How To Eat Tamales

Tamales are a traditional dish that hailed from Mexico, but have now become popular across the world, especially in the United States.How to eat tamales,we will discuss later, on this savory or sweet dish that is made out of masa, a type of dough that is wrapped around different fillings and steamed in a corn husk.

Tamales are enjoyed for their unique texture, filling flavors, and versatility in how they can be served.

How To Eat Tamales

History and Traditional Preparation

Tamales have been a staple of Mexican cuisine for centuries, first being made by Indigenous Mesoamerican tribes who used them as portable food for hunting or traveling. They are prepared by first soaking dried corn husks in warm water to make them pliable.

The masa dough is then made by grinding corn kernels and mixing it with lard, water, and other seasonings such as salt and chili powder.

A variety of fillings are used to create the flavors of tamales. The most popular fillings include chicken, pork, beef, and cheese, but vegetables and fruits can also be used. The filling is then layered on top of the masa, and the corn husk is rolled up tightly to create the tamale.

The tamales are then steamed for about an hour until the dough is cooked through and has absorbed the flavors of the filling. Tamales can be served with different sauces, like salsa verde, or other Mexican condiments like crema and guacamole.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

While tamales are known for being flavorful and hearty, they also pack a nutritious punch. The masa dough used in tamales is naturally gluten-free and contains fiber and protein, making it a great source of sustained energy.

The fillings, which can vary from cheese to vegetables to meat, also provide essential nutrients like protein and iron.

It is important to note that tamales can be high in calories and fat depending on the filling and how they are prepared. Choosing a filling that is lean or vegetarian can help reduce the calorie count, and steaming them instead of frying can also help make them a healthier choice.

How To Eat Tamales


Common Misconceptions

There are several misconceptions about tamales that need to be cleared up. One of them is the belief that tamales are only eaten during the holiday season or special occasions. While it is true that tamales are often served during religious holidays like Christmas or Dia de Los Muertos, they are also a popular street food and can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Another common misconception is that tamales are too difficult to make at home. While the process may seem daunting, making tamales is a labor of love, and can even become a social event where family and friends come together to prepare them.

Flavors and Accompaniments

Tamales can be filled with a wide range of ingredients, all of which add their own unique flavors to the dish. Some popular filling options include pork al pastor, chicken tinga, cheese and jalapeƱo, and vegan black bean and sweet potato. Additionally, tamales can be sweet or savory, depending on how they are prepared.

To complement the flavors of tamales, it is common to serve them with a variety of sides and condiments. Salsas, guacamole, crema, and pickled onions are all popular toppings, while rice, beans, or a side salad can help round out the meal.

How To Eat Tamales

How to Eat a Tamale

Eating a tamale may seem a bit intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple. First, remove the corn husk from the tamale, then use a fork or your fingers to break off sections of the tamale and enjoy at your leisure.

Some people prefer to eat the entire tamale, including the corn husk, but it is recommended to discard it as it is not meant to be eaten.

It is important to note that tamales can be quite filling, so it is recommended to eat one or two at most, depending on the size and filling. Tamales also freeze well, so they can be stored for later use.

In Conclusion

Tamales have a rich cultural history and are enjoyed by many people across the world. They can be customized with different fillings, and are a nutritious and flavorful dish when prepared correctly.

By understanding the traditional preparation methods, clearing up common misconceptions, and experimenting with flavor combinations, tamales can be enjoyed by all. Next time you pass by a tamale stand, don’t hesitate to try one!


1. What are tamales?

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made from masa (corn dough) and filled with delicious meats, beans, cheese, or vegetables. They are wrapped in corn husks and steamed until cooked through.

2. What is the best way to reheat tamales?

The best way to reheat tamales is to steam them. First, bring water to a boil in a pot or large skillet with a lid. Then, place a steaming basket or metal colander in the pot and add the tamales. Cover with a lid and steam for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

3. How do I know if a tamale is cooked through?

A cooked tamale should be firm to the touch and easily release from the corn husk. You can also insert a toothpick into the center of the tamale. If it comes out clean, the tamale is cooked.

4. What are some traditional toppings for tamales?

Some traditional toppings for tamales include salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and chopped cilantro.

5. Can I freeze tamales?

Yes, tamales can be frozen for up to six months. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in a resealable plastic bag. To reheat, simply thaw in the refrigerator and then steam as usual.

6. How do I eat a tamale?

To eat a tamale, hold it by the corn husk and unwrap it like a present. You can eat the tamale plain or top it with your favorite toppings. Some people also like to remove the corn husk before eating, but this is a matter of personal preference. Enjoy!

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