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31 Outstanding Tamales Sides That Would Complement Your Meal

Some mouthwatering Tamales sides you can serve are Mexican rice, ranchero sauce, instant pot potato soup, instant pot paleo chili, cilantro lime crema, corn chowder, etc. 

Mexican tamales are corn-based dough steamed in banana leaves or corn husks. Its versatility allows it to pair with almost anything. 

In addition, you can add any fillings to your tamales, from savory to sweet. Still wondering what to serve with tamales? The following recipes will turn your meals into divine tamale feasts. 

Quick Table: Tamales Sides To Make You Meal Healthy And Filling

RecipesCalories Per ServingPreparation Time
Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac And Cheese378 5 Minutes
Tortilla Chips465 15 Minutes
Refried Beans134 10 Minutes
Corn Chowder99 15 Minutes
Curtido4660 Minutes
Cilantro Lime Rice106 5 Minutes
Cilantro Lime Crema41 5 Minutes
Feta-Stuffed Peppers2225 Minutes
Caesar Salad44 10 Minutes
Mexican Corn172 15 Minutes
Mexican Rice1605 Minutes
Grilled Vegetable Skewers11915 Minutes
Vietnamese Dressing And Dipping Sauce53 10 Minutes
Avocado Salad18010 Minutes
Black Beans291 15 Minutes
Greek Salad Dressing125 5 Minutes
Pinto Beans167 15 Minutes
Ranchero Sauce31 5 Minutes
Jicama Slaw187 20 Minutes
Greek Cobb Salad514 25 Minutes
Guacamole Salad206 15 Minutes
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup218 15 Minutes
Instant Pot Chicken Noddle Soup379 15 Minutes
Avocado Soup18010 Minutes
Instant Pot Lentil Curry315 10 Minutes
Instant Pot Potato Soup351 10 Minutes
Double Chili Sauce16 10 Minutes
Instant Pot French Onion Soup328 10 Minutes
Horchata170 20 Minutes
Instant Pot Carrot Soup With Ginger215 25 Minutes
Instant Pot Paleo Chili25620 Minutes

1. Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac And Cheese

Do you want your tamales to have that extra creamy and ultra-cheesy touch? Serving it with instant pot cauliflower mac and cheese will give you exactly that. 

People love this recipe because it is simple and won’t take much time making it. 

When making this dish, the cheese you use will determine how flavorful your instant pot cauliflower mac and cheese will be. 

It would be best to go for cheese with many flavors and one super gooey, like sharp white cheddar. Add chopped sauteed sausages and fresh tomatoes if you want more flavor variation. 

Calories Per Serving: 378

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

2. Tortilla Chips

Try tortilla chips if you want a dish that will satisfy your hunger for a snack by hitting all the necessary flavor and texture notes. 

The pairing of these delicious tortilla chips and tamales is divine. They are yummy and super crunchy, so you will not have enough of them once you taste them. 

It would be best to serve your tamales with homemade seasoned tortilla chips instead of store-bought ones since they lack artificial ingredients and are oven baked. 

You can enjoy tortilla chips and tamales with cheesy sauce or green pea guacamole. 

Calories Per Serving: 465

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

3. Refried Beans

You can be sure that instant pot refried beans will take the deliciousness of your tamales to another level. 

The secret to making these beans is not to pre-soak them. Instead, it would be best to let the pressure cooker do its job. 

In addition, if you want the best-refried beans, it would be best to use dry pinto beans instead of canned ones since they have superior texture and flavor. 

For more flavor, you can add bay leaves, onion, cumin, jalapeno, and cayenne. There is no limitation to what spices you can add. 

Feel free to add any seasoning of your liking to take the spices level to your desired level. You will enjoy these refried beans more when served as a side dish to your tamales. 

Calories Per Serving: 134

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

4. Corn Chowder

There is no better way to enjoy your summer than having this delicacy with tamales. This delicious corn chowder contains onions, bacon, and red potatoes. 

Luckily preparing this dish is upper easy and fast. It would be best to use fresh yellow corn instead of frozen ones as it adds more flavor. 

If you want your corn chowder to have a lovely thickness, you will add beurre manie. 

To prepare this dish, you will need diced bacon, minced garlic, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, yellow corn, yellow onion, water, dried thyme, chopped chives, black pepper, Yukon gold potatoes, paprika, and heavy cream. 

Calories Per Serving: 99

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

5. Curtido

If you want to elevate the deliciousness of your tamales, there is no better way to do so than serving them with yummy curtido. 

