Hot Tamales-Hold The Cheese On These, Chump!

I heart spice. Are these legit, or flaccid?

Reviewed by Jonny


August 9, 2009


I’m eating some Hot Tamales.  And I’m thinking “Damn, these are good.”  And then I realize that we haven’t reviewed them yet.  Enter a huge wave of negligence, fear, self loathing.  Then I realize that there’s like 200 standard candy classics that we haven’t reviewed yet, and my anxiety level goes through the roof.


Self medication, and then back to the Tamales.  One thing at a time, right?



Since I’m always looking for new candies, I tend to glom over the industry standards, like they’re invisible.  Lost in this neglect are a few gems that deserve a call out, and Hot Tams are one of those.

Hot Tams are hot, but they’re not painful/ ridic spicy.  They manage somehow to hold the perfect combination of consistency and flavor:  first, the outside has a slight crunch to it.  Then, as you start chewing, you get that familiar flavor, nice, mild cinnamon.  It’s at that point when the heat kicks in, giving you a nice, spicy finish.  One thing that rules about Tams is their consistency.  Never too soft like fresh Mike & Ikes, Hot Tamales always have that kinda stale extra chewy thing going on, which is key.  If they were soft and fell apart in your mouth quickly, you really wouldn’t get a chance to bring out the full heat of the cinnamon flavor by chewing them so long.  It’s science.

They got this one right.




I know these are a big movie theater candy, but for whatever reason, I never went that way.  Strictly a Red Vines/Milk Duds dude, I never opted for these when at the movies.  I think the reason’s twofold:

1.  I’m not so sure that these go GREAT with soda.  They might.  I’m just not sure.  And it’s been almost 40 years of me not caring enough to test this theory, so let’s just say that this one is gonna stay a mystery.

2.  I’m not so sure that eating a full box of these in one sitting is that likely.  I’ts not because they’re too spicy, but it probably is because they’re spicy.  Get it?  Check it: the fact that they’re spicy at all makes them a different sort of treat.  Excellent to be sure, but it kind of (for me at least) changes them from the “oh, did I really just eat a full quarter pound bag of mounds mini bars?” status to something that I might eat a couple handfuls of and then I’m done till next time.  Trust me, it’s not cause they’re too hot, I friggin’ adore spicy food.  I seek it, I crave it, I use Sri Racha sauce like Jeff Conaway uses pills.  I like the heat.  I’m just not sure I want spice with my candy all the time.


Having said all this, I’m here to say that Hot Tamales are dope.  Underrated, solid, tasty, unique, and just damn good.  Every single time I go to Costco, I troll the candy & gum aisle, hoping for something new and genius to blow me away.  It’s at this time that I always have two recurring thoughts:

1.  Their selection (literally) hasn’t changed at all in the last 5 years.

2.  I think I need to buy the 5 pound bag of Hot Tamalies staring at me.


I haven’t bought it yet, and maybe that’s due to my movie theater spicy candy theorem.  We just don’t know yet.  We don’t have enough information.


But one day, one of two things is gonna happen.  Either I’m gonna buy this bag and eat a bowl of them the size of my head in one sitting, or more likely, I’ll refrain from buying it and just keep on walking, eating my way through Costco’s semi-disgusting yet tasty selection of free food giveaways they do on the weekends.  No need to go to lunch after you shop there, people.  ALTHOUGH–they have a SICK deal on a gigantic hot dog and coke for $1.50.  That’s like third world pricing.  And I actually know people who are foodies who make it a point to go to Costco just for these dogs.  I haven’t tried one yet, but I need to.  You need to.


Don’t mess with science.  Or Costco.  Or spicy food.  And DEFINITELY not Sri Racha sauce or I’ll bite you.







Zolli Candy


  1. Denise

    I love these things!! They really are like crack – once I start eating them I cannot stop. But if those heinous Abba Zaba things get a 5, I think Hot Tams get a 9! Abba Zaba should be a 3. They BLOW!

    I got to see them make these at Just Born!!! Wheee!!! The smell of all that sugar and cinnamon – holy god!

    Hey – I like the new autopsy photos, by the way – you guys rock!!!

  2. greebs

    We just don’t know yet. We don’t have enough information.

    Love that. And I love the Hot Tams. “Always.”


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