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Cooked tamales served on a white platter with salsa verde and hot sauce.
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5 from 1 vote

Tamales Rojos de Puerco (Chile Colorado Pork Tamales)

These Tamales Rojos de Puerco (Chile Colorado Pork Tamales) are the best, creamiest and most delicious pork tamales. Serve alone, or top with salsa verde, red chile sauce, hot sauce or all! Make a small batch of 30-35 tamales ready to cook in under 3 hours!
Prep Time3 hrs
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: quick, moist, creamy, tender
Servings: 15 30-35 tamales
Calories: 401kcal
Author: Mexican Appetizers and More


Pork Filling

  • 2½-3 lbs pork shoulder, butt or country ribs with bone in
  • 3 chicken bouillon
  • 3 beef bouillon
  • 1 whole head of garlic peeled
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 whole onion quartered
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp of salt
  • 4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • olives, red pimientos and potato optional, refer to post

Chile Colorado Sauce

  • 10 dried guajillo peppers
  • 2 ancho chiles or chile negros (spicy)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled or 5 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste once sauce has been prepared

Masa Dough

  • 4 cups Maseca flour found in international aisle of grocery store
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • cups lard or shortening
  • cups reserved pork broth
  • 1 cup reserved chile red sauce

Corn Husks

  • 1 package corn husks found in international aisle of grocery store

Salsa Topping Ideas (Optional)


Pork Filling

  • Rinse the pork and cut into large chunks (if using country ribs, simply cut in half) and place in a large pot.
  • Add the water, bouillon, bay leaves, garlic, onion and all seasonings. Cook on medium heat for approximately 2 hours or until pork is tender and falling apart.
  • Once pork is cooked, remove pork and place in a bowl to cool a little.
    Also remove any bones.
  • Strain the broth and set aside for the masa. Add drippings that you have strained back to the pork you have set aside, making sure to remove the bay leaves and bones, discard.
  • Once pork has cooled a little, shred using two forks. Set aside.

Chile Colorado Sauce

  • Rinse the chile peppers under cool water to remove any unseen dirt and debris.
    Pull off stems and remove seeds.
  • Add all the dried chile peppers to a saucepan with two cups of water, garlic, onion and bay leaves.
  • Cook for 15 minutes until chiles have fully rehydrated and softened.
    Add all the contents to a blender and blend until smooth.
  •  Using a wire colander, strain sauce into a bowl to remove tiny bits of pepper.
    Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Add Sauce to Meat

  • Begin with adding 2 cups of sauce to meat and stir.
    If you would like your pork filling a little extra saucy, add more sauce.
    Set aside until ready to use.
  • Preparing Corn Husks
  • Remove corn husks from packaging and gently separate individual husks.
    Rinse each husk under cool water to remove any dirt and debris.
  • In a large pot, bowl or even your kitchen sink, add husks with plenty of warm water to cover and let soak for 1 hour.
  • After one hour, remove husks from water and wipe dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels.
    Set aside until ready to use.

Making the Masa Dough

  • Add 4 cups of Maseca to a large bowl with baking soda and salt. Mix with a fork.
  • In a separate bowl, whip 1 ½ cups of lard or shortening until smooth.
    Note: If you do not have a hand blender to whisk lard, it’s ok, you can briefly warm lard/shortening in the microwave to melt a little or simply leave it as is and incorporate really well to masa.
  • Add the lard, 2 ½ cups of pork broth and 1 cup reserved chile sauce.
    Using clean hands, incorporate all the ingredients really well into the masa.
  • Continue mixing really well until the masa takes on a consistency of smooth frosting.Masa is ready for tamales.

Assemble Tamales

  • Note: When you prepare to assemble the tamales, you will notice corn husks have one side that is smoother than the other, you will spread masa dough on the smooth side.
  • Using the back of a large spoon, spread a thin layer (2-3 tablespoons) of the masa on the smooth side of corn husk on widest side of husk, leaving about 3 to 4 inches free of masa from the bottom.
  • Add two tablespoons of pork filling to center of dough.
    If adding olives, pimientos or potato to filling, add now. (refer to post for more details)
  • Fold one side of corn husk over and then fold over again to cover.
  • After both sides are folded, fold pointy end up, so that one side of tamale is open.
    Keep tamale folded side down on plate or counter until ready to cook or freeze.
    Tip: Could also tie bottom with a thin strip of corn husk.
  • Repeat procedure until all the masa dough has been used to form tamales.
  • Once tamales are assembled, you can immediately cook or freeze them.
    Tip: You can put masa on all corn husks first and then add pork filling for quicker assembly.

Cooking the Tamales with a Steamer

  • You can use a tamale, seafood or vegetable steamer to cook tamales.
  • Add enough water to the pot and place steam tray on top.
  • Add a few corn husks to the steam tray. This helps in preventing too much water from seeping in onto tamales.
    Add as many tamales as you would like to cook at a time to pot.
    Leaning against one another.
  • Cover pot and steam tamales for one hour.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes before removing.
  • Carefully remove cooked tamales with tongs and enjoy immediately alone or top with one of the delicious toppings linked above.

Cooking the Tamales without a Steamer

  • Use a large pot to cook tamales.
  • Tear a few sheets of aluminum foil and loosely crumble each one into a ball.
  • Layer bottom of pot with aluminum balls.
    Repeat until the bottom of pot is full of aluminum foil balls.
    The balls will act as a steamer.
  • Add water to just below the tops of balls.
    Arrange tamales on top of aluminum balls.
  • Cover pot with a lid and cook for one hour.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes before removing.
  • Carefully remove cooked tamales with tongs and enjoy immediately alone or top with one of the delicious toppings linked above.


Serving: 15g | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 735mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2008IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2mg