Pineapple tamales are a sweet Mexican treat perfect to serve as breakfast or snack. They are fluffy, buttery, and flavored with cinnamon to enhance the sweetness.

Pineapple tamales are known in Mexico as tamales de piña and they’re a beloved treat by everyone. These tamales are made by mixing the corn-based dough with pineapple bites, pecans, and raisins.

Along with tamales de elote (made with corn), these tamales with pineapple are a staple in Mexico and you’ll find them as a food street all over the country.

I often find myself making pineapple tamales for special occasions or gatherings. The distinctive taste makes them a standout dish, perfect for sharing with friends and family.

A pineapple tamale opened showing the fluffy and soft dough with pineapple bits, pecans, and raisins.

Ingredients

  • Masa harina: This is the flour used to make the dough, it can be found at Mexican groceries or online.
  • Pineapple: I like to use canned pineapple for convenience, plus, I can also use the juice to make the dough!
  • Raisins: When soaked and cooked, they become nicely plump and add a delicious touch to the tamales.
  • Pecans: Use pecan or any nut you prefer.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter.
  • Sugar: For sweetness.
  • Baking powder: For fluffiness.
  • Cinnamon: This spice adds an earthy touch.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to make the flavors stand out.
  • Food coloring: This is an optional ingredient and is used to give a yellow color kick to the masa. In Mexico some people use it and some don’t, so is up to you.
ingredients for pineapple tamales.

How To Make Pineapple Tamales

Place the corn husks into a large bowl and cover them with warm water. Leave them to soak for 15-20 minutes.

Add the raisins to a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak for about 10 minutes then drain them and set aside.

A collage with two photos: Soaking corn husks on a bowl. And adding hot water to raisins on a bowl.

Step 1. Make the pineapple masa

Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix them until creamy and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Add masa harina, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Collage: Creaming butter with sugar, then adding flour and other ingredients to the bowl.

Pour the pineapple juice and start mixing with your hands or with an electric hook until everything is combined and you will have a dough that sticks slightly to your hands.

Collage: Starting to knead the dough. The dough already knead.

Add some drops of yellow food coloring (optional) and mix until you achieve the desired color.

Add chopped pecans, raisins, and diced pineapple. Mix with a spatula until combined.

Collage: Coloring the dough with yellow food coloring. The dough mixed with the rest of the ingredients.

Step 2. Assemble the tamales

Drain the corn husks and dry them with a kitchen towel.

Spread a spoonful of the tamales dough onto the middle of a corn husk using a large spoon or spatula.

Fold the husk to close, then fold the pointy edge as pictured below.

A collage with photos assembling sweet pineapple tamales.

Step 3. Steam

Prepare a large stock pot with a steamer basket. I use one of those folding petal baskets. Fill the pot with water just before it touches the basket and place the tamales in layers.

Bring the water to a boil, cover the steamer, and cook for about 1 hour, checking occasionally and adding more water when needed.

Tamales arranged inside a steamer.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • If you can’t find corn husks where you live, use aluminum foil or parchment paper instead. Cut sheets of about 8×6 inches (20x15cm) to use them as wrappers.
  • Fresh pineapple can be used instead of canned, but you’ll need to dice it and cook it with 1 cup of water and 2-2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Many people (especially children) don’t like raisins, so feel free to leave them out if you’re one of those :)
  • To check if the tamales are cooked, remove one and place it on a plate, allow it to lightly cool down, and then taste it. The dough should be soft but slightly firm at the touch, not mushy that will spread when you take it with your fingers.

How To Serve

You can serve those pineapple tamales for dessert, drizzled with cajeta or condensed milk.

They can also be enjoyed for breakfast or la merienda (afternoon snack) pairing with champurrado or your favorite atole.

Or head over to this post to learn more dishes to serve with tamales!

Close-up of pineapple tamales.

Storing & Reheating

Pineapple tamales can be stored with the husks on in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you want to freeze them, wrap them individually with cling film and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For reheating, you can place tamales (with the husks on) in a steamer or unwrap them and reheat them in the microwave at 1-minute intervals. On the stove, you can pan-fry them with a little bit of butter.

More Mexican Tamales

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Video

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Pineapple tamales recipe.

Pineapple Tamales

12 tamales
Those delicious pineapple tamales are soft, moist, and perfectly sweet. The pecans add a nice crunchy texture alongside the moist and plump raisins.
prep 30 minutes
cook 1 hour
total 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 ⅔ cup Masa Harina (Maseca, Naturello or any brand you prefer)
  • 1 cup Butter (softened)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Canned Pineapple (chopped)
  • 1 ½ cup Pineapple canned juice (or water, room temperature)
  • ½ cup Pecans (diced)
  • cup Raisins
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • Yellow food coloring (optional)
  • 12 Corn Husks (or parchment paper)

Instructions
 

  • Soak the corn husks for 15-20 minutes by placing them into a large bowl and covering them with warm water.
  • Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them soak for 10 minutes then discard the water and set aside.

Make the masa

  • Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix until creamy and fluffy.
  • Add masa harina, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Pour in pineapple juice and knead with your hands or with an electric hook, until you achieve a dough that sticks slightly to your hands.
  • Add some drops of yellow food coloring (optional) and mix until you achieve a uniform color.
  • Add chopped pecans, raisins and chopped pineapple. Mix with a spatula until combined.

Assemble

  • Drain the corn husks and dry them with a kitchen towel.
  • Spread a spoonful of the tamales dough onto the middle of a corn husk using a large spoon or spatula.
  • Fold the husk to close, then fold up the pointy edge (see video).

Steam

  • Prepare a large stock pot with a steamer basket. Fill the pot with water just before it touches the basket and arrange the pineapple tamales in layers.
  • Steam for about 1 hour, checking occasionally and adding more water when needed.

Notes

  • If you can’t find corn husks, use aluminum foil or parchment paper instead. Cut sheets of about 8×6 inches (20x15cm) to use them as wrappers.
  • Fresh pineapple can be used instead of canned, but you’ll need to dice it and cook it with 1 cup of water and 2-2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Many people (especially children) don’t like raisins, so feel free to leave them out if you’re one of those :)
  • To check if the tamales are cooked, remove one and place it on a plate, allow it to lightly cool down, and then taste it. The dough should be soft but slightly firm at the touch, not mushy that will spread when you take it with your fingers.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 pineapple tamal | Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 743IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

    1. Hi Rosalva, you can slightly soften it in the microwave and then grate it with a cheese grater, then use it in place of sugar.

  1. 4 stars
    This is very good. I made it twice. This first time I followed this recipe. The second time I doubled the pineapples, raisins, and cinnamon, and it was better.

    So easy to make and very tasty!

  2. I loved to Learn to do different things and I fell in love with though pineapple tamales so wish I had the recipe on hand it’s hard for me to be reading on the phone or the computer but I’ll learn thank you