Delicious Sweet Tamales Recipe with Yams and Pecans!

Are you in the mood for an unusual yet delicious dessert that will knock your socks off? Look no further than these Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans. This dish is one you won’t forget anytime soon. A perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors, it is made with soft masa dough filled with tender yams, crunchy pecans, and a delightful sweetness from brown sugar. It is then steamed to perfection in corn husks, giving it a tantalizing aroma that will make your mouth water.

But what sets this recipe apart is the subtle hint of heat from the chipotle chile in adobo. It adds a slight smokiness to the dish that complements the sweetness of the yams and pecans perfectly. And if you’re worried about spice, don’t be! The amount used is just enough to add depth without overwhelming your taste buds.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans recipe is perfect for you. So come along for the ride as I guide you through each step of the cooking process. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sweet Tamales With Yams and Pecans
Sweet Tamales With Yams and Pecans

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious recipe that combines the sweetness of yams with the nuttiness of pecans, then you’ve come to the right place. This Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans recipe is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.

Not only do these tamales look beautiful on any plate, but they taste equally amazing. The subtle blend of cinnamon and brown sugar enhance the natural sweetness of the yams, while the toasted pecans provide a satisfying crunch. It’s truly a perfect combination of flavors and textures that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

But what makes this dish stand apart from just any sweet potato tamale recipe is the use of masa harina flour. Made from dried corn kernels that have been treated with an alkaline solution (such as lime), it gives the dough its signature texture and flavor. In combination with spiced sweet potatoes, chopped pecans, and a touch of salt and baking powder, this masa creates a light and fluffy exterior that encases the delicious filling.

If you’re concerned about dietary restrictions, fear not – this recipe is easily customizable to fit your needs. Swap out butter for margarine to make them vegan-friendly, or replace chicken broth with reduced-sodium chicken broth if you need to watch your sodium intake.

All in all, Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans are a wonderful addition to any meal or gathering. Whether it’s for dessert or as part of a main course, these tamales are sure to impress anyone who tries them.

Ingredient List

 Sweet potato and pecan tamales: a match made in heaven.
Sweet potato and pecan tamales: a match made in heaven.

Here is the complete list of ingredients you will need to prepare Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans recipe:

  • 1 large garnet yam, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups masa harina flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Corn husks, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • Spiced Sweet Potato and Pecans:
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon

  • Pecans:

  • 2 cups chopped pecans

You can easily find all these ingredients at your local supermarket or grocery store, except for the masa harina flour which can be purchase online or at a specialty Latin store, make sure to purchase the correct one as it is a crucial ingredient in making tamales.

The Recipe How-To

 This tamale recipe is the ultimate comfort food for autumn.
This tamale recipe is the ultimate comfort food for autumn.

Now let’s get to the real deal, the steps to make these delicious sweet tamales with yams and pecans recipe! Are you ready?

Prep Time

First, we will prepare our sweet potato filling. Peel and cube 1 large garnet yam and 1 jewel yam, and properly cook them in boiling salted water until they are tender but still firm. Drain and allow them to cool down. Once the yams are cool enough to handle, we will mash them in a bowl using a potato masher, a fork or simply our hands.

The Batter

In a mixing bowl, cream 1 cup of butter along with 1/2 cup of brown sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. In another bowl, whisk together 4 cups of masa harina flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Now, add the flour mixture slowly into the creamed butter-sugar mixture while combining at low speed (use a mixer if possible) or by hand until everything is mixed together correctly. Gradually pour in 2 cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, stirring continuously until the consistency gets like thick loose mud.

Filling and Wrapping

Spread about ⅓ cup of the batter on each individual corn husk (soaked in hot water for an hour previously) while leaving some space at the top and bottom edge. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly.

Then add approximately the same dollop-portion of sweet potato filling across the center of that batter-lined corn husk followed by a sprinkle of chopped pecans.

Fold both sides towards the center over the filling so they overlap slightly each other ensuring that no filling is exposed.

Lastly, fold up the pointed side towards the top of the husk where there is no filling leaving the fat end open.


Place the tamales standing up in a steamer basket while keeping an inch of space in between each. If you don’t have a steamer basket, place them on the small steel or aluminum wire rack inserted in a pot right above 1-2 inches of boiling water.

Cover tightly with a lid and steam that for about 60-75 minutes over medium-high heat.


