Traditional Costa Rican Tamal de Masa Recipe




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Costa Rican Tamal de Masa Recipe

This gluten free Costa Rican tamal de masa dessert is slightly sweet with a unique texture. Traditionally served during Holy Week and at Christmas, the Costa Rican tamal de masa is the perfect complement to a steaming hot cup of coffee or agua dulce!

Costa Rican Tamal de Masa Recipe

 

It’s Holy Week (semana santa), which means a unique type of tamal is traditionally made and served in Costa Rica. Depending on the region of Costa Rica, this sweet, vegetarian tamal will be called either tamal asado o tamal de masa. Either way, it’s the perfect treat to eat while sipping coffee during the rainy (or snowy) weather of the Easter season. My version of this classic Costa Rican tamal de masa recipe will have your oven smelling like a typical Costa Rican house during Semana Santa.

 Costa Rican tamal de masa with coffee

Costa Rican Tamal de Masa Recipe

A traditional Costa Rican tamal de masa recipe- but modified to use ingredients found outside of Costa Rica.

Yield- About 16 servings

Costa Rican Tamal de masa ingredients

Ingredients

    • 2 cups Maseca (or other corn based masa)
    • 3 cups Buttermilk (warmed to room temperature)
    • 1 cup shredded white cheese*
    • ½ stick of butter
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
    • ½ cup sour cream**
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla
    • ½ tsp salt


Special Notes

*You can use any type of shred-able white cheese.  I have found it impossible to find cheeses enough similar to the Costa Rican ones here in Colorado, but I have found that Mexican-style queso panela works well, especially because instead of shredding it’s easy to crumble.

*I use American-style sour cream because it doesn’t seem to change the taste of this particular recipe, and it’s cheaper at the grocery store.  However, I’m sure you could use Mexican-style crema or Central American-style natilla as well.  

Costa Rican tamal de masa gluten free

Preparation

You can combine this in several bowls, but in order to save time washing dishes at the end, I do everything in the same large saucepan.  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick spray, or line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  (This step is totally optional, but I like to spend less time scrubbing pots and more time eating delicious treats, and this definitely helps with cleanup.)

Start by shredding the cheese, beating the eggs, and melting the butter.  Set all aside.

Combine the room temperature buttermilk and Maseca until a dough is formed.  This is best done with your hands!  Add the rest of the ingredients to the dough and stir until combined.

Costa Rican tamal de masa stovetop recipe

Place the pot, uncovered, on medium heat and leave, untouched, until the dough begins to boil.  Remove from heat. Warning: It´s really easy to scald this dough on the bottom of the pan.  When mine burns a bit, I just scrape the top out with a spatula and discard the burned bits.  You definitely have to stay on top of this step, though.

 

Costa Rican Tamal de masa dough

Immediately pour the dough into the baking dish and place in the oven. 

 

Costa Rican tamal de masa ready to bake

Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes until done.  You will know this is done when it is golden brown on top.

Costa Rican tamal de masa just out of oven

Remove from oven, and let cool completely before cutting into thick slices.  

Costa Rican Tamal de Masa Sliced and Delicious

Serve with coffee, agua dulce, or other beverage of choice.  ¡Buen provecho!

Costa Rican tamal de masa with coffee

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This gluten free Costa Rican tamal de masa dessert is slightly sweet with a unique texture. Traditionally served during Holy Week and at Christmas, the Costa Rican tamal de masa is the perfect complement to a steaming hot cup of coffee or agua dulce! #costarica #latinfood #latinrecipes #tamal #easter #holyweek #lent #vegetarian #dessert

Costa Rican Tamal de Masa Recipe

A traditional Costa Rican tamal de masa recipe- but modified to use ingredients found outside of Costa Rica.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Latin
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 18 pieces
Author Christa

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups Maseca or other corn based masa
  • 3 cups Buttermilk warmed to room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese*
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream**
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. You can combine this in several bowls, but in order to save time washing dishes at the end, I do everything in the same large saucepan.  

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick spray, or line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  (This step is totally optional, but I like to spend less time scrubbing pots and more time eating delicious treats, and this definitely helps with cleanup.)

    Start by shredding the cheese, beating the eggs, and melting the butter.  Set all aside.

    Combine the room temperature buttermilk and Maseca until a dough is formed.  This is best done with your hands!  Add the rest of the ingredients to the dough and stir until combined.

    Place the pot, uncovered, on medium heat and leave, untouched, until the dough begins to boil.  Remove from heat.  Warning: It´s really easy to scald this dough on the bottom of the pan.  When mine burns a bit, I just scrape the top out with a spatula and discard the burned bits.  You definitely have to stay on top of this step, though.

    Immediately pour the dough into the baking dish and place in the oven.

     Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes until done.  You will know this is done when it is golden brown on top.

    Remove from oven, and let cool completely before cutting into thick slices.  

    Serve with coffee, agua dulce, or other beverage of choice.  ¡Buen provecho!

Recipe Notes

*You can use any type of shred-able white cheese.  I have found it impossible to find cheeses enough similar to the Costa Rican ones here in Colorado, but I have found that Mexican-style queso panela works well, especially because instead of shredding it’s easy to crumble. *I use American-style sour cream because it doesn’t seem to change the taste of this particular recipe, and it’s cheaper at the grocery store.  However, I’m sure you could use Mexican-style crema or Central American-style natilla as well.

Looking for more popular Costa Rican recipes from Pura Vida Moms?

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  • Guillermo Jimenez
    July 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    me sacaron los ojos!

    • Christa
      July 27, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      ¡Qué dicha Guillermo! ¡Pura vida, y gracias por visitar! ~Christa

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