How To Reheat Frozen Tamales – The Best Way

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. Tamales are not entirely delightful, but they ’ re playfulness to eat and a great dish to serve for a large kin occasion, because the corn whiskey husk or banana leaf wrapping can be used in place of a plate, meaning no killing !
If you ’ ve made a big batch of tamales for freezing or plainly purchased them frozen, you ’ ll need to know how to reheat them in a means that ’ sulfur easy and leaves them fresh .
therefore how do you reheat frozen tamales ? The best way to reheat frozen tamales is to steam them for 20–30 minutes. You can also reheat them in the oven or on the stove. Other methods like boiling and using the microwave are possible, but not recommended.

There are many other ways to reheat frozen tamales and we cover them all, from the best to the least recommend methods, in the take after article .

How to Cook Frozen Tamales

Tamales can be filled with anything from a kernel mix to rice and beans or even scrambled eggs .
They ’ rhenium wrapped in sweet and savory corn dough and then packaged up in a beautiful corn husk or banana leaf, depending on where you ’ ra buying them from .
Depending on what the filling is inside, you may want to adjust the way you reheat them, though any of the following options will work respectably well, regardless of the fill .

How to Steam Tamales

See my full guidebook on how to steam tamales.
How to steam tamales will vary slenderly depending on your steamer, how many tamales you ’ rhenium steam at one prison term, and what your tamale is filled with .
A soft-shell clam stock-pot with an insert like this one from Amazon is perfect for steaming tamales .
We recommend steaming only a single layer of tamales at a time unless you have a tiered steamer. Don ’ t stack your tamales directly on top of each other though because they ’ ll be more likely to go mushy where they ’ ra touch .
Here’s how to steam tamales:

  • Set your steamer for 20 minutes and then check your tamales for temperature and texture.
  • You want to avoid over-steaming your tamales because the dough will go a bit soft and soggy if you steam them too long. Also, if your filling is very moist, such as a lot of tomatoes or other vegetables with high water content, be extra cautious of over-steaming.
  • When you’re reheating tamales from frozen in a steamer it will likely take closer to 40 or 45 minutes, but check them at least every 5–10 minutes after the 20-minute point. 

How to Steam Tamales: Stovetop

There are enough of very cheap soft-shell clam inserts for stock pots that are perfect for steaming tamales. We love this folding soft-shell clam cut-in because it will adjust to fit many different sizes of pots and expand to assorted shapes depending on your cook needs .
To steam tamales on the stove:

  • Fill your pot with about 2 inches of water and then place the steamer insert inside, making sure the water does not come up into the steamer. You do not want your tamales sitting in any water as they will get mushy.
  • Place your tamales into the steamer insert standing up, with the open ends facing upwards. Try not to overfill the pot but also don’t let your tamales fall over so that they’re laying flat or diagonally.

As with a countertop soft-shell clam, it will take approximately 40 minutes to steam your tamales from freeze, but start checking on them after 20 minutes to be certain they aren ’ thyroxine overcook .

How to Steam Tamales Without a Steamer

If you don ’ t have a steamer but you want to be traditional and steam your tamales, you can however get the results by using an alternate appliance like a rice cooker or an clamant Pot .

How to Steam Tamales in a Rice Cooker

You can steam tamales in a rice cooker, but you ’ ll want to add something to the buttocks of your cooker, like some rolled up aluminum foil or a round alloy rack so that you can keep the tamales aside from the water .
This is truly only effective if you’re reheating a maximum of 4–6 tamales because otherwise they ’ ll be excessively compacted in the rice cooker to heat evenly .
To steam tamales in a rice cooker:

  • Add an inch or two of water to your rice cooker and make sure your tamales are elevated out of the water. Stand them tall with the open ends facing the ceiling. 
  • Cook on high for about 20 minutes from frozen. Check the internal temperature and let them steam for up to an additional 10 minutes as needed.

How to Steam Tamales in an Instant Pot

Steaming your freeze tamales in an blink of an eye pot is a cinch, though it ’ s only commend if you have a soft-shell clam basket particularly designed for your Instant Pot .
official mesh topology steamer baskets come in 2 sizes that will keep your tamales, and any other food you ’ d like to steam, safe from pooling water at the bed of your potentiometer. They besides have a cover that lets you pull the basket right out effortlessly and safely, straining any extra water as you go.

