What to serve with tamales is one of those questions on everyone’s mind as tamales season descends upon us. Here are my favorite things to serve with tamales of all kinds.
You all know how much I love tamales. I’m building a little arsenal of tamales right now with my Authentic Tamales Recipes.
This Chicken Tamales recipe makes only 20 or so tamales so you can learn without it being overwhelming. I’ve served them with pinto beans, yellow rice and a light salad here, but there are so many other choices as well.
Pick and choose from this delicious list of sides, appetizers, beverages and more.
- Recipes for Rice
- Recipes for Salsa
- Recipes for Sauces
- Recipes for Soups
- Recipes for Other Sides
Recipes for Rice
Rice is, of course, a staple in Mexican kitchens. It’s usually not plain white rice, though.
Golden Garlic Rice
I love yellow rice but I’ve been using the Mahatma brand. It already has the flavoring added to it.
With this Golden Garlic Rice recipe from Plant Based On a Budget, I can make yellow rice from scratch. The coloring is from achiote, which I love! Gotta use it sparingly, though, or it overwhelms.
For a more traditional flavored rice, you will usually find more of a red version like this.
This Spanish Rice recipe is flavored with tomatoes and chicken broth. It gets its rich color by sauteeing the dry rice before adding the water.
Or have a browse at all
Recipes for Salsa
Salsa takes many forms in Mexican cuisine. Spicy, not spicy, tomatoes, no tomatoes, even fruit!
Salsa with Charred Tomatoes
If you’re looking for a change from your typical tomato salsa, trying roasting the tomatoes like this.
In Kathy’s Charred Tomato Salsa recipe, you get a nice darker color as well as a sweeter flavor with more depth.
Pico de Gallo Fresh Salsa
Fresh pico de gallo is a popular side dish to many meals.
With this Pico de Gallo recipe, you can make it as spicy or as mild as you like, simply by altering the chile pepper used.
Mango Peach Salsa
For something light and refreshing that screams summer, try this Mango Peach Salsa recipe from Profusion Curry.
The mixture of orange and green also brings an especially beautiful array of colors.
You can also try this Queso Blanco recipe from Krystle of Baking Beauty.
Not only will it be perfect for dipping your tortilla chips, it will also be great for a drizzle over your tamales.
Recipes for Sauces
Sauces, or condiments, can be used for dipping chips. Mainly, they’re used to drizzle over tamales, tacos, tostadas and well, just about anything that you want to add a little zip.
Easy Tomatillo Hot Sauce
From Joss at In the Kitch, you’ll find this Tomatillo Hot Sauce recipe.
It’s a quick and easy recipe that can be easily adjusted for spicy or mild. It’s also a gorgeous green that will brighten up any meal.
Tomatillo Red Chili Sauce
Here’s another tomatillo recipe, but it’s mixed with red chiles instead of green chiles.
You can use any red chiles you like for this Tomatillo Red Chili Sauce recipe. You will change the heat and smokey flavor simply by using different dried peppers.
Recipes for Soups
Soups are a popular alternative and can be made as a side or as the entire meal, if you want. With Chicken Tortilla Soup, the best part is all the garnish!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Anecia of Smarty Pants Kitchen has a recipe for a traditional tomato based Chicken Tortilla Soup.
She doesn’t disappoint with her listed ingredients. Her special secret ingredient is one of my favorites!
Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
My Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe breaks from traditional with a cheesy, creamy base instead of tomato.
Looking at the bowl, it looks almost like a work of art and too pretty to eat. But, eat it, I did. Every drop.
Recipes for Other Sides
There are so many fun recipes that can be used for a tamales dinner. I had a hard time picking only these few.
Tajin Watermelon Salad
Elise from Elise Tries to Cook shares this Tajin Watermelon Mint Salad recipe.
Tajin is a chile lime seasoning that goes hand in hand with watermelon. It makes a light, refreshing side, salad or dessert.
Grilled Street Corn Salad
Even if you don’t have a street corner vendor, you can still get some of those great summer tastes!
Liz from Life Love Liz has a recipe for her own Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad that will be great with tamales or at your next barbecue.
Vanessa from Maple & Mango has a great idea for a side to tamales.
Her recipe for Fajita Veggies is made specifically for the iron skillet. Sauteed, crispy strips of colorful bell pepper and onion. It’s a quick, last minute prep for your next tamales.
Hoppin’ John Black Eyed Peas
Beans are, of course, always a popular choice, but how about something a little different?
Angela’s Hoppin’ John Black Eyed Peas recipe gives you all the comfort while adding something new.
You can also serve this for New Year’s Day to fill that need for the Black Eyed Peas for good luck.
With all that delicious food, you will need something to wash it down. Don’t forget these favorites.
Strawberry Agua Fresca
You’ll need something light and refreshing after all that food.
How about Tamara’s Strawberry and Passionfruit Agua Fresca for a treat. It’s almost a dessert by itself!
Orange Agua Fresca
Elise’s Orange Agua Fresca is a popular choice.
Be sure to remember this one the next time you pick up your favorite oranges. Make enough so you have some to drink with your breakfast in the morning.
Traditional Mexican Horchata
If you’ve never tried Horchata, you’re in for a treat.
This is, by far, my favorite drink. You’ll find a great recipe by Ana of Muy Delish for Mexican Horchata here.
If you don’t save enough room for dessert, have it for breakfast in the morning!
Tres Leches Cake
As far as I’m concerned Tres Leches Cake is the most popular dessert of all time.
Try this Coconut Dairy Free Tres Leches Cake recipe which uses coconut and oat milk substitutes. It’s easy and best served cold from the refrigerator with strawberries and other fresh fruit.
I’m not saying that you have to pick between Mexican Flan and Tres Leches Cake. I’m saying “Make Both!”
Maggie of Mama Maggie’s Kitchen has both a written recipe and a video to help you through all the details of her Mexican Flan.
Let me know how your Tamales dinner turns out!