Sweet and Simple: An Easy Dessert Tamales Recipe

Are you craving something sweet but tired of the same old desserts? Look no further than these Sweet Dessert Tamales. This unique twist on traditional tamales brings together a variety of sweet and sugary fillings for a perfect dessert. These tamales are wrapped in corn husks and filled with a mixture of corn masa and your choice of fruit, nut or sugary filling – from candied papaya to sweet mango to cinnamon-spiced apples.

But don’t be fooled – these aren’t just any ordinary tamales. The difference between sweet and savory tamales lies in the masa dough used to make them. In this recipe, masa harina is mixed with dark brown sugar, honey, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, unsalted butter and milk to create the perfect sweet masa dough.

The possibilities are endless with these Sweet Dessert Tamales. They are perfect for any occasion – whether it’s a birthday party, family gathering or just a lazy afternoon snack. Serve them alone or pair them with fresh fruit, whipped cream or even a scoop of ice cream.

So why not switch up your dessert game with this authentic Mexican dessert made sweet? Follow along for our step-by-step instructions and tips to create the perfect dessert tamale.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sweet Dessert Tamales
Sweet Dessert Tamales

Are you looking for a dessert that’s both unique and irresistible? Look no further than this Sweet Dessert Tamales Recipe! These tamales are the perfect dessert as they are made with masa dough filled with a variety of fruit and nut sugary fillings that guarantee to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.

What sets this dessert apart from any other is the addition of orange zest, candied papaya, dried cherries, and raisins incorporated into the filling. The combination of these flavors along with cinnamon creates a burst of taste while making your taste buds dance with excitement.

This tamales recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, allowing you to prepare these tasty treats in no time. With ingredients like masa harina, dark brown sugar, honey, salt, baking powder, unsalted butter, pine nuts all intricately combined, the result is a heavenly treat that can match any bakery.

The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility. You can even experiment with substitutions and variations with fruits like sweet mango or pineapple-coconut for an equally delicious treat.

The perfect companion for these tamales is Mexican chocolate or even lime tamales! The difference between sweet and savory tamales is so vast that it’s impossible to compare them. The dessert made sweet masa corn dough filled with a variety of fruit and nut sugary fillings makes creating this recipe worth it.

Bottom line? If you’re searching for a unique dessert to surprise your friends at your next gathering, Sweet Dessert Tamales Recipe should be at the top of your list. Give them a try and discover the perfect dessert recipe that you’ve been waiting for!

Ingredient List

 Bundle up with a tamale that's dessert!
Bundle up with a tamale that’s dessert!

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make these Sweet Dessert Tamales. Don’t worry, the ingredients list is fairly simple and most of them can be found at your local grocery store.

Main Ingredients

  • Masa Harina: 2 cups
  • Dark Brown Sugar: 4 cups
  • Honey: 1 cup
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Baking Powder: 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
  • Unsalted Butter: 1 cup, softened
  • Milk: 3 cups

Filling Ingredients

  • Corn Husks: around 32 pieces (submerge in hot water for about an hour before using)
  • Dried Cherries: 1 and 1/2 cups, soaked in water for about an hour before using
  • Raisins: 1 and a half cups, soaked in water for about an hour before using
  • Pine Nuts: 1 and a half cups, toasted
  • Sweet Mango or Pineapple Coconut or Candied Papaya: Around 2 cups, finely chopped
  • Orange Zest: From one orange

Make sure to have these ingredients ready in advance before proceeding to the recipe itself.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect sweetness in every bite!
The perfect sweetness in every bite!

Now that we have gone through the ingredient list, it’s time to make some Sweet Dessert Tamales! Here are my step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Soak the Corn Husks

  • Take your corn husks and soak them in hot water for about an hour so they become soft and pliable.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  • In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of masa harina, 3/4 Cups of dark brown sugar, 1/2 Cup of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder. Mix well.
  • Add in one cup of milk and whisk together until you get a nice smooth dough. Allow this sweet masa dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  • As the sweet masa rests prepare your fruit filling. Choose your favorite variety fruit and nuts like sweet mango, candied papaya, pineapple coconut or dried cherries and raisins. Cut them into small bite sizes.

Step 3: Spread Masa Dough Onto Husk

  • Once the corn husks are soft and pliable, remove from water and pat them dry with paper towels. Spread about two tablespoons of masa dough mixture onto the wide end of each husk.

Step 4: Add Filling

  • Add a small amount of the fruit topping into each sweet masa corn dough filled tamale.

