Strawberry Tamales with Horchata Sauce

An overhead image of two strawberry tamales sitting on a pink platter with cut strawberries and horchata sauce.

How to make Strawberry Tamales! Delicious, fluffy strawberry-infused sweet tamales drizzled with creamy horchata sauce. Perfect for Las Posadas, Christmas, or holiday parties! An easy step-by-step guide.



For the tamales:

8 ounces (1/2 pound) dry corn husks

5 pounds masa preparada para tamales (see post for details)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup strawberry jam (1 10-ounce jar)

1/2 cup almond milk or whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

34 drops red food coloring

4 cups chopped fresh strawberries (about 24 ounces strawberries)

For the horchata sauce: 

1/2 cup uncooked white rice

1/4 cup whole almonds

1/2 Ceylon cinnamon stick or 1/4 cassia cinnamon stick

pinch salt

3 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons corn starch

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar


Soak the corn husks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add corn husks. Place a bowl on top and press down to completely submerge husks under water. Let soak for at least 1 hour or until very pliable. Drain completely.

Beat the masa. Combine masa, sugar, strawberry jam, almond milk, vanilla, and red food coloring (if using) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You may have to do this in two batches if your mixer is small. (see post)

Turn mixer on low until combined then increase speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, like buttercream frosting, about 5 minutes. 

Fold in strawberries. Add fresh strawberries and fold in with a rubber spatula. 

Prepare the steamer pot. Fill the pot about a third of the way full with water. Place the steamer insert on top and line the insert with corn husks that are too small or torn to use for tamales. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Assemble the tamales.

Dry corn husk. Take one corn husk that is about as wide as your hand on the bottom, dry both sides with a kitchen towel

Place filling in corn husk. Spoon about 1/2 cup of masa in the middle of the wide end of the corn husk. 

Roll up. Fold the right side of the corn husk over the left side and pull as tight as you can without the filling spilling out the top. Roll up. Fold the triangle tip over the wide bottom. Tie with corn husk strips if you’d like. Place open-side up in a baking dish with high sides to keep from tipping over while you fill the remaining corn husks. Repeat with remaining masa and filling.

Cook the tamales. Place tamales, vertically, open-side up in the tamale steamer. Lean the tamales against the side of the pot to keep from falling until you have enough in the pot that they support each other.

Place over medium high heat so there’s lots of steam. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or extra corn husks and then the lid.

Steam until masa is cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. Check occasionally to add more water to the steamer if needed.

Check to see if they are cooked. To see if the tamales are ready, remove one from the pot and let cool for a few minutes. Unwrap and see if the masa is cooked in the middle. It should be firm, fluffy, and spring back when you press on it.

If they are ready, unwrap, drizzle with horchata sauce and enjoy!

For the horchata sauce: Combine rice, almonds, cinnamon stick, and salt in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the mixture and let sit at room temperature overnight. 

Blend rice mixture. The next day, pour soaked rice mixture—water and all into a blender. Add cornstarch and blend on high until very smooth. Strain into a medium saucepan through a fine mesh strainer. 

Cook sauce. Add cream and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer whisking constantly until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool. 


The rice, almonds, and cinnamon for the horchata sauce needs to sit overnight, so plan ahead. 

Keywords: strawberry tamales