December 1, 2020

Learn how to reheat tamales so that they taste fresh even if they were frozen.

Did your homemade tamales lose flavor or that soft texture after reheating them? Though there are numerous ways to reheat tamales now, these six favorite methods of mine should retain their delicious flavor.

How to reheat tamales in the microwave

There is a secret to reheating a tamale in the microwave. The secret is to know if your tamales are already thawed or still frozen. You’ll then want to wrap them in a damp paper towel, cover, and microwave them. And with the right timing, deliciously soft tamales are now on their way!

Reheating tamales in the microwave is quite tricky. We want to avoid them coming out dry.

If you plan for your tamale to be a quick bite and take the tamale on your way out, this method may prove to be the most convenient in the bunch.

Be warned, though: This method usually makes your tamales drier than usual; nonetheless, the taste is preserved.

This is also the quickest method because it only requires the least preparation and materials.

Here's what you will need for this method:

image of a microwave
  • Microwave - This one has a lot of great Amazon reviews and works with Alexa.
  • Microwave-safe bowl or plate
  • Damp paper towel, napkin, kitchen cloth or muslin bag

Instructions:

  1. If your tamales are wrapped in aluminum foil, remove foil and leave on the corn husks.
  2. Wrap each of your tamales using one of the items mentioned above.
  3. Place your tamales on the microwave-safe dish.
  4. Cover the dish with another damp towel before putting it inside the microwave. Keeping the tamales moist is essential.
  5. Set the microwave timer to 1 minute.
  6. Flip tamale heat for 20 more seconds.
  7. Let the dish stand in the microwave undisturbed for 30 seconds.
  8. Plate to serve.

The moist towel or cloth serves as a compressed steamer when used inside the microwave. To prevent uneven heating of tamales when using the microwave, don't reheat more than three tamales at once.

basket of tamales

How to reheat tamales in a steamer

Reheating tamales in a steamer is a simple process. Fill your steamer with some water. Place the tamales, while in their husk in the steamer. Steam for about 20 minutes. For detailed instructions see our step-by-step below.

If you want to reheat your tamales and retain the same, familiar feel or want them to be moister when they were initially served, then this method is for you. 

There are a lot of steamers to choose from, but we recommend this best-seller from Amazon. 

This quick method is also best for those who are afraid to overheat the tamale. With a steamer, you can never go wrong.

Here's what you will need for this method:

  • Pot -  half full of water
  • Steamer – Bamboo works well; a metal double-boiler is okay too. See the video below for tips on using a double boiler or a pie pan with holes punched in it to steam tamales.
  • Thawed or frozen tamales. It takes about 45 minutes to reheat thawed tamales over simmering water thoroughly; increase that to 1 hour and 30 minutes for frozen tamales.

Procedure:

  1. Set your steamer up.
  2. Fill your steamer with ¼ cup of water.
  3. Turn the heat on your steamer up to medium.
  4. Place the tamales in the steamer with the open end up. Note that you have to leave them in the husk. Also, try not to overcrowd the steamer with tamales. Ensure that there’s a bit of space between each one of them so air can flow.
  5. Steam for 15-20 minutes. When steaming frozen tamales, add 10 more minutes to the total heating time.
  6. When the timer goes off, check the temperature of one of the tamales. They should be ready to eat once they hit 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Using tongs, take the tamales out carefully.

How to reheat tamales in the air fryer

To reheat tamales in the air fryer, simply heat up the air fryer. Moisten the outside of the tamales with a bit of water. Place them in the basket and heat up at medium temp for 5 minutes.

Uncomplicated by default, using an air fryer for rewarming tamales is also one of the methods that are gaining popularity nowadays. Reheating tamales in air fryer is now our favorite method. 

Here's what you’ll need for this method:

  • Air fryer
  • Basting brush

Instructions:

  1. Set the tamales out and allow them to come to room temperature. If you don’t have enough time to wait, allow them to sit out at room temperature for ten minutes first.
  2. Leave the husks on the tamales. Using a basting brush, moisten the tamales on all sides. If the husks are already gone, dampen the tamales directly.
  3. Preheat your air fryer to mid-range temperature.
  4. Place the tamales in the air fryer basket. Ensure that you don’t overcrowd them; there should be a space between each one of them so air can flow.
  5. Cook them for five to eight minutes.
  6. Be careful when removing them from the basket as they could be hot.

How to reheat tamales in the oven

If you want your cooked tamales to be a bit crisper on the outside, the oven is going to be your sworn acquaintance in this situation. Also, ovens can bring out that delicious taste when they are reheated.

Here's what you’ll need for this method:

  • Oven
  • Pyrex dish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wrap the tamales separately using a foil.
  3. Using your pyrex dish, stack your tamales securely.
  4. Cook your tamales for about 20 minutes until they become “golden.”

How to reheat tamales in the skillet

Another tasty way to reheat your tamales is through a skillet. And if that “golden” color is your aspiration, this is the way to go!

