How To Reheat Tamales? Learn To Do It Perfectly

Don’t you just love the sumptuous taste of tamales? I mean – who doesn’t right. Whether you’re buying it from your favorite store or you decide to have it homemade, one thing is certain – it’s always delicious! Now, with such a delicious meal, the chances are that you probably will have leftovers every now and then.


Have you ever been left puzzled about how to reheat tamales after cooking way too much for the previous night’s dinner? It really can be mind boggling! The real issue is not in the reheating process itself, but in ensuring that your tamales taste just as good as the previous night.

There are several methods of reheating tamales.The choice of any particular method depends on the one you easily have access to. Below are two of the proven methods of effectively delving right back into the awesomeness of your tamales through reheating

1. Reheating Your Tamales Using A Steamer

Steam-heating your tamales is a very nice idea because it helps in keeping your tamales just as fresh as the night before. This is made possible because the steam prevents dehydration in the tamales, hence keeping it just as juicy and fresh

Then again, since tamales are cooked by steaming, then it only follows that it would be best reheated in the same way. So, except you have no access to a steamer, you should always steam-heat your tamales. It usually yields the best results.

Items Needed

Steamer Pan

It is used to retain nutrients and vitamins present


Use it to check how long it takes to reheat tamales.

Meat Thermometer

Kitchen Tongs

These are used for safely removing of the tamales from the pot.

Step By Step

Step 1- Fill Up Your Steamer

The first thing is always to fill your steamer with water. It’s usually best to fill it up to 1/4 level or at most half way.

You shouldn’t completely fill-up your steamer with water.This way, you don’t end up“baptizing” your tamales in the pool of the boiling water. Remember, it would just knock out the flavour.

Step 2- Arrange Tamales

The next thing is to arrange your tamales in the steamer. Remember to place the open side up though, to allow “breathing”.

You should also leave at least an inch of space between them, so that they can reheat evenly.This can be done by arranging your tamales on the edge of your steamer, If you have too many tamales to reheat and then do it in batches.

Step 3- Turn on the heat

After arranging your tamales close the lid of the steamer. The next thing is to turn on the heat. Medium heat is usually best for maximum impact and uniform action.

Step 4- Steam for 15-30 minutes

The length of reheating depends on how cold your tamales are. If they are frozen then steaming for 25-30 minutes should get the job done. For refrigerated tamales, however, 15-20 minutes of steaming should be just fine.

Step 5- Check the Temperature

At this point you should check the temperature in the center of the tamales before removing from the steamer.

For efficiency, the tamales should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If it is not at this temperature, then you could cover the lid and heat again for another 10 minutes, until this internal temperature is attained.

Step 6- Remove your Tamales

Once the reheating process is complete, turn off your steamer and gently remove the lid (to avoid steam in your face). You can use tongs to remove it from the steam rack. Do not use your hands, you might end up burning your fingers

2. Reheating Tamales Using A Microwave

A microwave is another option worth considering, I only recommend using the microwave to reheat tamales when you don’t have a steamer or stovetop available,particularly when you’re in a hurry.

It usually gets the job done in less than 5 minutes and you can be on your way. The only downside is that it may leave your tamales dehydrated, if you don’t dampen it properly

Items Needed

A Microwave

How to reheat tamales microwave oven

Of course! Use it to reheat tamales.

A Microwave-Safe Plate

Use it to place tamales in microwave, it will not melt once heated. Turn the plate over and look at the writing on the back to check whether or not a certain plate is safe to be used in the microwave.

Damp Paper Towel

Use it to cover tamales. Choose any kind of towel you prefer. Full-size one could cover a plate full of tamales and half sheet of the paper towel is suffice for one tamale. Use tap water to make the paper towel damp.

Step By Step

Step 1- Defrost your Tamales

When using a microwave to reheat your tamales, the first thing is to defrost the frozen tamales. This can be done with a refrigerator, water, air or even the microwave itself.

Step 2- Arrange your Tamales

Once defrosted, the next step is to arrange your tamales on the microwave-safe plate (plates are those can withstand the microwave heat). The arrangement should be such that there is at least an inch of space between the tamales to allow for even heating.

Step 3- Cover your Tamales

The microwave tends to dehydrate anything placed in it.So, to prevent your tamales from being dehydrated; you should cover them with a damp paper towel. The water will moisten the microwave atmosphere, once the heating starts.

Step 4- Place in the microwave

The next thing is to place your tamales in a microwave and turn on the machine. You may select the heat level as per your desire, but maximum heat usually gets the job done fast.

Step 5- Check the Temperature

After two minutes of microwaving, use the meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. If it is not up to 165 degrees F, then you should leave it inside for another minute until it reachesthe desired temperature.

Step 6- Remove and Test Tamales

Once you are done with heating tamales in microwave, remove the tamales. Do away with the husks and run your hand through the surface. On observing some “cold spots” on the tamales, you should turn to different side of tamale and reheat in the microwave.

Enjoy Steaming Healthy Tamales

Steaming and microwaving are undoubtedly amazing means of reheating your leftover tamales. It brings them back to that scintillating awesomeness once again.

These fabulously tasting tamales are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Being naturally gluten free, you can serve the steamed bundles of tamales with corn dough filled with healthy fillings.

There are plenty of filling options available such as spinach, mushrooms, green chilies, beef, pork , chicken or Kielbasa

Did you enjoy this tutorial? Was it helpful? Please go ahead and tell us what you think in the comments section below. Also, if you truly liked this article, don’t fail to share it.

Jessica Blythe

I am so glad that we are meeting on my cooking blog. I passionately enjoy cooking, If you need anything to do with cooking, then this blog is your perfect home away from home. I will be updating everything about cooking that you might be desperate to know about. I will also be sharing my experience, knowledge and research results with everyone who will be willing to read the content on this site. Read more

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