Canned Food

Hormel Tamales

Grocery store tamales; Paper or plastic? – Tamale Safari

If there’s one thing I absolutely love, it has to be a Tamale!  Delicious steamed masa, filled with beef, chicken, fruits, you name it, wrapped and served in a corn husk (or banana leaf in some parts of Central America).

The tamale may seem like a simple fare, but the one ingredient that matters most in a tamale is love.  In many countries such as the US and Mexico, Tamales are handmade and shared among family and friends during celebrations such as Christmas, the Day of the Dead, Las Posadas, La Candelaria Day, and Mexican Independence Day.

With such pain staking labor and love that goes into the tamale, could it easily be factory replicated and canned for easy consumption? While primarily known for their assortment of canned chili, Hormel believes so, and has for some time packaged a tamale product that has sold on shelves in American stores.

Hormel tamales: carne de vacuno en Chili Sauce (Pack de 3) 15 oz ...

Inspecting the can, Hormel offers 2 methods for heating the tamales.  Since stovetop is first on the list, I’m going to choose that method for this review.  Hormel also offers a recipe for CasserÓLE on the can. This cleverly placed recipe not only servers as a way to spice up your Hormel Tamales, but also to sell you Hormel’s beans.

Top View Of An Opened Can Of Tamales In Chili Sauce Isolated ...

Inside the can were 6 individually wrapped cigar shaped tamales.  Each tamale was wrapped in wax paper instead of corn husk or banana leaf.  My assumption with this is that the tamales were also in a chili sauce that may have disintegrated the corn husk, eliminating the preferred wrapper from the steaming process when these cook.

Canteen Cup Tuesday, Hormel Tamales and Uncle Ben's Rice, a Budget ...

From here, I put all the tamales in a pan, and per the instructions, brought to a simmer for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally.  The tamales cooking didn’t offer much in terms of pleasant or unpleasant smells.  There was a light chili smell, but nothing to get excited over.

hormel chicken tamales | Hormel chicken, Chicken tamales, Hormel

Once done cooking, I transferred to a plate, removing the tamales from their wax paper wrappers, and drizzling what sauce I could scrape out of the pan onto the tamales. The masa in the tamales did not hold well together, and was only able to successfully transfer 4 out of the 6 without completely destroying them.

Chicken tamales with sriracha drizzled on top : shittyfoodporn

Flavor wise, sadly, there’s not much to say.  Maybe because Hormel was targeting the white suburban American market, they dulled down any flavor the tamales may have had.  The masa didn’t have the sweet corn flavor, the beef inside was boringly unseasoned, and the sauce had no kick.  So boring.

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But maybe we could find something inside this factory made mess that could replace the most important part of a tamale… Love…

Alas, this tin can needs a journey to a wizard before we’d find love in these tamales.

READ  Loma Linda Fried Chik’n


The Hormel Tamales weren’t horrible… but they weren’t great. In fact, they weren’t much of anything, except maybe disappointing. I could see why Hormel would want to push it’s chili along with the tamales. It might actually rescue the tamales by hiding their severe blandness in beans and meat.

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  1. Daniel Crowder says:

    The Hormel canned tamale is absolutely my favorite canned meat product. Unfortunately during the pandemic this delicious item has been missing from the shelves of all my local grocery stores. I got to say, I’m truly bummed out over losing this tasty treat. My picky palate recognizes a five star delight when it senses one and these little tamales take the blue ribbon. What am I going to do first when the pandemic is over and this treat is no longer hoarded by its many faithful fans? Why grab me a whole case worth of Hormel Tamales in Chile Sauce of course.

  2. Michael Ferguson says:

    My sister and Ibothare happy to see the Hormel TamLes back on! These are a very tasty quick meal that so versatile!

  3. Lynn Lobliner says:

    In the 50s, when I was 9ish, I went across the street looking from my friend. She wasn’t home but her dad was and he was heating a can of tamales on the stove, with the lid 7/8 cut off and up. I had never seen anyone heat a can before — at our house we had to take it out of the can, put it in a pan and heat it. He let me try one and, having never tasted any Mexican food at that point, so they weren’t bad. I went home and asked my mom if she’d buy tamales. Not sure if she said no but she never did. So while they may not be the best fare on the block, when camping and when pulling down a memory of Mr. Plein, I enjoy them. Canned peas don’t taste like fresh peas either.

  4. I love these tamales…especially the sauce that goes with them. I was looking for a copycat recipe for the Hormel sauce but everybody wants to “up” the ingredients. Wish Hormel would sell just the sauce. I’d use that on frozen tamales or homemade and maybe even use it on tacos or enchiladas!

  5. I had a craving but I couldn’t put my finger on it I looked in the cupboard and I saw a can of the Hormel beef tamales and so what I did was I put it in a microwave safe container and then on the bottom I put cream of mushroom soup the tamales more cream of mushroom soup onion powder garlic powder and mozzarella cheese I heated it up for 3 minutes stirred the sauce a bit so it’s creamy I tell you I will definitely make that again. Under $3.00 to make. Great also in a slow cooker for hot dip and chips. I may use a different cheese next time.

    1. Remove the paper first😊

  6. Chris Butterfield says:

    These tamales are of an era, like the twinkie and anything Chef Boyardee. The are now only consumed for nostalgic reasons by those who were fed them in their youth.

    Painstaking is one word.

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