Calabaza en Tacha (Mexican Candied Pumpkin)

Calabaza en Tacha (Mexican Candied Pumpkin) is a sweet pumpkin dessert simmered in a sweet piloncillo syrup with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. It is a typical Mexican fall dessert made for the Day of the Dead, “Dia de Los Muertos”. 

calabaza en tacha candied pumpkin in a pot.

Calabaza en Tacha (Mexican Candied Pumpkin)

This Calabaza en Tacha recipe is perfect for those that want to try a Mexican dessert in the fall or to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos. It’s an easy recipe and you’ll only need 5 main ingredients! It is also the perfect way to use up pumpkins instead of letting them go bad. Make a treat and reduce food waste all in one 🙂

The first time I had calabaza en tacha I was too young to truly appreciate it. However, it has become a part of my fall traditions and every time I taste it, I immediately feel comforted and at peace. Not only is it delicious and cozy, but it will also make your home smell like fall. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

calabaza en tacha candied pumpkin butternut squash in milk.

Which Pumpkin/Squash to Use

Any typical pumpkin will work for this recipe, such as pie pumpkins or sugar pie pumpkins. I also recommend using butternut squash for this recipe. Sometimes it is more affordable and can be more accessible and affordable at grocery stores.

Be very careful when cutting and peeling your pumpkin. Dice the pumpkin in half down the middle to lay it flat and avoid cutting yourself. Click here for a tutorial on how to safely cut pumpkin or butternut squash.

calabaza en tacha candied butternut squash mexican style in a small bowl.

Ingredients for Calabaza en Tacha

  • Piloncillo: I highly recommend using piloncillo as it is the most authentic and has a different taste than regular brown sugar in my opinion. You can find it in any Mexican grocery store or large grocery store with a Mexican section/aisle.
  • Cinnamon sticks: Try to use cinnamon sticks if possible instead of cinnamon powder. Break them up into 2-3 pieces for extra flavor.
  • Vegan butter: I use Earth Balance but feel free to use your favorite vegan butter. Using butter is optional but I used it once and I love the extra flavor it adds
  • Salt: A pinch of salt helps balance out flavors and helps give it that extra “oomph”. 😉

Other Delicious Vegan Fall Recipes:

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Baked Pumpkin Oats

Vegan Apple Galette

Poblano Bean Soup

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calabaza en tacha (Mexican candied pumpkin) in a bowl.

Calabaza en Tacha (Mexican Candied Pumpkin)

  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 3 cups pumpkin, diced
  • 3/4 piloncillo (or 3/4 cup brown sugar)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Peel squash, de-seed, and dice into 1-inch-size cubes.
  2. Turn a pot on medium heat and add butter. Once melted, add diced squash and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add piloncillo or brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, water, and cover until water begins boiling. Once it is boiling, turn it down to a low simmer and place the lid back on but leave a small crack this time.
  4. Simmer for 1525 minutes until squash is soft and tender but not mushy.
  5. Serve warm, with a side of plant-based milk, or pour milk on top with pumpkin seeds for a nice crunch. Enjoy!

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: vegan desserts, vegan mexican desserts, calabaza en tacha, candied pumpkin, Mexican candied pumpkin

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