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A tamal sitting on top of a corn husk drizzled with cajeta sauce and topped with a pecan next to a decorative clay mug.
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5 from 6 votes

Tamales de Cajeta

Tamales de Cajeta is a sweet treat that can’t be beat. This Mexican dessert is great to eat, and it will move your feet.
Prep Time55 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 16
Calories: 162kcal



  • Add shortening and sugar to a mixing bowl.
  • Whip until creamy. About 2 minutes.
  • Add baking powder, cinnamon, and 1/2 the masa harina.
  • Mix on low. About 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining masa harina.
  • Change mixing handles, or use a spatula.
  • Add the cajeta and milk.
  • Mix thoroughly. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the chopped pecans.
  • Fold them in gently, or low on the mixer.
  • Soak the corn husks in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Once the corn husks are pliable, add a large tablespoon to the center of the corn husks.
  • Use your best judgement as to how much to add to each corn husk.
  • Place standing with the open-side up while you finish assembling the rest of the tamales.
  • Add water to a steamer.
  • Add the tamales with the open-side up.
  • Steam for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Tamales are ready when the peel away from the corn husks easily.



If the tamales are not ready after 1 1/2 hours, check the water level and add water if necessary. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Sometimes just letting the tamales sit in the pot with the stove off will finish the cooking. 
Swap Out: Yes, you can use lard instead of shortening.
Pro Tip: Soak the corn husks ahead of time, even the night before. That way they are ready for you when you are about to start the tamale assembling.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you don’t place the tamales open-side up while you’re assembling, the filling will fall out.
Instant Pot Instructions:
Add steamer crate to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
Add 1 cup water and place the tamales open-side up.
Place lid and close. Move valve to sealing.
Press High Pressure button. 35 minutes. Full release.


Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg