For those who grew up in the Southwest, or have just lived here long enough to soak in the culture, tamales are a staple of holiday dining. And though they're not impossibly hard to make (really, we swear), the process does take quite a chunk of time and, ideally, a few extra hands. If you can't schedule a whole day of making and wrapping tamales, we don't blame you. That's why we've gathered this handy list of places around town that will happily do the hard work for you.
Someburros, the family-owned and -operated local restaurant chain with a half-dozen locations in the Valley, is taking orders for red beef or green corn tamales for $22.95 per dozen. Orders must be placed a day in advance. For more information, check the Someburros website.
Barrio Queen locations in Scottsdale and Gilbert are offering their popular pork green chile tamales, plus two new flavors: Chile Verde del Pollo (pulled chicken with green chile tomatillo sauce) and Tamales de Carne (slow-cooked beef brisket in a combo sauce of ancho-guajillo and chile de arbol). Tamales are $24 per dozen between November 15 and December 31. Call 480-656-4197 for Scottsdale, 480-634-5025 for Gilbert, or stop by either restaurant in person. For more information, check the Barrio Queen website.
For years, this Scottsdale restaurant has been a favorite for ordering holiday tamales. Los Sombreros makes a dozen flavors including green corn, chipotle pork, beef picadillo with mole sauce, and pineapple and raisin for customers with multiple options for ordering. You can buy one dozen tamales of one flavor for $34.95 (or one dozen with two flavors for $36.95), and one tamale of each of the dozen flavors for $39.95. Orders, which can be placed until December 20, must be prepaid and placed 72 hours in advance. Tamale orders must be picked up between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on December 23. And if you order on or before December 15, you get $5 off each dozen. For more information, check the Los Sombreros website.
Molly's Tamales in Glendale offers a wide variety of flavors, ranging from the signature cactus (or nopal tamal) tamale to the more unique spicy salmon option to other flavors like pork, spicy beef, and Southwestern chicken. Most tamale flavors cost $36 per dozen, or $3 each, while salmon tamales cost $44 per dozen, and $22 per half dozen. Orders can be placed by calling 623-937-1060 or e-mailing email@example.com. Place orders a week in advance. For more information check the Molly's Tamales website.
Los Dos Molinos Mesa
The Mesa location of this metro Phoenix mini-chain offers blue corn, green chili chicken, green corn without meat, red chili beef, and carne adovada at $25 a dozen. Orders of two dozen come with a complimentary half-dozen pineapple dessert tamales. Advanced notice is preferred, but not necessary. For more information, check the Los Dos Molinos Mesa website.
Los Dos Molinos Phoenix
With a couple days' advance notice, you can order a few dozen tamales from the two locations in Phoenix: Los Dos Molinos South Central and Los Dos Molinos Uptown. The restaurant offers several flavors of tamales, including red chile, blue corn, and green corn, for $30 per dozen, frozen. Visit the Los Dos Molinos Phoenix website for more information.
With several locations around town, Carolina's makes it easy to get your tamale fix. The restaurant offers red beef, green chicken, and green corn tamales for $27.20 per dozen cooked, or $16.70 per dozen not cooked, at either the North Phoenix or Peoria locations. The original location in Central Phoenix offers a dozen tamales, cooked or frozen, for $22.50. Just be sure to call a few days ahead to place your order. For more information, visit the Carolina's website.
Old El Paso Tamales
This east Mesa shop is a year-round destination for beef, pork, corn, green chile, or chicken tamales on the savory side. A dozen tamales from Old El Paso will cost you $14.99 ($7.99 for a half dozen), and orders should be placed a week in advance. You can place your order by stopping by the shop or by calling 480-844-0477. For more information, check the Old El Paso Tamales website.
The Tamale Store
The family-operated Tamale Store has a storefront located in Cave Creek, and the shop's offerings can often be found at farmers markets around the Valley. Flavors include the chicken green chile, chicken mole, beef red chile, Arizona cornbread with colby jack, and vegan. Prices here are $35 per dozen, $20 per half dozen, and $7 per pack. Orders can be placed preferably two business days in advance, and payment is taken when the tamales are picked up. The Tamale Store is taking preorders till December 5. After that, it's first come, first served. For further details, check the Tamale Store website.
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Tucson Tamale Company
You might recognize the Tucson Tamale Company name from AJ's, Sprouts, and Whole Foods, all of which carry this popular brand throughout Arizona. But you don't have to go to the store to get your holiday tamale fix. You can mail-order frozen tamales directly through the Tucson Tamale website. Tamales are available in packs of two for about $6 each, but the company also offers gift packages with anywhere from two to 14 tamales of various types – including the Holiday Pack, Hot Mess, and the Piggy Pack. For more information, check the Tucson Tamale Company website.
This list was updated by Lauren Cusimano on November 16, 2016