Sharing delicious recipes from our kitchen to yours.

Tamales al Pastor

Tamales al Pastor

Thin slices of pork are marinated and cooked with chili peppers and pineapple to bring a sweet heat to this traditional favorite.  A blanket of corn dough adds an earthiness to this unforgettable explosion of flavor known as Tamales Al Pastor.  This simplified version is easy to make and requires no special equipment, just a bit of time.

The term Al Pastor comes from the Spanish meaning “shepherd style”.  This dish was developed based on a shawarma style spit-grilled meat brought by Christian Lebanese immigrants to central Mexico.  Traditionally the meat is roasted on a vertical spit, then sliced off similarly to how a Greek gyros is prepared.

Depending where you live, tamale dough or masa can be purchased in the refrigerated section of your store.  Making the dough is not difficult just requires a little bit of time.  Masa harina or corn flour is available in most areas of the country or can be ordered online.


Tamales al Pastor
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
4 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

Hot and sweet flavors are wrapped in a blanket of corn dough to make this delicious treat.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 12
Author: Christoph
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 tablespoons guajillo chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 small pineapple peeled and cored, cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
  • 1 ½ - 2 pounds boneless pork chops
Tamale Dough
  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 2 ½ cups warm water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lard or shortening
Al Pastor
  • Canola oil
  • Marinated pork
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and diced, divided
  • Dried cornhusks soaked to hydrate
  • Masa dough ready-made or from scratch
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • jalapeno pepper
  • Fresh cilantro
  1. Mix the chili paste with the spices, salt and pepper, vinegar, and pineapple juice.
  2. Prepare the pineapple by peeling, coring and cutting into 1 inch pieces. Crush and add 1 cup of the pineapple to the marinade mixture.
  3. Cut the pork into thin slices.
  4. Place pork in a bowl or plastic bag with the marinade and allow place in fridge for about 4 hours.
Tamale Dough
  1. In a food processor mix the masa harina with the warm water or broth. Allow the mixture to sit for about 20 minutes to soften. Pulse or mix until a dough forms. Add the salt and pulse to combine.
  2. Add the lard to the dough a little at a time, pulsing until well combined.
  3. Masa should be about the consistency of peanut butter. If it’s too dry, mix in a little more water or broth, if is too wet, add more masa harina.
  4. Use your masa immediately or cover tightly and store it in the refrigerator for 1 day. Allow refrigerated dough to come to room temperature before using.
Al Pastor
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high, when hot add a couple tablespoons of canola oil.
  2. Add the pork from the marinade along with the diced onion and half of the jalapenos.
  3. Fry until the pork is cooked through and the onions and peppers are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  1. Soak the cornhusks in a large bowl of warm water until pliable.
  2. Combine 1 cup of pineapple with the remainder of the jalapeno
  3. Place a scoop of dough on the center of the cornhusk. Cover with a small piece of plastic wrap and flatten with your hand.
  4. Place some of the Al Pastor on the dough, followed by some black beans, pineapple, and fresh cilantro.
  5. Roll the cornhusk around the dough and fold the end over to seal.
  6. Stack together in a steamer basket or colander.
  1. Steam basket of tamales covered over a large pan of boiling water for 25 to 30 minutes.
Cooks Notes

Depending where you live, tamale dough is available in the refrigerated section of your store.


Tamales can be frozen. Allow to come to room temperature for reheating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.