Once they are ready, remove them from the basket or rack and let them cool down for a few minutes before eating. You can serve your sweet tamales accompanied by some spicy pecans or cajeta sauce for another level of flavor.

I hope you find this recipe easy to follow and your sweet tamales yams and pecans turn out perfect!

Substitutions and Variations

 Treat yourself to a steaming hot tamale on a chilly day.
Treat yourself to a steaming hot tamale on a chilly day.

Are you looking to switch things up a bit? Here are some substitutions and variations for this Sweet Tamales With Yams and Pecans Recipe!

– If you can’t find chipotle chile in adobo, try using regular chili powder for a milder heat.

– Swap out the yams for sweet potatoes or even regular potatoes for a different flavor variation.

– Make these tamales vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omitting the sour cream.

– If you’re not a fan of pecans, try using walnuts or almonds instead. You could also leave them out altogether.

– For a spicier kick, add some diced jalapenos or habaneros to the filling mixture.

– Want some extra sweetness? Drizzle some homemade cajeta (a sweet caramel sauce made from goat’s milk) over the tamales before serving.

– If you prefer savory tamales, leave out the brown sugar and cinnamon and use a mix of seasonings like garlic powder, cumin, and paprika instead.

– Feeling experimental? Try making these tamales with a different filling like pineapple or pork.

Remember, cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. So have fun and don’t be afraid to get creative with your substitutions and variations!

Serving and Pairing

 Delightful tamales filled with yam, pecans and raisins.
Delightful tamales filled with yam, pecans and raisins.

Sweet tamales with yams and pecans are a delightful addition to any dessert table or brunch spread. The combination of sweet potato, brown sugar, and cinnamon make this dish warm and comforting, perfect for a cool day or special occasion.

When serving, these tamales can be accompanied by a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or even some chopped pecans for added texture. They can also be paired with a warm cup of spiced apple cider or hot cocoa to amplify the cozy feel.

For those looking to add an adult twist, pairing these sweet tamales with a smoky tequila is sure to elevate the experience. The hint of spice from the chipotle chiles in adobo can be complemented with a shot of Mezcal to bring out the rich flavors of the tamales.

Whether served as a dessert or a breakfast indulgence, these sweet tamales are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Fill your kitchen with the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Fill your kitchen with the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Are you longing for a delicious and easy-to-make recipe that can be made with ease ahead of time? Look no further than these Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans! These beauties can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge or freezer, and then reheated when you’re ready to indulge.

Once these sweet tamales have been cooked to perfection, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you want to store them for a longer period, you can freeze them as well. They will keep in the freezer for up to three months.

To reheat your sweet tamales, place them unwrapped on a microwave-safe dish, and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high power for 45 seconds to 1 minute per tamale or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the oven by preheating it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and baking them, covered with foil, for about 15 minutes.

These sweet tamales taste their best when fresh but can still be enjoyed even after being frozen or refrigerated. With this recipe’s make-ahead feature, you’ll love how easy it is to enjoy these tasty treats anytime you crave them!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Impress your guests with this unique and delicious tamale recipe.
Impress your guests with this unique and delicious tamale recipe.

When it comes to creating the perfect sweet tamales with yams and pecans, there are a few tips and tricks that you should keep in mind. As someone who has spent years perfecting this recipe, I’m happy to share some secrets with you.

Firstly, make sure to prepare the masa harina flour correctly. It may seem simple, but adding too much or too little water can completely change the texture of your tamales. Follow the directions on the package precisely and don’t be too heavy-handed when mixing.

Next, don’t skimp on the butter. While it may seem tempting to try and cut back on calories, trust me when I say that the butter truly makes all the difference in this recipe. It adds richness and depth of flavor that can’t be replicated with substitutes.

Another tip is to use high-quality ingredients whenever possible. Freshly-squeezed lime juice, for example, will add a brightness and tanginess that bottled lime juice simply can’t match.

When it comes time to assemble your tamales, make sure to take care when folding them into their signature shape. Overfilling can lead to tears or breaks in the corn husks. And speaking of corn husks – make sure to soak them in hot water for at least an hour before using them. This will make them pliable and easier to work with.

Finally, take your time when steaming your tamales. Rushing the process can result in uneven cooking, which is definitely not what you want after putting so much effort into making them.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect sweet tamales with yams and pecans. So go ahead, put on some music and get ready for a culinary adventure!


