Food Quantities

How Many Tamales Per Person?

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If you’re dreaming of hosting a fantastic gathering featuring the beloved flavors of authentic Mexican cuisine, look no further. In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything from estimating the perfect number of tamales for your guests to tried-and-true recipes for both tamales and their delightful side dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned cook, planning a festive party, or considering venturing into the restaurant business, we’ve got you covered.

Estimating Tamale Quantities for Groups:

Without Sides:

  • For a simple tamale-centric dish, plan on making about three tamales per guest.
  • Estimate 15-30 tamales for 5-10 people, and adjust accordingly for larger groups.

With Sides:

  • If you’re offering a full meal with sides like rice, refried beans, and corn tortillas, plan on serving about two tamales per guest.
  • Adjust the quantity to 10-25 tamales for 5-10 people, considering the additional filling sides.
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Tips for Cooking in Large Quantities:

  1. Shop in Wholesale:
    • Purchase ingredients in bulk from stores like Sam’s Club or Costco for cost-effectiveness.
  2. Have the Right Equipment:
    • Ensure you have sufficient cookware, plates, and kitchen space for efficient preparation.
  3. Pre-Cook:
    • Prepare a batch or two in advance to serve early arrivals and reduce event-day stress.
  4. Cook in Batches:
    • Maintain a steady flow of hot, fresh tamales by cooking in batches throughout the event.
  5. Have Multiple Cooks:
    • Enlist help to divide tasks and make the cooking process more enjoyable for the host.
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Explore Tamale Offerings in Local Restaurants:

  • California: Ernesto’s Mexican Food, Lulu’s, and Maya’s
  • Texas: Joe T. Garcia’s, Herrera’s Cafe, and Rio Grande

Authentic Tamale Recipes:

  1. “Easy Tamale Recipe” by Mexican Please
    • Makes 12 tamales in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  2. “Green Tamales with Chicken” by Mexico in the Kitchen
    • Serves 12 people with 30-36 tamales in about 1 hour.
  3. “How to Make Authentic Mexican Tamales” by My Latina Table
    • Makes 15 tamales in approximately 2 hours.
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Tamale Sides Recipes:

  1. “Easy Refried Beans” by Isabel Eats
    • Offers stovetop, slow cooker, and canned bean methods.
  2. “Authentic Mexican Rice Recipe” by Isabel Eats
    • Makes about 3 cups in 40 minutes.
  3. “Easy Homemade Corn Tortillas” by Isabel Eats
    • Produces 12 tortillas in just over an hour.


Whether you’re planning an intimate family gathering or a grand fiesta, this ultimate guide provides the recipes and tips you need to create an unforgettable experience. From estimating tamale quantities to exploring restaurant offerings and mastering authentic recipes, your journey to hosting the perfect tamale party starts here.

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