Trader Joe’s Handcrafted Beef Tamales Review

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Beef Tamales

A while back, we started working through Trader Joe’s line of frozen tamales. We checked out the Cheese & Green Chili version, the Sweet Corn version, and the Chicken & Cheese version. Yet we somehow passed up the beef version, despite the fact that it has a bright red package and it’s pretty hard to miss.

Today, we’re going to rectify this, for we’re reviewing the Trader Joe’s Handcrafted Beef Tamales. And we are excited.

Cooking these tamales is a breeze. Rip open the package, wrap each tamale in a wet paper towel, then microwave for three to four minutes. We cooked both at the same time, and four minutes definitely seemed like the right amount of cook time.

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Beef Tamales

Of course, you’ll want to remove the corn husk before eating.Unless you’re the type of person who eats your tamales with the corn husks on, in which case…. ew.

This is a super simple dish. It’s really just a spicy beef blend inside of a corn masa shell. But simple doesn’t mean bad. In fact, these are pretty amazing.

The shell has a lovely corn flavor to it, which is enhanced by the fact that it gets cooked inside a corn husk. It also has a moist-but-not-soggy consistency, which makes it just lovely to bite into.

Trader Joe's Handcrafted Beef Tamales

The beef is a stringy shredded beef rather than a ground beef, and the flavor really complements the corn masa shell perfectly. In fact, we can’t imagine a better protein choice here (unless you’re a vegetarian, we suppose). We called it a spicy beef blend, though that might be a little bit of an exaggeration. This filling contains chile pepper and jalapeños, but not enough that it’s going to scare away any spice-ophobes.

There’s no cheese or sauce to speak of here. While these tamales taste quite lovely on their own, we’d be interested in trying them with some salsa verde and a spritz of lime. Maybe next time.

According to the package, one serving contains 240 calories (110 from fat) and 670 mg of sodium. That doesn’t seem bad until you realize a serving size is one tamale — and there are two in the package. If you eat both, you’re looking at 480 calories (220 from fat) and 1,340 mg of sodium. And you probably will eat both, because these aren’t very filling at all. This ain’t a diet food, kiddo!

The Trader Joe’s Handcrafted Beef Tamales are simple but good. While we could see a little bit of sauce being an improvement, these are still very tasty on their own. We definitely think we’ll be trying these again at some point so we can experiment with some toppings!

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 Beef Tamales
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1 year ago

These are good!

9 months ago

These tamales used to be amazing. They have changed significantly. They now use a lower quality beef, contain less beef, and have this unappetizing flavor. The taste has definitely changed. The price has also increased a lot from just a year ago. As usual, greed supersedes customer satisfaction. I’ve seen it happen with so many products. They switch to cheaper, lower quality ingredients to make more of a profit and they ruin a perfectly good product. I’ve stopped buying them.

Last edited 9 months ago by Cleo
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