Mexican sweet tamales are a must have for your Christmas or special occasion fiesta. These sweet vegan tamales are pineapple tamales meets a piña colada cocktail. The flavors are incredibly delicious and just the dessert tamales you need to serve your fiesta guests.
Typically when Mexicans think of sweet tamales a bright pink colored masa with raisins throughout it is what pops into their minds.
But amigos tamales dulces are way more than those pink ones!
There are so many delicious variations to these sweet masa pockets. Some are traditional and there’s also lots of new modern takes on them. Like have you seen the Gansito stuffed ones? It’s insane how creative people have gotten.
In my Mexican Tamales Made Meatless Cookbook I share 5 different sweet tamales recipes. Do check out the book, you’re going to love all the sweet and savory tamales, plus all the tips and additional recipes to turn you into a tamales making pro!
Tamales Dulces de Piña
One of the more commonly know tamales dulces are the ones made with piña or pineapple as it translates to in English.
Typically chopped pineapple bits are mixed into the masa. Many people use butter instead of lard or shortening to make the masa. Also instead of the broth juice or milk are used in the masa.
Piña Colada Cocktail Meets Tamales
When I set out to make my own pineapple tamales I wanted to take it a step further and give them an extra special touch.
I was inspired to create these sweet vegan tamales by the popular cocktail piña colada. Well everything minus the rum!
The results are truly delicious!
I used not only chopped pineapple but coconut oil instead of shortening, coconut milk and pineapple juice for stronger flavor. Also in the masa I mixed in some shredded coconut. To finish off the tamales there’s a maraschino cherry in the center.
You can use or skip the cherry, but it adds a nice touch. Also be aware that you’re using a vegan brand for the cherries.
How to Make Sweet Pineapple Tamales
When it comes to tamales most people are intimidated, but please don’t be. You can see in my cookbook just how easy it really is to make tamales. These dulce ones are no exception!
Before you begin sort through, properly rinse and soak the corn husks in hot water. Set aside to hydrate while the masa is prepared.
Make The Sweet Masa
To start off we mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then the coconut oil is mixed in until coarse crumbs are achieved. Next the pineapple juice is drizzled into the masa and mix until well combined again.
Lastly the coconut milk in also added little by little until we have a perfectly smooth and hydrated masa harina.
Add the Pineapple and Shredded Coconut
Once the masa is well combined then we can begin building the flavor. We do so by adding the chopped pineapple then the shredded coconut and mixing until well combined.
At this point we want to taste the masa and make sure that it doesn’t need more of anything else or a bit more hydration. Though do keep in mind that this masa isn’t going to need to be as wet as the savory tamales masa.
Spread The Masa on Corn Husks
The next step is to spread your prepared masa on the hydrated and drained corn husks.
Take one corn husk, shake off any access water from soaking, lay it on a flat surface with the smooth side up and rough edged side down. Grab a few tablespoons of the masa and begin to spread it over the top wide part of the corn husk. Make sure to leave space above and a little on the sides.
Stuff and Fold The Tamales
Next you want to grab a cherry and place it in the center of the dough. Then tuck one side of the husk towards the center, then bring the other side in as well. Fold the remaining bottom husk up and your set.!
(Watch the video for a visual guide on this step.)
Steam The Tamales
Next you’ll need add hot water to your steamer pot or a traditional tamalera. Assemble the little lid that comes for staking the tamales on it and lay some hydrated corn husks on the little lid or shelf.
Then start arranging the tamales inside. You want them standing up with the wide side up and not to crowd them. Next cover the tamales with more hydrated and drained corn husks or with a dampened kitchen towel.
Set on stove on high heat until the pot comes to boil, then lower the heat and steam for 1 1/2 hours.
How to Cook Tamales without a Steamer or Tamalera
If you don’t have a traditional tamalera steamer pot, don’t worry you can still steam your tamales.
The first method you can use is by placing a metal vegetable steamer basket. I use this method all the time both in regular pots or even my Instant Pot.
So you add enough hot water to the pot, but it shouldn’t overflow into the steamer basket. Then arrange the tamales the same as in the tamalera.
Instant Pot Tamales Instructions
If you want a quicker method of steaming your tamales then use your electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot.
I use my 6qt Instant Pot all the time and it can fit anywhere from 18 to 24 tamales inside. The amount will depend on how large or small your tamales are. But just like as in the tamalera you don’t want to overcrowd the tamales, give them space to expand.
When using the Instant Pot I also like to use my metal vegetable steamer basket. So what I do is add enough water to the pot for it to come just under the steamer basket — we don’t want it to be flowing in there. Then I arrange the tamales just like in the tamalera.
The lid is placed on the Instant Pot, valve is set to Sealing and then I choose Pressure Cook and set it to Low Pressure and set the time for 35 minutes.
Then all that needs to be done is wait for the Instant Pot to come to pressure then the clock to start counting down.
Allow the cooking time to finish then let the IP naturally release for 10 minutes. Then carefully move the valve to Venting and release all the remaining pressure. Carefully open the lid facing away from your face. Let the tamales sit 5 minutes then carefully remove to serve.
Easy Sweet Vegan Tamales
Ok amigos, below is the fully written recipe. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your tamales making questions.
I think you’re going to love these easy to make sweet vegan tamales. Double the batch to have lots to share with your amigos and family. Enjoy
Sweet Tamales | Vegan Pineapple Tamales (Piña Colada)
- 1 lb masa harina for tamales
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of sea salt
- ¾ cups coconut oil I used it in liquid state
- ½ cup pineapple juice from the can of pineapples
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 ½ chopped pineapple I used canned
- ½ cup shredded coconut dry coconut
- 25 maraschino cherries vegan brand and optional
- 25 corn husks
- Soak the corn husks in hot water and set aside until ready to use. In a very large mixing bowl combine the masa harina, sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Then add the coconut oil and mix until well incorporated, you’ll end up with a crumbly mix.
- Next mix in the pineapple juice, then little by little the coconut milk until you have a smooth masa. If needed add more coconut milk to help you achieve the smooth, spreadable masa mixture. Next fold in the chopped pineapple and the shredded coconut, mix until well combined.
- Drain the corn husks and shake off an excess water.
- Spread the masa onto the corn husks — you don’t have to go all the way to the sides with this masa since it’s a bit thicker. Add the cherry to the center, if using.
- Fill the tamalera, steamer pot or instant pot with enough hot water to reach right below the steamer basket. Layer drained corn husks around the steamer shelf or basket then arrange the tamales placing them standing up into your steamer pot, cover with corn husks and steam.
- Steam for 1 ½ to 2 hours or cook in the Instant Pot for 35 minutes on low pressure and natural release for 10 minutes before carefully removing from the pot.
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How to Serve Sweet Tamales
These tamales can be served as a dessert.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator — allow them to come to room temperature before doing so.
You can also store them in the freezer after cooling, use an airtight container like a Ziploc bag.
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