Looking for what to serve with tamales? Choosing the right side dishes is essential to create a well-rounded and flavorful meal. Browse over our authentic recipes!

Whether you’re hosting a gathering or enjoying a cozy family dinner, discovering the perfect side dishes for tamales will make it a whole lot better!

So, this is the ultimate guide on how to serve tamales. From savory tamales verdes de pollo to sweet corn tamales, we hope our recipe collection gets you inspired!

Tamales served with pico de gallo, pickled onions, and salsa.

Classic Side Dishes For Tamales

Classic sides like guacamole and pico de gallo are essential in bringing out the best flavors of tamales, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.

Black beans and rice are also a classic and popular choice when it comes to traditional ways of serving this Mexican treat but there are a lot more options!

Refried Beans

Refried beans is a traditional Mexican dish usually prepared to accompany many of the most popular dishes, including tamales.
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Frijoles refritos recipe.

Arroz Rojo

If you're looking for a budget-friendly Mexican side dish, Arroz Rojo is your answer. It is fluffy, loaded, and flavorful so you will really enjoy it.
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Mexican red rice recipe.

Frijoles Puercos

Frijoles Puercos is made with refried beans, chorizo, cheese, and chilies. It is a creamy and flavorful dish!
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Authentic Frijoles Puercos Recipe.

Arroz Verde

Mexican green rice is one of our favorites because it is delicious, fragrant, and also budget-friendly and very easy to prepare. It is made with poblano peppers and cilantro.
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Mexican green rice recipe.

Rajas con Crema

Rajas con Crema is made of roasted poblano peppers, corn, and onions, resulting in a smoky, slightly spicy, and creamy side dish.
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Rajas Con Crema Recipe.

What Soup To Serve With Tamales

Wondering what to eat with tamales besides rice and beans? A soup! Soups are a perfect match for tamales because they bring comfort and complement the meal.

Classic soups like Sopa de Conchas pair well with the hearty texture of tamales, creating a satisfying combination.

Sopa de Fideo

Mexican fideo soup is a staple in Mexican households. A delicious and comforting soup made with thin spaghetti and tomato broth.
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sopa de fideo

Sopa de Verduras

If you're looking for a light soup to serve with tamales, Sopa de Verduras is the best option. It is hearty, delicious, and easy to make at home.
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Sopa de verduras recipe.

Sopa de conchas

Sopa de conchas (shell soup) is a classic Mexican soup made with pasta and tomato sauce. Often served just with lime juice for freshness.
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Sopa de Frijoles

This flavorful Mexican bean soup, featuring pinto beans, tomatoes, spices, and chipotle peppers, will surely complete your meal.
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Mexican bean soup Sopa de Frijoles.

What Salad Goes Well With Tamales

If you’re wondering what salad goes well with tamales, keep on scrolling! Salads are a delicious sides and perfect complements as they offer a refreshing and crisp contrast.

They add a lighter element to the meal, with fresh vegetables and tangy dressings that enhance the overall dining experience.

Ensalada de Coditos

Ensalada de Coditos (Mexican Macaroni Salad) is a versatile dish that is vibrant and provides a creamy contrast to your dishes. Add some chicken for a fulfilling side!
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Ensalada de coditos recipe step by step.

Mexican Cabbage Salad

This super fresh Mexican Cabbage Salad is perfect for topping tacos, tamales, and quesadillas. It stays crispy even after hours of making it plus it's healthy.
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Mexican cabbage salad recipe.

Ensalada de Nopales

Ensalada de Nopales is made with pickled Mexican cactus, it offers a tangy flavor and a chunky texture. Serve this salad if you're looking for a vegan and gluten-free option.
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Ensalada de nopales recipe.

Mexican Pickled Onions

Mexican Pickled Onions have a tangy and zesty flavor that adds a vibrant and refreshing taste to many dishes.
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Mexican pickled onions recipe.