Step 4: Fold The Tamale

  • Roll up the tamale tightly, folding in one end to seal the filling. Tie with a strand of wet corn husk if needed.

Step 5: Steam The Tamale

  • Place your rolled tamales upright in a steamer pot to steam at medium-high heat for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Once steaming is done, let tamales cool for a few minutes before unwrapping them from the corn husks. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon and garnish with pine nuts or lime zest.

Yum, there you have it! Delicious handmade Sweet Dessert Tamales made by you using this easy-to-follow recipe.

Substitutions and Variations

 A dessert that's actually healthy!
A dessert that’s actually healthy!

One of the best things about sweet dessert tamales is that you can customize the fillings to your liking. While this recipe calls for candied papaya, dried cherries, raisins, and pine nuts, you can substitute or add any ingredients you have on hand or prefer. Here are some ideas:

– Fruits: Try adding sweet mango, pineapple, strawberry, apple or lime to the filling.

– Nuts: Other suggestions include almonds, walnuts or pecans.

– Sweeteners: You can replace dark brown sugar with granulated sugar or use agave nectar instead of honey.

– Spices: Swap cinnamon for cardamom or nutmeg for a new twist on flavor.

When it comes to wrapping the tamales, you can also experiment with different corn husks or try substituting them altogether. Some recipes use banana leaves or even parchment paper.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try making chocolate tamales? You can swap out some of the masa harina for Mexican chocolate and add orange zest for a citrusy kick.

These variations show that the possibilities are endless when it comes to making your own perfect dessert tamale. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own.

Serving and Pairing

 A twist on traditional tamales.
A twist on traditional tamales.

When it comes to serving and pairing dessert tamales, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, these sweet treats are perfect for a variety of occasions, including holidays, special events, or a casual get-together with friends and family.

When it comes to pairing with desserts like these, there are a few options. You could pair them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped topping to balance out the flavor and add some creaminess. Or, for a more indulgent twist, consider drizzling them with caramel sauce or chocolate syrup.

If you’re looking to create a full meal around these tamales, they pair well with savory dishes like grilled meats or roasted vegetables. Some additional sides that would complement the sweetness of the tamales include a fresh salad or salsa.

Finally, when it comes to presentation, you can get creative with how you serve these sweet treats. Try presenting them on a platter garnished with fresh fruit like sliced strawberries or cubes of sweet mango. Or, for individual servings, place them in a decorative dish and sprinkle with cinnamon or orange zest for an extra pop of flavor.

These tamales are sure to be a crowd-pleaser no matter what you serve them with!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Traditional tamales with a sweet twist!
Traditional tamales with a sweet twist!

Tamales can be quite time-consuming to prepare, so I recommend making them in a larger batch and storing some for later. For make-ahead preparation, you can fully steam the tamales and then store them in the refrigerator or freezer. To reheat frozen tamales, take them out of the freezer the night before and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator. Then, re-steam them on low heat for around 10 minutes or heat in the microwave.

If you are planning on serving the tamales within a day or two, you can refrigerate them as soon as they come out of the steamer. Simply place them in an airtight container or wrap them individually with plastic wrap before storing them in the fridge. When reheating refrigerated tamales, wrap them in damp paper towels and heat them up in a steamer or microwave on medium power for around four minutes depending on their size.

To add more flair to your sweet dessert tamales recipe, you can mix-and-match different flavors like strawberry, pineapple coconut, cinnamon tamal,s apple tamales, strawberry tamales, mango, pink tamal, Mexican chocolate or lime tamales. The possibilities are endless! As long as you use fresh ingredients and follow my authentic sweet corn masa recipe and cooking instructions, you’ll have a perfect dessert that is loved by everyone!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The ultimate indulgence!
The ultimate indulgence!

The key to a great Sweet Dessert Tamale is in the details. As someone who has made these plenty of times, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that will help ensure perfect results every time. Here are my top tips for making the perfect Sweet Dessert Tamale:

1. Soak the corn husks for at least an hour or two to make them pliable and easy to work with.

2. Make sure your masa dough is moist but not too wet. Too much liquid will make the tamales dense and heavy.

3. When filling the tamales, be careful not to overfill them as it will make it difficult to wrap and steam them properly.

4. Use a mixture of dried fruit, nuts or candied papaya, and grated coconut for the filling for a different texture in every bite.

5. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together before adding it to the filling for even distribution throughout each tamale.

