Calabaza En Tacha or Mexican Candied Pumpkin (Vegetarian)
Cook time
Total time
A special spin on a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead pumpkin recipe
Recipe type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegetarian, Vegan
  • 1 kilo or 2.2 lb. raw pumpkin slices, seeded only *
  • 2 whole Mexican cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole star anise
  • large pinch ground cardamom or 3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 whole allspice
  • orange peel from one small orange
  • pinch of salt, optional
  • 1 cone of piloncillo** or ⅔ cup /120 gm cinnamon sugar or brown sugar + 1 heaping tablespoon molasses
  • 500 ml or 2 cups of water
  • unsweetened evaporated milk, Vegans omit or replace with dairy free cream
  1. Pour the water into to the pot, then add all the spices,piloncillo or sugar and molasses. Bring to a soft boil. Gently place the pumpkin slices in the pot, the first layer flesh face down the top layer flesh up.
  2. Turn heat to medium low and allow to simmer until the pumpkin is tender, you should carefully flip the pumpkin so that both the top and bottom layers cook and absorb the flavour of the spices and piloncillo. Gently remove the pumpkin from the pan and allow to cool on a separate large plate. Alternatively it can be placed in the refrigerator to eat the following day. The remaining liquid from the pot will be reduced done even more.
  3. Over medium heat and stirring often reduce the liquid to half of what it was and until it reaches a thicker consistency almost like syrup. Turn heat off, allow to cool and if not using right away store in the refrigerator. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve before using.
  4. Once ready to eat the pumpkin you can either eat it cool or slightly warm. Pour some evaporated milk and syrup over it or alternatively serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.
* Some recipes tell you to cut the pumpkin into chunks, as you can see in these pictures I have chosen to leave it in even sized small wedges but for the video I cut into chunks. It's really up to which way to cut, either works perfectly fine.

Additionally the traditional recipes leave the seeds and stringy bits attached to the pumpkin, but I don't like to.

Please know too that different pumpkin varieties will cook at different rates, so keep checking on the pot as it simmers.

**Piloncillo can be found at Latin food markets either under the piloncillo or panela name, the later being the Central and South American name for it. In a pinch you can buy it on Amazon
Recipe by Mexican Made Meatless™ at