Where do you get your holiday tamales?


My two go-to spots are either Sandra’s Tamales or Ramirez Meat Market.

I think Sandra’s elote tamales are things of beauty. I think they add a touch of Mexican cinnamon to give it that extra “delicious edge” but I can’t be sure, and they won’t say.

But I digress, where do you go for holiday tamales?


I go with Juanito’s. Huge and to me the right mix of meat, masa, and sauce/spice. Do people here usually pick up morning of and eat that day, or buy in advance and reheat?


My friend’s grandmother. She still remembers me and makes sure I get 3 corn and 3 pork tamales every year, which are excellent because she believes in lard.

Other than that, Tamara’s Tamales for vegan jalapeño tamales, green chili chicken, green chili cheese, and red chili pork. The vegan mixed vegetable tamales are good too.

If I have time, I’ll get the meat tamales from Northgate Market instead of Tamara’s (less expensive if you’re feeding a crowd).

Side question, do any tamale places still use lard?


La Flor de Yucatán on Hoover just north of USC makes an amazing fluffy tamale I love. It’s made with a super light and airy masa and filled with pork (I think) and bell peppers. It’s not traditional because it’s so big and wrapped in a banana leaf and foil, but the masa is exceptional.


La Mascota in Boyle Heights on Whittier Where The Girls Are Prettier.

They make some dank ass tamales. Pan dulce is pretty good to dunk in your cafe con leche.


La Poblana Bakery for excellent chicken verde and chile cheese tamales. Pre-order is a must this time of year though.


I remember reading that they had some changes there a while back…maybe new ownership or management? Is the quality still the same?


I just bought some super disappointing ones next to Guisados in Boyle Heights which motivated me to try to make again this year. My problem is my grandmother used to make the best tamales, northeno style - not a lot of masa, super moist. I’ve only ever made once, getting the masa from Cinco Puntos. Going to even try to make my own masa using duck fat with a recipe I found online.


It’s traditional in Yucatan!! It’s my favorite type of tamale, Tamale Colado. You should also try the large baked tamale at Chichen Itza, Tamale Hornado.



I buy and pickup for the day after Christmas. It’s perfect nourishment for the traditional Xmas hot-pot at the ipsedixit household.


You have to be careful with grab and go tamale places. They often have more masa than filling. La Mascota always has the right masa filling balance. Juanitos are filling BOMBS. I find them too juicy (I still like my corn husk tamale to be functional) and the seasoning no quite on point. But you can easily why folks wait for hours for them.



@Dommy I know but if I don’t clearly mention it, I fear someone will get the wrong impression. Better to say it upfront so folks aren’t disappointed or confused.
I love them, too! Easily my favorite tamal of all time.


I know! You never know! I remember buying some out of a van at winery in the Paso Robles area and they were phenomenal! I usually get some at Monte Alban, which is very close to my house, when we are in a tamale mood, but I’m definitely going to try some of the places that folks recommended here!


We usually get and eat tamales the day before Christmas. We eat them throughout the day while prepping or wrapping or whatever. They’re not really a meal, just something delicious to grab and eat while preparing for the festivities.


Did anyone buy their masa or prepared tamales from Amapola Markets? I’m curious as to what was wrong with the masa.


This is such an unfortunate turn of events. :((( They have been expanding and updating their market all based on their rep as THE place to get Masa (Check out their West Covina store in the mall!)

According to what they are saying it was the corn supply. They might have gotten old corn or corn that was processed incorrectly or past its prime! Eitherway, it was a very sad turn of events! We almost bought Anapola Masa but only needed a small amount for our Empandas!



Their response to the issue, how they are handling the complaints and refunds, is admirable. Textbook perfect, it seems. I hope their customers appreciate that.


@A5KOBE Thanks for the rec! I dropped by today while I was in the neighborhood. The green chile chicken filling is like a flavor bomb…the bit of kick is really nice, but I think the masa is a touch on the heavy/stiff side and a bit underseasoned (probably due to the fact that the filling can pack a wallop). My husband is the tamale connoisseur in our house, and he was quite pleased.
I’m likely going to spend the next couple of weeks trying new places to experiment. I had the bright idea of trying to hit up La Moscata and Juanito’s last week while I was in the City only to be denied when they both were only doling out for Christmas pre-orders only. Fail due to poor planning on my part.


Happy to help fellow FTCers!

I agree with the masa, this batch I got recently the masa was a bit hard. The filling was great still.

Good luck on your tamale quest.


If you live in the Whittier area and are too lazy to brave the drive to L.A., La Moderna Bakery is a good place to go. There are lines in the morning to get their pan dulce, and on the weekends, they have whole lamb heads (either roasted or fried)…plenty of folks were buying these while I was in line.
Now back to the tamales, I tried the red chile pork tamales. The filling was quite solid and the red chile sauce has as nice ancho-chipotle kick. Delightful! The masa is well-seasoned, and just a touch on the stiff side. I look forward to trying other flavors. The staff here is friendly and helpful.