19 Perfect Side Dishes to Serve with Tamales This Christmas

There’s nothing quite like a warm plate of homemade tamales during the holidays. Traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Mexico, tamales are a labor-intensive dish that requires time, effort and love to prepare. It is my favorite and I am sure you will also love it.

Whether you’re making them yourself or picking up some from your favorite local spot, tamales are the perfect way to bring family and friends together this holiday season.

It is always a crowd favorite! But what to serve with tamales for Christmas? Here are some great side dishes that will complement your tamales perfectly! 

In Short - What to Serve with Tamales for Christmas

Rice and Beans Combo, Vegetables Salad, Fruit Salad, Mexican Rice, Chili Verde, Refried beans, Salsa, Guacamole, Queso fresco, Grilled vegetables, Baked plantains, Street corn salad, Pico de gallo, Mexican coleslaw, Borracho beans, Fried yucca

What are tamales? What do tamales taste like?

Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa or dough steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The filling can vary depending on the region and culture but typically includes ingredients such as pork, chicken, cheese, beans, veggies, potatoes, and other seasonings. 

The flavor of tamales is unique and delicious – some have described it as a combination of sweet cornbread with savory fillings! They make for an excellent snack or meal and can be enjoyed with salsa or guacamole for added flavor. Tamales are definitely worth trying out if you haven’t already!

19 Sides to serve with tamales for Christmas

1. Rice and Beans Combo

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of rice and beans? This classic Latin American staple is an excellent option when it comes to serving side dishes with tamales. 

Rice and Beans
Rice and Beans

Not only is it affordable and easy to make, but it also pairs perfectly with the flavors of the masa used in tamales. Plus, if you make it with black beans like refried or whole beans, you can add extra flavor by sautéing onions and peppers in olive oil before adding them! 

2. Vegetable Salad

Salads are always a hit at parties and family gatherings, so why not serve one alongside your tamales? Make sure to choose ingredients that complement the flavors of your meal—try something light like spinach or kale, dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice. 

Vegetable Salad

You can also for something heartier like romaine lettuce topped off with avocado slices. 

Know More: Best salads Paring with Coconut Shrimp

3. Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is excellent to serve with tamales. It is yet still sweet enough to satisfy everyone’s cravings for dessert.

Fruit Salad
Fruit Salad

A combination of fresh fruits such as melons, apples, oranges, pineapples, grapes, kiwi—the list goes on—is perfect for balancing out the heavier flavors of the tamales.

For maximum flavor impact, be sure to use seasonal fruits from your local farmer’s market or grocery store – they will taste much better than anything shipped from overseas! 

4. Mexican Rice

Mexican-style rice is a great accompaniment to any Mexican dish, including tamales. It’s easy to make—all you need is long-grain white rice, onion, garlic, oil, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. 

Mexican Rice
Mexican Rice

Cook the rice in boiling water, and then add the other ingredients for a delicious side dish that pairs perfectly with your tamales. 

Know More: What to serve with Lasagna for Christmas Dinner

5. Chili Verde

Chili Verde is an excellent way to spice up your meal, especially with tamales!

Chili Verde is an excellent way to spice up your meal, especially with tamales!
Chili Verde

It’s made with pork shoulder roast cooked in green chilis (hence the name), tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and onion. Serve it over tortillas or on its own as an extra flavorful side dish for your tamales. 

6. Refried beans

Refried beans are a popular Mexican side dish that pairs well with any type of tamale. They’re made from mashed pinto beans and are typically cooked with onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and lard for flavor.

7. Salsa


A traditional accompaniment to tamales is salsa, either homemade or store-bought. Choose mild or spicy, depending on your taste preferences and mix it in with the tamale filling or serve it on the side for dipping.

8. Guacamole

Creamy guacamole is a great topping for tamales and can be served in place of salsa or alongside it.


Simply mash up avocados with a few other ingredients like red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a delicious condiment everyone will love!

9. Queso fresco

A sprinkle of crumbly queso fresco makes for a tasty addition to the top of any tamale. Serve it plain or mix it into your favorite recipes like Mexican casseroles or salads for added flavor and texture.

10. Grilled vegetables

Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Vegetables

For some healthy crunch alongside your tamales, grill up some fresh vegetables like bell peppers, onions, zucchini, squash and mushrooms for a colorful side dish that pairs well with any type of Mexican food, especially with tamales.

11. Baked plantains

Plantains are excellent to serve with tamales. It adds sweetness to the savory flavors of Mexican cuisine; try baking pieces along with garlic powder and lime juice until golden brown, then serve them as an accompaniment to your favorite kind of tamale filling!

12. Street corn salad

corn salad
Street corn salad

Street corn salad is a creamy salad that combines grilled corn kernels with bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, cheese, mayonnaise and lime juice—it’s perfect atop freshly steamed tamales or served on its own as an appetizer before dinner!

13. Pico de gallo

Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa that features tomatoes combined with diced onion and cilantro—spiced up with jalapeños if desired—for the perfect topping to any kind of Mexican dish, including tamales!

14. Mexican coleslaw

Mexican coleslaw serves well with tamales. Combine shredded cabbage (or broccoli slaw) along with diced bell pepper and carrots, then toss together in a simple dressing made from olive oil mayonnaise for an easy-to-prepare side dish that goes perfectly alongside chicken or beef tamales!

