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Tamales at Costco - decent!

I bought the Isabella's Kitchen pork tamales - 10 pack, fresh (not frozen) - at Costco for $13.49. We had them for part of dinner tonight. We steamed them in the bamboo steamer (we don't have a tamalera) - they are huge, barely managed to fit 5 in one tray.

I thought that the flavor was excellent and the overall texture quite good. I'm sure they don't compare to home-made, but for the money, they make a cheap, decent quick dinner for those busy nights.

One thing I missed was a good sauce. I ate it with some picco de gallo and some hot sauce (had both El Yucateco and Chalula) but I should have made or bought me a good enchilada sauce or maybe even a mole poblano. Not that the tamale was dry - just needed something to ride over the corn. I know some folks even like chili on tamales - I'm not a big fan of the standard ground beef chili with tamales, but I do like a spicy chili verde - but if I'm going to take the time to make that, I don't need to buy a bag of tamales.

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  1. I saw those @ Costco today here in OC. Thank you for the quick review; after reading it, I'm going back this wknd to try some!

    1. We've had them as well (thanks in large part to a hostess serving free samples)and enjoyed them with our own refried beans, saffron rice. I would rebuy.

      1. I just wrote about them on the SW board in a tamale discussion.

        My mom has always made tamales for Christmas, but won't be making them this year. While not as good as mom's, they are a fine substitute. They also had chicken with green chile tamales.

        I paid $10.99 in Phoenix.

        1. I always grab a bag of the Isabella Pork Tamales (fresh) at Costco. They are very tasty and highly convienient; I usually freeze them for lunches and such. All I need is a dusting of NM chili powder and a fork, yum yum. It is unusual to find prepared pork tamales since most are either chicken or beef. They offer chicken tamales that I have not tried, but they do look interesting.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sacto_Damkier

            We had the Isabella Chicken Tamales during Christmas. It was good for what it was: mass-produced chicken tamales. There was a bit more masa than I prefer...perhaps I needed to dress it up w/some mole sauce. I agree w/the OP that for the money, it was a "cheap, decent quick dinner".

          2. I came back to add: I checked the label on my Costco tamales. They're not Isabella - they are Del Valle brand.


            1. I'd say they're more than decent, good taste, moist and quick to steam. I prefer just a bit of catsup with mine so as not to interfer with the corn and pork and bean taste. Perfect on a cold morning!

              1. Well, I've been looking for a decent tamale since I left California. Can't wait to hit Costco. Has anyone found a sauce to compliment them? I would love to find a ranchero sauce.

                1. Just picked up the Isabella chicken tamales. Does anyone know if you can freeze them?

                  1. I can't comment on how they taste, never had them, but a few quick comments:
                    1. If they are fully cooked, yes, you can freeze them.
                    2. Sauce, 8 oz sour cream, a canned chipotle pepper and some of the adobo sauce it's packed in, juice of a lime, and a handful of cilantro. Blender. This is about 23 seconds of work for a sauce for tamales that will rock your world.

                    I'm actually cooking the chicken for my xmas tamales right now, so, i'm in the tamale zone.

                    Also, if these are fully cooked, and you are deft at using your microwave as a steamer (note: I'm not talking about turning your microwave on at full power until the tamales are hot, I'm talking about knowing how to use the power levels, and creating a steaming environment with something like a little water and a plastic bag) - the microwave is a GREAT way to reheat cold or frozen tamales. Again, IF you know how to use your microwave to steam things properly.

                    1. I bought the Isabella chicken tamales and thought they were great - but when I went to buy more CostCo didn't have any - does anybody know if they're something CostCo generally has and was just out of or am I out of luck to buy more?~! Thanks~!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bickus

                        I think they might be seasonal (December)....

                        1. re: bickus

                          Just saw them Saturday @my local Costco (in Manhattan).