Best Way to Reheat Tamales at Home

best way to reheat tamales

If you’re a fan of tamales, you know that reheating them can be a tricky task. The wrong method can leave them dry, overcooked, or with an uneven texture. But fear not! We’ve got you covered with the best way to reheat tamales at home while preserving their freshness and authentic flavors.

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at various methods for reheating tamales. From the quick and easy microwave method to the traditional steaming technique, we’ll explain how to achieve the perfect texture and taste for your reheated tamales. We’ll also share tips for preserving tamales’ freshness and some alternative reheating methods worth considering.

Fundamental Outcomes:

  • Reheating tamales correctly ensures even heating, maintaining their flavor and texture.
  • The microwave is a convenient option for reheating tamales quickly.
  • Steaming is a traditional method that helps retain tamales’ original texture.
  • The oven method can provide a crispy exterior for tamales.
  • Stovetop reheating allows for even heat distribution and can help retain moisture.
  • Properly storing and preserving the freshness of tamales is essential for future enjoyment.
  • Reheating frozen tamales requires a slightly different approach than reheating fresh ones.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Reheating

When it comes to reheating tamales, proper technique is essential to preserving their delicious flavors and textures. Not only does correct reheating ensure that your tamales are heated evenly, it also helps to prevent any potential foodborne illnesses. Here, we’ll walk you through some essential tips and techniques for achieving perfect reheating results every time.

Why Proper Reheating is Important

Heating your tamales correctly is critical to ensuring that they maintain their authentic flavors and textures. Proper reheating also helps to kill any potential bacteria that may be present in the food, keeping you and your family safe from foodborne illnesses. Overall, safeguarding the freshness and quality of your tamales is essential to enjoying them to the fullest.

When reheating tamales, it’s important to avoid methods that may cause them to dry out or become too tough. Microwaving your tamales for too long or using too high of a heat setting can cause them to lose moisture and become rubbery. Similarly, reheating tamales in the oven for an extended period at too high a temperature can harden the outer layer and dry out the filling.

Preserving the freshness of your tamales while reheating is crucial to enjoying their authentic flavors. Tamales are best enjoyed fresh and hot, but if you need to reheat them, it’s important to do so in a way that maintains their moisture and texture. By following the tips and techniques we’ll share in the following sections, you can achieve perfect reheating results that preserve the quality of your tamales.

Quick and Easy Microwave Reheating Method

When you’re looking for a quick way to reheat tamales, the microwave is your best friend. This method is perfect for busy weeknights or anytime you want hot tamales fast. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place your tamales on a microwave-safe plate. Make sure to leave space between each tamale so they can heat evenly.
  2. Sprinkle a few drops of water on top of the tamales. This will help keep them moist as they heat.
  3. Cover the plate with a damp paper towel. This will create steam and help heat the tamales more evenly.
  4. Microwave the tamales on high for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per tamale. This time will depend on the wattage of your microwave, so keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking.
  5. Remove the plate from the microwave and let the tamales sit for a minute or two before serving. This allows them to cool slightly and ensures that they are heated through.

Keep in mind that this method is best for small batches of tamales. If you need to reheat a large amount, consider using the oven or steaming method instead.

Tip: For an extra boost of flavor, try brushing your tamales with a little bit of olive oil or butter before reheating them in the microwave.

Steaming Tamales for Perfect Texture

If you want to enjoy your tamales with the same texture as when they were fresh, steaming them is the way to go. This method is especially useful if you have a large batch of tamales to reheat. Steaming allows for even heating and helps retain moisture, preventing the tamales from drying out.

To steam tamales, you’ll need a large pot with a steamer basket and a lid. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Fill the pot with water, making sure the level is below the steamer basket.
  2. Place the steamer basket in the pot.
  3. Arrange the tamales standing up in the steamer basket, making sure they are not touching each other or the sides of the pot.
  4. Cover the pot with the lid and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the tamales steam for about 15-20 minutes, depending on their size and thickness.
  6. Check the tamales for doneness by unwrapping one and testing the temperature with a meat thermometer. It should register 165°F (74°C) when inserted in the center of the tamale.
  7. Remove the tamales from the steamer basket and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

Steaming tamales is a classic and reliable method to reheat them, ensuring that they keep their original texture and flavor. It’s especially useful if you have a lot of tamales to reheat, as it allows you to heat up multiple tamales at once.

