What to Serve with Tamales

Tamales are a beloved food originating from Mexico. They make for a hearty meal with a rich flavor. Tamales are usually made out of corn dough, but there are many different types of tamales. Modern tamales could have various fillings. These might include meat, cheeses, vegetables, or even fruits.

Most commonly, tamales are filled with pork on the inside. Now, dessert tamales are also made. Whatever type of tamale you prefer, they are delicious on their own, but for group settings, it is probably best to prepare some side dishes. 

There are many options for what to serve with tamales, whether you want something more bland or more flavorful to go with your tamales. Some options include rice with cilantro, eggs and chili, black bean soup, fruit, and corn chowder.

Cilantro Rice

Rice is a staple dish in Mexican cuisine, and makes for a perfect side dish to almost any sort of meal. It is the perfect mix of flavorful and bland that it will satisfy both foodies and the pickiest of eaters. 

For extra flavor in your rice, instead of cooking it with water, try cooking it in a broth. For added spice, try mixing cilantro, chopped onions, and lime juice. Jalapeno and scallions could also be added to the mix.

Black Bean Soup

Not only is black bean soup simple and tasty, but it is also a filling side dish. All it takes to make black bean soup is four basic ingredients: salsa, allspice, chicken broth, and of course, black beans. Sour cream and guacamole can also be added to your black bean soup, and it can double as a dip for tortilla chips.

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Fresh fruit makes for a great snack or appetizer for anything, it is a great addition to any type of meal. So, it only makes sense that fruit would pair well as a side dish for tamales as well. Fruit is hydrating and delicious. Plus, you can add whatever sort of fruit you like. Whether it be melons, strawberries, or orange slices, fruit salads are always a nice touch.

Corn Chowder 

Corn chowder is a buttery and rich side dish. It is basic enough that it goes perfectly with tamales, and you can customize your corn chowder to fit your specific tamale recipe by adding other toppings like vegetables or meats. This might include potatoes, fish, pork, or chicken.

Eggs and Salsa

Adding some toppings to your tamale can be just what it needs. Eggs can be eaten as a side, but fried eggs on top of tamales will take them to the next level. Adding some salsa on top adds even more flavor, and if you prefer foods spicier, try adding some cayenne powder or chili flakes.


Tamales are a classic Latin American dish. They can have virtually any type of filling in them, so it is only fair that they have a wide variety of side dishes that can go with them.