Published by Rebecca Maness.

Looking for the perfect main dish to complete your Cinco de Mayo menu? Vegan tamales are sure to be a hit. In addition to being fun to make, they can be stuffed full of whatever creative animal-free ingredients you can think of. Some tamales are made with lard, which is often the fat of smart, sensitive pigs. Vegan tamales use vegetable sources, including olive oil and vegan butter, which help save the lives of pigs and other animals. We’ve put together some recipes to help you get started, but you can experiment with all kinds of animal-friendly ingredients, including soy chorizo or other vegan meats, dairy-free cheese, or your favorite veggies. We’ve also included some premade options if you need a quick fix.

Homemade Vegan Tamales

Vegan Tamales Unwrapped by Dora’s Table

The ultimate e-book for all things tamales! It includes a step-by-step guide for making the perfect tamales along with recipes for savory and sweet options, including these Vegan Chocolate Tamales:

Chef Jocelyn Ramirez’s Plant-Based Tamales with Jackfruit and Red Chile

Jocelyn Ramirez is the genius behind Todo Verde, a Los Angeles–based food business inspired by her Latin American roots. Her book, La Vida Verde: Plant-Based Mexican Cooking With Authentic Flavor, features her family’s traditional dishes with a vegan twist—including these unique, delicious jackfruit and red chile tamales.

vegan tamales© Zohra Banon

Terry Hope Romero’s Spring Into Cinco de Mayo Olive Oil Tamales

These Cinco de Mayo tamales make use of springtime veggies such as leeks, cremini mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, and fresh herbs.

How to Make Vegan Tamales—2 Ways by Sweet Simple Vegan

Sweet Simple Vegan shows you how to make the best tamales step by step. Fill them with a potato and pinto bean mix or green chili and nondairy cheese, or try these easy Oil-Free Vegan Tamales.

Restaurants and Pop-Ups

Alchemy Organica (Los Angeles)

Chef Denise Vallejo of Alchemy Organica reclaims her indigenous ancestry through food, creating dishes such as the Black Magick Tamalli, which is made with cashew Quesillo, jalapeños, and blue corn masa.

Mama’s International Tamales (Los Angeles)

Vegan flavors at Mama’s International Tamales include Mole with Cactus and Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Cheese Jalapeno, Jackfruit Verde, and Jackfruit Rojo.

City Tamale (New York City)

Located in the Bronx, City Tamale offers a vegan Black Bean & Veggies Tamale with optional toppings including roasted corn, cilantro, avocado, and pickled onions.

Tamale Co. Mexican Street Food (Orlando, Florida)

Tamale Co. offers three vegan flavors: Frijoles Negros, Primavera, and Mex-One.

Tamale Addiction (Various Locations in Texas)

Tamale Addiction offers three vegan varieties: Spinach, Mushroom, and Nopalitos. You can find these at the storefront in Manor, Texas, or at various farmer’s markets and retail locations throughout the Austin and San Antonio areas.

Where to Buy Vegan Tamales

If you don’t live near any of these restaurants or retailers, there are still great options for premade vegan tamales in grocery stores near you or that can be shipped right to your door. Check out these brands:

The Vegan Tamale Company

Donna’s Tamales

donna's vegan tamales© Donna's Tamales

Tucson Tamale

Del Real Plant Based Tamales in Red Sauce from Costco

Margarita’s Tortilla Factory Vegan Black Bean Tamales

Amy’s Black Bean Tamale Verde


When you go vegan, you help save the lives of many animals while still being able to enjoy all the dishes you already love. Get tips and inspiration:

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