6. Don’t forget the baking powder – this ingredient helps give tamales their characteristic fluffiness.

7. Wrap tamales tightly in their corn husks before steaming them, packing them snugly together in a steamer basket.

8. Once cooked, allow the tamales to rest inside their corn husks for at least 10 minutes before serving. This ensures that they stay warm and retain their moisture.

Follow these tips carefully, and you’ll end up with sweet tamales that look just as good as they taste!


As you prepare to make this delicious Sweet Dessert Tamales recipe, it is understandable that you may have a few questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers to help guide you as you embark on making the perfect dessert tamales.

What are dessert tamales made of?

A delectable Mexican dessert called sweet tamales is made of a sweetened masa corn dough and filled with various sugary fillings such as fruits, nuts, raisins, cajeta, dulce de leche and fruit preserves.

What is the secret to moist tamales?

When creating delicious tamales, it’s important to not hold back on the use of fat. In Mexican cooking, lard is the go-to choice. However, for a vegetarian alternative, consider using softened butter or shortening instead.

What is the difference between sweet and savory tamale?

The sweet tamales are prepared using distinctive ingredients than the pork or chicken tamales. Instead of lard, salt, and broth, they are infused with cocoa powder, butter, and milk. Additionally, the approach of crafting sweet tamales deviates from the method of enclosing a filling in masa dough that is employed for savory tamales.

Do you eat sweet tamales hot or cold?

To finish preparing the delicious tamales, lay the remaining corn husks on top of them and carefully add water into the steamer, ensuring it doesn’t touch the tamales. Cover the steamer with a lid and allow the tamales to cook for about an hour and a half. Once cooked, allow them to sit for a few minutes to cool down before unraveling the corn husks to reveal the steamy and appetizing tamales. These can be served with a tasty accompaniment such as atole or hot chocolate.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this sweet dessert tamales recipe is the perfect way to bring a unique and delicious dessert to your table. With its combination of sweet and savory flavors, it is sure to impress all your guests. This recipe is also very versatile and can be customized to suit your tastes with various substitutions and variations.

By following the tips and recommendations provided in the article such as using high-quality ingredients, ensuring the right consistency of masa dough, mixing flavors creatively, and experimenting with different fruit and nut fillings, you can achieve perfect results every time. Moreover, this recipe is easy to make ahead of time, store, and reheat for later use.

If you are craving a fun and exciting twist on traditional dessert recipes, then these sweet dessert tamales are exactly what you need. Give them a try today, and impress your taste buds with the authentic Mexican dessert that will leave everyone asking for more!

Sweet Dessert Tamales

Sweet Dessert Tamales Recipe

Yes, it is some work, but well worth it for family or special friends. A different dessert to be sure.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 284.4 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups masa harina
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground mexican cinnamon (canela)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried apricot
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced candied papaya
  • 1 tablespoon minced orange zest
  • 10 large dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes


  • To prepare the filling, place the pine nuts in a hot, dry skillet, toast over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned; set aside.
  • Place the butter, baking powder, salt, honey, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Cream on high speed until light and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the masa harina and turn down the speed to low.
  • Add the milk, canela, raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, candied papaya, orange zest, and toasted pine nuts and mix until a firm dough forms.
  • Work the dough by hand for about 1 minute, until the dough is thoroughly mixed.
  • Divide into 8 equal pieces.
  • Drain corn husks and shake dry.
  • Tear 16 thin strips (about 1/8 inch wide) from 2 husks and set aside for tying the tamales.
  • Lay out the remaining 8 corn husks.
  • Take a portion of the dough, place in a corn husk and spread out evenly, leaving about 1-1/2 inches of exposed corn husk at each end and 3/4 inch at each side.
  • Bring the sides of the corn husk together, folding the dough; tuck one side of the husk under the other and roll up the tamale so the dough is completely enclosed inside the husk.
  • Twist each end and tie with the reserved strips of corn husk.
  • Repeat for the remaining tamales.
  • Steam the tamales for 30 to 35 minutes over lightly boiling water, adding more boiling water as needed.
  • The tamales are done when they feel firm to the touch but are not hard and the dough comes away easily from the husk.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 73gCalories: 284.4kcalCarbohydrates: 26.1gProtein: 2.9gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11.5gCholesterol: 47.9mgSodium: 203.3mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9.7g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Dessert, Fruit, Mexican, Steam, Sweet, Weeknight
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You



Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.