What to Serve with Tamale Pie? 11 Best Ideas

What to Serve with Tamale Pie
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Tamale pie is a delicious well-loved casserole that’s perfect for sharing with family and friends on any occasion and super easy to prepare. If you just made a batch of tamale pie and you don’t want to serve the same thing every night for the next week, this list of 11 fantastic ideas will certainly come in handy. So, let’s have a look at what to serve with tamale pie.

This dish pairs nicely with many other side dishes boasting a strong flavor, such as guacamole, cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes, beans, salsa dips, cheese, soups, salads, green vegetables, cornbread, stews, and even fruits and nuts.

While tamales do taste delicious on their own, sometimes they need some side dishes next to them to spice things up. With so many delicious options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect dish to complement your next tamale pie. From breakfast to dessert, I’ve got you covered. Let’s dig in.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a great side dish to serve with tamale pie. It’s a great way to sneak in some extra servings of vegetables for those picky eaters. It’s healthy, low-carb, and pairs well with the flavors in the tamale pie. [1] It’s the perfect way to add some extra veggies to the dish, and it pairs so well with the flavors of the tamale filling. Plus, it’s easy to make since you just need a head of cauliflower and a food processor.

Just chop up the cauliflower into small pieces and pulse in the food processor until it resembles rice. I like to cook my cauliflower rice in a little bit of olive oil, and I season it with salt, pepper, and cilantro. Voila! You’re done. 

Homemade Guacamole

Homemade guacamole is one of my favorite side dishes to serve with tamale pie. It’s easy to make and is the perfect dip for chips or tacos.

This guacamole is tasty and perfect for any occasion. Just mash up a few avocados with some diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste, and you’re good to go! The guacamole brings a delicious creaminess to the dish, while the tamale pie brings a nice spicy flavor. Plus, it’s always a crowd-pleaser!


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Sweet Potatoes

You can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes for a sweet-savory side dish! These veggies are full of flavor and nutrition and make a welcome addition to any meal. For this particular recipe, I recommend cubing the potatoes and roasting them in the oven until they’re tender and lightly browned.

If you’d like to give your potatoes an extra something, try tossing them with a mixture of olive oil, and some spices before roasting. This will add some depth of flavor and make the sweet potatoes even more delicious.

You can also top the roasted cubes with chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for a pop of color.

In addition, you can also try mashed sweet potatoes. Plus, it’s a super easy side to make. All you need are a few potatoes, some butter, milk, and salt. Simply peel and chop the potatoes, then put them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the potatoes until they’re soft. Drain the potatoes and mash them with butter, milk, and salt until they’re smooth. Serve them alongside tamale pie for a delicious and easy meal.

Refried Beans

Refried beans are an excellent choice if you’re looking for the perfect side to go with your tamale pie. This classic Mexican dish is hearty and delicious, making it the ideal pairing for an already-filling tamale pie.

To make your refried beans, you can use black or pinto beans, which are high in fiber and protein and provide a great energy source. Once you’ve cooked them, mash them up with a fork and add just enough butter or olive oil to bring out their creamy texture. Season them with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and some chili powder if you feel extra adventurous! The result is an incredibly flavorful side dish that completes the meal perfectly.

Don’t be intimidated by this dish since it only takes 10-15 minutes to make from start to finish, so it’s the perfect quick fix when you’re in a rush!

Dips and Cheeses

Dips can add another layer of flavor to your tamale pie meal, making it even more delicious. Who can get enough of cheese and salsa dip? It packs a ton of flavor, plus it doesn’t require a lot of effort to prepare since all you need to do is mix together your favorite cheeses, chilies, and spices. You can then top with a generous layer of salsa and serve as a dip or spread it over the top of your tamale pie before baking.

When it comes to cheeses, I recommend using a sharp cheddar cheese for the base and then adding other types like Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or pepper jack cheese for extra creaminess and flavor. As for the chilies, fresh jalapenos work perfectly, but if you want something milder, then you could opt for canned green chiles instead.

Lastly, choose your favorite salsa to finish off the dish. I typically just go with store-bought ones, but if you’re feeling adventurous, then go ahead and make your own! For seasoning, you use cumin, oregano or chili powder, or basically whatever spice you like.

In addition, you can also make an Italian-style red pepper dip with roasted red peppers, olives, garlic, and capers. 


A big, healthy salad is always the right choice to serve alongside your tamale pie. It’s the perfect way to start the meal and get some greens in your belly. 