It is a fresh, crunchy dish you will likely get addicted to, especially when paired with tamales. This dish combines carrots, jalapenos, green cabbage, salt, yellow onion, and oregano. 

To develop your Curtido’s flavor and complexity, ensure you refrigerate it and submerge it under the brine. If you want the dish to stay for more months, ensure you cover the container with cheesecloth.

Calories Per Serving: 46

Preparation Time: 60 Minutes

RELATED: 15 Stunning Mexican Ground Beef Recipes

6. Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is a complementary side dish that is super delicious when you serve it with tamales. 

Once you taste it, you will be amazed by its deliciousness. Even though it is incredibly delicious, it is still simple to make. You will not even need any special cooking skills. 

The dish combines cilantro, lime juice, and zest to make it fresh and flavorful. If there are any leftovers, you can put them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge to last for three days. 

It would be best to use fresh lime juice as it lacks preservatives. 

Calories Per Serving: 106

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

7. Cilantro Lime Cream

If you want the perfect dip for your tamales, Mexican cilantro lime crema should be at the top of your list. It is the best alternative to sour cream. 

This dip’s zesty and authentic flavor will add noticeable deliciousness to your tamales. The typical base for this dip is heavy cream and buttermilk. 

Then, you will make it by blending cilantro, lime, mayonnaise, and sour cream

If you want your cilantro lime crema to be more flavorful, ensure you allow it to sit longer in the fridge before serving. Instead of using heavy milk and buttermilk as your base, you can change it to mayonnaise or avocado base. 

Calories Per Serving: 41

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

8. Feta-Stuffed Peppers

Feta-stuffed peppers are a delicious snack that will go perfectly with your tamales. It will give your tamales a creamy, spicy taste that you want to have every time you go for a weekend out. 

You will buy colorful mini peppers and stuff them with garlic powder, cream cheese, dill, and feta cheese

It is super easy to make this dish making it the perfect dish to prepare when you have little time in hand

It would be best to serve the feta-stuffed peppers fresh alongside tamales and accompany them with a glass of wine. If you want your feta-stuffed cheese to have more deliciousness and texture, do not use fat-free feta. 

Calories Per Serving: 222

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

9. Caesar Salad

Are you bored with the traditional Caesar salad? Say hello to this modern, delicious egg-free Caesar salad that will add delight to any of your dishes. This Mexican-style Caesar salad has no eggs or anchovies like the traditional Caesar salad. 

Unlike the traditional Caesar salad, you do not need a blender to make this recipe’s dressing. Instead, whisk lemon, minced garlic, mustard, vinegar, and Worcestershire in a large bowl until well-blended. 

Afterward, add parmesan cheese, mayo, and olive oil to the mixture and whisk again. If you want your Caesar salad to be hearty and more flavorful, add grilled chicken chunks, bacon, tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs.

Calories Per Serving: 44

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

10. Mexican Corn

To make the best Mexican corn, you will need a reliable grill. People love to have this dish with tamales since it is easy to make and delicious. 

You will put on medium heat and grill the corn. Ensure you keep turning the corns on each side until they are golden from all sides.  

Once your corn is ready, combine mayonnaise with chopped cilantro, chili powder, and grated cotija cheese, and top on your warm corn.

No one can resist the perfect combo of mayo and cotija cheese with sweet corn flavor. If you want to mimic the Mexican street-food eating style, serve your Mexican corn on a stick, and enjoy it with your tamales. 

Calories Per Serving: 172

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

RELATED: 21 Easy Mexican Desserts For Cinco De Mayo That You Can Serve On Any Party

11. Mexican Rice

What better pairing for your Mexican tamales than Mexican rice? The best part is that Mexican rice is straightforward to make, budget-friendly, and incredibly delicious. 

For this recipe, you will need pepper, white rice, salt, garlic, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and onion. 

You will start by stirring garlic and onion in the vegetable oil and then add chicken broth and white rice. You will bring the mixture to a boil and cover the Mexican rice with enough tomato sauce

Let the rice simmer for twenty or twenty-five minutes, and test your rice to know if it has cooked. 

Calories Per Serving: 160

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

12. Grilled Vegetable Skewers

It does not matter whether you are having a party or game day feast. The combination of grilled veggie skew and tamales is the perfect appetizer. 

You can be sure that your guest will remain satisfied until you bring the main dish. 

To save time, you can make the skewer ahead of time so that what you will remain to do on the day of serving is grilling. 