Now that you know how to make these delicious sweet tamales with yams and pecans, you might have some questions regarding the process or the ingredients involved. In this section, I’ll address some frequently asked questions to ensure that you have a smooth experience making this recipe.

What fillings are in sweet tamales?

Sweet tamales are a dessert that originates from Mexico which are crafted from a sweet dough made of masa corn. These tamales can be stuffed with a range of confectionery ingredients such as fruits, nuts, and sugary blends. Among the most common fillings are raisins, pineapples, cajeta, and dulce de leche.

What is the difference between sweet and savory tamale?

The sweet tamales I am presenting utilize cocoa powder, butter, and milk instead of the standard savory ingredients like salt, lard, and broth found in pork or chicken tamales. The key distinction between sweet and savory tamales is the preparation process. For instance, savory tamales are usually made by wrapping filling with masa dough.

What are tamales de dulce made of?

The sweet tamales, commonly known as Tamales de Dulce, are a popular Mexican delicacy made from sweet corn dough and are usually stuffed with various sweet fillings such as chocolate or fruit.

What are the different types of tamales?

Tamales are a popular dish in many Latin American countries including Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. These delightful dishes consist of ground corn, lime, and fat dough, which is then filled with savory meat marinated in either mole or salsa. Each country has its own unique variation of tamales, such as Colombia’s Tamal Tolimense and Venezuela’s Hallacas. The Dominican Republic boasts their version called Pasteles en Hoja, while Guatemala’s Tamales Colorados also has its own distinct flavor.

How long does it take to make tamales?

There are two different methods to make tamales: using a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. If you’re short on time, the pressure cooker will be your best bet and can cook tamales in just 20 minutes. For traditionalists, the stovetop steaming method is what comes to mind, but you can also use the pressure cooker or slow cooker if you have the right equipment.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I can say with certainty that these sweet tamales with yams and pecans are an unmatched treat for those who love sweet and savory dishes. With the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, these tamales can be enjoyed as a delectable dessert or a savory snack. The recipe is straightforward and easy to make, and it can be customized with your favorite ingredients.

Whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner looking to explore new recipes, this recipe is bound to impress your guests with its unique flavor and exquisite presentation. Some may shy away from cooking tamales because they think it is too difficult, but with the right tools and ingredients, anyone can make them at home.

So next time you want to impress your family and friends with a delicious and authentic Mexican dish, go ahead and give this recipe a try. I guarantee that you will love the mouth-watering combination of sweet potatoes, crunchy pecans, and the kick of chipotle chilies in adobo. So grab your apron, turn up some tunes, and let’s start cooking some amazing tamales!

Sweet Tamales With Yams and Pecans

Sweet Tamales With Yams and Pecans Recipe

Sensational side dish. It takes a bit of work, but the effect will have your dinner guests talking! A slightly sweet little bundle topped with a smoky chipotle-sour cream sauce. I used a 1/4 cup cookie scoop to measure out the mixture for each tamale and got 16. From Nob Hill Foods website featuring recipes for Thanksgiving. I might try increasing the sugar and decreasing the masa and see if it will still stay together in a "tamale".
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 15 pieces
Calories 150.1 kcal


  • 1 large garnet yam, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/4 pound-or jewel yam)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 1 1/2-2 cups masa harina flour (corn flour)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 15 -20 corn husks, soaked for 1 hour in warm water

Chipotle Cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile in adobo (canned)


  • Place yam in a steamer basket and steam for 15 minutes or until very tender; mash with brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.
  • Place masa, remaining butter, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat in enough broth to make a soft dough. Lightly stir in yam mixture and pecans, leaving some small chunks of yam and taking care not to overmix.
  • Spoon about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of mixture in the center of each corn husk, depending on how large you want them to be. Fold in sides, then tie the ends with small strips of corn husk. (Go ahead and make a square knot on each end--when they are cooked, the knotted strip slips right off the ends.).
  • Place in a steamer basket and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving with Chipotle Cream.
  • For Chipotle Cream: Stir together sour cream and minced canned chipotle pepper. Add more adobo sauce to taste.
  • Chef tip: For a great appetizer, make these in mini size. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of yam mixture into a smaller piece of corn husk; steam for only 30 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1008gCalories: 150.1kcalCarbohydrates: 15.3gProtein: 2.3gFat: 9.4gSaturated Fat: 4.2gCholesterol: 15.6mgSodium: 245.9mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 4.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Potato, Stove Top, Sweet, Vegetable, Yam/Sweet Potato
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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.