3 Simple and Easy Ways on How to Reheat Tamales
Tamales are not exactly easy to make, as it takes quite a long process. Many cooks actually make a big batch and just freeze them for later consumption. If you’re looking for ways on how to reheat tamales, this article has answers!
A Mexican dish made of corn-based dough steamed in corn husks, a tamale is a Mesoamerican dish that’s filled with ingredients like meats, vegetables, chili, beans, and cheeses. It’s wrapped in either corn husks or banana leaves.
I absolutely love tamales, and have actually made some myself <but I admit I buy more than I cook>! I sometimes buy or make too much that I’ve learned a lot about the best tamale reheating methods. In this post, I’ll be sharing some tips with you!
Here are some of the best ways on how to reheat this delicious dish. Whether you made them yourself or thawing them from their frozen state, these methods can help you retain the quality and flavors.
How to Reheat Tamales by Steaming
Things You’ll Need
- ELECTRIC STEAMER
- POT AND STEAMER BASKET
This is one of the easiest ways to reheat tamales. If you have an electric steamer at home, this method will take about 30 minutes, tops!
A steamer is a great investment—you will not only be using this for tamales but for lots of other delicious dishes as well. Whether you’re reheating or cooking, an electric steamer will make your job much easier.
If you’re not ready for this yet, however, you can try the next item.
A cheaper alternative is the steamer basket <which costs about $8-$15, versus the electric type which could cost up to hundreds of dollars>. The great thing about this kitchen tool is that it will allow you to use different kinds of pots—basically whatever you have available in your kitchen.
Get the type of steamer basket that’s adjustable. You can effortlessly adjust this to your pots at home. This way, you won’t waste water and you’ll spend less on gas!
Step by Step
- Add water to the steamer
- Put your tamales on top of the steamer
Because there are different types of steamers, the amount of water to use varies. I fill my steamer with about 1/3 cup of water. Always make sure that the water does not boil and reach the tamales.
At the same time, however, you should also see to it that you don’t run out of water!
Line your tamales on the edge of the steamer, open end up. The steaming time depends on the number of tamales you’re reheating, but it usually takes me about 15-20 minutes <if you’re using the stovetop, set the heat to medium>.
If you’re reheating the tamales from frozen, make sure that you thaw them first. It’s perfectly OK to steam cold tamales; it’s best if you don’t steam them frozen. Once done, you’re ready to serve!
However, if you do need to steam them frozen, you will have to add about another 15-20 minutes.
How to Reheat Tamales Using an Oven
Things You’ll Need
- AN OVEN
- A SHEET PAN
- ALUMINUM FOIL
You can also reheat tamales by baking! This method is simple but might need a little more time, as you will need to do some preheating.
This is where you will be placing your tamales. Same principle applies here: you can reheat them frozen, but it will always be best if you reheated them cold and thawed.
You will be using the aluminum foil to wrap the tamales. You’ll need enough foil to wrap every piece.
A foil is actually optional, as you can still reheat the tamales by just lining them on the pan. They won’t stick as long as the pan is either 1 - non-sticky, and 2 -)oiled or buttered.
Step by Step
- Prepare your oven and pan
- Put the tamales in the pan
The first thing you should do is to preheat the oven until it 325 degrees. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Have a baking pan ready.
Once thawed, remove the husks from the tamales and then line them up on the pan.Note: You can also leave the husks on, this is fine. I just prefer that you removed them because I like the texture of the tamales after reheating them using the oven—a bit crispy on the outside!
Wait about 30-40 mins, and serve hot.
How to Reheat Tamales Using a Microwave
Things You’ll Need
- A MICROWAVE
- A ZIPLOCK OR MICROWAVE-SAFE PLASTIC CONTAINER
Some of you might not find microwaving things very attractive, especially when compared to methods like steaming and baking. However, this is a completely acceptable way to reheat tamales.
The great thing about microwaving tamales is it takes only less than five minutes! Perfect if you don’t have time to set up a steamer or preheat an oven. You can even reheat the tamales frozen.
All you need to do is have either a ziplock/resealable plastic bag or a container that’s microwave safe and can fit the tamales.
Step by Step
- Cut two small holes in the ziplock bag
- Run the microwave
If you’re using a re-sealable plastic bag <or ziplock> bag, cut two small holes on top. This is so the excess steam can get out. If you’re using a microwave-safe plastic container, cover it partially.
Place the tamales in the plastic bag or container and seal <don’t forget the holes!> or partially cover.
If the tamales are thawed, it should take you about 4-5 minutes on high. I would usually just pause the microwave after four minutes to see if they’re done. If I think they need more time, I just simply put them back in.
If you’re microwaving frozen tamales, put the device in defrost mode first. Do this for about 2-3 minutes, and then take them out. Once thawed, simply repeat the process above!
Making Your Own Tamales? Prepare a Big Batch!
Like I said in the introduction, many cooks make tamales in big batches and just freeze them up for later. You can also do this so you can save time! Tamales, when frozen, can keep up to four to six months.
Don’t Want to Re-Steam? Try Frying!
If you don’t like to re-steam your tamales, you can also opt for pan-frying them! I personally love this method, because frying can add a wonderful crispy texture to the dish.
Simply add some oil in the pan, set the heat to medium, and fry the tamales until brown. Get creative by adding some dips and sauces!
There You Have It!
Did these methods help you? I sure hope you learned something from this post; I had fun writing it! I simply love tamales—whether they’re store-bought or made from scratch, so learning how to reheat them is a big help.
I would be more than glad to read your comments and suggestions in the comments below. Now that you know how to reheat tamales, maybe you can also share your recipes!
Enjoy and good luck!