So you want to know the methods on how to reheat tamales. You’re not alone. When I have just started cooking this decadent Mexican dish, I was very excited and cooked in large amounts. I used to have issues with spoilage when there were leftovers. I didn’t know how to reheat it, so I used to leave it on the table for the thought that I couldn’t due to the fear of losing its rich flavor. But then I learned how to do it correctly, and today I am thrilled to share what I know in today’s tutorial.

​Any occasion or the holidays for that matter won’t be a delight without tamales for the feast. It simply makes any celebration come alive and my guests very happy. It is always a slam-dunk to have it on the menu. The sad part is that the leftovers could go spoiled without proper storage and reheating. So as to how you want to preserve baked beans or garlic, you would also want to keep the tamales fresh and tasty.

When Freezing First Before Reheating

If you’re planning to reheat it later or the next day, you should keep it in a freezer safe container before putting it in the fridge, but in the freezer if you got that plan of reheating it the next week. Just remember to thaw the leftover tamales in the refrigerator and make sure it is properly defrosted before reheating.

Now the most exciting part—reheating using different techniques​


Because tamales are cooked through steaming, you may also want to steam it when you are ready to reheat its leftover. The process isn’t that hard as you might think. It is actually very easy and it takes only about ten minutes or less to do so.

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Get a steamer and then fill it up with water, just about half of it, and then put the tamales on it one by one. Turn on your stove and wait until the water comes to a boil. For refrigerated variety, you should steam that for up to 20 minutes, or up to 30 minutes if you have frozen ones. It is that simple to reheat these guys!

Using A Stovetop

You can also reheat it using a stovetop. Just get a steamer rack, and then line your tamales on it.

A steamer rack can fit just perfectly on any cooking device if it is adjustable. It comes with handles or a ledge that lets it sit on top of any cooking pot, and allows you to put a lid on its top. If you’re lucky enough, there are also racks, which come with fitted lids. And then, there are also models that include a steamer. Today, you won’t have a hard time looking for one, and you can buy it for yourself if you prefer so.

Thaw your tamales beforehand.

This is an important part of the process. You can thaw it in the fridge for up to one day. On the other hand, you can also do it in a microwave that comes with a defrost feature.

[In the microwave, set the timer for up to a minute to defrost, but don’t forget to cover your tamales with damp paper towel or cloth towel to prevent the moisture from escaping and to prevent your tamales from drying. After one minute, turn it on the other side, and then defrost it for another minute. By following this defrosting process, you will notice that there are no frozen spots in the Mexican delight.]
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Unwrap it

If not using the microwave, you should take it out the ref and unwrap each of them from its aluminum foil or plastic wrap.​

***Do not reheat with its wrap on, or else, the plastic might melt, and the aluminum can cause a fire in the microwave oven (*if using the appliance for reheating).​

Boil the water

Fill your pot with about four cups of tap water, and then put the lid on. Heat the water up.​

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About the Author

Austin Sims

Currently Executive Chef at famous NY restaurant, Austin began his tenure with as Chef de Partie. He has over eight years of experience, including tenures at two- and three-Michelin star restaurants. Austin is passionate about all things cooking – products, supply chain, management, menu design, and budgeting.

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