What To Serve With Tamales: 15 Best Side Dishes


Tamales are a popular and delicious traditional dish from Latin America, particularly Mexico.

They consist of a flavorful filling wrapped in a corn-based dough and steamed in corn husks. While tamales are tasty on their own, the right side dishes can make them even more enjoyable.

In this post, you will find 15 delicious side dishes that pair perfectly with tamales.


Looking for a quick answer?

The best side dishes to serve with tamales are refried beans, Mexican rice, salsa, chicken burrito bowl, tostadas, guacamole, tortilla soup, pico de gallo, Mexican street corn, cabbage slaw, queso fresco and pickled jalapeños, and black bean and corn salad.

Let's get started!

1. Refried Beans

Refried Beans

A classic Mexican side dish, refried beans are creamy, flavorful, and hearty. They complement the taste and texture of tamales, making them an excellent addition to your meal.

2. Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

Light and fluffy Mexican rice, seasoned with tomatoes and spices, is a great side dish to serve with tamales. The rice absorbs any excess sauce from the tamales and provides a satisfying, filling element to the meal.

3. Guacamole

Creamy, fresh guacamole adds a cool and refreshing touch to your tamales. The avocado's rich texture contrasts nicely with the hearty tamales, and the bright flavors help to enhance the overall taste of the meal.

4. Chicken Burrito Bowl

Chicken Burrito Bowl

A chicken burrito bowl, filled with seasoned chicken, rice, beans, and your choice of toppings, can be a complementary side dish for tamales. The various flavors and textures in the burrito bowl create a satisfying and filling addition to the meal.

5. Tostadas

Crunchy tostadas topped with refried beans, cheese, and your choice of toppings make for a tasty side dish that pairs well with tamales. The crispy texture of the tostadas contrasts nicely with the soft and tender tamales.

6. Pico De Gallo

This fresh and tangy salsa, made with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice, is a perfect accompaniment for tamales. It adds a burst of flavor and a touch of acidity that elevates the taste of the tamales.

7. Mexican Street Corn (Elote)


Grilled corn on the cob, slathered with a mix of mayonnaise, cheese, and spices, is a delicious and popular Mexican street food. Elote adds a smoky, savory flavor and a crunchy texture that pairs well with tamales.

8. Cabbage Slaw

A light and tangy cabbage slaw, dressed with lime juice and a touch of mayonnaise, can be a refreshing side dish for tamales. The crispness of the cabbage helps to cut through the richness of the tamales.

9. Queso Fresco And Pickled Jalapeños

Adding crumbled queso fresco and pickled jalapeños to your tamales can enhance their flavor and provide a nice contrast of textures. The mild cheese and tangy jalapeños make for a delicious combination.

10. Black Bean And Corn Salad

A flavorful and colorful salad made with black beans, corn, red onion, cilantro, and a zesty dressing is a fantastic side dish for tamales. The salad adds a fresh and vibrant element to the meal, making it even more enjoyable.

11. Salsa


A flavorful salsa, whether it's a traditional tomato-based version or a fruity mango salsa, can add a burst of flavor to your tamales. Salsa brings a tangy and spicy element to the meal, enhancing the overall taste and providing a delicious dipping option.

12. Chiles Rellenos

Stuffed and fried poblano peppers filled with cheese or meat are a delicious and indulgent side dish to serve with tamales. The bold flavors of the chiles rellenos complement the rich taste of the tamales, creating a delightful dining experience.

13. Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup

A warm and comforting bowl of tortilla soup, made with a flavorful tomato-based broth, shredded chicken, and crispy tortilla strips, can be a great side dish for tamales. The soup's vibrant flavors and textures contrast well with the hearty tamales.

14. Mexican-Style Quinoa Salad

A healthy and flavorful quinoa salad, tossed with fresh vegetables, black beans, and a zesty lime dressing, can be a refreshing and nutritious side dish for tamales. The quinoa salad adds a light, fresh element to the meal.

15. Plantains

Sweet and tender fried plantains can be a delicious side dish to serve with tamales. The caramelized sweetness of the plantains offers a pleasant contrast to the savory flavors of the tamales, making for an enjoyable combination.

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What To Serve With Tamales

Looking for the perfect sides to pair with your flavorful tamales? We have 15 delicious ideas for the best meal!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Cabbage Tamales, tamales
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Corrie


  • 2 tamales


  • Make the best tamales using your favorite recipe.
  • Make a side dish from the list above. You can eat tamales with refried beans, Mexican rice, salsa, chicken burrito bowl, tostadas, guacamole, tortilla soup, pico de gallo, Mexican street corn, cabbage slaw, queso fresco and pickled jalapeños, and black bean and corn salad.
  • Serve and enjoy a wonderful meal 🙂
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