Trader Joe’s Chicken & Cheese Tamales Review

Trader Joe's Chicken & Cheese Tamales

Trader Joe’s did something a little bit sneaky a while back: They took the word “Handcrafted” out of the titles of their tamales when they updated their packaging. Because of this, we’ve been going back through these tamales and giving them a second look. Well, it looks like we’re finally getting to our second review of the Trader Joe’s Chicken & Cheese Tamales (which no longer have the word “Handcrafted” in the title).

You can heat these in a steamer if you really want to, but we’ve been using the microwave for TJ’s tamales for as long as we’ve been eating them, and that’s never been a problem. You will have to dampen up a paper towel and wrap up the tamale before cooking it, but that’s not super difficult or anything. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions straight of the bag, check out the package scan at the bottom of this review.)

Trader Joe's Chicken & Cheese Tamales

We appreciate how Trader Joe’s wraps these up in corn husk (which you should dispose of before eating the tamale). It helps the corn shell taste a bit more corny, and we really like that. “Wait a minute,” you might be saying. “Don’t all frozen tamales come wrapped in corn husk?” Actually, no. We’ve reviewed some that were wrapped in parchment instead of corn husk, so we’re glad TJ’s went with the real deal instead of parchment.

The last time we tried these, we said that with just a little bit more filling, these could be excellent. It seems that Trader Joe’s might have taken our advice, because we didn’t have that complaint this time around (and the slightly higher calorie count does suggest some tinkering with the recipe). In fact, we think these might now be the best tamales in the TJ’s lineup.

The filling is made up mostly of shredded chicken, but there’s also a little bit of a cheddar flavor to these. It’s not a super strong flavor or anything, but it does complement the chicken really well. And then there’s a spicy finish. We don’t think these will satisfy folks who need their tamales to be hot enough to burn the devil himself, but these do have a nice bite to them. We don’t remember them being spicy at all the last time we tried them, so we’re pretty happy with this.

According to the package, one tamale is a serving. If you eat just one, you’ll be consuming 250 calories and 770 mg of sodium. If you eat both, you’ll be up to 510 calories and 1,540 mg of sodium. And we think you’ll probably need to eat two if you plan on making a meal of these. So keep that in mind.

The Trader Joe’s Chicken & Cheese Tamales no longer claim to be handcrafted, but Trader Joe’s has definitely improved them regardless. We’ve been re-reviewing all of TJ’s tamales lately, and these ones definitely stand out as the cream of the crop. We’re extremely satisfied with the recipe adjustments.

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

Trader Joe's Chicken & Cheese Tamales
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

These look like they would taste pretty good!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x