Here's what you’ll need for this method:

  • Skillet
  • 1 T of vegetable oil or lard

Instructions:

  1. Heat your large skillet over medium heat. While it’s heating, remove the corn husks on your tamales.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil or lard. Allow the oil to heat up first before placing your tamales.
  3. Add the tamales in the hot skillet carefully. Fry the tamales for 3 to 4 minutes per side until they get “golden brown.” Keep frying until the tamales are steaming hot inside.

How to reheat tamales in an instant pot

Instant pots also gained some love in the kitchen due to their ease of use. These pots are especially useful when tamales are frozen and you want to reheat them.

Here's what you’ll need for this method:

  • Instant pot
  • Steamer basket
  • Trivet

Instructions:

  1. Place the pot’s trivet at the bottom.
  2. Line the instant pot with a steamer basket then place it on top of the trivet.
  3. Pour around 2 cups of water in the pot. The water should drain on the bottom, and not on the tamales themselves. Note, however, that the water shouldn’t touch the tamales as it would make them mushy.
  4. Place the tamales (with their husks on and with the openings pointing up) in a circular pattern around the steamer's edges.
  5. Others might place an instant pot safe item (such as a small, circular dish) in the center of the tamales to keep them in place. If you aren't placing one, make sure that you arrange them in such a way that they are secure.
  6. Close the lid of the pot, then set the toggle to the center. Set your instant pot to its “manual setting.” Set the timer for 15 minutes to cook.
  7. When the timer goes off, allow your pot to release it “naturally.” Don’t “quick-release” the pressure.
  8. Use tongs when removing the tamales as they can be very hot.

Tips from the pros (Q&A)

What is the best way to reheat tamales?

As you may have probably gleaned from the methods above, this will depend on how you’ll like to have your tamales once reheated. If you want them crispy, the use of the oven or skillet is suggested. If you like things uncomplicated, air fryers and microwave ovens are recommended.

On the other hand, if you like your tamales retaining their original form and texture, steamers and instant pots are encouraged.

Do you microwave tamales in the cornhusk?

Yes. When reheating tamales using a microwave oven, the cornhusks must be intact. These husks provide aroma to the tamales.

How long do you steam tamales to reheat?

When using steamers, reheating tamales can take 15 to 20 minutes.

How to reheat frozen tamales?

The answer varies relative to the method you’re choosing. For instance, when using steamers, it takes about 45 minutes to reheat thawed tamales over simmering water thoroughly; meanwhile, you have to increase that to 1 hour and 30 minutes for frozen tamales.

You can also reheat frozen tamales in air fryers. They are especially useful when they are large. Also, the reheating time is quicker.

How to reheat tamales without drying them out?

So, how do you warm up tamales without drying them out?

If you have what in mind is not to dry those tamales out, some methods are more suggested than others. Reheating tamales using a steamer could very well serve this kind of approach.

The bottom line

So, which method does it for you?

If you’re into preserving the original feel, moist, and taste of tamales and have ample time to prepare, you should go with the steam method.

But if you want to reintroduce your tamales with a twist, you may want to air fry them so you can give them a new texture. 

Did this tutorial help you enjoy your tamale even more? How do you heat up your tamales? Send us some more tips if you have one and let us know if you have any questions.

5 of our favorite pieces of cookware lately!

If you have other ways of reheating your tamales, let us know about them in the comments section.

How to reheat tamales

How to reheat tamales

Our favorite method for reheating tamales is in the air fryer. Learn how to easily reheat tamales.

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes

Ingredients

  • Air fryer
  • Basting brush

Instructions

  1. Set the tamales out and allow them to come to room temperature. If you don’t have enough time to wait, allow them to sit out at room temperature for ten minutes first.
  2. Leave the husks on the tamales. Using a basting brush, moisten the tamales on all sides. If the husks are already gone, dampen the tamales directly.
  3. Preheat your air fryer to mid-range temperature.
  4. Place the tamales in the air fryer basket. Ensure that you don’t overcrowd them; there should be a space between each one of them so air can flow.
  5. Cook them for five to eight minutes.
  6. Be careful when removing them from the basket as they could be hot.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

__CONFIG_colors_palette__{"active_palette":0,"config":{"colors":{"c162b":{"name":"Main Accent","parent":-1}},"gradients":[]},"palettes":[{"name":"Default","value":{"colors":{"c162b":{"val":"var(--tcb-skin-color-0)"}},"gradients":[]},"original":{"colors":{"c162b":{"val":"rgb(19, 114, 211)","hsl":{"h":210,"s":0.83,"l":0.45,"a":1}}},"gradients":[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Previous Article
__CONFIG_colors_palette__{"active_palette":0,"config":{"colors":{"c162b":{"name":"Main Accent","parent":-1}},"gradients":[]},"palettes":[{"name":"Default","value":{"colors":{"c162b":{"val":"var(--tcb-skin-color-0)"}},"gradients":[]},"original":{"colors":{"c162b":{"val":"rgb(19, 114, 211)","hsl":{"h":210,"s":0.83,"l":0.45,"a":1}}},"gradients":[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Next Article
About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

Related posts

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}