Grilled vegetable skewers do not require a lot of seasoning. Salt and pepper are enough seasonings, but you can experiment with any other spice. 

The veggies you can use for grilling on skewers are mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, onions, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes. 

Calories Per Serving: 119

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

13. Vietnamese Dressing And Dipping Sauce

What better way to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine than having delicious Nuoc mam cham with tamales? Vietnamese dressing and dipping sauce contain sugar as sweetener, rice vinegar, and fish sauce. 

You can be sure that this dipping sauce will give your tamales a dazzlingly delicious flavor bomb. 

If you want a slight acidity to your sauce, you can add lime to your Nuoc mam cham.

In addition, adding onion and grated carrot will give your Vietnamese dressing and dipping sauce an alluring appearance that you will not resist. 

Calories Per Serving: 53

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

14. Avocado Salad

When making an avocado salad, it would be best to use fresh ingredients and make it in the Mexican way. You can be sure that your tamales will go perfectly with this Mexican-style avocado salad. 

For this recipe, you will need red onions, chopped cilantro, balsamic vinegar, cucumbers, salt, cherry tomatoes (red and yellow), and olive oil. 

If you want added freshness to your salad, replace balsamic vinegar with lemon juice. If you want the best avocado salad, ensure that avocado is the ingredient you have used the most than any other. 

Calories Per Serving: 180

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

15. Black Beans

People love black beans due to their deliciousness and versatility. Its versatility makes it a perfect pairing for your tamales. 

You can buy premade black beans, but it would be best to prepare them yourself to avoid any preservatives in your beans. 

However, making black beans might take much of your time as it requires time to cook, but it is worth it. The good thing is that it is simple to prepare. 

It would be best first to soak your black beans overnight and, in the morning, rinse them, put them in an instant pot, and boil them. 

With the pot covered, you will reduce the heat and let the beans cook for about an hour. Then, add pepper, garlic, chili powder, salt, cumin, olive oil, and coriander for more flavor. In addition, top it up with parsley for freshness.

Calories Per Serving: 291

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

RELATED: 17 Traditional Mexican Drinks

16. Greek Salad Dressing

What better way to enjoy tamales than sprinkling them with the delicious Greek salad dressing? Making Greek salad dressing requires no cooking skills, which is more economical than buying from the store. 

The ingredients you will use to make this recipe are red wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil, dried herbs, and sugar. 

If your Greek salad dressing solidifies after chilling it, place it on the counter for 10 minutes and shake it before use. 

It would be best to use dry herbs instead of fresh ones since they have more flavor and won’t go bad as fast as fresh herbs. 

Calories Per Serving: 125

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

17. Pinto Beans

You can serve pinto beans as a main dish or as a side dish for tamales. The best part about this dish is that it is suitable for people on vegan, dairy-free, or gluten-free diets

It would be best to soak your beans overnight to make them softer and more delicious. To add more flavor to your beans, add green chili, onions, chipotle pepper, salt, diced tomatoes, cumin, and garlic. 

You will start by sauteing your onions and garlic, and then add your beans and the other ingredients to have a rich flavor. 

The time it will take for your beans to be ready depends on your cooking method, the bean’s quality, and soaking time. 

Calories Per Serving: 167

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

18. Ranchero Sauce

The famous ranchero sauce has the purest Mexican aroma. It comprises components that are typical of Mexican cooking and makes a great dipping sauce for your tamales

Some of the ingredients you will use are onions, jalapenos, herbs, tomatoes, and a Mexican mix of chili powders. Ranchero sauce is available in jars in Mexican stores, or you can have a homemade version.

If you want to make your ranchero sauce, you will need Mexican seasonings like ancho, chipotle powders, and guajillo, and combine them with oregano, cayenne, salt, cumin, and pepper. 

First, you will cook your onions and jalapeno peppers in olive oil, then add garlic, chicken stock, and chopped tomatoes.

Cook everything until you achieve the desired sauce consistency. Finally, you will add cilantro and your spice mixture. 

Calories Per Serving: 31

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

19. Jicama Slaw

Try jicama slaw if you want the most straightforward and healthiest side dish to enjoy with your tamales. 

Jicama slaw is a vegan salad that contains thin-sliced veggies and has an incredibly delicious taste. In addition, it will not take much time to prepare this dish.

If you want your dish to be more flavorful, add salt, chili powder, canola oil, pepper, rice vinegar, chopped cilantro leaves, lemon juice, and honey. 

