I didn’t know this before I moved to San Antonio, but Christmas is tamale season.
Seriously. It’s not unusual for my husband and I to receive six dozen tamales before the New Year.
While some folks make their tamales from scratch, plenty of San Antonians buy their own tamales. Everyone swears that their tamale place is the best, of course. I’m not taking sides, but here are my 10 favorite tamale joints in the Alamo City.
- Map of the Best Tamales in San Antonio
- Best spicy tamales: Mimi’s Barbacoa
- Best out of town tamales: Delia’s
- Best tamale factory: Tellez Tamales & Barbacoa Factory
- Most creative tamales: Tamahli
- Best tamale masa: Adelita Tamales
- Best classic tamales: Martinez Barbacoa Y Tamales
- Best old-fashioned tamale joint: Ruben’s Homemade Tamales
- Best signature tamale: Tamale Boy
- Most affordable tamales: Victoria Tortilla & Tamales Factory
- Best tamale specials: Magy’s Tamales & Barbacoa
Map of the Best Tamales in San Antonio
Best spicy tamales: Mimi’s Barbacoa
I first visited Mimi’s for their breakfast tacos, but I was soon obsessed with their moist, flavorful tamales. While you can’t beat buying their barbacoa by the pound, their pork tamales are a slice of greasy heaven. I recommend slathering their tamales with their house-made red salsa, but if you like your tamales hot, go for the spicy green jalapeno salsa.
- Address: 10918 Wurzbach Rd # 134, San Antonio, TX 78230
- Website: Mimi’s Barbacoa Facebook
Best out of town tamales: Delia’s
I tried Delia’s tamales years ago when my mother-in-law brought up several dozen from Brownsville. I craved them so badly that I was heartbroken after realizing we didn’t have a location in town. But San Antonio finally got our own Delia’s, and suffice it to say, my tamale consumption has gone through the roof.
You’ll pay $10 – $15 per dozen tamales, which can easily feed a large family. I prefer the classic pork tamales, but if you’re feeling adventurous, I also recommend Delia’s corn tamales, sweet cream cheese tamales, or spicy chicken tamales.
- Address: 13527 Hausman Pass, San Antonio, TX 78249
- Website: Delia’s Tamales
Best tamale factory: Tellez Tamales & Barbacoa Factory
Tellez Tamales isn’t messing around, you guys. They have a full-on assembly line of cooks who lovingly prepare their labor-intensive tamales. While you can sit down in the restaurant to enjoy a tamale fresh from the steamer, you can order tamales by the dozen, too. But be prepared to wait in line—Tellez is popular with the locals which means long lines during lunch and weekends.
- Address: 1802 Bandera Rd, San Antonio, TX 78228
- Website: Tellez Tamales
Most creative tamales: Tamahli
I’m a sucker for a restaurant with a punny name. But don’t let its cute name fool you: Tamahli makes fresh, hand-wrapped tamales daily for San Antonians to enjoy. Just stop by Tamahli to pick up an order of their cleverly-named tamales. The “Been There” has beans, cheese, and fresh corn masa in a corn husk while the “Texas Popper” has cream cheese and jalapeno. If you really want to try something different, order any of Tamahli’s banana leaf-wrapped tamales—you can’t beat the Holy Moly, which comes with chicken and mole sauce.
- Address: 814 W Rhapsody Dr, San Antonio, TX 78216
- Website: Tamahli
Best tamale masa: Adelita Tamales
Adelita’s no-frills storefront is a good sign that you’re about to chow down on some tasty tamales. They have a few tables and chairs if you’d like to enjoy your tamales on the spot, but most folks pick up a couple dozen to enjoy at home. Adelita Tamales only makes its tamales with stone-ground nixtamal, or soaked corn kernels.
Oh, and if you want to make your own tamales at home, I recommend buying Adelita’s prepared masa to speed things up.
- Address: 1130 Fresno Drive, San Antonio, TX 78201
- Website: Adelita Tamales
Best classic tamales: Martinez Barbacoa Y Tamales
Sure, Martinez Barbacoa Y Tamales is only open Friday – Sunday, but trust me: you’ll want to stop by. This isn’t unusual for restaurants that serve labor or time-intensive meals like barbacoa or tamales. My husband is obsessed with Martinez’s fresh chicharrones, but their tamales are off the hook, too. They don’t cook any zany flavors: just hometown favorites and crowd-pleasers like pork, bean, or chicken. And at $10 per dozen, it’s a great way to feed a crowd on a budget.
- Address: 728 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201
- Website: Martinez Barbacoa Y Tamales Facebook
Best old-fashioned tamale joint: Ruben’s Homemade Tamales
Ruben’s has been around for almost 70 years. Every tamale is crafted by hand, usually by Ruben’s team of grandmas in the kitchen. Ruben’s is famous for having lines that wrap around the building, but that just means Ruben’s tamales are worth the wait. Their tamale fillings change by day and season, but you can usually find pork, chicken, or bean tamales on the menu every week.
P.S. They open at 7 AM daily but close at 5 PM (3 PM on Sundays). Make sure you stop by during your lunch hour or the weekend so you snag your tamales while Ruben’s is open.
- Address: 1807 Rigsby Ave, San Antonio, TX 78210
- Website: Ruben’s Homemade Tamales Facebook
Best signature tamale: Tamale Boy
Tamale Boy only takes to-go orders, but honestly, their tamales are so good that you’ll probably devour a few in the car. If it’s your first time at Tamale Boy, try their signature Kadillak tamale. It’s filled with chicken, cream cheese, and jalapenos for a perfectly savory, spicy bite. You can also order barbacoa tamales, which is pretty unique. Be sure to pick up a liter of Big Red for an authentic South Texas flavor combination.
- Address: 5300 S Flores St, San Antonio, TX 78214
- Website: SA Tamale Boy
Most affordable tamales: Victoria Tortilla & Tamales Factory
At $8.99 a dozen, Victoria’s sells some of the most affordable (and tasty) tamales in San Antonio. Whether it’s pork, chicken, bean, or jalapeno, Victoria’s tamales are always a crowd-pleaser. If you’re making your own tamales, you can buy Victoria’s prepared masa for $2. They even sell ground nixtamal with spices and lard so all you need to do is make the tamale filling. Easy, right?
- Address: 737 Division Ave, San Antonio, TX 78225
- Website: La Victoria Factory
Best tamale specials: Magy’s Tamales & Barbacoa
Whether you’re taking tamales to-go or want to enjoy an ice-cold Coke while you dig into a pork tamale, Magy’s is a must. It’s not fancy, but this down-home tamale restaurant sells tamales by the dozen. They make pork, chicken, and bean & jalapeno tamales, but Magy’s also serves tacos, breakfast plates, and barbacoa by the pound.
Feeding a family? Try Magy’s specials. Especial #1 goes for $23 and you get 1 pound of barbacoa, 1 dozen tamales, 1 dozen tortillas, charro beans, and hot sauce. You can easily feed a family of four on this, so come hungry!
- Address: 5721 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78237
- Website: Magys Tamales Facebook