These sweet blackberry and cream cheese tamales are filled with homemade blackberry jam and dairy-free cream cheese, they are sweet, tangy, tender, and delicious. Make them this tamales season for your next posada, Christmas party, or just for you. They are so good these will become your favorite dessert tamales!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This is my famously viral tiktok recipe for Blackberry and Vegan Cream Cheese tamales. Blackberry and cream cheese is a very popular flavor combination in central Mexico. You can find blackberry and cream cheese paletas, ice cream, cheesecake, atole, and tamales.
I first tried a very similar tamal in Mexico City, which inspired me to make this vegan version with dairy-free cream cheese. They are also naturally gluten-free!
A History of Sweet Tamales
Sweet tamales are the best tamales! They are one of the oldest recorded foods in pre-Colombian Mexico. They are mentioned in the manuscript General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, also known as The Florentine Codex, written in 1569.
The Nahuas would sweeten the masa with honey or agave honey and eat them as part of a religious ritual or celebration. Not unlike the way they are eaten today for celebrations like Christmas, New Year's, and el Dia de la Candelaria.
Masa harina: Is nixtamalized corn flour. It is widely available at grocery stores sometimes labeled as corn flour for tortillas. The most widely available brand is Maseca, but if you're looking for one made with non-GMO corn try the Bob's Red Mill brand or King Arthur's flour brand.
Vegan Butter: I used room-temperature salted vegan butter to make this. My favorite brand is Earth Balance. If you use unsalted vegan butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the masa.
Corn husks: Dried corn husks are sold in the Mexican section of the grocery store or at your local Mexican market. They need to be rinsed and soaked before use. If they have black spots, discard them, because it could be mold. When you're ready to use them, drain them, and select the biggest ones for tamales and the rest to line the steamer.
Blackberry jam: I make a quick homemade blackberry jam (the recipe is below), but you can also use blackberry jam or preserves from your local grocery store.
Warm almond milk: I use warm unsweetened almond milk, but oat milk and soy milk will also work.
Baking powder: The baking powder helps the tamales come out nice and fluffy. Don't omit it!
Making Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tamales
In a pot combine blackberries and sugar.
Let them cook until soft.
And it thickens. Let it cool.
Beat vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add baking powder and mix again.
Add half of the masa harina.
And mix until completely incorporated.
Slowly pour in warm almond milk and beat.
Repeat with the rest of the masa harina and water and beat.
Until the masa has the texture of a thick cake batter.
Use a spoon to spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dough onto the corn husk. Fill with blackberry jam and cream cheese and fold.
Arrange the tamales in the prepared steamer and cook for 40 minutes or until the husk separates easily from the masa.
Expert Tips and Tricks
The masa needs to be the consistency of a thick cake batter, and you should be able to easily pass a spatula through it. If your masa is too thick, add warm water in 1/2 cup portions until you reach the right consistency.
If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and use only 1 cup of almond milk. To substitute the fat you can use 8 oz. of coconut oil. For tamales without fat, substitute with 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin puree.
Serve immediately out of the steamer while they are still warm.
Let them cool down completely and store them in an air-tight container or silicone bag, and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.
The best way to reheat them is to place them back in the steamer and let them steam for 6 to 8 minutes. But you can also reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute with the husk on.
Sweet tamales can be vegan if the masa is made with refined coconut oil, vegan butter, or vegetable shortening. The sweet fillings can vary and are almost always vegan.
Most tamales don't have dairy, but some sweet tamales can have cream cheese and some savory tamales have cheese in them.
Refined coconut oil is a great substitute for lard, as well as olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable shortening.
More Vegan Tamales Recipes
Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tamales
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 30 Corn husks dried
- 1 cup salted vegan butter, room temperature (8 oz)
- ½ cup granulated
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 4 ¼ cups Masa harina (nixtamalized corn flour) (1 lb. 2oz)
- 4 cups warm almond milk
- 1 cup homemade blackberry jam
- 8 oz dairy-Free Cream Cheese, cut into 2 inch strips
- Combine the blackberries and sugar in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Use a potato smasher to press down on half of the blackberries and let them simmer slowly until the blackberries break down and the mixture thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
To Prepare the Corn Husks
- Place them in your kitchen sink or a large pot and cover them in hot water. Place a plate over the husks to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Soak for at least 1 hour.
To Make the Masa
- Beat the butter and sugar, on medium speed, with an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, until the butter has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add the baking powder and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the butter.
- Add half of the masa harina and beat to incorporate it into the butter, about 1 minute. Pour in half of the almond milk slowly and beat at a low speed for 1 minute. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina and almond milk. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed, about 5 minutes. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary add additional almond milk until you reach that consistency.
To Prepare the Steamer
- Remove the corn husks from the water and set them on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer. Fill the bottom of the steamer with water, making sure the water does not touch the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with the corn husks.
To Wrap the Tamales
- Take a husk and dry off the excess water with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Use a spoon to spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dough onto the corn husk, ¼-inch thick. Form a 3 to 4-inch square of masa. Leave a border of corn husk of at least 3/4 inch on each side.
- Place 2 teaspoons of the blackberry jam and one strip of cream cheese in the center of the dough. Fold over the sides of the husk so the dough surrounds the filling, then fold it once more. Fold down the tapered section of the corn husk. This will leave one side of the tamal open.
To Cook the Tamales
- Place each tamal vertically in the steamer, leaning against the side of the pot, with the open end on top. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes.
- Check the tamales. When they separate easily from the corn husk, it means they are done. If they are not done, steam them for 10 more minutes and check again. Remove the steamer from the heat and let the tamales sit uncovered for 10 minutes to cool. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem soft. As they cool, they will firm up.
Oil-free: use 8oz (226g) canned pumpkin puree, unsweetened
Fresh masa: Use 2lb (907g) of fresh masa instead of masa harina and reduce the almond milk to 1 cup Notes: This recipe will also work with refined coconut oil or vegetable shortening. To substitute, use 8 oz (226g) of your fat of choice. Store your tamales in an air-tight container for up to 5 days in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.
Although dorastable.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates.