How Many Tamales Per Person?

In this article, we will tell you the adequate number of tamales for a single person. We will also discuss the amount of meat and the number of tamales that should be prepared for a large dinner or party. Moreover, we will go over some side dishes and types of meats that are used in making tamales.

How many tamales per person? 

On average, a single person can eat 2-3 medium-sized tamales with an assortment of side dishes. Depending on the size of the tamale and the number of side dishes, this figure may vary. Tamales are a famous Mexican dish made from corn-based dough

For big groups of people, for example at a party or a dinner, a crowd of 5-10 can consume about 15-30 tamales with no side dishes. Of course, this amount varies for children and adults. But the average amount is as mentioned above.

How much meat is required to make tamales? 

The quantity of meat required for making tamales depends on the size of tamales and the number of tamales being made. If you are making smaller tamales then you will require less meat. 

If you are making bigger tamales then obviously you will have to increase the quantity of meat.

As a rule of thumb, it is  advised to use about ½ pound of meat for 12 tamales. Hence, for making 24 tamales, 1 pound of meat is required. 

This quantity is subject to personal preferences as well. It is up to you if you want heavy stuffing in your tamales or just a light filling.

What is the average serving size for tamales?

The average serving size of tamales varies with the number of side dishes served. 

Without side dishes

If you are only serving tamales as a meal without any side dishes at a party or dinner, then it is better to make at least 2 or 3 tamales for each person. People usually eat 2 medium sized tamales so making one extra will not hurt. 

With side dishes

If you are planning on having a big dinner event, then it  is better to serve tamales with side dishes. It is an excellent way of adding deliciousness and variety of flavor to your meal. With side dishes, two tamales will be enough for one person. 

What side dishes are eaten with tamales? 

Tamales can be served with a wide assortment of side dishes. Whatever side dishes you choose, they will surely add to the taste and experience of tamales. Some of the side dishes include beans, rice, salsa, corn tortilla chips, guacamole, etc.

Side dishes help enhance the flavor of tamales. Various methods of cooking the side dishes bring out different flavors in the dish that complement the overall taste of the meal. For example, salsa adds a tangy touch to the tamales while tortilla chips add a bit of crunch to it.

What kind of seasoning is used in tamales? 

It is important to carefully choose spices and fillings to make authentic tamales. Some of the traditional spices used to make tamales include sesame, bay leaves, achiote, chillies, pepitas, and coriander seeds. A number of other optional spices can also be used.

The filling of the tamales can be kept savory or sweet depending on your personal preferences. The meat is seasoned accordingly. 

Some of the easonings include jalapenos, cheese, pineapple, cream cheese, etc. however, the fillings are entirely subjected to preference and vary from region to region around the world. 

How to make tamales? 

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish. Usually they are filled with a piece of chicken or pork. The meat is seasoned through a process of slow cooking. The meat is combined with vegetables and spices. The vegetables include peas, potatoes, corn, carrots, etc. 

The tamales are then wrapped banana leaves or corn husks. They are steamed for about 30 minutes. The wrapping is not eaten but is used to impart some flavor to the tamales. 

Any type of meat can be used for tamales fillings. However, chicken and port work best. There are also options of vegetable tamales or cheese tamales that do not include meat in the fillings.

For more tamales recipes, click here


In this article, we discussed the appropriate number of tamales for a single person, we also went over the type of fillings used in tamales and discussed the traditional mix of spices for making tamales. We also mentioned some of the famous side dishes that can be served with tamales for a full meal.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.