These homemade tamales will disappear faster than it took to assemble just one.

What to buy: Corn husks can be found in Latin markets.

Game plan: The dough and filling can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container. Alternatively, you can form the tamales up to 1 day ahead and keep them covered in the refrigerator until ready to steam and serve.

To help you make the perfect tamale, see our step-by-step guide to forming tamales.

This recipe was featured as part of our Tamales for the Holidays project.

  • Yield: 30 tamales
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Total: 2 hrs 50 mins, plus soaking time 
  • Active: 1 hr 15 mins 

Ingredients (4)

  • 30 corn husks
  • Basic Masa Dough (link in recipe intro)
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded pork from our Pork Mole Coloradito (link in recipe intro)
  • 1 1/4 cups mole sauce


  1. Place corn husks in a large bowl or baking dish, cover completely with hot water, and weigh down with a plate or bowl to fully submerge. Soak until husks are very pliable, at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain, squeeze out excess water, and wipe dry.
  2. Place a steamer basket in a large pot and fill the pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer. Cover and bring the water to a simmer over low heat.
  3. Lay a corn husk on a clean work surface with the wide edge toward you (this is the bottom). Measure 1/4 cup masa dough and spread 1/4 inch thick on the husk, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the bottom. Spread 2 teaspoons of the pork down the center of the dough, then top with 2 teaspoons of the mole sauce. Bring the two sides of the husk together until the dough meets over the filling. Wrap the husk over the dough, making sure you don’t get any of the husk in between the dough and the filling.
  4. Fold the top of the husk (the empty, tapered edge) back over the filled husk to close. (If your husks are particularly small or they don’t want to stay closed, use a bit of butcher’s twine to tie them closed.) Repeat to make 30 tamales.
  5. Arrange tamales upright in the steamer with the open ends facing up. If your steamer is too big to hold all of the tamales snugly together, place a small heatproof bowl upside down in the center to stabilize the tamales. Cover and steam until the dough is set and no longer raw-tasting and the tamales pull away easily from the husks when unwrapped, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn the heat off and let the tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.