The beloved Mexican dish, tamales, is a favorite of many. But have you ever wondered what to serve with tamales? This delicious dish can be served with many different things to make a filling meal.
It can be hard sometimes to think of what to serve with tamales. This Mexican dish is great on it’s own, but sometimes you just want to enjoy it with a side dish to change things up a bit.
When it comes to serving tamales, it’s important to consider the flavor and texture of the dish. Tamales are typically filled with spicy and bold ingredients such as chili peppers, chicken, or pork. If not paired with the right side dish, these flavors can overpower the palate.
It’s important to serve tamales with a side dish that compliments the flavors as well as adds freshness to the meal.
Some great side dishes to serve with tamales include rice, grilled corn, a simple salad, or even a salsa.
Whether you prefer something right and flavorful or something light and refreshing, we’ve got you covered.
What are tamales?
Tamales is a Mexican dish that is made of masa (corn dough) filling that is flavored with different meats, spices, or vegetables, and wrapped in a corn husk.
This is then steamed until tender.
Tamales are often served during celebrations such as birthdays, Christmas, or other family celebrations.
21 Delicious and Easy Recipes to Serve with Tamales
1. Chorizo Fried Rice
Chorizo fried rice is a delicious twist on traditional fried rice. It features spicy chorizo sausage, a variety of vegetables, seasonings, and of course tender and fluffy rice.
The savory and spicy flavors of the chorizo in this fried rice provide the perfect compliment to the mild flavors of tamales.
2. Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are a classic side dish oftened served with tamales. Using an Instant Pot to cook pinto beans provides a quick and easy way to enjoy a classic Mexican staple.
3. Pico De Gallo
This flavorful and fresh salsa is an easy recipe that is great as a topping or dip when enjoying tamales.
Pico de gallo uses simple ingredients to create zesty and vibrant taste, which can add a delicious burst of flavor to your tamales.
4. Grilled Corn
Grilled corn is a classic side dish for many recipes, and tamales is no exception. This summertime favorite is a delicious and simple way to enjoy this vegetable. The charred and smoky flavor of the corn pairs perfectly with the soft and mild flavors of tamales.
You can even season and top your corn with ingredients such as salt, butter, or lime juice, for even more flavor.
If you are serving tamales at a barbecue or picnic, grilled corn is a must as a side dish!
5. Black Bean Corn and Avocado Salsa
This black bean, corn, and avocado salsa is bursting not only with flavor but color as well. The combination of black beans, avocado, and corn adds both flavor and texture, making it a delicious pairing to serve with tamales.
6. Mango Lime Agua Fresca
After something a bit different to the usual sides? Why not try this mango lime aqua fresca. It’s a refreshing drink make with mangoes, lime juice, and water. It’s both sweet and tangy, making it the perfect drink to accompany tamales.
You can even customise this beverage by adding different fruits or herbs to suit your tastes.
7. Shaved Jicama and Blood Orange Salad
What about a light salad? This shaved jicama and blood orange salad is made by shaving jicama into thin slices and it is then tossed with segments of juicy blood oranges.
The crunchy and citrus flavors of this salad balances well with the savory and soft tamales.
This colorful salad is also great for presentation if you are hosting a dinner party because it adds a pop of color to any meal.
8. Sauteed Chickpeas
Sauteed chickpeas are a great option to serve with tamales. Chickpeas are a great source of both fiber and protein.
And they also add a delicious nutty flavor to the meal. Sauteed chickpeas are also a great option if you are looking for something suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
9. Cilantro Lime Rice
This classic side dish goes great with tamales. Cilantro lime rice is a simple rice dish that is sure to add fresh and zesty flavors to your tamales meal.
The rice’s mild taste provides a neutral base which balances out the rich flavors of the tamales.
Also, by serving tamales with rice, it can make the meal more filling and substantial.
10. 4 Ingredient Guacamole
After a quick side with little ingredients? This 4 ingredient guacamole recipe might just be for you. Guacamole is a classic Mexican dip that goes great with tamales.
The rich and creamy texture of the avocado contrast with the citrusy flavors of lime juice, accompanied by the soft and savory flavor of tamales is a real treat.
11. Caramelized Corn and Green Bean Skillet
Caramelized corn and green bean skillet with cumin is a dish that is a great complement to tamales.
It adds both a sweet and savory contrast to the meal. Making this dish is easy and when served with tamales, the caramelized corn and green beans give a satisfying crunch to the meal.
While, the cumin provides a nice earthy and warm flavor, pairing perfectly with the flavor of tamales.
