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The 8 Best Sauces for Tamales

If you’re looking for a delicious way to spice up your tamales, then look no further!

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that can be enjoyed with a variety of sauces.

From mild to spicy and from sweet to tangy, there is something for everyone.

But with so many different kinds of sauces out there, it can be hard to decide which ones will best complement your tamales.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of the 8 best sauces for tamales.

From classic salsa roja to creamy jalapeño sauce, these flavorful accompaniments will turn any ordinary tamale into an extraordinary culinary experience.

Why Serve A Sauce with Tamales?

Chicken Tamales with Ranchero Sauce
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Serving a sauce with tamales is an excellent way to enhance the flavor and texture of this traditional Mexican dish.

Tamales are made from masa, which is a corn-based dough that’s steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.

The addition of a flavorful sauce can add complexity and depth to the overall taste experience.

Here are three reasons why you should serve a sauce with your tamales:

  • To add moisture – Tamales can be dry on their own, so adding some type of liquid such as salsa or mole will help keep them moist and juicy.
  • To bring out the flavors – Sauces like salsa verde, mole poblano, or chile colorado can all provide additional layers of flavor that will complement the masa and fillings inside each tamale.
  • To create contrast – Serving sauces with different textures (such as creamy avocado crema or crunchy tomatillo salsa) provides contrasting elements that make for an interesting eating experience.

The 8 Best Sauces for Tamales

Tamales are a delicious and flavorful Mexican dish, but they can be incomplete without the right sauce.

If you’re looking for some tasty accompaniments to your tamales, here are eight sauces that will bring out the best in them:

1. Red Chili Sauce

Red chili sauce is a spicy condiment made from Anaheim peppers, tomatoes, chicken stock, onion powder, and arbol peppers.

It’s often used as a topping for tamales or enchiladas.

The combination of the ingredients creates a flavorful and slightly sweet sauce that adds an extra kick to any dish.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 dried arbol peppers, stemmed and seeded

How To Make It:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the Anaheim peppers; cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices; bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes until thickened slightly.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock; add the onion powder and arbol peppers; reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes more until thickened further.
  6. Serve warm over tamales or enchiladas.

2. Ranchero Sauce

Ranchero sauce is a Mexican-style tomato sauce made with jalapeno peppers, chicken broth, lime juice, diced tomatoes, and olive oil.

It is typically served over tamales or enchiladas and can also be used as a dip for chips.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • Juice from one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To Make It:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper; cook for an additional minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices along with the chicken broth; bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so until thickened slightly.
  5. Stir in the lime juice then season with salt and pepper to taste; remove from heat and serve warm over tamales or enchiladas.

3. Green Chile Tamale Sauce

Green Chile Tamale Sauce is a spicy, flavorful sauce made with Anaheim peppers, jalapeno peppers, olive oil, tomatillos and sea salt.

It’s the perfect accompaniment to tamales or any other Mexican dish.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 Anaheim peppers (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tomatillos (husked and diced)
  • Sea salt to taste

How To Make It:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the Anaheim peppers and jalapeno pepper to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the tomatillos to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes until they are soft.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring everything to a blender or food processor.
  5. Blend until smooth then season with sea salt to taste.
  6. Serve warm over your favorite tamales or Mexican dish!

4. Mole Sauce

Mole sauce is a traditional Mexican sauce made from a variety of ingredients, including chili peppers, nuts, seeds, and spices.

It is usually served over tamales or enchiladas.

The name mole comes from the Nahuatl word molli which means ‘sauce.’

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder (or other mild chili powder)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup almonds or peanuts
  • 3 cups chicken broth

How To Make It:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.
  3. Stir in the flour and spices and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the raisins, nuts/peanuts, and chicken broth to the pot.
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or transfer to a blender).
  7. Serve warm with tamales or enchiladas.

5. Sour Cream Sauce

Sour cream sauce is a creamy, tangy condiment made from sour cream and other ingredients such as mayonnaise, garlic, onion powder, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

It’s often used to top Mexican dishes like tamales or enchiladas.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Salt to taste

How To Make It:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth.
  2. Add in the garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro leaves, lime juice and salt.
  3. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  5. Serve over your favorite Mexican dish such as tamales or enchiladas!

6. Avocado-Lime Cream Sauce

Avocado-Lime Cream Sauce is a creamy, tangy sauce made with avocados, lime juice, and cream.

It’s the perfect accompaniment to tamales or any Mexican dish.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To Make It:

  1. Peel and pit the avocados and place them in a bowl.
  2. Mash them with a fork until they are smooth.
  3. Add the lime juice, heavy cream, salt, and pepper to the mashed avocado mixture and stir until everything is combined.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed before serving over your favorite tamales or other Mexican dishes!

7. Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is a Mexican condiment made from tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice.

It’s usually served as an accompaniment to tamales or tacos.

The name ‘salsa verde’ translates to ‘green sauce,’ which refers to the color of the salsa when it’s made with fresh ingredients.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds tomatillos (husked and rinsed)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt to taste

How To Make It:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 15 minutes until softened.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before transferring them to a blender or food processor.
  4. Add in the jalapeño pepper, garlic, cilantro leaves, lime juice, and salt; blend until smooth.
  5. Taste for seasoning adjustments if needed; add more salt or lime juice if desired.
  6. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

8. Salsa Roja

Salsa Roja, or red salsa, is a Mexican condiment made from tomatoes, chiles, and spices.

It’s typically served with tamales as well as other dishes such as tacos and enchiladas.

The flavor of the salsa can vary depending on the type of chile used in the recipe.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños or serrano peppers (or to taste), seeded and diced
  • 6 Roma tomatoes (or 3 large tomatoes), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To Make It:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and jalapeño peppers; cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, cumin, oregano leaves; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool before serving with tamales or your favorite dish!

Conclusion

In conclusion, tamales are a delicious and versatile dish that can be served with a variety of sauces to suit any taste.

The best sauces for tamales are red chili sauce, ranchero sauce, green sauce, mole sauce, sour cream sauce, avocado-lime cream sauce, salsa verde, and salsa roja.

Each of these sauces adds a unique flavor and texture that will bring out the best in your tamales.

So, the next time you’re looking for a flavorful and fulfilling meal, grab some tamales and top them off with one of these tasty sauces!

Sauces

The 8 Best Sauces for Tamales

I'm a huge fan of tamales, and I love experimenting with different sauces to create the perfect flavor combinations. In this article, I'm giving you my top 8 sauces for tamales. I'll provide a description of each one, as well as the recommended amount to use and how to best prepare them. I'm sure you'll find the perfect combination for your next tamale feast!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dipping Sauce, Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Red Chili Sauce
  • Ranchero Sauce
  • Green Chile Tamale Sauce
  • Mole Sauce
  • Sour Cream Sauce
  • Avocado-Lime Cream Sauce
  • Salsa Verde
  • Salsa Roja

Instructions
 

  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a sauce recipe in 30 minutes or less!
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.