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These are a lot of work, but trust me, so worth it! The best part of making tamales at Christmas time is working together as a family.

Your husband will do anything for you for making them!

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Rate this recipe 4.4/5 (98 Votes)


  • 1/2 pound dried corn husks, soaked in hot water overnight to soften
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 dried guajillo chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons lard or shortening
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lard or shortening
  • 4 cups Masa Harina de Maiz
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups pork broth
  • 1/3 cup lard or shortening, melted


Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 250mins


Step 1

Combine pork and water; simmer 35 - 45 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving broth. Break meat into coarse shreds.

Cover chilies with boiling water; soak 20 minutes. Drain chilies; place in blender jar. Add spices and 1 cup reserved pork broth. Blend until smooth. Add additional broth if desired; blend to desired consistency.

Cook onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons lard until tender. Add meat and salt, mixing until blended. Stir in chile mixture; simmer 15 minutes.

In large bowl, beat 2/3 cup lard until fluffy. Combine masa and salt; alternately add broth to lard, mixing well after each addition. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup melted lard, mixing to consistency of thick cake batter.

Spread 2 tablespoons masa in center of each husk. Spoon 1 tablespoon meat filling lengthwise down center of masa.

Fold husk over filling, allowing plain part of husk to wrap around tamale. Fold bottom end up over enclosed filling.

In steamer or 4 -quart Dutch oven, place rack 2 inches above gently boiling water. Arrange tamales upright in steamer basket. Do not pack tightly. Fill in spaces with extra corn husks to keep upright.

Cover top of tamales with corn husks; cover, steam 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until tamales are firm and fall away from husk.

Serve with green chile sauce.

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