How to reheat tamales – 5 different ways


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How to reheat tamales

One of my favorite Mexican dishes is tamales. Tamales can be full of whatever food base you use to make them, from a meat mix to beans and rice or even scramble eggs. They are filled with spicy and sweet corn tortillas, then wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, and then packed up into a pretty corn shell or basket, depending on where you’re buying them at.

Depending on what the main filling is in, you might want to adjust how you reheat them so they’re nice and warm, or you might want to try a few of these other options…

1. Use a steamer cooker to steam the tamales

Tamales are usually cooked in steam for longer periods of time depending on what has been stuffed inside the dough and how hard the corn husk or the banana leaves covering the dough is.

It is pretty easy if you have a cooking steamer in your home. To do it, you fill up your steamer with enough water that will be able to generate steam and then you turn on the heat.

The next thing to do is open the upper surface of all your tamales and place them on the edges of the steamer with the open surface facing up.

You will have to leave the tamales steamed for longer periods of time depending on whether they were inside the fridge or not.

If your tamales were inside the fridge, you have to let them steam up for 10 to 15 minutes before they are ready. But if they were in a freezer, let them steam up for 20 to 30 minutes. Time also is dependent on the number of tamales there are.

2. Use oven

Reheating tamales using an oven will ensure it retains that fresh and spicy taste it had while hot or at room temperature. So you need to make sure the oven is hot enough before you put your tamales inside by preheating it to 420 degrees.

You then have to remove the banana covers from the tamales and spread a little butter on the oven pan.

The last thing to do is placing the tamales on the pan and putting the pan inside the oven. Keep watch on the oven and wait for the color of tamales to turn to dark brown because that’s the indicator that your tamales are already preheated the way it’s required.

3. A stove would do too

I know most of you are afraid that stoves won’t work well on reheating tamales. The truth of the matter is, I find it the best and the easiest way so far. All you need is a pan, a lid, and a spoon of cooking oil.

The first thing to do is to oil the pan and put it on the stove with medium heat. You can leave the pan heating for a minute as you remove the corn covers on the tamales.

You then place the tamales on the pan and let them heat for 2 minutes under medium heat before you flip the tamales. Once they become crispy, your tamales will be ready to serve.

4. Put tamales in the microwave

This is the most used option. It is the fastest.

Personally, I don’t like eating microwaved foods for private reasons and so it won’t be as jolly when I explain to you how to reheat cold tamales using the microwave.

If you love a crunchy feeling when you eat your tamales then I suggest that this should be avoiding heating the tamales in the microwave.

If the tamales have been in a freezer, you will have to defrost them for three minutes before you remove the covers and reheat them. Place the uncovered tamales in a plastic tin and heat them in a microwave for up to five minutes.

5. You can use a deep fryer

I would not advise someone who is on a diet or wants to cut down on calories to use this method. But the process is not hard, you just heat a deep fryer to medium heat.

Defrost your tamales first for 2 minutes if they have been in a freezer. You then remove the cover and dip them inside the deep fryer. You have to wait until your tamales are dark brown before you take them out of the deep fryer.


It does not matter whether your tamales were frozen or they had already been warmed up and left on the dining table.

Provided they were properly cooked they can be eaten within 4 hours after being reheated.
It is not advisable to eat cold tamales due to fat deposits cooling off and forming a layer on the surface of tamales.

You should always make sure you use healthy methods to reheat your cold tamales before eating them. The best method is by using the steamer cooker because it is natural and that is how raw tamales are being cooked.

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