When steaming tamales in an instant pot:

  • You’ll need about 2 cups of water in your Instant Pot to generate enough steam but you also want to be sure your tamales aren’t sitting in any water.
  • Make sure the openings are facing upwards and all your tamales are standing on end in a nice, neat circular pattern.
  • Close and seal your Instant Pot, setting it for 15 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off allow the natural release setting to release the steam rather than using the quick-release button. When it’s ready, carefully open your Pot and use oven mitts or tongs to remove the very hot steamer basket.

How to Reheat Tamales in Oven

Reheating tamales in the oven is identical simple, but can dry out your tamales much quicker than some of the other options .
To protect against this farce, either cover your baking pan in tin foil or wrap each tamale individually in aluminum foil .
To reheat tamales in the oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F
  • If your tamales are frozen, they’ll take at least 25 minutes.
  • If you’ve allowed them to defrost before placing them in the oven, they’ll be ready after only 15–20 minutes.

How to Reheat Tamales on a Griddle or Stovetop

If you ’ re going to fry your tamales, it ’ sulfur best to thaw them until they’re just defrosted before cooking them. Make sure they ’ re hush wrapped tight in their corn husks and place them on a hot griddle or frying pan complete high heat .
You want to let the husk blacken before flipping it. Your tamale should be hot inside when your husk is largely black on all sides. This is a very traditional way of cursorily reheating a tamale and should only take 5–7 minutes over very high heat .
You can besides fry your tamales without the husks, using a fiddling piece of cooking anoint or olive oil on your griddle. It will give a crispier out crust, but lone takes about 3 minutes per side and does taste pretty capital .

Can You Boil Tamales?

You can boil tamales, but it isn ’ metric ton recommended because there is far excessively much room for error .
You must be absolutely certain no water will directly touch your tamales, so you need to seal them absolutely either in a Ziploc bag, which is not meant to be boiled, or in a silicone reclaimable food storage bag that is certified for sou vide cook .

  • If you have sous vide bags, place your tamale(s) inside and make sure it is sealed perfectly.
  • Ideally, you will thaw your tamale first and then leave in the boiling water for only 8–10 minutes.
  • A good silicone bag will be safe to place a frozen tamale inside, seal and boil for 10–15 minutes.

If you ’ re going to boil your tamales, keep a close eye on the udder at all times to monitor for leaks. If any body of water gets inside your meal will be ruined .

Can You Reheat Tamales in the Microwave?

You can reheat tamales in the microwave, but these appliances do not distribute heat evenly, which makes it less reliable, specially for a densely wrap item like a tamale .
When you ’ re in a haste or trying to bring a healthy, delicious lunch to work with you, sometimes a microwave is your alone solution .
The results won ’ metric ton be arrant, but it will still taste delicious. You may get a slenderly rubbery or cushy boodle, but if you watch your tamale cautiously and don ’ thyroxine overcook it, you should be reasonably quenched with the results .
If you ’ re microwave tamales, you will want to adjust the fourth dimension and heat degree based on whether or not it ’ south frozen :

  • If your tamale is frozen, place it on a microwave-safe plate in the husk, cover it with a bowl or splatter guard, and heat on medium or 50% for 3 minutes. This will defrost your tamale. Flip it over and continue cooking at a medium level for another 2 minutes, which will thoroughly heat your tamale. 
  • If your tamale has thawed, you can heat on high for 1 ½ minutes on one side, flip and continue heating for another 1 minute on the other side. 

Safety Note:
It ’ mho always a good mind to test the inside temperature of your food before feed, particularly if there is meat in your tamale. The FDA recommends that all reheated foods be at least 165F throughout .
Summary: Ways to Reheat Frozen Tamales

Appliance Temperature Setting How Long (from frozen) How Long (Thawed)
Steamer High 30–45 minutes 20 minutes
Pot (Steamer Insert) High, boiling water 30–45 minutes 20 minutes
Rice Cooker High 20–30 minutes 15–20 minutes
Instant Pot High 15 minutes 10 minutes
Microwave Med (Frozen)
High (Thawed)
3 minutes, flip 2 minutes 1 ½ minutes, flip 1 minute
Oven 350 F 25-35 minutes 15–20 minutes
Pot (Boiling Water) High, boiling water 10–15 minutes 8–10 minutes
Griddle/Stovetop High n/a Until husks are charred on all sides

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