Low Sodium Pork Tamales

  • Yield : 32 tamales
  • Servings : 16
  • Prep Time : 16:0 h
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 16:30 h

A wonderfully delicious and authentic take on a Mexican classic- without the salt!  These take some time to make, but oh boy are they worth it!

These tamales freeze well, so we recommend making them in bulk and then portioning out some  to enjoy at a later date.  If you plan on freezing tamales, skip the steaming step until after they have thawed.  We like to use the leftover liquid from cooking the pork to cook beans or rice for a great side dish!  Reduce the liquid further to make a great red chile sauce to pour over the tamales.

Use guajillo, New Mexico, Hatch, Anaheim, or similar large-sided dried chile pods with medium heat.


  • 16 ounces dried red chile pods, seeds and stems removed.
  • 8-11 cups water, divided
  • 5 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 6 cups corn flour (white or yellow)
  • 1 8-ounce package corn husks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Step 1

Cover the chile pods with water (about 6-8 cups) and allow to soak overnight at room temperature, or at least 8 hours.

Step 2

Remove chile pods from water and add to blender with onions and garlic. Blend until smooth. Add soaking water to blender, if needed, so that a smooth and runny consistency is obtained.

Step 3

Place pork shoulder in a large dutch oven. Pour blended chiles, onions, and garlic over the pork. Add water to the dutch oven so that pork is completely covered.

Step 4

Cook the pork for 6 hours, covered, over medium low heat. Meat should be tender and easy to pull away from the bone. Remove pork from dutch oven and shred coarsely using a fork. Retain cooking liquid to use for making masa.

Step 5

Soak corn husks in warm water for 30 minutes prior to assembling tamales. Take 1-2 of the corn husks and tear into thin strips. These strips will be used for securing the ends of the wrapped tamales.

Step 6

To make the masa, combine corn flour with 1 cup pork cooking liquid, garlic powder, and vegetable oil. Add water in 1/2 cup increments until a workable paste-like dough is formed (about 2-3 cups).

Step 7

To assemble tamales, spread dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch over the corn husk, leaving about 1 inch of husk uncovered on each end. Place about 2 tablespoons of shredded pork in the center of the husk. Wrap the husk to form the tamale, starting at one of the long edges. Ensure that the masa overlaps at each edge once rolled to seal in the pork filling.

Step 8

Tie the open ends of the corn husk tight with two corn husk strips. At this stage, the tamales can be cooked and eaten immediately, or frozen/refrigerated for later use.

Step 9

To cook the tamales, place in a steamer basket. Steam for 20-30 minutes, or until masa is cooked firm and tamales are heated through.

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

  • Calories

  • Sodium

    116.4 mg
  • Total Fat

    12.8 g
  • Saturated Fat

    3.4 g
  • Cholesterol

    92.2 mg
  • Carbohydrates

    44.2 g
  • Fiber

    4.5 g
  • Sugars

    0.1 g
  • Protein

    32.8 g

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