Sweet Tamales

Level: Challenging
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hrs 30 min
Cooling Time: 1 hrs
Yields: 24 tamales


Making tamales takes time, but your family will appreciate your effort. The combination of cinnamon, raisins, vanilla and condensed milk create a wonderful variation of this traditional dish.


  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) dried corn husks
  • 1 cup lard or shortening, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups masa harina flour (Mexican corn masa mix)
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (14 oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


SORT corn husks, setting aside any torn ones. Soak intact husks in warm water for at least 1 hour or until softened and easy to fold.

BEAT 2/3 cup lard in large bowl until creamy. Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Alternately add flour mixture, water and sweetened condensed milk to lard, mixing well after each addition. Melt remaining 1/3 cup lard; gradually stir into masa mixture, mixing until consistency of thick cake batter (masa). Stir in vanilla, raisins and nuts.

SPREAD 1/4 cup masa, using back of a spoon, to form a square in the center of one husk. Fold right then left edge of husk over masa. Fold up bottom edge. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

PLACE vegetable steamer in pot with lid; add water to just below steamer. Arrange tamales upright in steamer rack. Cover top of tamales with reserved dry husks and a damp towel; cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Steam, adding water as needed, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until masa pulls away from husks.

sweet, different

by B. Bernice , Saint Paul, MN on Oct. 2009

It was odd to me, I guess I just like the savory varieties and will leave the sweets to other recipes.

Very Good

by j. jessica , West Jordan, UT on Jan. 2009

This was my first time making any kind of tamales and it was so easy! They turned out so yummy and now I can't wait to share with my friends. Next time i think i'll add some pineapple.


by R. RACHEL , ROSEMEAD, CA on Feb. 2007

I really liked how they came out, i have tried doing them on my own before but they never had a good flavor, but having this recipe really helped me out. They were very good.

soo tempting

by p. patricia , CENTRALIA, IL on Dec. 2006

I made these and did not tell anyone. Just served them. I was asked so many times where I bought them. LOL. I finally had to come clean.

Not So Sweet works for me

by P. Paula , MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA on Aug. 2006

This recipe sounded interesting. Being a diabetic I decided to reduce the amount of raisins to 1/4 C. My family thought they were tasty and didn't know the recipe called for more raisins. This recipe actually took me about 25 minutes to prepare possibly because I was working with some things I don't regularly use. It was well worth the time. I'll make this again and double batch it - one batch going into the freezer. I think this would be fun to make with the kids.

What a Suprise!

by J. Jan , BLYTHEVILLE, AR on Jul. 2006

I took these for a "snack supper" Sat night, and didn't tell anyone they were SWEET! What a suprise. They all wanted the recipe.

Sweet Tamales

by r. ruth , HOUSTON, TX on Feb. 2006

These are a tradional meal to eat on cinco de mayo and this receipe is excellent and easy to follow and the tamales came out delicious. They will be on my list also for making at Christmas. UMMMM- goood.

Very much worth the effort

by I. IRMA , CAMERON PARK, CA on Dec. 2005

Tamales are a family tradition and this was my first attempt at making them alone.This recipe made it easy. I left out the nuts and everyone loved them. I will make this recipe again.Thank you so much for the great recipe


by T. Timothy , BEACH PARK, IL on Nov. 2005

It was a very nice recìpe that came out very well. I enjoyed making them. However the products such as abeners corn meal was alitte hard to find.


by D. DAWNA , HAMPSHIRE, TN on Feb. 2005