How to Heat Up Tamales? 4 Best Methods Included

Tamales are a staple food during the holiday season. Yet there will always be times when you cooked too much or you bought too many of this Mesoamerican dish. After storing it in the ref, how do you heat up these wonderful treats?

I know that most people cook tamales in large batches because doing so can save them time and money. Preparing tamale, after all, takes a lot of effort and time. Of course, it worths – “Tamales mean family and Christmas

First things first—make sure that you thaw the tamales first before reheating them. You can also put it in the freezer if you intend to reheat it several days from now. If you do that, thaw the tamales in the fridge for a few hours before you reheat it.

Anyway, here are the best ways to reheat refrigerated tamales:

Using a Steamer

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I prefer to use a steamer in reheating tamale. Tamale is a very delicate food. The last thing you want to happen is the tamale crumbling and turning into a watery mess.

It’s not really hard to heat up tamale using a steamer rack. Simply follow these steps:

  • Fill a pot with water. It should fill about a quarter of the pot.
  • Place a steamer rack inside the pot then bring the water to a boil.
  • Stand the tamales on the steamer rack with the open end up.
  • Cover the pot before reducing the heat.

This should not take you more than 20 minutes. You can also get a meat thermometer, and check if the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does, then you can serve the tamale.

Using a Microwave Oven

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It’s also possible to heat up tamale in good ole microwave oven. However, I find that the texture gets affected. It can dry out the masa, which usually doesn’t happen when you reheat the tamales using a steamer.

Aside from the oven itself, you will need a microwave-safe plate and a damp paper towel for this.

Follow these steps:

  • Arrange the tamales on the plate, in such a way that there would be half an inch of space between each one of them. This should allow the tamales to be reheated thoroughly.
  • Dampen the paper water by putting around three tablespoons of water. Then put the paper towel on top of the food. The idea is that the water in the paper towel will be changed into steam when the microwave heats up. This should prevent the tamales from being dried out.
  • Put the plate filled with tamales in the middle of the microwave. Set the timer to 15 seconds.
  • Monitor the tamales as they are being reheated in the oven. Remove the paper towel once the time runs out.
  • Turn the tamales over then damp another piece of water towel. Put the damp water towel on top of the food and let the microwave to heat for another 15 seconds.
  • Using your meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of the tamales. It should have reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a Stove

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You can also use a stove to reheat the tamales. Some friends point out that this is the best way to reheat tamales, as it brings out the most flavor.

Anyway, you can reheat tamale using a stove by following these steps:

  • Place a pan on stove range. Set the heat to medium.
  • Add a tablespoon of cooking oil. I usually add olive oil for this purpose. Vegetable oil isn’t a bad choice, either.
  • Remove the husk and then put the tamales inside the pan. Cover it.
  • Watch the tamales and flip it over every 3 minutes.
  • You’ll know the tamales are ready to be served when the skin surface is crispy.

Using a Deep Fryer

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You can also use a deep fryer in reheating the tamales. This should give a different flavor to the leftover food.

Obviously, the downside of deep frying tamales is that it would add up to your calorie count. But hey, I assure you the taste makes the extra calories worth it.

Here’s how you can reheat tamales using a deep fryer:

  • Set the fryer to medium heat.
  • Remove the husk of the tamales then drop it into the fryer.
  • Cook a piece of tamale for 3 minutes.
  • You’ll know that the tamale is cooked when the skin has turned crispy brown.


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As you can see, there are different ways of reheating tamale. While I recommend using a steamer, there are three other methods that you can try in heating up this very delicate dish.

And again, you should thaw first the tamale before reheating it. Be careful in handling the food, as you don’t want to eat a crumbled and messy tamale, right?

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