Pork Carnitas Tamales with Chipotle Crema

Pork Carnitas Tamales

Active Time

40 minutes

Total Time

3 hours, 30 minutes

Serving Size



  • Pork Carnitas Tamales with Chipotle Crema
  • 16 large dried corn husks (or 8-inch-square sheets of nonstick aluminum foil)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb boneless pork butt roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup crema Mexicana (or sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle pepper sauce
  • 4 cups Tamale Dough
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • Tamale Dough
  • 1 cup lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 3 cups corn masa flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups water (or chicken stock)
  • Plastic wrap

Pork Carnitas Tamales with Chipotle Crema Steps

  1. Submerge corn husks in hot water and soak 30 minutes. Chop onion and garlic. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes (wash hands).
  2. Preheat large stockpot on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil in pot; add onions and garlic. Cook 2–3 minutes, stirring often, until onions are tender. Reduce heat to low; add pork, salt, pepper, stock, cumin, red pepper, and allspice. Cover and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until pork is 190°F (for shreddable). Shred pork, return to pot, and mix well.
  3. Meanwhile, combine crema Mexicana and pepper sauce until blended; chill until ready to serve.
  4. Drain corn husks. Place ⅓ cup tamale dough in center of smooth side of corn husk (or nonstick side of foil). Spread evenly, leaving 1-inch border around edges.
  5. Place ¼ cup pork mixture in center of tamale dough, then roll up like a burrito. (Use strips of corn husk or butcher's twine to tie tamales if desired.) Repeat with remaining tamale dough and pork mixture.
  6. Place 3–4 inches water in steamer (or saucepan fitted with strainer or vegetable basket) and bring to a simmer. Arrange tamales seam-side down in steamer and cover tightly.
  7. Steam 30–35 minutes (adding more water as needed) until tamales release easily from husks. Remove from steamer and let stand 5 minutes to cool. Remove cilantro leaves from stems (½ cup). Remove tamales from husks; top with chipotle crema and garnish with cilantro. Serve.

Tamale Dough Steps

  1. Set lard out to come to room temperature. Place masa flour, salt, and baking powder in bowl of stand mixer; mix with paddle attachment until combined. Add lard and beat 3 minutes until blended.
  2. Add water slowly and beat 2 more minutes until dough resembles creamy peanut butter, stopping mixer every 45–60 seconds to scrape down sides of bowl.
  3. Remove dough from bowl; wrap in plastic wrap and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. (Makes about 6 cups dough.)

Nutritional Information

Pork Carnitas Tamales with Chipotle Crema: Amount per ⅛ recipe serving: Calories 460, Total Fat 34g, Sat Fat 13g, Trans Fat 0g, Chol 70mg, Sodium 600mg, Total Carb 27g, Fiber 2g, Total Sugar 3g, (Incl. 0g Added Sugars), Protein 13g, Vitamin D 6%, Calc 8%, Iron 6%, Potassium 6%

Tamale Dough: Amount per 1⁄24 recipe serving: Calories 130, Total Fat 9g, Sat Fat 3.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Chol 10mg, Sodium 140mg, Total Carb 11g, Fiber 1g, Total Sugar 0g, (Incl. 0g Added Sugars), Protein 1g, Vitamin D 0%, Calc 2%, Iron 0%, Potassium 0%