Regarding types of salads, any will do! From kale Caesar salad with creamy parmesan dressing, and the Quinoa salad with fresh vegetables for a protein-rich option, to the Grilled vegetable salad with balsamic vinaigrette, there are numerous options. 

You can also choose a crunchy side salad, like romaine lettuce with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. To make your salads more flavorful, try adding some nuts and dried fruits. Feel free to get creative and go wild with making your own dressings!

What to Serve with Tamale Pie

Sweet and Spicy Salsas

A meal featuring tamale pie is not complete without a good salsa. And you can make so many sweet and spicy salsas, which can be served on the side or used as a topping. For a classic sweet salsa, combine mango, pineapple, and red onion with lime juice, honey, and a pinch of salt. Mix diced tomatoes, jalapenos, and chopped red onion with garlic powder, coriander powder, and cayenne pepper for a spicier version.

These salsas are great for adding extra flavor and spice to your tamale pie dish! You can also use them to dip chips or add to tacos or fajitas. The sweetness of the fruit helps to play down the heat of the peppers, and it’s a perfect combination. 

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a great way to add a healthy and delicious side dish to your table. Try grilling some broccoli, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions to pair with your tamale pie. These vegetables can be grilled on the same pan you are using for the tamale pie if you have enough space!

If you have an outdoor grill, that’s even better! The smoky flavors from the grill will help bring out the hearty flavors of the pie. To make it even better, sprinkle some seasonings or herbs of your choice on the veggies before grilling for an extra kick of flavor.

Just be sure not to overload it. These grilled veggies are best enjoyed as a light accompaniment that won’t take away from the fantastic flavors of your tamale pie!

Mexican Street Corn

Also known as Elote, Mexican Street Corn is a delicious and popular street food in Mexico. It’s made by grilling fresh corn on the cob and then slathering it in a creamy mixture of mayo, chili powder, Cotija cheese, and lime juice. 

The sweet corn pairs perfectly with the savory tamale filling, and the chili powder provides a little heat that cuts through the richness of the cheese. This makes it the perfect side dish for tamale pie. Plus, it’s super easy to make. 


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Green Chile Stew

Not only is a bowl of green chile stew the perfect pairing to the southwestern flavors of tamale pie, but it’s also so easy to make!

If you’re looking for something special, try making a slow-cooker green chile stew. Start by sautéing onion and garlic, then add broth and some diced potatoes. Add chopped poblano peppers, roasted canned green chilies, cumin, and oregano. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste. Once everything is cooked through, you’ll be left with a delicious stew that pairs perfectly with your tamale pie!

This recipe can also be ramped up with diced bacon or chorizo for an extra flavor kick. I like to top it off with some freshly chopped cilantro and serve it in a bowl alongside my tamale pie. It’s the perfect southwestern-style comfort meal that your guests will love.


There’s really nothing quite like the deliciousness of a warm, buttery cornbread side dish. Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to tamale pie since it is a classic Mexican dish with a golden crust and sweet flavor.

Plus, cornbread is super-easy to make and can be prepared in various ways. For example, you might opt for traditional cornbread with corn and jalapeno peppers or even add bacon or cheese for more flavor.

If you’re feeling extra daring, try incorporating green chilis, roasted red peppers, or other vegetables into your cornbread recipe. You can also experiment with different flours and seasonings to change the flavor profile.

Cornbread will elevate your tamale pie from good to great, no matter what variation you choose!

What to Serve with Tamale Pie

Kale Caesar Salad for Tamale Pie

Author: Laura Bais
Kale Caesar salad is one of my favorite side dishes for tamale pie. It brings freshness to the pie and makes this meal balanced.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 208 kcal


Kale Salad

  • 5 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 4 slices toast bread
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup Cherry tomatoes halves
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for toasting croutons

Caesar Dressing

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic pressed or finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut toast bread into small cubes.
  • Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in one pan and toast the bread.
  • Mix all other ingredients needed for kale Caesar salad in one bowl.
  • Now make the dressing. Just mix together all the ingredients in one separate bowl.
  • Pour dressing over kale salad and put croutons on top.
  • Serve immediately with tamale pie.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 9gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 329mgPotassium: 439mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 8491IUVitamin C: 85mgCalcium: 330mgIron: 2mg
Keyword salad for tamale pie, tamale pie side dish
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