What better way to enjoy your picnic with your lovely wife than having this delicious jicama slaw with your tamales and accompanied by a glass of wine?

Calories Per Serving: 187

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

20. Greek Cobb Salad

If you haven’t tried Greek cobb salad, make sure you do. 

It brings a lot to one place delivering a joyful trancelike glow that will be memorable to anyone who has experienced it. Greek cobb salad and tamales are a pair made in heaven that you should try. 

Greek cobb salad will comfort your taste buds and have many health benefits.

To make this delicacy, you will need romaine lettuce, roasted red bell peppers, avocado, marinated chickpeas, cucumbers, red onion, kalamata olives, Greek-marinated chicken breast, tomato, hard-boiled egg, fresh parsley, marinated artichoke hearts, and feta cheese. 

Calories Per Serving: 514

Preparation Time: 25 Minutes

RELATED: Make Your Own Restaurant-Worthy Mexican Rice With This Recipe

21. Guacamole Salad

The traditional pairing that most people would eat daily is tamales and avocado. Making guacamole sauce is quick and easy. 

This recipe’s traditional ingredients include salt, lime juice, Onions, ripe avocados, cilantro, and serrano pepper. 

Before chopping the onions, it would be best to immerse them in hot water. It will milden their flavor and make the avocado flavor more prominent.

When I create guacamole sauce for tamales, I add a small number of chopped tomatoes and cumin to make it juicier. 

Additionally, it would be best not to blend the avocados for guacamole too thoroughly. Leaving small chunks will add a sharp texture.

Calories Per Serving: 206

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

22. Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

This warm, cozy, comforting, delicious side dish will become your favorite if you like vegan dishes. Pairing this delicacy with your delightful tamales will result in a sublime flavorful weekend treat. 

In addition, you will love broccoli cheese soup since it is simple to prepare and provide many health benefits. 

For this recipe, you will need broccoli, carrots, milk, sharp cheddar cheese, cauliflower, spicy brown mustard, and parmesan. 

When the broccoli cheese soup becomes too hot, it can get grainy, making the cheese clump and separate. To avoid this, ensure you puree your broccoli cheese soup further. 

Calories Per Serving: 218

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

23. Instant Pot Chicken Noddle Soup

If you want a side dish for your tamales that won’t require much from you, instant pot chicken noodle soup is the best to make. 

What you will love about this dish is its simple and fast preparation. You can be sure that this delicacy will give you comfort and keep your momentum going when you pair it with tamales. 

It is the perfect way to start your day. What sets this instant pot chicken noodle soup apart from the others is the addition of thyme and bay leaves. 

Also, it would be best to use bone-in chicken since it helps to make the broth more flavorful. This recipe will need chicken, chicken broth, mirepoix, egg noodles, and seasonings. 

Calories Per Serving: 379

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

24. Avocado Soup

Have you ever imagined enjoying your tamales with avocado soup?

If you haven’t, you can be sure that this delectable and creamy dish will perfectly compliment your tamales and delight your family with its deliciousness. Luckily it is simple and fast to prepare.

If you want to enjoy your tamales with this mouth-watering avocado soup, ensure you refrigerate the avocado soup for two hours before you serve it.

In addition, if you want a creamy texture, blend your ripe tomatoes and chicken broth in a blender.  

Calories Per Serving: 180

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

25. Instant Pot Lentil Curry

This dish is inexpensive, super delicious, and the perfect pair for your tamales. It gives your tamales a creamier texture and elevates their deliciousness. 

The good thing is that you will not have difficulty preparing it since it is simple and fast. 

The fresh ingredients like garlic and ginger and the captivating Indian spices like curry powder and turmeric make every bite of this dish lively and rich. 

Preparing this delicacy in an instant pot would be best since it will make your lentil curry creamy and still have enough texture not to taste mushy. 

Calories Per Serving: 315 

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

RELATED: ​​The 27 Best Mexican Recipes

26. Instant Pot Potato Soup

The best option is instant pot potato soup if you want something creamy, velvety, rich, and cheesy to pair with your tamales.

 You will be amazed at how indulgent it tastes yet lacks the heavy creamy. This dish gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt, potatoes, and cauliflower. 

To prepare this delicacy, you will need Yukon gold potatoes, onion, Greek yogurt, garlic, chicken bouillon, cheese, and cauliflower. 

If you want your potato soup to be soft and crunchy, top it up with croutons. If you are on a low-carb diet, you do not need to worry since the soup is low on carbs due to the addition of cauliflower. 

