Known as Flores de Calabaza, squash blossoms are found throughout Mexico and are used in dozens of preparations. Even if they are a little bit withered, they will work for this recipe. Huitlacoche or shrimp can also be mixed in alongside the flowers.

Virgilio Martínez
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After cooking in prestigious restaurants around the world, Virgilio Martínez returned to Peru in 2009 and opened Central. Since 2013 Central has appeared on the World’s 50 Best list and has been named the #1 restaurant in Latin America multiple times. This year, he launched The Latin American Cookbook with Phaidon Press.

Shop The Latin American Cookbook below and discover the recipe for how to make these delicious Squash Blossom Tamales below! 

The Latin American Cookbook

The Latin American Cookbook, $49.45

Adapted/Reprinted from The Latin American Cookbook by Virgilio Martínez. © 2021 Phaidon Press

Squash Blossom Tamales

Serves 20 tamales

By Virgilio Martínez

20 minutes


1 hour minutes




  • 1 cup/8 oz (225 g) lard
  • 2 lb (900 g) fresh Corn Masa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup/4 oz (120 g) cubed squash (1/2-inch/2.5-cm cubes)
  • 1/2 cup/2 oz (60 g) pepitas (hulled squash or
    pumpkin seeds), chopped
  • 20 corn husks, soaked for 30 minutes in warm water
  • 15 squash blossoms


  1. Using a whisk, beat the lard in a bowl for 3–5 minutes.
  2. Add half the masa and beat until incorporated. Add the
    remaining masa and the salt, and beat until it has a soft
    texture, like a frosting or fudge (a tablespoonful should
    float in a glass of water). Check the seasoning; it should
    be slightly salty as it will leach during cooking. Using your
    hands or a spatula, fold the cubed squash and chopped
    pepitas into the dough.
  3. Drain the corn husks. Place a squash blossom in
    the middle of each husk and add 2 tablespoons of the
    dough on top of the flower. Close the husk, doubling the
    pointed end over the bottom half.
  4. Pour about 2 inches (5 cm) of water into a steamer,
    and bring to a boil. Add the steamer basket (make sure
    the boiling water doesn’t touch the basket) and place the
    tamales in the basket, standing with the rounded ends
  5. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, topping up with boiling
    water if necessary, until the tamales easily come off the
    husks when opened.

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