Blue Christmas

I’ll have a blue Christmas without you
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me

And when that blue corn starts popping
That’s when those blue memories start dropping
You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white
But I’ll have a blue, blue blue blue Christmas

That is how the song goes, right? Elvis always said it best, but he didn’t quite get in all the right words. He was a notable foodie in his day, and I know he must have been thinking about his next meal, even if the lyrics didn’t quite match.

There aren’t that many naturally blue foods out there, so I feel fairly confident that the King of Rock and Roll was talking about blue corn. Tamales, the quintessential corn-based staple of Christmas, must have been on his mind. At least, that’s the first thing I was thinking of after listening to the oldies. Crooning on for all eternity every holiday season, it just hits a bit different this year. Physically distant from friends and family this is a particularly blue celebration for many.

Embrace the blues with me and go in for seconds, too. Tender masa made with brilliant blue cornmeal, further enhanced with the intense indigo pigment from butterfly pea tea. Seasoned blue potatoes are the only suitable filling for a such brilliantly saturated dish of course. I’d be tempted to pair it with blueberry salsa, if only they were winter fruits.

It’s okay to feel the blues, and in this case, eat your feelings. Making blue tamales can provide a positive emotional outlet along with a healthy, comforting meal. Now that’s something worth celebrating.

Yield: Makes 10 - 12 Tamales

Blue Christmas Tamales

Blue Christmas Tamales

Start a new Christmas tradition with tamales tinted with blue cornmeal and butterfly pea tea. Spicy seasoned blue potatoes and black beans are the only suitable filling for a such brilliantly saturated dish, of course.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


Blue Corn Masa:

  • 1 1/3 Cups Masa Harina
  • 2/3 Cup Blue Cornmeal
  • 1 Teaspoon Butterfly Pea Tea Powder (Optional, for Color)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Hot Water or Vegetable Stock


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced, Diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Diced
  • 6 Ounces Baby Blue Potatoes, Diced
  • 1 (14-Ounce) Can Black Beans, Drained
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

To Assemble:

  • 3 Ounces Dried Corn Husks, Soaked in Hot Water for 1 Hour


    1. Begin by preparing the filling. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Once shimmering, add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and highly aromatic. Stir in the potatoes next, cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the beans, lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, allowing a final 5 minutes for the flavors to mingle. The potatoes won't be fully cooked at this point, so don't worry! They'll become perfectly tender after steaming.
    2. Set aside the filling and let cool before using; at least 10 minutes.
    3. To make the blue masa dough, combine the masa harina, blue cornmeal, butterfly pea tea powder (if using,) and salt on a large bowl. Mix well to to distribute the dry goods evenly throughout. Add in the oil along with the water or stock, stirring vigorously to incorporate.
    4. Use your hands to begin kneading the dough much like you would if making bread. Continue for about 5 minutes, until it smooths out but is still slightly sticky, like thick putty. If not using right away, keep covered with a damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out.
    5. To assemble the tamales, lay out on soaked corn husk at a time on the counter. Scoop about 1/4 cup of masa in the center. Use lightly moistened hands to spread the masa into a thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Keep the dough spread towards the top half of the corn husk, keeping the bottom clear to allow enough room to fold the bottom husk up later.
    6. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in a line down the center of the dough. Fold one long side of the husk over the filling, followed by the other, like you would for a letter. Fold the bottom of the husk up and place the finished tamale on a plate with the seam-sides down, holding the husk in place. Repeat with the remaining components.
    7. Fill the bottom of a large saucepan with about 1 inch of water and insert a steaming rack. Line the rack with a few extra corn husks to keep the tamales in place. Arrange the standing with the open end up. Cover the tamales with a few more soaked corn husks before closing the lid.
    8. Steam for 35 - 45 minutes, until the masa is firm and the potatoes are tender. Let cool for at least 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
    9. Enjoy with salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, and/or fresh cilantro.


To freeze tamales, let cooked tamales cool completely before wrapping in plastic or placing in zip top bags. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, wrap the frozen tamales in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 - 2 minutes until warmed through.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 195mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

6 thoughts on “Blue Christmas

  1. That certainly makes a gorgeous tamale, Hannah! Last Saturday, Hayden Mills Farm had a very small Christmas market with some food trucks and local producers. It was fun to support some small businesses and get some great food. Not blue tamales, though.


  2. This certainly is unique, never had tried a Blue Cornmeal and the only blue food I ever tried was this Malaysian Nasi Kerabu. BTW that Looks delish!

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