Butternut Squash Tamales

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 12 tamales
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2 cups diced butternut squash

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup chopped scallion, (white and green) 1 bunch or 6 scallions

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 Colombian 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 chopped fresh cilantro

About 16 corn husks or 22 corn husks for smaller tamales (soaked in water until soft)

Hot sauce for serving, optional


  1. For dough: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. For filling: 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.
  4. To assemble: 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Halloween 2008 Web

Cook’s Note

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