Sweet Potato Tamales

With a few sweet potatoes left over on Monday, I was indecisive all day about what to make with them. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Endless Simmer came to the rescue with one of their classic “100 ways” posts about sweet potatoes! After getting over the initial pride (this is the first time I have made one of their lists, can you find me?), I got down to business trying to figure out which of these amazing dishes I would make that night. Instantly I fell in love with the idea for some tamales, but completely changed the recipe when I made them that night.

Mash this up to start the tamale dough.

It’s hard to say exactly how much water you need because the sweet potato moisture level could be different. The consistency you want here is like a wet peanut butter.

Some chile beef with peppers and onions for the filling.

Seasoned with ancho powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle.

No corn husks at the market today, so I had to settle for banana leaves. I actually liked working with the leaves a bit better than husks! ┬áThe last time I used banana leaves, they were much fresher…

Ready to go into the steamer.

An hour and a half later, I was worried that this was a failure. The tamales were really loose feeling and hard to remove from the steamer without squeezing some filling out. I thought they would have firmed up a bit. Anyways, once I unwrapped them they were actually the perfect texture.

Some guac and salsa and these things are perfect!

The combo of sweet potato and chipotle is one for the ages.

I first boiled 3 large sweet potatoes and mashed them with 3/4 stick of butter, 1 clove and about about 1/2 inch worth of cinnamon that I ground in my spice grinder (basically large pinches of each if your using powdered). Mix in a cup and a half of masa, and about a cup of water, slowly adding more water until you get a wet peanut butter texture. I filled this with some ground beef sauted with onions, peppers, garlic and chiles, and seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle, and ancho powder. Also a little bit of cheddar cheese.  Steam in a husk or leaf for about an hour and a half. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guac, or whatever you like.


  1. not exactly a timely post, but i just wanted to comment to say this is the first recipe of yours i’ve tried been reading for a few months, but my boyfriend is on a 12-month diet plan, ugh!) and it was great! mine didn’t steam right and i did have to finish them in the oven, but they were super tasty and actually not terribly unhealthy for the BF! thanks for this blog and keep up the good work =]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.