Apple Butter Dessert Tamales

This is the perfect fall dessert! This fluffy dessert tamale is stuffed with all the flavors of Apple Pie. We urge you to reconsider if you have never made tamales. You’ll be surprised at how simple tamales are to make once you have made one.

Fluffy Masa Dough is whipped up with vegan butter, vanilla, and apple juice, sweetened with coconut sugar and cinnamon, then stuffed with our date-sweetened Apple Butter, and cooked until fluffy. This results in a tamale that is sweet, spicy, and oozing apple pie flavor. Just ten ingredients are required. We’ll show you exactly how to do it!

What are Tamales?

It is thought that the origin of Tamales was Mesoamerica, a region that includes Mexico and Central America. The masa shell is made of corn, and the filling is wrapped in a corn leaf or a banana husk. They are then steamed.

You may prefer tamales with a sweet filling. This includes a variety of fruits. Learn about the different variations of sweet tamales and get a traditional Mexican tamale recipe at Mexico In My Kitchen.

How to Make Apple Butter Dessert Tamales

The tamales start with the sweet tamale dough. This includes classic tamale ingredients like masa de harina.

The dough is infused with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla flavors, as well as vegan butter for richness and flakiness.

Filling: Our delicious date-sweetened Apple Butter is made by cooking down apples into a caramelized spread. This is one of our favorite ingredients to have on hand during apple season. If you are in a rush, however, then opt for store-bought pumpkin butter or a homemade version.

Fold the narrow end under the tamale when the seams meet (photo above). Place the tamale into a steamer basket to cook.

Steam the entire batch of tamales at once.

This recipe makes a lot of tamales, which you can freeze and enjoy whenever the craving for dessert strikes.



  • Two cups of Apple Butter (or substitute store-bought Pumpkin Butter).


  • 24 dried corn husks*
  • Water for soaking


  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 2 tsp. baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 4 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • Add more salt to taste.
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (adds spice // optional)
  • We prefer Earth Balance or Miyoko’s vegan butter.
  • Divide 1 1/2 cups of apple juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Vegan vanilla ice cream
  • Coconut whip cream
  • Vegan caramel sauce


  • Filling: Prepare your apple butter or pumpkin butter now if you haven’t already. If you don’t have time to make it, use store-bought.
  • HUSKS: Soak dried corn husks for 15-20 minutes in warm water. Drain, shake off the excess water, and dry with a paper towel. Wrap the towel in damp water until you are ready to use it.
  • MASA: In a medium bowl, whisk together masa harina (corn flour), baking powder, coconut sugar, and salt. Optionally, add cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk or beat the vegan butter softened with two tablespoons (30ml) of apple juice and vanilla extract for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and whisk (or beat) until combined.
  • Add the remaining apple juice, 1-2 tablespoons per time, until it is incorporated. For several minutes, beat (or whisk) the dough on high until it forms a sticky mixture that looks like peanut butter or thick cake mix (see photo). It’s possible that you don’t need to use the entire amount of apple juice. Set aside.
  • Add more salt if needed (to balance the flavor), add cinnamon to warm, ginger for spice, or coconut sugar for sweetness. The masa should be flavorful and have a good amount of salt to give it depth. This will balance out the sweetness of apple butter. Set aside.
  • Assemble the husk so that the wider end is closest to you. Make sure there is no water left on the husk. (Dry it if necessary). Place 2 heaping teaspoons of masa on the wide end of the cornhusk. Spread it out evenly and thinly toward the edge, leaving the narrow end (upper end) empty.
  • Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple butter in the middle of the masa to create a log. Fold one side of the husk (towards the empty side) over the filling, then continue rolling until the seams are met. Fold the narrow end under the tamale with the tamale’s seam facing up. Repeat with the remaining tamales.
  • Pour enough water into the pot to cover the steamer basket. Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce heat once boiling has occurred.
  • Put the tamales in the basket, upright and with their open ends facing up. Place the lid on and steam/simmer for 1 hour. The tamales will be ready when the husk easily separates from the dough, the masa looks puffy, and it doesn’t feel soggy or limp. Allow the tamales to rest for 10 minutes, uncovered (off heat), before serving. They will continue to harden and become easier to remove from the husk during this time. If you are unsure whether they are done, remove one and let it sit for 10 minutes out of the pot. If the tamale is still soft or sticky, continue to steam it for 5-10 more minutes.
  • Unwrap the tamales, and serve warm. You can also top them with vegan vanilla or coconut whipped cream or vegan caramel sauce.
  • Tamales can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a microwave or a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop.
  • To freeze, allow the tamales to cool and then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in one layer. Transfer to a container that is well sealed and freeze until solid. They should last at least a month, but often longer. Let the frozen food thaw and then heat in the microwave or a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop until hot. You can microwave for one minute, then remove the husk and continue heating either in the microwave or on the stovetop in a cast-iron skillet.

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