Trader Joe’s Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales Review

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales

We love tamales here at Freezer Meal Frenzy, and our vegetarian staffers quite enjoy Trader Joe’s vegetarian takes on the things (including the Handcrafted Sweet Corn Tamales and the Handcrafted Cheese & Green Chile Tamales). They’re extremely simple to prepare, which is always a big plus for us. So today our meat-eating staffers decided to see what all the fuss was about and try the Trader Joe’s Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales.

Now, one thing to consider about these little guys is that they come inside corn husks, which ideally should be removed before eating. You could hypothetically stuff some corn husk in your mouth if you felt so inclined, but we don’t think you should (unless you’re into that sort of thing). The packaging does refer to the husks as “inedible.”

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales

Anyway, these are as easy to prepare as our vegetarian friends said they were. Simply pop them into the microwave for three or four minutes, peel off the corn husks, and let them cool for a bit. Pretty easy, right?

As soon as we got the corn husk removed, we noticed that the corn masa shells seemed a little bit dry. Our first bite confirmed our suspicions. The shells were definitely drier than we were hoping they’d be. This wouldn’t be a problem if the filling was rich and juicy, but the filling portion is a bit scant — it’s not enough to counter the dryness of the shell.

If you crack one of these open, however, you’ll find the filling to be craveably delicious. It’s a spicy blend of white-meat chicken, cheddar cheese, corn, peppers, and seasoning. It tastes incredible. We just wish there were more of it.

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales

Now, one of these tamales contains 240 calories (100 from fat) and 680 mg of sodium. That doesn’t seem bad if you’re planning on eating just one, but we really think you need a pair of these to make a meal. Keep that in mind when you’re adding up your calorie intake.

With a little more filling, the Trader Joe’s Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales would have been incredible. As is, they’re still pretty good, but with some obvious flaws. We still enjoyed these tamales — we were just very distracted by how good they could have been with a few small tweaks.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for these Trader Joe’s frozen tamales, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Chicken & Cheese Tamales
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SP Hoyle
SP Hoyle
1 year ago

Now (7/2022) the instructions say to wrap the tamale (including the corn husk) in a wet paper towel for microwaving. Maybe your comments about dry shell got to them. That worked well for me.

6 months ago

I know this is a year old, but wrapping them in a wet paper towel helps keep the masa moist. I also put a little butter on each tamale then a light sprinkle of TJs everything but the elote seasoning. Then I put TJs enchilada sauce and shredded cheddar on top. Perfect meal!

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