Oven Reheating for Crispy Tamales

If you love crispy tamales, reheating them in the oven is the best option. This method ensures the outside gets the perfect crunch while keeping the inside moist and flavorful. Follow these simple steps to enjoy crispy reheated tamales.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Step 2: Prepare the Tamales

While the oven is heating up, take your tamales out of the refrigerator or freezer and let them come to room temperature.

Wrap each tamale individually in aluminum foil, ensuring they are completely covered.

Step 3: Reheat the Tamales

  • Place the wrapped tamales on a baking sheet and put them in the oven.
  • Reheat them for 15-20 minutes if they are at room temperature and 25-30 minutes if they were frozen.
  • To check if they are ready, carefully open one of the tamales and ensure it is heated through.
  • Tip: For even crispier tamales, remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy

  • Once the tamales are heated through, carefully remove them from the oven.
  • Let them cool for a few minutes before unwrapping them and serving them with your favorite toppings.

Comparison Table: Pros and Cons of Oven Reheating

Crispy exteriorLonger heating time
Retains flavors and texturesRequires more preparation (wrapping in foil)
Ideal for large batchesCan make the inside dry if overcooked

“Oven reheating is my favorite method for tamales. The crispy exterior is unbeatable, and it retains all the flavors and textures.” – Maria C.

Reheating Tamales on the Stovetop

If you prefer a more hands-on approach to reheating tamales, the stovetop method might be the right choice for you. This method allows for even heat distribution and helps retain moisture, resulting in perfectly reheated tamales.

To get started, fill a large pot with a few inches of water and place a steamer basket or colander inside. Make sure the water level is below the basket or colander, so the tamales don’t get wet during cooking. Place the tamales in the basket or colander, cover the pot, and turn the heat to medium-high. Steam the tamales for about 15 minutes or until they are heated through.

Be sure to check on the water level occasionally and add more if needed. You don’t want the pot to boil dry, which can damage the pot and burn the tamales.

Pro tip: For an extra burst of flavor, you can add herbs, spices, or even beer to the water to infuse the tamales with additional flavor while they steam.

This reheating method is ideal for those who want to preserve the authentic taste and texture of their tamales. The stovetop method is also a good option if you have a large quantity of tamales to reheat, as you can fit more tamales in the pot than in the microwave or oven.

Tips for Preserving Tamales Freshness

best way to reheat tamales

Preserving the freshness of tamales is essential, especially if you have leftovers or plan to enjoy them over an extended period. Here are some tips to help you keep your tamales tasty and fresh:

Use Air-Tight Containers

Ensure your tamales stay moist and don’t dry out by storing them in airtight containers. Sealable plastic bags or plastic containers work well for storing tamales in the refrigerator or freezer.

Wrap Tamales Properly

If you have tamales wrapped in corn husks, wrap them in plastic wrap before storing them in the fridge or freezer. This will help prevent the husks from drying out, and prevent any unpleasant odors from mixing with the tamales.

Label and Date Your Tamales

Make sure to label and date your tamales to keep track of how long they have been stored. This will help you know when it’s time to finish them and avoid any waste.

Reheat in Small Batches

When reheating tamales, it’s best to reheat them in small batches. This will ensure that the heat is distributed evenly, and the tamales stay moist.

Do Not Refreeze Tamales

If you have frozen tamales and decide to reheat only a portion of them, do not refreeze the remaining tamales. Refreezing can cause the tamales to lose their freshness, texture, and flavor.

Pro Tip: If you’re short on time, consider reheating your tamales in the microwave. Just make sure you wrap them in a damp paper towel or a damp cloth to keep them moist.

Following these simple tips can help you preserve the freshness of your tamales and avoid any potential foodborne illnesses. Enjoy your warm and fresh tamales anytime you crave them!

Reheating Frozen Tamales

If you have frozen tamales, reheating them requires a slightly different approach from reheating fresh ones. It’s important to thaw the tamales properly before reheating to ensure even heating and prevent any potential foodborne illnesses. Here’s how to safely reheat frozen tamales:

  1. Remove the tamales from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. This slow thawing process helps retain their freshness and texture.
  2. Once the tamales are thawed, remove them from the husks and wrap them in damp paper towels. This helps prevent the tamales from drying out during the reheating process.
  3. Arrange the tamales in a microwave-safe dish and cover them with a damp paper towel. This helps retain the moisture and prevents them from drying out.
  4. Heat the tamales in the microwave on high power for 2-3 minutes per tamale. Check the internal temperature with a thermometer to ensure it reaches at least 165°F (73.9°C), the recommended temperature for safe consumption of reheated food.
  5. If you prefer a crispy exterior, you can transfer the tamales to a preheated oven at 350°F (177°C) and bake them for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Remember, never reheat frozen tamales in the husks as it can lead to uneven heating and potential foodborne illnesses. Thawing and reheating frozen tamales properly can preserve their freshness and flavors, allowing you to enjoy delicious tamales anytime.

