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. 

A festive platter of pumpkin spice tamales drizzled heavily with sweetened condensed milk and topped with pecan halves and pomegranate seeds for a Dia de los Muertos celebration

‘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!

Then, I had to decide if I wanted to make sweet or savory tamales. I turned to my Facebook and Instagram amigos, and the majority voted for sweet.

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.

a Mexican vintage bowl filled with prepared pumpkin spice 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.

a can of pumpkin puree and two spice tins of ground cloves and ground ginger

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.

Prep the Corn Husks: Soak the dried corn husks in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften. Remove husks from water; pat dry thoroughly.
 
Make the Tamal Dough: Beat the masa harina (corn flour), butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a stand mixer until well combined. Then, add the vanilla extract, pecans, and pumpkin puree. Slowly pour in the milk until the masa is the consistency of thick peanut butter.
 
ingredients for pumpkin tamales pure pumpkin puree and a bowl of masa carina corn flour
 
Assemble the Tamales: 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 with the folded side down.
 
A steamer pot filled with prepared pumpkin tamales with one in the process of being filled in the forefront of the image
 
Steam the Tamales: Once the tamales are folded, place each tamal standing with its open side up in a steamer on the steam tray rack. Add enough water as needed for your steamer, and bring water to a rolling boil. Lower heat to low and steam with the lid on for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
 
a chef removing hot steamed pumpkin spice tamales from a teal steamer pot
 
Serve: Remove each tamal carefully with tongs, and let cool slightly before unfolding. Serve warm tamales drizzled with condensed milk and sprinkled with pecans and pomegranate seeds.

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.

a mini alter for Dia de los Muertos adorned with candles, marigolds, figurines, and pumpkin spice tamales

Making dishes and drinks that remind you of a loved one who has passed is very therapeutic, and I hope these tamales inspire you to make something special for your dearly departed.

a mini alter for Dia de los Muertos adorned with candles, marigolds, figurines, and pumpkin spice tamales

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!

a close-up shot of a a mini alter for Dia de los Muertos adorned with family photographs, candles, marigolds, San Pascual and figurines

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.

steamed pumpkin tamales on a silver serving platter with a bowl of more tamales in the background on a festive table for Dia de los Muertos

Frequently asked questions

How do I store tamales?

Store leftover pumpkin spice tamales in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.

Can I freeze tamales?

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.

How do I reheat tamales?

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.

How do I make savory pumpkin tamales?

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!

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

4.34 (6 ratings)
Can you imagine if a classic American pumpkin pie and Mexican tamales had a baby? You’d get these exotic beauties. These Pumpkin Spice Tamales are great to serve after dinner or to enjoy with a cup of coffee for breakfast. These pumpkin tamales taste very similar to a pumpkin bread with chopped pecans. I especially love them drizzled with sweet condensed milk, sprinkled with pecan halves, and pomegranate seeds for a festive touch.

Ingredients

Tamales:

Toppings:

Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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
Calories: 283kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 166mg, Potassium: 254mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 5916IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 118mg, Iron: 2mg

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.