This pork with Red Chili Sauce is my favorite filling for tamales, burritos, tacos and more. It’s made with a pork roast, spices, and a homemade red chili sauce.

While living in Mexico with my husband as a young married couple, I had that opportunity to learn to make some authentic Mexican dishes including Mexican rice, Pork Chile Verde, and homemade tamales! I have a seriously love for GOOD Mexican food!

Shredded pork with red chili sauce in a slow cooker.

My experiences with the people, food, and culture of Puebla, Mexico instilled in me a deep love of all things Mexican and you’ll notice that the Mexican cuisine on my site gets more love and attention than all of the other types of cuisine!

Don’t miss my full tutorial and step by step tips for how to use this pork and make homemade tamales!

For the Pork:

  • Add pork, onion, bay leaf, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper to slow cooker.  Cover the pork with water and cook on LOW for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the pork broth into a container and shred the cooked pork.

Pork roast in a slow cooker with spices, onion and a bay leaf.

For the Mexican red chili sauce:

  • Use rubber gloves to remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles while rinsing them under cold water. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of reserved broth. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat.

A bag of California dried chilies next to a saucepan with the chilies soaking in water.

  • Transfer the chiles and broth to a blender. Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • In the same saucepan you used to cook the chiles, add oil and cook over medium heat. Add flour and salt and stir for 1 minute. Strain the chili sauce from the blender and add it to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

A blender with red chiles and spices, and then the blended red chili sauce added to a saucepan.

  • Add red chili sauce to the meat, and stir to combine.

Red chili sauce poured over shredded pork in a slow cooker.

Serve with:

  • Homemade Tamales
  • Inside a burrito
  • As a taco
  • On a salad

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Recipe

Shredded pork with red chili sauce in a slow cooker.
Prep 30 mins
Cook 3 hrs
Total 3 hrs 30 mins
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Ingredients
  

For the pork:

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork loin shoulder or butt
  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Red Chili Sauce:

  • 4 dried california chile pods
  • 2 cups reserved pork broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

For the pork:

  • Add pork, onion, bay leaf, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper to slow cooker.  Cover the pork with water and cook on LOW for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the pork, reserving the broth. Shred the meat.

For the Red Chili Sauce:

  • Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles while rinsing them under cold water. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of broth from the cooked pork. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat. 
  • Transfer the chiles and broth to a blender. Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • In the same saucepan you used to cook the chiles, add oil and cook over medium heat. Add flour and salt and stir for 1 minute.
  • Strain the chili sauce from the blender and add it to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, then add the sauce to the shredded pork.

Nutrition

Calories: 57kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 7gFat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 168mgPotassium: 145mgVitamin A: 80IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 0.4mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this a half dozen times and EVERY TIME it’s perfect. Everyone loves it. Zero changes or modifications. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe and it’s so good I’m making it again. I used this as filling for tamales and it was perfect.

  3. Tried this recipe and it’s a keeper, easy to follow. I like my tamales spicy, used dried New Mexico pods.Tamales were delicious! Also like to use large cookie scoop for the masa, makes them the same size. Thanks!👍

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I have made these tamales two years in a row now and they never disappoint. They are delicious and fun to make.

  5. I literally cannot get enough of this pork. I’ve used it for
    tamales and it’s the best filling I’ve ever tasted! The sauce is so good I want to lick my plate. No joke. I’ve made just the sauce for other dishes. It’s so good it can stand on its own in many different ways – it’s warm and comforting without being spicy. Thank you for such an amazing recipe. Thanks to you I finally (at the age of 49) felt confident enough to try my hand at tamales. They were amazing!!!

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe and instructions. I found rolling out the masa between two sheets of parchment paper then cutting rectangles to help me make consistent masa to filling ratios and reduced the time needed when scaling this up. Also, individually wrapping and freezing works great.

  7. 5 stars
    This was freakin delicious!!!!!!
    I also made just the pork part and it makes the most delicious pulled pork sandwiches!