What Sauce To Eat With Tamales

Should tamales be served with a sauce? Yes! tamales are often served with a sauce or salsa to enhance their flavor and provide moisture.

Whether it is Salsa Roja or Salsa Verde, having any salsa with tamales will surely elevate your overall taste experience as it offers a variety of flavors and textures from Mexican cuisine.

Guajillo Sauce

Guajillo sauce is not just for flavoring your tamales dough, it can also be served along with tamales. It is easy to make and the mild spicy flavor will surely add that delicious touch to your tamales.
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Easy Guajillo Sauce Recipe.

Creamy Poblano Sauce

This Poblano sauce is creamy, herbaceous, and with a hint of smoky taste thanks to the roasted poblanos.
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Creamy poblano sauce recipe.

Tomatillo Red Chili Salsa

Tomatillo Red Chili Sauce is made with green tomatillos and red chilies. The tangy and spicy flavors really complement and make a good combination for many Mexican foods.
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Roasted tomatillo red chili salsa recipe.

Salsa de Cacahuate

Also known as Mexican Peanut Chili sauce, this salsa is made of peanuts, chile de arbol, and garlic.
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Salsa de cacahuates recipe.

Best Drinks To Serve With Tamales

Mexican drinks go well with tamales because it enhances their flavors, provide balance, and add a refreshing touch to the meal.

In Mexico, the best pairing for traditional tamales is atole, but other drinks can be a good pairing as well. My personal favorite combination is Pork Tamales and Atole de Pinole.


Champurrado and tamales are one of the best combos to start your day, they are usually sold in the same street stalls.
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Champurrado recipe.

Atole de Elote

Atole de Elote is made with corn, milk, cinnamon, and piloncillo. It is the perfect complement to tamales.
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Atole de elote recipe.

Atole de Maizena

Atole de Maizena is a creamy, sweet, and easy to make drink that is perfect for cold weather. It is usually served with tamales for breakfast.
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Atole de Maizena recipe.

Atole de Fresas

Atole de Fresas is made with fresh strawberries, milk, and cornstarch. Its sweet and fruity flavor provides a refreshing contrast to many Mexican dishes.
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Strawberry Atole de Fresas Recipe.

Café De Olla

Café de Olla and tamales are deeply rooted in Mexican culinary traditions. They are both commonly enjoyed during breakfast or brunch and are a popular combination during festive occasions or family gatherings.
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Mexican café de olla recipe.

Agua de Avena

Agua de Avena is a refreshing yet lightly sweet drink made with oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
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Agua de avena recipe

Agua de Fresa

Agua de Fresa is a versatile drink made of strawberries, milk, and sugar. It is a family favorite, especially during hot days.
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Agua de Fresa Recipe.

Licuado de Fresa

Licuado de Fresa is a strawberry smoothie with a hint of cinnamon, it is a refreshing and easy to make Mexican drink that you can enjoy for breakfast or as a snack.
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Licuado de Fresa recipe.


What is a traditional tamale dinner?

A traditional tamale dinner typically consists of various components centered around tamales like salsas & sauces, beans, and typical beverages such as champurrado and coffee.

Are tamales a full meal?

In Mexico, tamales are usually a full meal such as breakfast or dinner, and they’re typically served only with hot drinks like café de olla, atole, or champurrado.

What To Serve With Tamales At A Party?

Wondering what to serve with tamales at a party or gathering? My recommendation is to keep it simple with just a few delicious side dishes.
Make your favorite atole or classic champurrado, keep it in a slow cooker pot so it will be always warm, then make a few salsas and place them in various bowls so it will be easier for your guests to serve. A bowl with Mexican crema (or sour cream), tortilla chips, and salsa are also good options.

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One Comment

  1. This guide is a real game-changer! It made my tamale nights so much better. From savory tamales verdes to sweet corn tamales, this collection inspired me and made my meals complete. Simple, authentic, and absolutely delicious!