Trader Joe’s Chicken and Green Chile Tamale

I am a little hesitant to review this item. My specialties are mainly European and Asian foods, but I have had more than my fair share of Mexican food. I just haven’t had that many Tamales in my life. There is a large Mexican/American population here in the Seattle area and many, many good restaurants that serve Mexican food. My mother lives in Southern Arizona about 20 miles from Nogales, Mexico so I have am pretty familiar with Mexican food. What I haven’t tasted much are Tamales. Tamales aren’t usually something that you would order from a menu at a Mexican restaurant unless it was a special occasion. From what I understand, they are typically made and consumed for special occasions like Christmas and the folklore says that the reason for that is they are so much work you would only serve them once a year!

I’ve seen Tamales in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s in the past, but never bought them. If I was going to  buy Mexican food I would get the frozen burritos or mini- tacos or something like that. Then the other day I was looking in the fridge section to get some meat and there was this big bag of fresh tamales! They had two different flavors, chicken and green chile and pork and red sauce. I wanted to get both of them, but they were $10 a package! I ended up only getting the chicken ones and we’ll save the pork ones for a future date.

They come in a package of around 10 of them. There is an outer and an inner bag. The inner bag is vacuumed sealed. You simply take them out and microwave them or steam them. I choose the later technique because it is more authentic.

I steamed them the recommended amount of time, I think 12 minutes. There is two layers of wrappings. The outer later looks like fake corn husk and the inner one is real corn. I let them cool for a few minutes before unwrapping them. They smell faintly of masa, and green chiles. I spoon a bit of the Trader Jose’s Salsa Verde on them. I have to say that tasting them, I was not blown away, but then I don’t think Tamales are that type of food to just make you go wow! I thought that the Trader Joe’s version of them seemed to skimp on the meat and green chiles as I could barely find any meat. The masa was fine and everything tasted pretty good if a little bland, but hey I think that’s the way they are!

By the way, these are a Product of Mexico so I assume they are pretty authentic.

I am going to give these 7 bells! Good but not great and I think they could have more meat and chiles in them.


  1. Agreed! They could have more filling, but you can't beat the price. For a Coloradan living in Pennsylvania, they are a thankful find! I'm on my way to Trader Joe's now to pick up more of the chicken, and to try the pork.

  2. They were a good price for fresh Tamales I will give you that! Flavors not bad, just more filling! I bet it is hard to find things like Tamales in Pennsylvania!

  3. I had only tasted the pork & red sauce ones, but let me tell ya HONAYYYYY,
    There were absolutelt DiViNE!!!
    Ran out of them reak quik. Can’t wait to go puck up some MORE tomorrow!!!

  4. No not at all will I buy again. Awful. Not authentic in the least. No taste. Mass outer layer is tasteless too. Sorry but rate 0-1.

  5. Having had the pleasure of eating authentic homemade tamales I found the Trader Joe’s Chicken and Green Chile Tamales were lacking several things, namely ~ Chicken, Green Chiles and flavor. All I could taste was cornmeal. I’ll refrain from buying these again.

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