  8. So with the masa recipe, how thick are the Tamales after steaming? I prefer them on the thinner side. How would I adjust the recipe to accommodate slightly thinner tamales? Thanks!

    1. I would think so. Pork is pork when cooked long and slow. Cooking with the bone will give it more flavor though.

  9. Sooo excited to try this! My mother in law is Mexican and she makes us tamales every Christmas but was not able to because of covid this year 🙁 I saw the comments about using an instant pot. Does it work? Does it still taste as good in place of slow cooking it?

    1. Hi Shellby,

      I just copied a comment about using the Instapot for cooking/steaming tamales since I want to use that after I prepare my tamales. It might be helpful to you as well. The commenter said:

      I used my instapot to cook the beef roast, then switched it over to a pan to make the sauce, and then I cooked the tamales in the instapot… I’ve never done it before and it was a DREAM. It was so easy. I put two cups of water in it. I dont have a steamer basket so I crumpled up tin foil at the bottom, and put that little metal tray that comes with the insta pot in it. Just so the tamales werent touching water. I put it in for 40 minutes, a 20 minute natural release, and let it set for 20 minutes… They came out perfect!!

      Good luck!

    1. Sure, in step one, cook the post with 2 cups of liquid (water or broth)on Manual/High pressure for 70 minutes. When timer beeps, allow the pot to naturally release pressure, about 15 minutes longer.

  10. My dad just finished chemo and radiation and can’t handle any bit of heat, is this a spicy sauce, and if so, any suggestions?

    1. Red chili pods aren’t very hot but if you want no spice whatsoever, maybe sub for bell pepper and/or some tomato past.

    2. Susan, my mom can’t handle any heat either. I use Gebhardt’s chili powder when I cook anything Mexican for her. It is not hot at all and has a delicious flavor. Hopefully, that will help you to cook for your Dad.

    3. I use pasilla chili pods and it is NOT Hot at all. I can only tolerate mild Taco Bell sauce as a reference and this chili sauce nowhere near spicy. But The flavor is amazing.

  11. This recipe seems absolutely perfect! I am trying this as a Christmas tradition passed down from my in-laws. I was interested in trying to cook the pork in an InstaPot. Is this possible? I am following your Tamale Recipe and saw the note about using an InstaPot to steam them, but I haven’t seen one for cooking the pork. Thanks.

    1. Yes, you can. You’ll only need about 2 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for about 60-70 minutes, with a natural pressure release.

    1. Just make sure the pork is completely covered (you don’t need an exact measurement –you’ll only be using 2 cups of it, later, for the sauce.).

  12. 5 stars
    I made two batches of this filling over a Friday-Saturday prep period for a Tamalada party I was planning for last Saturday (Dec 5th) with my daughter, grand-daughter, and great grand-daughter using your Mexican Tamale recipe. We’ve been doing this for a few years now, and love the get togethers and the end products. I didn’t have any California chilies, so substituted a mix of Guajillo, Pasilla, and Arbol chilies. Turned out great, but just needed a little more salt in the pork and/or the chili sauce. More like salt-to-taste in the pork and sauce recipes. To each his own, when it comes to salt, I suppose. God bless and Merry Christmas to all.

  13. 5 stars
    I followed this recipe almost exactly and its absolutely delicious! Perfectly tender and moist pork. Thanks so much !

    1. Its mildly spicy (California chiles are mild in heat). My kids, ages 7,6, 3 years old have no problem with it :-).

  14. 5 stars
    I made tamales a few weeks ago using this recipe. We also did burritos.. My family loved it! Making them again today!

  15. I plan to make tamales next week and I’ll use your recipe. I’ll let you know how my family likes it. It looks and sounds delicious.

  16. Pork with red Chilli sauce is even my favourite filling for a lot of dishes. I have tried it as a side dish with Steamed rice topped with cheese sauce and trust me it was amazing. I will definitely try your way of making Pork Chilli.
    Sophie
    https://www.ceraonline.org/