What to Eat with Tamales: 15 Mouth-Watering Combos


If you like Mexican food, you definitely heard about tamales. This tasty dish is one of the best specialties in Mexican cuisine and it can go great with a variety of other dishes.

You can eat tamales plain as they are consistent enough. However, if you want a complete meal, you might have to add other side dishes to your table. 

Tamales are flexible in terms of how you can eat them and in what combos. There are countless recipes that you can pick from so you will not get easily bored of these wraps.

15 Dishes That Go Great with Tamales

Try your tamales with one of the following dishes and you will not regret it. Your friends and family will be very happy every time you serve some of these combos on the table.

1. Rice

Sticky Rice

Rice is one of the best side dishes that go great with tamales. You can use any type of rice but Mexican rice is the best match.

Cook your rice as usual and add tamales on the side to complete your dish. A spicy rice recipe is one of your best choices, of course, if you’re a fan of spicy food.

2. Beans

Cannellini beans

When it comes to beans and tamales, the sky is the limit in terms of how you can mix these two. You can use any type of beans and prepare them just the way you want.

Kidney beans will work as great as white beans if you add the spicy seasonings that are so popular in Mexican cuisine. 

3. Mashed potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes go with any type of dish and tamales are no exception. You can use mashed potatoes plain or with different seasonings and you will get a great combination.

Make sure everything is warm upon serving because cold mashed potatoes are definitely not as appealing as warm ones. 

Also Check: What to Serve With Beef Wellington

4. Tortillas


Tortillas are just as popular as tamales in Mexican cuisine. Mixing them is a winning combo. You can add plain tortillas to your tamales or mix them with a dip of your choice. Or choose tortillas of different flavors and enhance the taste of your meal. 

5. Salads


Different types of salads go well with tamales, including both fresh salads and those that require cooking.

Potato salad and tomatoes and cucumbers salad, for instance, make excellent side dishes for tamales. If you prefer something less warm on the side, just pick one of your favorite salads and get the most out of your meal. 

6. Cornbread


Cornbread is another great side dish because of the sweet yet soft texture that complements tamales perfectly. If you’re making spicy tamales, the sweet taste of cornbread will add a nice, flavorful touch. You can eat cornbread freshly made or you can make croutons out of it. 

7. Avocado salad


Avocado salad is a Mexican dish as well and it tastes delicious next to your tamales. You can cut avocados into cubes and add onion as well as cucumbers to your salad.

To enjoy a tasty salad you can season it with an oil of your choosing or a dressing that you love. Enjoy your salad next to your tamales and you will remember your meal. 

8. Guacamole 


Guacamole is a delicious sauce that goes very well with tamales. You can make your guacamole at home or you can buy it from your local grocery store already made.

Dipping your tamale in guacamole can make for a lovely taste. You can have this Mexican combination for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you will love it. 

9. Fries 

French Fries

Who doesn’t like fries? Although I prefer eating fries on their own, I also advocate for combining them with tamales. You will love to eat these two dishes together at a dinner with your friends or family but also as you enjoy your favorite TV show. It’s also great comfort food.

10. Risotto


Risotto is a complex dish by itself as it combines rice with mushrooms and different veggies. But it is easy to make and you can even find risotto mixes on the market at low prices. If you’re not a big fan of plain rice, you can use risotto as a side dish for tamales with no problem. 

Also Check: What to Serve with Pierogies

11. Wedges 


Wedges go great with a lot of dishes including tamales. You can add some parmesan cheese to your wedges in order to enhance the flavor or even some sauces. Plus, wedges and tamales will also look great together on the plate so your guests will be impressed.

12. Roast peppers

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

You definitely have to try roast peppers. Roast them, peel them off and add garlic topping along with salt and pepper. If you’re not in the mood for cooking, store-bought roast peppers will do the trick. Add some lemon to your roast peppers for extra flavor. 

13. Eggplant salad


Eggplant salad is a common dish that goes great with tamales. You can roast the eggplants and peel them off their skin in the same way you would roast peppers.

Chop them in a fine texture and add some oil, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. They will turn into a spread that you can dip your tamales in and enjoy a fast snack or a tasty meal. 

14. Different spreads


Speaking of dipping tamales in different toppings or spreads, you can go for whatever you feel like it. Cheese spreads or any sauce that has mayonnaise, mustard, yogurt, or dressings could be a great side dish for your tamales. Choose whatever you like most and just go with it.

15. Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs

The last but definitely not the least option are scrambled eggs. You can add veggies to them or even create a spicy omelet. Have your eggs as a side dish with your tamale and you will not feel the need for any bread or even sauce as this is a delicious combination all by itself. Add peppers and onion to your eggs and you will get a great mix along with your tamales.

Related Questions

What toppings do you put on tamales?

Tamales taste great by themselves but they can taste even better with the right toppings. And adding the toppings is not difficult at all. You can go for marinated onions, sour cream, cilantro, lime, or any other taste you prefer. 

Toppings and sauces based on cheese tend to be popular as well. You can either prepare them yourself or you can buy them already made from your local store. Either way, go for the flavors you love because tamales can easily taste great with any type of toppings.  

How do you serve and eat tamales?

Tamales are a Mexican dish. They can easily be a main dish as well as a side dish. They consist of corn wrapping that is filled with different vegetables, meat, beans, and different sauces. You can eat them on the go as well as at the dinner table along with your family. 

Tamales can be served with a side dish along with a topping of your choice. But they can also be enjoyed plain as they are super tasty. Some come wrapped in a banana leaf or a corn husk. They make for great on-the-go food.

Are tamales the main dish?

Tamales can be the main dish as they are consistent enough but they taste much better with a topping and a side dish.

If you make your tamales at home and you want to serve them as a main dish, you might want to shape them into generous sizes. Adding meat will also make them better so that they can be enough by themselves. 

When served as a main dish, tamales are often taken on the go. They are a nicely wrapped meal that is popular among street food types in many places of the world. 

Let’s Have Some Tamales

If you are a fan of tamales, know that there are plenty of ways to eat them and serve them. Take into account your personal preferences before you decide on the best way to enjoy this Mexican dish. You will love the way they taste by themselves or as a part of a more complex meal.

Whatever you choose to serve with your tamales, make sure everything is cooked fresh. What’s your favorite tamale combination? Share your cooking tips and tricks in the comments.

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