Know More: What to Serve with Eggnog This Holiday Season

15. Borracho beans

Borracho beans are always a crowd-pleaser, especially when served with tamales; they’re cooked in beer (or broth) along with bacon or chorizo sausage, then spiced up lightly with chipotle chiles in adobo sauce—the perfect way to round out any meal!

16. Fried yucca

Fried yucca eats well with tamales. It is an addicting alternative to French fries.

Fried yucca is excellent to serve with tamales
Fried yucca

To prepare, simply boil peeled yucca root until tender, then cut into wedges before deep frying them until golden brown —serve hot either alone as a snack or alongside tacos or burritos!

17. Spanish rice

Also known as arroz rojo, the perfect companion to tamales, this flavorful dish mixes long grain rice cooked in tomato sauce and then seasoned further with cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper (optional), diced green bell peppers (optional) plus plenty of salt & pepper —a must have at any festive gathering!

18. Chili Rellenos

Stuffed poblano peppers make a delicious treat when served alongside traditional Mexican fare such as tamales —stuffed simply with cheese; these bite-sized treats can also be filled additionally into beef picadillo mixtures for added flavor & texture!

19. Tortilla chips & dip

Tortilla chips & dip are always welcome at the table that goes well with tamales; enjoy freshly fried tortilla chips dipped into guacamole, bean dip, roasted red pepper hummus, or queso fundido.

Tortilla chips
Tortilla chips & Dips

What are the best flavors to go with tamales?

The best flavors to go with tamales are traditional Mexican flavors like chili, cilantro, garlic, onions, and lime. Other popular ingredients often used in tamales include jalapeño peppers, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and raisins. 

You can also try adding various spices, such as paprika or cumin, for added flavor. Toppings such as salsa or crema can also be added for additional flavor and texture. The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring your tamales – experiment and find what you like best!

How do you jazz up tamales?

Tamales can be jazzed up in a variety of ways. You can experiment with different fillings, such as cheese, beans, mushrooms, and chilies. You can also try different flavors, such as garlic-cilantro or salsa verde. 

Additionally, wrapping your tamales in banana leaves adds an interesting flavor and texture to the dish. 

Finally, you can top off the tamales with sour cream or crema for some extra richness. With these ideas in mind, there’s no end to the possibilities when it comes to making delicious tamales! Enjoy experimenting and creating your own unique variations! Happy cooking!

More- What to serve with Lasagna for Christmas Dinner- 24 Meal

How do you display tamales on a platter?

Display the tamales on a platter in an attractive way. Start by making sure the platter is clean and dry. Arrange the tamales in small groups, alternating between plain and filled varieties. Place each group slightly overlapping with one another to create a pleasing visual effect. 

Add colorful garnishes such as diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, or cilantro leaves to add some color and texture. Lastly, arrange slices of lime around the outer edge of the platter for a final touch.

Wrap Up on What to eat with Tamales For Christmas

There are so many delicious sides that pair perfectly with tamales for your Christmas meal! From classic Mexican rice to chili Verde, these sides will add flavor and texture to whatever type of tamale you choose to serve this year.

You can also serve rice and beans for traditional Latin American fare, salads for lighter options, or even fruit salads! 

With these recipes in hand, there’s no doubt that your holiday feast will be one to remember!


How many tamales per person for Christmas?

The number of tamales to serve per person for Christmas will depend on the type of party or gathering you are hosting. If it is an intimate dinner, then two-three tamales per person should suffice. 

For a larger event like a family gathering, five-six tamales per person would be more appropriate. Of course, this can also vary depending on individual appetites and any additional dishes served at the event. 

Ultimately, it is best to plan for slightly more than necessary just to make sure everyone has enough!

What do you serve on top of tamales?

Tamales can be served with a variety of toppings and accompaniments. Common additions to tamales include salsas, crema, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, refried beans, and diced onions. Tamales are also often served with additional meat or seafood, such as chicken or fish. 

Other popular options for topping tamales are chopped tomatoes and lettuce. You could also go for a more traditional topping like roasted corn or pickled jalapenos to spice things up!

Many people enjoy adding hot sauce to their tamales for an extra kick of flavor. Depending upon your choices, you can add it on top of your tamale; it’s sure to be delicious! Enjoy!

Do you eat tamales with anything?

Yes, tamales can be enjoyed with a variety of accompaniments. Popular sides include Mexican-style rice, refried beans, salsa, and guacamole. Some people also enjoy pairing their tamales with a cold beer or margarita! 

Additionally, you can top your tamale with sour cream, cheese, lettuce and other toppings to add more flavor. However, if you choose to enjoy your tamales, make sure they are hot and fresh for the best experience!

What is the main idea of tamales and other holiday foods?

The main idea of tamales and other holiday foods is to bring people together. Not only are they delicious treats, but they also represent traditional values that have been passed down through generations. 

Tamales can bring families closer together as they gather to make them during the holidays. They symbolize a sense of community and closeness among friends and family members alike. 

Other holiday dishes such as turkey, ham, stuffing, and pumpkin pie all have an important role in celebrating these special occasions with loved ones as well.

Food brings us joy and comfort during this time of year, enabling us to come together and appreciate what we have. The sharing of food during the holidays is truly a meaningful experience that will be cherished throughout the years.

Leave a Comment