Cheese and Roasted Peppers Tamales / Tamales de Rajas Con Queso

Tamales de rajasCheesePoblanoTamales                  
The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is fast approaching, and families all throughout Mexico will be cooking the favorite foods of their lost loved ones. The will either take the food with them to the graveyard when visiting their lost family members, or place it on altars built at home for them. On of the most common things people cook are tamales, like these Tamales de Rajas. The mellow flavor of the Queso Fresco makes a perfect match with the spiciness and smoky flavor of the roasted Poblano peppers. Not everyone fills them with Poblano peppers, though, as some cooks use Serrano or jalapeño peppers. I used Queso Fresco in this recipe, but you can use pretty much any of the other Mexican Cheeses. The key ingredient is the cheese.

Mexico has a vast variety of tamales, and the different fillings and ways of preparing the corn dough (masa) make each tamal special. In Central Mexico, cooks use a special corn masa (dough) to prepare these tamales. The corn dough is usually processed at local establishments called “Molinos de Nixtamal”, where they grind the corn into a coarse texture. Tamales made using this coarse dough are really light and fluffy. For all of you living outside Mexico, you can still use Corn Flour for Tamales, since it also has a coarse texture. You will love these tamales for breakfast, lunch or dinner, they’re perfect at any time of day.



  • 2/3 cups of Lard*
  • 2 cups corn flour for Tamales
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cup warm chicken broth
  • Salt to taste


  • 3 Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Queso fresco or Queso Ranchero 
  • 1 1/4 cup of Salsa** (recipe HERE)
  • 16 Corn Husks, plus extra to tie the tamales and for the steaming pot.

Extra salsa and Mexican Cream to drizzle your tamales.

* I’ve made these tamales using vegetable oil instead of lard, and they still come out really great. Just make sure your broth is full of flavor since the lard gives lots of flavor to the dough and without it, it’ll taste plain.
** You can also use Salsa Verde. Make extra salsa for serving along with the tamales when ready.

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1. Roast the Poblano peppers, either in your broiler or on a stove top flame.  Place inside a plastic bag for 3 minutes to steam.
2. Gently remove skins and seeds from the Poblanos ,with your hands then cut them into strips.
3. Place corn husks in a large stock pot filled with hot water to soften. Once softened, drain them and set aside.

Tamales de rajas2A4. In a large bowl, beat the lard until it’s fully, about 6 minutes. After beating the lard, add the corn flour for tamales along with the baking power. Mix well using an spatula.
5. Pour the warm chicken broth and mix well until you form a soft dough. Keep mixing for about 5-6 minutes. The dough has to be soft and fluffy. Season with salt.
6. Chop the Queso Fresco (cheese) into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl.

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7. Gather the dough, salsa, cheese, peppers strips, and corn husks to assemble the tamales. Place a steamer in a large stock pot or line with aluminum foil at the bottom. Cover the rack with corn husks. Fill with hot water just bellow the steamer rack. Place a small coin at the bottom of the pot, that way if the pot needs more water, the coin will rattle and make noise. When adding more water to the pot, make sure to add it as close to the wall of the pot as possible.

Tamales de RajasAB 8. To form the tamales, using a large spoon, spread about 3 tablespoons of corn dough. Then add 1 tablespoon of salsa. Top with some pieces of Queso Fresco and  Poblano Peppers strips.

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  9. Fold the right side of the corn husk to the center of the Tamal and do the same with the left side. Fold over the narrow end of the husk towards the center and tie the tamal using a thin strip of corn husk. Repeat this process to from all the tamales.

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10. Place the tamales inside the already-prepared steamer and cook for 60 to 65 minutes. Check steamer occasionally and add hot water as needed.

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11. To check if the tamales are ready, remove one using kitchen tongs and place on a plate. Let it rest for 5 minutes. If the husk doesn't stick to the tamal when removed, then your tamales are ready.

Serve with red or green salsa. ¡Buen provecho!


  1. these look wonderful and great tradition

  2. Primera vez que veo una receta de tamales que no me asusta, ademas me encantan las cantidades. Me animare a hacer tamales por primera vez con tu receta. Muchas gracias!!
    1. Se usa la misma cantidad de aceite (2/3 de taza) que de manteca?
    2. En la sección de "relleno" dice "poblano dos veces, es por los colores?

    Muchas gracias!!

    1. Hola Eloschu,

      gracias por notar lo de los poblanos, :) ya quedo editado.
      Con respecto a el aceite, primero mezcla el aceite con la harina y poco a poco el caldo de pollo hasta que la consistencia de la masa esté bien suavecita y untable. Quizás no necesitas toda la cantidad del caldo indicado en la receta.

      Saludos y gracias por visitar.

  3. These look so good and I love that you gave the recipe for only 12, which will be plenty for hubby and me! I'm going to make these!

    1. Hello Karen,

      Yes, only 12 in a medium size, just perfect to have 2 for dinner per person. Regards.

  4. Is there anyway to pin this on Pinterest ?

    1. Hello Sandra,
      There are several ways, one is to add the Pinterest widget to your toolbar, and the pinterest icon will show in every picture when you place the cursor over the picture.

      Second option is going to your pinterest account, click the add a pin in the board of your choice and choose the add a web link option.

      Third option will be to go to Mexico in my Kitchen account in pinterest and check out boards for Mexican food, you will find the blog pictures there.

      Thanks for visiting,


  5. I love your recipe I will make it soon it seems easy no to many ingredients or complicated steps

  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe! This was the best tamales recipe I've made; they were so tender and flavorful. The salsa inside was the missing link I'd been looking for in a tamales de rajas recipe. All of my guests loved them, including the first time tamal eaters. I doubled the recipe, and one 12-oz queso fresco was enough for all the tamales, with some left over for my snack. Thanks!

  7. How much vegetable oil should I use if I am not using lard?

    1. Hello GLadis,

      Add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. And knead the dough, if it feel dry and grainy, add one 1/4 cup more of vegetable oil.

  8. I followed this recipe and it came out delicious! I used Oaxaca cheese instead but kept everything else the same. They were a hit, will make them again.

  9. I've been craving tamales since Dec started. My husband and I went to a place that had good reviews for their tamales and eh....they were OKAY I guess. I knew you would have a recipe for tamales so I decided to try them myself. I made these last night and they came out PERFECT!!! My husband is from Chiapas, MX and I am a gringa haha, and I make alot of your recipes for him and he thinks they taste very authentic. I roasted the peppers on my gas BBQ for a few minutes instead of on the stove and then put them in a bag to sweat. I like this better because my kids complain about the strong smell of the peppers. I'm going to try making the corn tamales today. Thank you!!!

    1. Hello D Gam,

      Thank you for trying the recipe. I'm so glad your husband like them, I'm sure you must be a great cook and adding your personal touch makes everything taste delicious. Since your husband is from Chiapas, I'm sure he would like the pork tamales wrapped on banana leaves. Here is the link in case you want to make them for him:

  10. I made this and they came out perfect!!! Thank you for such great recipes. (I'm going through and posting for all the recipes I've tried :) )
    Mely, you used to have Red shredded beef tamales a long time ago and I no longer see it on here. Did you remove it or am I thinking I saw the recipe?

    1. Hello Nina,

      Here is the link:

      Happy cooking!


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