Calories Per Serving: 351

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

27. Double Chili Sauce

If you enjoy spicy sauces, try the double chili sauce. Onion and garlic should first be cooked in vegetable oil in a saucepan when making this sauce. 

After processing the cooked garlic and onion, add chicken broth, tomatoes, and soaked chili peppers to the mixture. The ingredients should get processed until they are smooth. 

Next, reheat the vegetable oil and add the masa harina. Even though masa harina could be challenging to find, you can still use other substitutes. For example, you can use cornstarch or cornmeal.

After cooking it for one minute on medium heat, you will add the mixture to the blender. After stirring everything and then cooking them for five minutes on low heat, now add your spices. 

You can use cumin, honey, salt, oregano, cloves, and cinnamon. If you want to thin your sauce’s structure, add chicken broth.

Calories Per Serving: 16

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

28. Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant pot French onion soup is your go-to dish if you want a healthy way to enjoy your tamales

Unlike many other recipes, making instant pot French onion soup is less labor intensive, simple, and fast. If you want the best instant pot French onion soup, ensure you slow caramelize your onions to sweet perfection. 

The ingredients you will need to make this delicious dish are onion, thyme, butter, bay leaves, beef bone broth, garlic, red wine, gruyere, beef stock, and baguette. 

If there are any leftovers, you can store them in the fridge to last for three days. However, ensure you do not store your soup with cheese in it. 

Calories Per Serving: 328

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

29. Horchata

Horchata is not a side dish but a Mexican drink you should try with tamales. It is enjoyable and straightforward to make and pairs well with tamales. 

The Mexican version of horchata involves ingredients like milk, vanilla extract, rice, cinnamon, sugar, almonds, and evaporated milk. 

If you want a more robust flavor, it would be best to use cinnamon sticks instead of cinnamon powder. 

Rice, cinnamon, and almonds must also get soaked in water overnight. In the morning, or when you intend to serve your horchata, you will strain the water, combine all other ingredients, and blend them to make the drink. 

If you want a smoother drink, ensure you use a filter when straining the drink. 

Calories Per Serving: 170

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

30. Instant Pot Carrot Soup With Ginger

Is there any better way to enjoy your delicious crunchy tamales than with this yummy instant pot carrot soup with ginger? 

This super delightful soup is warm yet without being too spicy. In addition, it has a refreshing citrus touch. 

To prepare this delicacy, you will need carrots, fresh orange juice, cashew, cauliflower, turmeric, almond milk, cumin, and fresh ginger. 

If you want to have a dream night date with your lovely wife, serve this delicious soup with tamales alongside a hearty salad. 

Calories Per Serving: 215

Preparation Time: 25 Minutes

RELATED: ​​Delicious Mexican Bread Recipes To Taste Best

31. Instant Pot Paleo Chili

If you want a hearty and warm taste in your tamales, there is no better way to do so than dipping them in this thick healthy, instantly paleo chili. 

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is to make it. In addition, the ingredients required are easily accessible and affordable. 

Adding cinnamon to this dish will give it extra warmth without overpowering the chili flavor. If you want to go vegan, add sauteed cauliflower, pumpkin, and bell peppers. 

You can top it up for more taste with avocado and fresh cilantro. You can be sure that you will not regret pairing your tamales with this incredibly delicious instant pot paleo chili. 

Calories Per Serving: 256

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Tamales?

Tamales are a traditional Mexican comfort dish prepared from masa or corn dough.

 However, unlike traditional tamales, which were only cooked with masa, modern tamales, go one step further by adding cheese, meats, veggies, chili, and even fruit. 

Then, the tamales get steamed in banana leaves or corn husks.

Is It Hard To Prepare The Tamales Sides?

It all depends on what you are preparing to serve with your tamales. 

However, tamales’ side dishes require less effort and time. 

You can make simple recipes like double chili sauce, refried beans, Caesar salad, cilantro lime rice, etc.

Are Tamales Healthy?

Yes, they are. How healthy your tamales are will depend on what fillings you put in. If you are vegan, you can add more veggies. 

In addition, what you serve with tamales also determines how healthy your tamales will be. 

Some healthy side dishes you can have with tamales are refried beans, instant pot potato soup, guacamole salad, instant pot chicken noodle soup, etc.

31 Outstanding Tamales Sides That Would Complement You Meal

Tamales are a delicious Mexican dish, and they’re even better with some delicious sides. Check out our recipes for the perfect tamale meal.


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Jess Smith