Top tamale spots in the Phoenix area

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There are some great spots around the Valley that have great tamales. (Source: Instagram) There are some great spots around the Valley that have great tamales. (Source: Instagram)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The holidays are here and for many people that means some great food with family. While that’s usually turkey and ham for most of the U.S., in the Southwest, tamales are a staple of holiday traditions. They can be a little tough to make so below are some of the top spots around the Phoenix area that can make them for you.

The Tamale Store

This place specializes in tamales and therefore is called The Tamale Store. Around since 2008, it makes numerous “Best of” lists year after year. There are more than a dozen different kinds of tamales with dessert, vegetarian and vegan options. A dozen will set you back $35.

13046 N. Cave Creek Rd. Phoenix

(602) 435-2604

La Purisima Bakery

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of tamales from La Purisima Bakery]

OK, so yes, it is a bakery but La Purisima Bakery makes some killer tamales. The tamales are made fresh daily and their masa is some of the best in the Valley. Their prices can’t be beat either. The only downside is they’re closed on Mondays and accept only cash.

4533 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale

(623) 842-1400

Molly’s Tamales

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of Molly's Tamales]

Staying on the west side of the Valley, there’s Molly’s Tamales. They have healthy and Tex-Mex flavored tamales for the whole family. They have been honored with the “Top Tamale” award numerous times during their 10-year stretch. They have a wide variety of tamales including spicy salmon, southwestern chicken and gourmet green corn. Not your average business as they recommend emailing or calling in the order before going to pick up the order.

8806 N 43rd Ave, Glendale, AZ

(623) 937-1060

Carolina’s Mexican Food

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of a Carolina's Mexican Food tamale]

Carolina’s Mexican Food has been around since 1968 and is known for the homemade tortillas but they also have some of the best tamales in town. There are three different types to choose from: red beef, green chicken or green cord. A dozen uncooked sell for $17.55 while a dozen cooked go for $28.55. There are three locations around the Valley.

North Phoenix

2126 East Cactus Rd

(602) 275-8231

Peoria

9030 West Peoria Ave.

(623) 487-1400

Mesa

1450 South Country Club Dr.

(480) 912-3420

Old El Paso Tamales

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of dozens of tamales from Old El Paso Tamales]

The owners brought their traditional El Paso tamales recipes to the Valley at Old El Paso Tamales in Mesa. They offer tamales with meat like chicken and beef as well as sweet or spinach tamales. They are on the less expensive side with a dozen costing only $14.99. Remember to pre-order since they get busy with the holiday season.

730 E. Brown, Ste. 109, Mesa

(480) 844-0477

El Bravo Mexican Food

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of tamales from El Bravo Mexican Food]

This spot started as a hole in the wall in 1982 and has grown since then, even expanding to Sky Harbor. El Bravo Mexican Food is one of the most popular Mexican food places in Phoenix with great tamales. There are vegetable green corn, beef, chicken green corn and spinach. It’s $32 for a dozen or a dozen mixed (four beef, four green, four chicken) for $36.

North Phoenix

8338 N 7th St.

(602) 943-9753

Sky Harbor

Terminal 4, 3800 E Sky Harbor Blvd, Phoenix

(602) 244-1388

Tee Pee Mexican Food

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of Tee Pee Mexican Food tamales]

This mom & pop Mexican food spot in Arcadia is known for its celebrity sightings (they have a whole section on their website) and its history. It’s been around since 1958. But don’t let that distract you from the authentic Mexican food they serve up, including tamales. They have a whole holiday menu that includes tamales, red chili, rice/beans/flour tortillas, chips, salsa and hot sauces for $20/person. There’s also the party tray menu that has a dozen beef or green corn tamales for $30 or 25 mini beef or green corn tamales for $50.

4144 E Indian School Rd., Phoenix

(602) 956-0178

Someburros

It all started in 1972 in south Phoenix when the Vasquez Family first opened their restaurant with Sonoran-style Mexican food and has expanded ever since. With multiple locations under Someburros, they provide solid, made-from-scratch specialties, including tamales. They have beef with red sauce or green corn with green sauce and cheese. You can get a dozen of either for $24 or get a tamale platter for $51.

For the six locations, visit: http://someburros.com/locations/

Catering director is Lindsey Anderson at landerson@someburros.com or (480) 201 8226

Los Dos Molinos

If you like tamales spicy, then Los Dos Molinos is the place to go. They have blue corn, red chili or green corn tamales. One dozen frozen will cost $30 and must be ordered in advance. There are several locations around the Valley.

Tucson Tamale Company

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see picture of Thanksgiving tamale from The Tucson Tamale Company]

So this spot isn’t in the Phoenix area but it’s worth the drive, especially if you’re looking for a tamale that’s a little out of the ordinary. The Tucson Tamale Company has tamales that will make every meat lover's mouth water as well as vegan and vegetarian tamales. For those in the Thanksgiving mood, there are sweet pumpkin tamales and turkey and cranberry tamales. If you don’t want to drive down to the Old Pueblo for their three locations, grocery stores around the Valley have the tamales.

Know of a great tamale spot that I missed? Email me at dbaker@azfamily.com.

[RELATED: Best places to pick up a holiday meal around Phoenix]

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