How Many Calories In A Tamale?

In the mood for a tamale? As we’re sure you might very well already know, tamales are a delicious food that originates from Columbia and is enjoyed in many different countries in Latin America!

From Brazil all the way to Mexico, tamales are even popular in the Caribbean.

How Many Calories In A Tamale?

Regardless of whether you are from Latin America or not, it’s easy to see why tamales are such an important part of Latin American countries’ cultures.

Besides being totally delicious and the perfect snack, tamales are perfect for the Christmas period and are often part of many traditions during many other holidays.

Given the fact that tamales are so popular in Latin America and the rest of the world, it means that there are many different variations of the tamale that you can get.

For that reason, it only makes sense that you should want to know more about how many calories they might contain. 

Just keep on reading to discover how many calories an average tamale contains here!

What Are Tamales?

Before we get any further into this guide, we first think that it would be helpful to outline what tamales even are.

If it’s going to be your first time trying one (or you’d simply like a refresh on what this classic treat is) tamales is essentially a traditional dish that is typically made from corn dough, although in some rare instances tamales may be made with rice dough. 

According to the classic recipe of tamales, along with the corn dough, tamales are then filled to the bim with a variety of different delicious meats, vegetables, cheese, herbs and even sometimes fruit depending on which region of Latin America the recipe you are following comes from.

After they have been stuffed to the brim with the ingredients that we have mentioned above, they are then typically wrapped up tightly in either banana lead or corn husk.

Just like with the stuffing ingredients, what the tamales are wrapped inside will typically depend on the country’s cultural traditions of the recipe that you are following.

Then, once the tamales have been wrapped up, they will then be steamed until they are ready to be eaten.

In some instances, tamales can be fried, although the majority of recipes will ask you to steam your tamales until they are ready to be eaten!

Generally speaking, the majority of people will typically enjoy a dish of tamales during the Christmas season or during New Years.

However, there are many people all over the world that enjoy tamales all year round.

It is also important to remember that, given the fact that tamales are deep-rooted in Latin American culture and ancient Indigenous cultures – tamales are considered to be a cultural and traditional dish that is considered to be sacred.

How Many Calories In A Tamale?

What Ingredients Are In Tamales?

As we have said, there are many different types of tamales out there that can be enjoyed, including savory and sweet variations. Below, let’s’ take a look at some of the basic ingredients that you can expect to find in a classic tamale:

  • Corn, rice or sweet corn dough: As we have already mentioned in a previous point earlier in this guide, the majority of traditional tamales will be made from corn dough. However, in some cases, sweet corn dough or rice dough can also be used to make the tamale. Ultimately, it all depends on whether you are wanting to make a sweet tamale or a savory tamale! 
  • Lard: More often than not, lard will be used to prepare the tamale, especially if you would like to make a traditional style tamale. Nevertheless, butter can work just as well as an alternative to lard if you don’t have it in your kitchen to reach for.
  • Savory fillings: If you are making a classic, traditional tamale, then you can expect a generous filling combination of meat, vegetables, herbs and even cheese.
  • Sweet fillings: If you’re in the mood for something a little on the sweeter side, you can prepare a sweet tamale. More often than not, sweet tamales typically tend to contain a mixture of fruit, cream and sometimes even jam, too!

As well as all of the above, it’s also worth noting that there will be some different tamale recipes that will require you to season the dough with chili, sauces, cheese and many other different toppings that can also contribute to how many calories you can expect your tamales to contain.

This brings us to our next section.

How Many Calories Are In Tamales?

So, now that we have covered what tamales are, as well as what the main ingredients that tend to be used in a traditional recipe are, we are now going to be taking a closer look at how many calories you can expect a regular serving of tamales to contain. 

Generally speaking, you can expect a regular tamale that contains all of the traditional savory ingredients that we have mentioned above (we’re talking about meat, vegetables, herbs and sauce) to contain around 275 calories per tamale, not per serving.

Alternatively, if you were to eat a traditional tamale that contains everything except for the meat portion, you can expect a meatless tamale to be around 240 calories or less.

As for a sweet tamale? Well, this will very much depend on what ingredients you are using to fill the tamale.

That being said, if you were to make a classic sweet tamale from rice dough containing fresh fruit and cream, you can expect it to be around 230-250 calories per tamale.

The Bottom Line

There we have it!

You’ve made it to the end. Now that you’ve taken the time to read through all of the above, we hope that we have been able to give you a much better understanding of how many calories you can expect your tamales to contain.

Thanks for reading, and happy eating!

Jenna Priestly

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