How to Host a Tamalada Party
In the Latin culture, tamales are a traditional Christmas dish—and making them is part of the holiday, too. Every year, family members gather for a
tamalada, a day-long tamale-making party, in preparation for the feast. Here's how to host a tamalada of your own!
Stock Your Kitchen
Plan to shop a day or two before the party to gather all of the ingredients you’ll need. Pick up an abundance of corn husks, masa harina (corn flour), meats, vegetables and spices, as well as drinks, snacks and other refreshments.
Start with our Chicken Tamales recipe for the basics!
Bring Out Your Bowls
Pull out your kitchen’s most brightly colored mixing bowls to liven up the atmosphere and set the stage for an entertaining and memorable tamalada. It never hurts to have extra bowls, spoons, napkins or utensils on hand, too.
Prep Your Space
The day of the party, make enough masa for all of the tamales. Then, soak the corn husks for at least two hours so they are flexible enough to roll up. Set out all of the tamale ingredients in order, at a reachable distance and with enough “elbow room” for easy assembly.
Cook the Fillings Together
From chicken and beef to vegetable and even pineapple, you can fill tamales with all sorts of flavors. If you have a large stove for stirring and similar plan to make the fillings together; otherwise, they can easily be prepped the night before.
Play Fun Music
What’s a party without music? You can create your own playlist or find a curated medley of Latin-inspired music to play while making (and eating) the tamales. Singing and dancing are encouraged—it makes the tamalada feel more like a party!
Serve Other Delicious Snacks
In addition to tamales, you’ll want to serve a variety of tasty snacks and apps at your tamalada. To take a bit of weight of your shoulders (and not your wallet), ask guests to bring a shareable snack or side dish for everyone to nosh on throughout the day.
Get Everyone Involved
A tamalada is an “all hands on deck” occasion. Each and every guest—even the ones with small hands—should play a role to make sure the tamale-making process runs smoothly. Let the kids pull corn husks out of the water while more experienced cooks spread the masa and add fillings.
Teach the Art of Tamale-Making
You’ll want to assemble the first tamale. Show your guests how to coat the corn husks with dough, add filling and fold ’em up. It’s an easy process to teach and learn, so don’t worry!
Send People Home with Plenty to Eat
The average tamale recipe makes a couple dozen tamales, so plan on having leftovers! You’ll want to provide plenty of to-go Tupperware containers for guests to pack and take home tamales after the party.