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What to Serve with Tamales? 7 BEST Side Dishes

If you have never eaten a tamale, you are in for a treat.

Tamales are very popular in Central America and Mexico, but most people will have ideas on what makes a good tamale.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no one correct recipe.

A traditional Spanish dish brought with the explorers to South America, tamales are now found throughout Latin America in different forms, with different accompaniments.

A traditional tamale is made of cornmeal or masa harina, mixed with lard and baking powder to create a doughy consistency.

The dough is then wrapped around a filling using corn husks to form the traditional triangular shape.

The filling is usually meat, but you can put anything into a tamale.

Other possible fillings include chicken, cheese, or even vegetables like spinach and sweet potato.

Tamales are then steamed for about an hour to create the perfect consistency.

They’re enjoyed all year round, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

If you’re looking for some delicious side dishes to serve with tamales, look no further.

I’ve gathered 7 of the best recipes for you to try.

What to Serve with Tamales? 7 BEST Side Dishes

what to serve with tamales best side dishes

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that’s enjoyed all over America.

They’re made from dried maize dough, which gets wrapped into an unleavened flatbread before being cooked in hot sand until golden brown and fluffy on top with delicious meats such as chicken or steak inside.

They are a favorite among many people, especially during holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving.

However, it’s common to find this dish accompanied by side dishes such as rice, beans, green sauce, sour cream, etc, which are meant to make the flavor of the tamale more balanced.

Some people even consider that these side dishes are the real treat gained from eating a delicious tamale.

So here are the best side dishes to serve with tamales.

1 – Refried Beans

refried beans

Refried beans are a popular side dish for many different types of cuisines.

In this case, they go especially well with Mexican food.

They have a smooth texture and a creamy flavor that pairs perfectly with the spicy flavors in the main course.

These beans also make a great base for other flavors – you can add chilies or spices for an extra kick.

They’re also great with vegetables, so if you want to make them healthy, feel free to add veggies like onions or garlic.

You can make a mild batch of refried beans with tomatillos instead if you don’t like spicy food.

Give this dish a try, and feel free to experiment with the flavorings.

2 – Cheesy Guacamole Dip

cheesy guacamole dip

Cheese is always delicious.

Why not introduce it into that classic avocado dip? This cheesy guacamole is the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican-style dish.

This guacamole dip is best served with tortilla chips, but it can also be used as a condiment for your tamales.

It’s especially great with seafood dishes like fish tacos or shrimp quesadillas.

Try adding this cheesy guacamole to quesadillas or burritos for some delicious (and easy) snack ideas.

You can also add it to a sandwich for a spicy vegetarian option.

3 – Vegetarian Chorizo

vegetarian chorizo

This simple vegetarian dish is tasty and filling without being too heavy.

It’s made with texturized soy protein, beans, and spices to give it a real meaty flavor.

This flavorful chorizo goes great on sandwiches or served over rice or beans.

This dish is versatile – you can use it however you like.

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, feel free to use milder spices or tone down the heat with less hot sauce.

This meal is quick and easy to make, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights.

Chorizo isn’t just for meat-eaters – try this tasty vegetarian version the next time you’re hosting friends who are vegetarian or vegan.

4 – Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob

spicy grilled corn on the cob

There’s nothing like sweet corn to remind us of summertime.

This delicious grilled corn is buttered, then covered in lime juice and spices to give it a nice spicy flavor.

It’s then garnished with cheese, cilantro, and red pepper.

The tangy lime juice and the spicy heat perfectly complement grilled or charred corn on the cob.

This dish is perfect for summertime cookouts or potlucks.

Try grilling corn on the cob with different spices or flavorings for some more great ideas.

You can also use other cheeses instead of cotija, a Mexican cheese that’s hard and salty.

If you’re watching your sodium intake, feel free to use low-sodium soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce.

5 – Mexican Street Corn

mexican street corn

Corn is a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways.

This delicious Mexican corn recipe combines sweet corn, mayonnaise, lime juice, cotija cheese, and chili powder.

The result is a spicy-sweet side dish that pairs especially well with seafood.

This dish is really easy to make – all you need to do is mix the ingredients, and you’re all set.

You can choose to make it spicier or milder depending on your preferences.

If you want something even more flavorful, try substituting half of the mayonnaise with sour cream.

6 – Guacamole Salad

guacamole salad

You can never go wrong with a classic guacamole recipe.

This dish is chilled and has a nice crunch from the cucumber and carrots.

It’s served over lettuce to make it more filling and then topped with avocado, cilantro, and lime juice for an extra kick of flavor.

This guacamole salad is perfect for summer barbecues or potluck parties.

It’s light and refreshing, making it a nice option compared to heavy vegetable dishes.

It can also be made even healthier by using low-fat sour cream instead of regular sour cream.

Most guacamole dips incorporate tomatoes – if you miss that extra taste of tomato, feel free to add some chopped cherry tomatoes as well.

This dish is also great with tortilla chips or as a side for sandwiches.

7 – Jicama Slaw

jicama slaw

Jicama is a crunchy root vegetable that’s great for salads.

This slaw dish combines jicama with red cabbage, carrots, and parsley.

The dressing consists of mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

This refreshing side dish pairs especially well with spicy meals.

It goes well with fish or chicken tinga, especially if you’re looking for something light for a hot day.

This recipe is really simple to make, so it’s great for no-fuss summer barbecues.

Try adding different types of spices to give the slaw a different flavor.

For example, try using cilantro and a squeeze of lime to give it a Mexican twist.


Tamales are delicious and easy to make.

This dish is perfect for parties, family get-togethers, or potlucks.

You can eat it as a main dish or side item; it will go well with any menu you already have planned.

Try out these seven dishes the next time you want a tasty tamale recipe – your guests will be impressed.

Each dish is unique, adding its taste and experience to the party.

So, whether you’re having a party or just making tamales, these recipes will be the perfect side dishes to take your meal to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to serve tamales for dinner?

There are so many ways to serve tamales for dinner! One of the most popular options is to serve them with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream on the side.

Additionally, you could top your tamales with cheese or vegetables such as peppers and onions. You can also make a delicious tortilla soup to accompany your meal, or even create a vegan version of the dish.

Tamales also pair well with beans, so you could serve some refried or black beans on the side. Finally, for those looking for more of an indulgent option, tamales can be served with butter, honey, and brown sugar.

Why do people eat tamales on Christmas Eve?

Eating tamales on Christmas Eve has been a tradition for generations in many Latin American countries. In Mexico, the holiday is called “Nochebuena” and it is when families get together to share food and celebrate the upcoming holidays.

Tamales are often served at this time because of their festive flavor and cultural significance. They also serve as a reminder of the importance of family, since they require multiple people to prepare them.

Tamales are also believed to bring good luck and abundance for the upcoming year, which is why they are served on Christmas Eve.

What vegetables go well with tamales?

Vegetables that go well with tamales include peppers, onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro.

You can also add some zucchini or squash to the mix for a more robust flavor.

Additionally, serve your tamales with avocado slices or guacamole as an accompaniment.

Finally, adding some fresh lime juice will add a great burst of flavor and bring out all the deliciousness of the tamales.

Yield: 4 Servings

What to Serve with Tamales? 7 BEST Side Dishes

What to Serve with Tamales? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Refried Beans
  • Cheesy Guacamole Dip
  • Vegetarian Chorizo
  • Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob
  • Mexican Street Corn
  • Guacamole Salad
  • Jicama Slaw


  1. Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  2. Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  3. Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  4. Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
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