Crisco is Cooking™
Recipe Categories
Recipes for Meal Times
Types of Recipes

Guatemalan Tamales

Prep Time:45 min
Cook Time:1 hrs 30 min
Yield:1 dozen


  • 2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Canola Oil, divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 dried ancho chile peppers, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas), toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 pound boneless pork tenderloin, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 12 (10-inch) squares fresh or frozen banana leaves, thawed, trimmed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups instant corn masa flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 36 small pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced into 24 strips


  1. 1.
    HEAT 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped red pepper; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, ancho chile peppers, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Pour sauce mixture into blender container. Cover and process until smooth.

  2. 2.
    HEAT remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pork; season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Saute pork for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups sauce mixture, raisins and capers. Cover and chill remaining sauce mixture.

  3. 3.
    HEAT water in a medium saucepan until warm. Add masa flour, rice flour, shortening and remaining 1 tablespoon salt; whisk until blended. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until dough is very thick and pulls away from side of pan, about 5 minutes.

  4. 4.
    PLACE each banana leaf square, dull side up, on a 14-inch sheet of foil. Place a heaping 1/3 cup dough in center of first banana leaf; spread into a 4 x 3-inch rectangle. Top dough with 3 olives, 2 red pepper strips and 1/3 cup meat mixture. Fold in all sides of banana leaf to enclose filling in a rectangular shape. Wrap in foil. Repeat to make 11 additional tamales.

  5. 5.
    REMOVE basket from steamer pot. Fill pot with about 2 inches water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Arrange tamales in layers in steamer basket. Place basket in steamer pot. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until dough is set, adding additional boiling water to pot as needed. Let wrapped tamales stand 10 minutes before serving. Remove foil. Unfold banana leaves to open. Warm remaining sauce, if desired, and serve with tamales.


Serving Size (1 tamale or 12), Calories 280 (Calories from Fat 110), Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 1290mg, Total Carbohydrate 33g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 7g), Protein 13g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 35%, Vitamin C 70%, Calcium 6%, Iron 20%.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Guatemalan Tamales 5 5 1 1
This recipe is great Guatemalan recipes are hard to find. I choose this one for the concise instructions and then tested it on a Guatemalan. He said it tested delicious and was how he remembered them. The only change I made was in handling of the banana leaves. I cooked them on a griddle, pressing down with a spatula for about 30 seconds per side. This makes them more pliable and easier to handle. so good I made a 2nd batch. Go Crisco! December 24, 2011
1-1 of 1
Guatemalan Tamales

Crisco® Organic Coconut Oil

Looking for a vegetable or olive oil alternative in cooking? Try making your next recipe with new Crisco Organic Coconut Oil.

Learn More