12. Spanish Rice
This one is a classic side dish to serve with tamales. Spanish rice is a dish made with white rice, cooked with various spices, onions, tomato sauce, and garlic. It results in a slightly spicy dish that balances the flavors of the tamales.
Spanish rice is also easy to make. This makes it convenient and the perfect addition to any meal.
13. Salsa Fresca
What about a salsa? This salsa fresca is a vibrant and fresh salsa ready in no time. Made with ripe tomatoes, cilantro, onions, lime juice, and chili, this salsa fresca is packed full of flavor.
This salsa is packed with both nutrients and vitamins, which makes it great to serve with tamales.
14. Instant Pot Basmati Rice
After something a little bit neutral? This recipe for instant pot basmati rice shows how to make basmati rice easily in a pressure cooker. It’s a great option when you are after something quick for serving with tamales. The fluffy texture and mild flavor of this rice makes it a versatile side dish.
15. Air Fryer Roasted Red Peppers
Roasted red peppers are always a delicious side dish, and this air fryer roasted red peppers are no exception. The smoky and sweet flavor of these peppers complement the savory flavors of tamales.
And the bright color of the peppers adds a great visual appeal, especially if you are serving tamales are a dinner party or sharing meal.
16. Southwest Chipotle Jicama Salad
Ever heard of jicama? It’s a crunchy root vegetable that is often used in Mexican cuisine.
This salad is easy to make and is filled with jicama, grilled corn, red peppers, tomatos, cilantro, baby spinach, and pepitos.
This Southwest chipotle jicama salad is then drizzled with a delicious and tasty Southwest salad dressing.
17. Sweet and Spicy Pepper Jelly
This sweet and spicy pepper jelly is a delicious condiment that balances the flavors of tamales perfectly.
This jelly is made of a combination of red peppers, jalapeno peppers, sugar, white vinegar, white pepper, and pectin.
When cooked together, it makes a flavorful, pepper jelly which has a sweet, spicy, and tangy taste in every mouthful.
18. Cowboy Queso
This cowboy queso is a flavorful and hearty dip that goes great with tamales. Made with different types of cheese, sausage, beans and other delicious ingredients, this dip is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
19. Guacamole Without Onions
After a recipe for guacamole without onions? We’ve got you covered with this tasty recipe. Guacamole is perfect to serve at parties, special occasions, or even when you are having many people over.
20. Salsa Verde
This salsa verde recipe is a tangy flavored side dish which is great to enjoy with tamales. It’s a great way to add some spice to your tamales and is perfect if you are after a quick and easy crowd pleaser.
21. Instant Pot Mexican Style Beans
Beans are always a great side dish to serve with tamales. By cooking Mexican style beans in an instant pot, it makes it quick and easy, and the beans turn out flavorful and perfectly cooked.
Serving beans as a side to tamales provides a health option that is high in both protein and fiber.
A traditional tamale dinner features tamales as the main course, along with different side dishes, such as a simple salad, refried beans, and Spanish rice.
You can serve tamales with many different side dishes at Christmas such as with Mexican hot chocolate, ponche (a hot fruit punch), bunuelos (a type of fried dough), rice, or even a bean salad.
Tamales can be enjoyed both on their own or with a side dish. You can eat tamales with rice, beans, or salad. You could even serve tamales with sour cream, fresh salsa, or guacamole, it’s up to you.
There are many different sauces you can eat with tamales, it all depends on your preference. Some of the common sauces people have with tamales include mole sauce, tomato sauce, or even a red or green chili sauce.
Traditionally, tamales are eaten by first unwrapping the corn husk. The corn husk is then used as a makeshift utensil to scoop up the filling.
It is often served as a communal dish, shared with family and friends when gathering to share a meal and celebrate special occasions.
Tried one of these recipes? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
More Mains Recipes
What to serve with tamales
- Chorizo Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Pico De Gallo
- Grilled Corn
- Black Bean Corn and Avocado Salsa
- Mango Lime Agua Fresca
- Shaved Jicama and Blood Orange Salad
- Sauteed Chickpeas
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- 4 Ingredient Guacamole
- Caramelized Corn and Green Bean Skillet
- Spanish Rice
- Salsa Fresca
- Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- Air Fryer Roasted Red Peppers
- Southwest Chipotle Jicama Salad
- Sweet and Spicy Pepper Jelly
- Cowboy Queso
- Guacamole Without Onions
- Salsa Verde
- Instant Pot Mexican Style Beans
- Choose your favorite recipe from the list above.
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Follow the recipe directions and cook up something delicious to serve with tamales.
Join the Discussion