Christmas tamales originated as part of Las Posadas, a nine-day Christmas celebration with centuries-old roots in Mexico. Today, these warm bundles of masa (corn dough) and other tasty fillings like cheese, pork, or beans are central to many holiday gatherings across the Lone Star State. Whether you’ve been a tamale fan since childhood or are a newbie to this corn-husk-wrapped delight, we’re serving up some of the best places around Austin to get your hands on fresh hot tamales.
Tamale House East |1707 E 6th St
The tamale plate at Tamale House East is one of life’s finer pleasures. Choose chicken or bean & cheese as your filling, and select from sauce options like chocolate mole and salsa verde to spice up your lil’ bundles of corn goodness. These tamales are always moist and fresh – even if you don’t order them as your main dish, don’t pass up adding a tamale on the side to your plate of Tamale House East’s famous migas.
Curra’s Grill | 614 E Oltorf St
You might know Curra’s Grill for their avocado margarita, but trust us: the tamales at this Mexican spot aren’t to be slept on. Made in-house, Curra’s tamales come in several varieties (both meat and veggie), and all are delicious. Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t order an avocado marg to wash them down.
La Mexicana Bakery | 1924 S 1st St
La Mexicana Bakery is a beloved Austin staple for those who know it. Many a glorious night out has ended with a stop at this 24-hour Mexican bakery, whose kitchen churns out hundreds of unbeatable eats both sweet and savory. Next time you’ve got a late-night craving, swing by La Mexicana for a hot tamale or three.
El Chilito | Various Locations
You may already adore El Chilito for their fantastic tacos, but during the holiday season, this local Tex-Mex chain also offers tamales for pre-order. Complete any holiday hang by picking up some of these scrumptious tamales in any of three varieties: black bean & cheese, pollo verde, or puerco rojo. Order online until December 24.
Mr. Natural | 1901 E Cesar Chavez | 2414A S Lamar Blvd
Mr. Natural is a bona fide slice of Austin originality. Everything at this vegetarian restaurant is made in-house, down to the bread in their sandwiches – and of course, the tamales. Mr. Natural’s meatless tamale choices include tofu & sunflower, veggie, and refried pinto beans. Order a catering tray, or just stop in for a meal of cafeteria-style tamale goodness.
Tamale Addiction | Various Locations
Austinites with dietary restrictions, never fear: Tamale Addiction has got your back. The tamales from this farmer’s market favorite are gluten-free, lard-free, and made with organic masa; they come in meat, vegetarian, and vegan varieties. In fact, we’d say Tamale Addiction probably offers the widest slew of tamale options in town, from pork al pastor to nopalitos cactus. If you want these local tamale-makers to fuel your addiction, head to their website and to place an order for frozen tamales. You can pick up at several local farmer’s markets, their main kitchen on Manor Rd, or opt for delivery or catering options. During COVID-19, deliveries over 20 frozen tamales are free!
Rosie’s Tamale House | 13436 W Highway 71
The tamales at Rosie’s Tamale House are the real deal. Owned and operated by the Arriaga family since 1973, this Mexican spot has been serving up tamales for a damn long time, and they sure know what they’re doing. If you want to experience your tamales with a side of nostalgia for Austin’s roots, enjoy a tamale plate within the wood-paneled walls of Rosie’s.
Fresa’s Chicken | 1703 S 1st St | 915 N Lamar Blvd
Fresa’s is offering tamales this holiday season, by pre-order only! If you’ve got a big holiday gathering ahead, the tamale catering packages at this modern Mexican restaurant will do the trick to satisfy your guests’ appetites. This year, Fresa’s is offering two types of tamales: Chicken Tinga and Black Bean & Cheese. The tamale meals will be served with salsas and can be ordered a la carte or as part of a meal that includes Charro Beans, Mexican Rice, Salsas & Queso, or Guacamole. Black Beans & White Rice are also available. Place your order online or by giving Fresa’s a ring at 512-915-0362.
CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY MCCOMAS | Do512