Holidays

Who’s Dreaming of a Tamale Christmas? We've Got a List of Local Options.

It's the reason for the season (for some).
It's the reason for the season (for some). Courtesy of Tamaleria Nuevo Leon
Making tamales during the holidays is an enduring tradition. And while it is a time-consuming process, often reserved for special occasions, it provides families with time together, which might indicate why we only do it once a year.

If you’re like us and don’t know anyone making them from scratch or you don’t have the patience or skills required, there are some great places around the area that do the tamale making for you.

Here are a few to check out this holiday season.

Along Came Tamale
113 E. Fate Main Place (Rockwall)
click to enlarge A sweet blueberry from Along Came Tamale - COURTESY OF ALONG CAME TAMALE
A sweet blueberry from Along Came Tamale
Courtesy of Along Came Tamale
Along Came Tamale is a family-owned and operated shop that produces and packages their tamales using ingredients that give them the authentic taste of home. They use simple ingredients to make these gluten-free tamales with no hydrogenated fats or added preservatives. Customers can order directly from their kitchen if they're ready to eat them right away. Or you can pick up from their freezer to have later at home. Savory flavors (pork, black bean and corn, cheese and jalapeño, chicken and lentil and curry) come in six per pack and range from $8 to $10. Dessert tamales (blueberry, chocolate chip, cinnamon raisin, pineapple and pumpkin flavors) have three per package and are $5 each.

Dallas Tortilla & Tamale Factory
309 N. Marsalis Ave. (Dallas)

Dallas Tortilla and Tamale Factor has been serving the North Texas since 1950. They offer a wide range of high-quality, authentic Mexican food products and are open seven days a week. Their tamales are hand-made and slowly steamed to perfection. They are sold by the dozen for $11.95 and options include pork, beef, chicken, pork jalapeño, beef jalapeño or chicken jalapeño. They are not currently offering vegetarian tamales.

La Popular Tamale House
5310 Junius St. (Dallas)

Located in East Dallas, La Popular Tamale House is a family-owned restaurant that has been serving some of the best tamales in Dallas since 1984. Tamales are sold by the dozen for $13.86 and flavors offered include pork, pork jalapeño, chicken, beef, veggie and beans with jalapeños. They also offer a three or four-dozen tamale gift package that allows you to mix and match for the greatest variety.

La Victoria
1605 N. Haskell Ave. (Dallas)

Since 2005, La Victoria has been wrapping some of the best tamales and breakfast burritos around. From the outside, the building looks like a hole in the wall, but there is magic being made inside. Their tamales are $30 for a dozen, which sounds expensive, but theirs are Texas-sized compared to others and are stuffed with either pork in red chili sauce, chicken in green chile sauce or jalapeño and cheese.

Luna’s Tortilla Factory
2225 Connector Drive (Dallas)

Luna’s Tortillas has been a family tradition since 1924. Even though they closed their restaurant earlier this year, the factory is still open for you to purchase tortillas and tamales. Pork tamales are available daily. They offer special flavors (pork, beef, chicken or pork jalapeño, spinach, spicy bean, and cheese with jalapeño) with a 24-hour notice. They also have sweet tamale options available. All tamales are sold by the dozen for $14. You must call (214) 747-2661 to place an order.

Molino Olōyō
click to enlarge Molino Olōyō tamales - PHOTO BY LESLIE BRENNER
Molino Olōyō tamales
Photo by Leslie Brenner
Molino Olōyō is getting a lot of buzz around the city right now for their tamales and tortillas that use heirloom corn from Mexico. They have a seasonal menu that changes regularly and source many of the ingredients from the produce at their small farm. Currently, they are offering turkey tamales with dark mole, green duroc pork tamales, guajillo mole chicken tamales and plant-based tamales with sweet potatoes or vegetable picadillo for $3.25 each. For those with a sweet tooth, cacao tamalito are a great option. Molino Olōyō roasts, peels and blends all of their cacao beans in house to make the chocolate from scratch. All orders are taken through their Instagram account. Message them to place an order and they can either deliver or provide instructions for pickup.

Oak’d Handcrafted BBQ
5500 Greenville Ave. (Dallas)
click to enlarge These tamales from Oak'd are made with their in-house smoked chicken, pork and brisket. - COURTESY OF OAK'D BBQ
These tamales from Oak'd are made with their in-house smoked chicken, pork and brisket.
Courtesy of Oak'd BBQ
Oak’d Handcrafted BBQ will be offering their smoked chicken, pork or brisket tamales again this season. All are made from scratch using their smoked meats and take two days to make. They are precooked, vacuum packed and frozen for you to enjoy at home.

Pecan Lodge
1618 W. Commerce St. (Dallas)

We all know Pecan Lodge has fantastic barbecue as the line around the building reminds us of this every time we drive by. During the holidays, they tantalize us with their smoked brisket (with red chile sauce) and smoked pulled pork tamales (with tomatillo sauce) for $20 per dozen. You’ll be hard pressed not to eat an entire dozen of these in one sitting. You can order these in advance and pick them up at their catering facility (address listed above) on Thursday, Dec. 23 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Or you can order from the express line at the Deep Ellum location anytime they’re open.

Tamaleria Nuevo Leon
2139 Buckingham Road (Richardson)
click to enlarge COURTESY OF TAMALERIA NUEVO LEON
Courtesy of Tamaleria Nuevo Leon
This family-owned spot serves delicious tamales year-round, but leading up to Christmas, they are working around the clock to meet the demand of their customers. Their meat to masa ratio is on point and the most popular flavors are the spicy pork, beef, chicken or bean/cheese and jalapeño tamales.

The Tamale Co. (The Bodega)
626 S. Cedar Ridge (Duncanville)
click to enlarge A tamale wrapped in fried cheese. - COURTESY OF THE TAMALE COMPANY
A tamale wrapped in fried cheese.
Courtesy of The Tamale Company
The Tamale Co. has been pushing their delicious tamales to retail stores and farmer’s markets around the area since 2008 and opened a storefront (The Bodega) last year in Duncanville. At this location, they sell their five best-selling types of tamales daily. The ancho chili pork tamale is their top seller, and you can get a dozen for $19.95. Other popular flavors include chicken tomatillo, black bean and corn, and cheese and jalapeño. They also have dessert tamales including pumpkin and chocolate. You can also find their tamales at retailers like Jimmy’s Foods, Eatzi’s, and Cox Farms.

Tommy Tamale
1689 W. Northwest Highway (Grapevine) (Other locations in Coppell and Keller)

Tommy Tamale opened in 2009 and has all things Tex-Mex, but are most known for their gourmet tamales served in a variety of ways. If you’re dining in, you can order them a la carte, as a plate, a bowl, a burrito or a pie. If you’d like them to go, they have several varieties (beef, chicken, pork, non-meat, and sweet) and are available by the half-dozen ($7.50 - $8.50) or dozen ($14 - $16). During this busy time of the year, they don’t accept orders for frozen tamales by phone or email. They are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. 
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Angie Quebedeaux is a freelance food writer for the Observer. A "ragin' Cajun" from Lafayette, she's been in Dallas since 2002. She is an HR director by day and loves to “laissez les bon temps rouler.”