Other Reheating Methods to Consider

If you’re looking for alternative ways to reheat your tamales, you can try using a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. These methods allow for slow and even heating, which can help preserve the texture and taste of your tamales. Simply place your tamales in the cooker with a small amount of liquid and heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Another option is to reheat your tamales over an open flame, such as a gas stove or grill. Place your tamales on a grill rack or directly on the flame and heat until warmed through, turning occasionally to ensure even heating.

Important Note:

Regardless of the reheating method you choose, it is essential to make sure your tamales are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to eliminate any potential foodborne illnesses.

So go ahead and experiment with different reheating methods to find the one that works best for you. Just remember to follow proper reheating guidelines and enjoy your delicious, warm tamales without any worries!

Tips for Enjoying Reheated Tamales

Reheating tamales can be a bit tricky, but with a few tips and tricks, you can ensure that they taste just as delicious as they did when they were fresh. Here are some suggestions to make sure your reheated tamales are the best they can be:

  1. Wrap them in a damp paper towel: Before reheating your tamales, wrap them in a damp paper towel. This will help prevent them from drying out and keep them moist and tender.
  2. Reheat in small batches: If you have a lot of tamales to reheat, it’s best to do it in small batches. This will ensure that they heat evenly and don’t become overcooked or dry.
  3. Avoid overcooking: Overcooking can cause tamales to become dry and tough. To avoid this, check on your tamales frequently while they’re reheating and remove them from the heat as soon as they’re heated through.
  4. Use a steamer basket: If you have a steamer basket, use it to reheat your tamales. Steaming helps to maintain the texture and flavor of the tamales and prevents them from drying out.
  5. Don’t use too much water: If you’re steaming your tamales, be careful not to add too much water to the pot. You don’t want the tamales to become waterlogged or soggy.
  6. Let them cool slightly: After reheating your tamales, let them cool slightly before unwrapping them. This will prevent the filling from spilling out and allow the tamales to set.
  7. Store them properly: If you’re not going to eat all of your reheated tamales right away, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help preserve their freshness and flavor for up to three days.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your reheated tamales are just as delicious as when they were freshly made. Whether you’re reheating them in the microwave, oven, stovetop, or steamer, these tips will help you achieve the best results.


Reheating tamales can be a quick and easy process if you follow the right techniques. Whether you choose to use the microwave, oven, stovetop, or steamer, the key is to ensure that your tamales are heated evenly and preserve their freshness.


How do I reheat tamales in the microwave?

To reheat tamales in the microwave, place them on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave them in 30-second increments until heated through, checking for doneness after each interval.

Can I steam tamales to reheat them?

Yes, steaming is a great method for reheating tamales. Wrap the tamales in foil and place them in a steamer basket or a pot with a steamer insert. Steam them for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

How do I reheat tamales in the oven?

To reheat tamales in the oven, preheat it to 350°F (175°C). Wrap the tamales in foil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

What is the stovetop reheating method for tamales?

For stovetop reheating, place a steamer basket or a colander inside a pot. Fill the pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Arrange the tamales in the steamer basket or colander and cover them with a lid. Steam them for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

How can I preserve the freshness of tamales?

To preserve the freshness of tamales, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can typically be kept for up to 4-5 days. If you need to store them for a longer period, consider freezing them.

Can I reheat frozen tamales?

Yes, you can reheat frozen tamales. Simply thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating them using your preferred method, such as microwaving or steaming.

Are there any other reheating methods I can try?

Yes, besides the microwave, oven, and stovetop methods, you can also try pan-frying or grilling the tamales for a different flavor and texture.

What are some tips for enjoying reheated tamales?

To enhance your reheated tamales, you can serve them with fresh salsa or salsa verde, sour cream, or guacamole. You can also garnish them with chopped cilantro, diced onions, or crumbled queso fresco.

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