taste buds interested and your tummy fully satisfied!

Serving and Pairing

“Take a journey through the flavors of Mexico with each bite.”

Once these ancho pork tamales are cooked, it’s time to dig in! For a traditional Mexican presentation, serve your steaming hot tamales with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

But what to pair them with? I highly recommend serving these ancho pork tamales with a side of rice and beans. The rice is a great accompaniment because it balances out the heat of the chile ancho and adds another texture to the meal. For the beans, you could try refried black beans or pinto beans cooked with garlic and onions.

If you’re looking for something lighter or more refreshing, try making a side salad with fresh greens and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten it up. A simple salsa made with chopped tomatoes, onion, and cilantro also pairs well with these tamales.

For beverages, I suggest serving them alongside a cold glass of horchata or even some Mexican beer! If you prefer nonalcoholic options, try pouring some homemade agua fresca in watermelon or cucumber flavor.

No matter how you choose to serve these ancho pork tamales, I’m confident everyone at your dinner table will leave satisfied.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Slow-cooked pork with a smoky and spicy kick makes for the perfect filling for these tamales.”

As a chef, I understand that you may not have the time to make these ancho pork tamales on the same day that you plan to serve them. Thankfully, this recipe is easily prepared ahead of time.

Once you have assembled and steamed the tamales, you can store them in the fridge for up to five days or freeze them for up to two months. To reheat them, gently steam them again in a pot with a little bit of hot water until they are heated through.

If you plan on freezing the tamales, it’s best to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place them in a zip-lock freezer bag. You can reheat them from frozen by steaming them for an additional 10-15 minutes.

When storing and reheating the tamales, keep in mind that they may dry out if they are exposed to too much heat or air. To prevent this, store them in an airtight container and reheat them using a gentle method such as steaming.

By following these storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy these delicious ancho pork tamales anytime you want without losing the authentic Mexican flavors. So don’t hesitate to make a big batch and save some for later!

Tips for Perfect Results

Cooking tamales is a multi-step process, but with the following tips, your Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales Recipe will be nothing short of exceptional.

1. Use Good-Quality Corn Husks

When purchasing corn husks, make sure they are pliable and free of any mold. Soak them in hot water for at least 30 minutes or until they’re flexible enough to roll up the tamales.

2. Cook the Pork Shoulder Slowly

The pork shoulder is the star ingredient of the recipe, and it’s essential to cook it at a low temperature for a long time to obtain a fork-tender texture. I recommend using a slow cooker or oven at 300°F and cooking it for about six hours.

3. Grind Your Own Chili Powder

For authentic Mexican flavor, I suggest grinding your own chili powder using ancho chilies and guajillo ancho chilies. Remove the stems and seeds, toast them lightly in a pan, and grind them using a food processor or coffee grinder.

4. Use Masa Harina Instead of Cornmeal

Masa harina is made from hominy corn that’s been soaked in lime water, which gives it a unique flavor and texture. It’s essential to use masa harina instead of regular cornmeal to get fluffy tamales.

5. Add Baking Powder to the Dough

Adding baking powder to masa dough will make the tamales lighter and fluffier. Use one teaspoon of baking powder per two cups of masa harina.

6. Don’t Overfill the Tamales

It’s crucial not to overfill the tamales to ensure they cook correctly without breaking apart. Use about two tablespoons of dough and one tablespoon of filling per tamale.

7. Steam Them Correctly

To steam your pork tamales, place them upright in a steamer basket and steam for about one hour until they’re fully cooked. Don’t open the lid during the cooking process, or you’ll lose precious steam.

8. Serve with Traditional Accompaniments

For a complete and authentic Mexican experience, serve your ancho pork tamales with some tamale sauce, lime wedges, and fresh salsa. You can also pair them with some Spanish rice or refried beans.

With these tips in mind, your tamales will turn out perfect every time. Enjoy your authentic Mexican creation!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this recipe for Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales is a must-try for anyone who loves authentic Mexican food or simply wants to step up their culinary game. With savory, spicy, and sweet flavors all mingling together, these tamales are guaranteed to become a new staple in your kitchen. Plus, with the potential for customization and substitution, you can tailor this recipe to suit your preferences and experiment with new variations to find your perfect match.

So why wait? Get started on making these delicious pork tamales today! Whether you’re planning a dinner party, a family meal, or just want to treat yourself to something special, these tamales are sure to impress. And be sure to share the love by passing along this recipe to your friends and family. After all, good food is meant to be shared.

So gather up your ingredients, follow the easy steps outlined in this recipe, and indulge in the mouth-watering flavors of Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales. Don’t forget the lime wedges!

Xochipilli's Ancho Pork Tamales

Xochipilli’s Ancho Pork Tamales Recipe

This traditional Mexican recipe uses an nontraditional cooking method. Time does not include marinating or standing time. From a local Mexican restaurant.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 24 tamales
Calories 141.2 kcal



  • 2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 ancho chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 3 3/4 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup lard, chilled


  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1 ancho chili, stemmed
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 (1 lb) pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups hot water
  • lime wedge (optional)


  • Prepare Basic Masa Dough up to three days ahead, and refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • Basic Masa Dough: Combine chicken broth and ancho chiles in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until chiles are tender; cool slightly, Combine broth mixture and corn in a blender; process until smooth.
  • Lightly spoon masa harina into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine masa harina, salt, and baking powder, stirring well with a whisk. Cut in lard with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add broth mixture to masa mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • Tamales: Place corn husks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.
  • Combine broth, cherries, and ancho chile in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until cherries and ancho are tender. Combine broth mixture, onion, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender; process until mixture is smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup broth mixture; cover and chill. Place remaining broth mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Remove pork from bag, and discard marinade. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450F for 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155F (slightly pink). Let pork stand 20 minutes; shred pork with 2 forks. Toss shredded pork with reserved 1/2 cup broth mixture.
  • Working with one husk at a time, place about 3 tablespoons Basic Masa Dough in the center of husk, about 1/2 inch from top of husk; press dough into a 4-inch-long by 3-inch-wide rectangle. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon pork mixture down one side of dough. Using the corn husk as your guide, fold husk over tamale, being sure to cover filling with dough; fold over 1 more time. Fold bottom end of husk under. Place tamale, seam side down, on the rack of a broiler pan lined with a damp towel. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, Basic Masa Dough, and filling. Cover filled tamales with another damp towel. Pour 2 cups hot water in the bottom of a broiler pan; top with prepared rack.
  • Steam tamales at 450F for 55 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a depth of about 1/2 inch. Let tamales stand 10 minutes. Serve with sauce and lime wedges, if desired.
  • Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in microwave for 2 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 2312gCalories: 141.2kcalCarbohydrates: 21.5gProtein: 6.6gFat: 3.9gSaturated Fat: 1.2gCholesterol: 14.3mgSodium: 230.4mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 1.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Brunch, Meat, Mexican, Oven, Pork, Potluck, Savory, Steam
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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.