Pumpkin Spice Tamales
This Pumpkin Spice Tamales recipe features all of your favorite fall flavors wrapped up in one convenient package. Inspired by the famous pumpkin spice latte, these sweet tamales are great to serve after dinner, with a warm beverage for breakfast, or as an addition to your Dia de los Muertos altar.
‘Tis the season for sweet samales
It’s officially autumn, which means cozy socks, soft sweaters, warm spices, and everyone’s favorite fall flavors! When trying to decide what dish to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (aka Day of the Dead), I wanted to make something that exudes fall flavors and, of course, a dish to honor my grandma. All I could think of was pumpkin and tamales; so pumpkin tamales it became!
If you’d like to celebrate Dia de los Muertos and trying to decide what recipe to make, try making tamales. Even if you have never made tamales before, I promise you that you will succeed with this recipe.
What are pumpkin spice tamales?
These Pumpkin Spice Tamales are inspired by my favorite coffee drink. Yes, you guessed it — the pumpkin spice latte.
If a classic American pumpkin pie and Mexican tamales had a baby, then you’d get these exotic beauties. These Pumpkin Spice Tamales are great to serve as dessert or breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. They taste very similar to pumpkin bread with chopped pecans — sweet, but not overly sweet.
I especially love them drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, sprinkled with pecan halves, and pomegranate seeds for a festive touch.
These sweet tamales are not filled, but if you’d like to fill them, try adding raisins like these sweet raisin tamales.
Readily available ingredients
The ingredient list for this pumpkin spice tamales recipe may seem long, but I’d guess that you may have most of the spices in your pantry begging to be used.
This recipe makes a little over one dozen tamales, which is perfectly doable any day of the week and or on special occasions. The best part about this recipe is that it does not require a special trip to the Latin market! I purchased all my ingredients at King Soopers, which is in the family of Kroger stores.
How to make this recipe
This pumpkin tamales recipe is perfect for doubling, tripling, or making ahead of time! They also freeze well if you’re doing some prep work ahead of a big party or family meal. Follow these simple steps to make your own pumpkin spice tamales at home this fall.
Are you a visual learner? Then watch this video to see how simple these sweet pumpkin spice tamales are made!
How to serve sweet tamales
Garnish these pumpkin spice tamales with pecan halves, sweetened condensed milk, and pomegranate seeds. My hubby loves them with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon.
For a savory topping option, garnish tamales with crumbled queso fresco or roasted pepitas.
These tamales make for a delicious dessert, breakfast, brunch item, or snack, but there’s truly no wrong way to eat them, but don’t forget to serve them with a hot cup of Café de Olla, Mexican Hot Chocolate, or Champurrado.
How to make an authentic Día de los Muertos altar
While making these tamales, my mom and I listened to classic mariachi music. And as the tamales steamed, I set up a mini altar. My home smelled like a warm hug from my grandma. My mom and I shared stories of her and remembered her dancing in her kitchen as she cooked.
If you want to set up an altar, then remember it can be very intimate and does not need to be elaborate. Check out this blog post for elements to include on your altar, such as sugar skulls. And for an additional craft try making traditional flower crowns!
Celebrating this special day can be as simple as placing a photo of a loved one and making their favorite dish in their honor or making a traditional Dia de los Muertos dish to celebrate this holiday, such as tamales.
Frequently asked questions
Store leftover pumpkin spice tamales in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.
Freeze cooled tamales in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to six months. Wrap each tamal individually in some plastic wrap to keep them fresh and held together.
Reheat from chilled or frozen in a steamer until warmed through. You can also wrap thawed tamales in a damp paper towel and microwave for a couple of minutes, but the texture will be better if they are steamed.
Omit the sweet garnishes. Instead, serve with crema Mexicana, cotija cheese, and roasted pepitas. You can make the pumpkin filling a little spicier with some smoked paprika or chili powder.
More Pumpkin Recipes To Try
If you liked these sweet pumpkin spice tamales, then you’ll love these other pumpkin dessert recipes, too!
- Mexican Pumpkin Rice Pudding
- Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake
- Pumpkin Bread
- Tres Leches Pumpkin Flan
- Calabaza en Tacha (Candied Pumpkin)
- Pumpkin Empanadas
- Mini Pumpkin Pies
Are you planning your own Dia de los Muertos celebration with tasty dishes like these pumpkin tamales? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to tag me (@muybuenocooking) if you post pics of your tasty creations to Instagram!
Pumpkin Spice Tamales
- 12 to 15 large corn husks, dried and soaked in warm water to soften
- 2 cups masa harina, corn flour
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened, 11 tablespoons
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 15-ounce can Simple Truth Organic pumpkin solid packed
- 8 to 10 ounces evaporated milk
- Condensed milk
- Pecan halves
- Pomegranate seeds
- Soak husks in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften. Remove husks from water; pat dry.
- In a stand mixer, beat together masa harina, butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices until well combined.
- Beat in vanilla, pecans, pumpkin, and slowly add in the milk until the masa is the consistency of peanut butter.
- Spread about 2 tablespoons of mixture in the center of each corn husk. Bring in the sides of the corn husks, then fold in both ends to enclose filling.
- Lay each tamal fold-side down.
- Once the tamales are folded place each tamale standing open-side-up in a steamer on the steam tray rack. Add enough water as needed for your steamer and bring water to a boil.
- Lower heat to low and steam with the lid on for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove each tamal carefully with tongs and let cool slightly.
- Serve warm tamales drizzled with condensed milk and sprinkled with pecans and pomegranate seeds.
- You can make your own pumpkin spice by mixing 1 tsp of cinnamon with 1/4 tsp each of ginger, cloves and nutmeg or buy it pre-made.
- Store leftover pumpkin spice tamales in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.
- Freeze cooled tamales in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to six months.
- Reheat from chilled or frozen in a steamer until warmed through. You can also wrap thawed tamales in a damp paper towel and microwave for a couple of minutes.
- For savory toppings try crema Mexicana, cotija cheese, and roasted pepitas.
Photography by Yvette / Video by Pure Cinematography
Originally published: October 2018.
This post is in partnership with Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.