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Butternut Squash Tamales


These Butternut Squash Tamales have tons of flavor, not difficult, a fantastic option for a meatless Monday meal. I loved the way the spice of the chipotle played off the mild sweetness of the masa and the briny, saltiness of the olives and capers. Get a helper if you want to cut the prep time down and make assembly easier.

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  • 16 About 16 corn husks or 22 corn husks for smaller tamales (soaked in water until soft)
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped (white and green)
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle en adobo sauce (chiles for filling)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups masa harina, preferably Columbian such as Pan Harina
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bunch scallions, (white and green) finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Spanish olives with pimentos, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 scant teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Hot sauce for serving, optional


Servings 12
Preparation time 90mins
Cooking time 150mins
Adapted from


Step 1


Put butternut squash in a medium pot with broth, scallion, adobo sauce, garlic, salt, and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the squash with a slotted spoon, and reserve the broth. Set aside half of the squash for the filling, then mash the remaining squash is a large bowl. Mix in the masa with a fork. Slowly pour the seasoned broth over the filling, mixing with a fork (or hands) until smooth. Slowly stir in oils, a little at a time until dough is soft and moist. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic, chiles, cumin and salt and cook until soft, about 1 minute,. Add reserved squash, olives, raisins, capers, and cook, stirring gently, until well combined, about 1 minute longer. Add broth and orange zest and cook, stirring occasionally until broth is slightly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro, remove from heat.


Cut 2 husks into 24-inch lengths about 1/2-inch wide. Place other soaked corn husks on cutting board, open side up. Place about a 1/4 cup dough in the center of each husk, leaving enough corn husk free to enclose tamale. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons filling on top. Then cover filling with about 2 to 3 tablespoons more of dough. Wrap the husks around the filling and twist and tie ends with reserved strips to make party favor shaped tamales.

Set up a 10-inch steamer basket. Lay tamales in steamer, cover and cook until the husks get slightly translucent, about 50 minutes. Remove tamales from steamer, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with additional hot sauce if desired.

Cook's Note: These can also be made into smaller finger sized tamales, and then steamed for 45 minutes as well.


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