5 Different Ways to Enjoy Tamales This Holiday Season

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Tamale season is here and what better way to serve them up than a variety of ways. Recently, this Hill Country reporter took in the Tamale Festival held in Houston, TX a few weeks back and I had the delectable pleasure of sampling more than a few tasty and unique tamales from around town.

Tamales are a tradition in many families and there’s sure to be someone’s mom, Abuelita (Grandma) or Tia (Aunt) making them from scratch for family and friends to enjoy. Below are a few samplings of different kinds of tamales you can enjoy this Holiday season or better yet start a tradition of making for your own family. Just when you thought there was only one type of tamale, below are five different and delicious tamales flavors to tempt your palate.

1. Traditional Mexican Tamales


Photo: Sonia Ramirez

Growing up in a Mexican family, tamales were a given each holiday season. The traditional Mexican tamales consisted of either seasoned pork or chicken added to the corn masa and wrapped up in the corn husk and steamed to perfection.

It’s like opening up a gift of delicious and savory meat wrapped in either the thinnest or thickest corn masa. Some are really small which makes for eating a whole dozen by yourself easy, and some are packaged really big that just one with a cup of coffee does the trick.

2. Bean and Cheese Tamales

Bean and Cheese Tamale

Photo: Facebook/La Piña En La Cocina

If you’re looking for a meatless tamale to try you can’t go wrong with bean and cheese tamales. You can choose from black beans to pinto beans any kind is great mixed with your favorite queso fresco (fresh cheese). A great recipe can be followed at La Piña En La Cocina website at These are great with a little sour cream drizzled on top and a side of avocado.

3. Spinach and Cheese Tamales

Spinach Tamales

Photo: Sonia Ramirez

A favorite of this Texas Hill Country reporter is Spinach Tamales. These are great with cheese mixed in and rolled up in the masa and cooked to perfection as the spinach and cheese combine to give you a savory blend of goodness. It’s a healthy alternative to regular tamales. A great recipe can be found at Rockin’ Mama‘s website at Looking for a different take on tamales? Don’t miss out on trying one when you get the chance!

4. International Tamales

Tamales 2

Photo: Sonia Ramirez

Probably this Texas Hill Country reporter’s favorite type of tamales are the ones from Costa Rica. Costa Rican tamales, along with many other tamales made in other countries, come wrapped in a nice little package of banana leaves, and tied with a bow ready for you to unwrap the most delicious type of tamales you’ve tasted.

As you unwrap these delectable tamales, you are in for a treat of a mixture of pork or chicken mixed with a variety of vegetables spread onto the masa and steamed to perfection. Many tamales are wrapped with banana leaves, but these particular ones are a delight with the added vegetables to make them bigger and heartier. Just one with some Abuelita hot chocolate is heaven. My aunt from Costa Rica makes the best, but many countries offer the same delicious traditional tamales from their towns as well.

5. Sweet Tamales

Sweet Tamales

Photo: Facebook/La Campirana

A different take on tamales is the sweet tamales. They’re not your ordinary kind made with chicken or pork, but an alternative of sweet flavorings to kick it up a notch. Sweet tamales can be made with raisins mixed into the masa and sprinkled with cinnamon, or even chocolate chips can be used.  They can come in all types of flavors to tantalize your taste buds. Try a blend of strawberry and banana or pineapple and coconut for breakfast with that cup of Joe. Sure to satisfy any sweet tooth during the holidays. A great recipe can be found at  Cooking Mexican Recipes website at