How To Reheat Tamales Like: Quick and Easy Tips

Usually served during parties, holidays and special events, tamales have a very important place in different cultures around the globe.

These delicious dishes are made with masa, either flavored or plain, and are stuffed with salsa and some kind of beef; They’re usually surrounded by banana leaves or corn husks, which keeps the tamales from breaking into pieces during the cooking process.

Because the cooking process is rather complicated, it’s far more practical to make several tamales at the same time which means that leftovers are commonplace.

Tamales can be stored in the fridge or even frozen but how to reheat tamales?

Well, keep reading to find out!


How to Reheat Tamales?

There are different ways of reheating tamales and we’ll explain all of them down below. We’ll include what you’ll need for each one of them as well as step by step instructions to make things easier.

Let’s get started.

1. Reheating Tamales by Steaming
(With Steamer Insert)

steamer rack

Steaming is the best way to reheat tamales, as this is how they’re originally cooked.

By steaming them you not only avoid overcooking them but you also avoid the dreaded hot spots.

Of course, not everyone can afford a steamer which is why we’re including this easy method to reheat tamales without one.

Item Needed

- A large pot (click to see the best cookware if you are finding one)

- Water

- Tamales

- Steamer insert


Step 1. Prepare Everything

Take your steamer insert and place it inside your pot, then fill your pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil.

Note: Leave at least two inches of space between the steamer and the water.

Step 2. Place the Tamales on the Steamer Insert

Arrange the Tamales

Set the fire to low heat and wait until the water is simmering.

Grab your tamales and place them on the steamer insert, then cover your pot with its lid.

Step 3. Heat the Tamales

Heat the Tamales

Let the tamales heat for about 20 minutes, if they were in the fridge and 30 if they were in the freezer.

Check the tamales every now and then to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated. If it does, take out the tamales and repeat step 2.

Step 4. Serve the Tamales

Once the listed time has passed check the tamales. If they’re hot, serve them. If not, let them heat for a while more.

How To Reheat Tamales final
  • No Steamer Insert? No Problem!

While a steamer insert makes everything easier, there are plenty of ways you can reheat your tamales without one.

The steps are basically the same as the previous ones which is why we’re not going to repeat them and we’re just going to mention how to set up everything.

  • Strainer: Hook your strainer on the edges of your pot and place your tamales on the strainer. Make sure the strainer is large enough to be able to hold the tamales and stay in place because otherwise it will fall in the pot and ruin the tamales.
  • Skewers: This one is a little tricky but, essentially, what you want to do is cover the top of your pot with these so they form a platform where you can place your tamales. Once you do that you need to cover the pot with its lid and cook as usual.

​If it's difficult for you to follow, see the video below to find out how to reheat tamales by steaming:

2. Reheating Tamales In The Oven

Reheating your tamales using a conventional oven isn’t ideal because it might dry them. However, sometimes it’s much easier to do it this way, particularly if you’re planning on reheating a large amount of tamales at the same time.

Item Needed

- Oven (see the best countertop convection oven)

- Tamales

- Oven tray

- Aluminum Foil



Step 1. Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2. Wrap the Tamales

Wrap and Arrange the Tamales

Tamales are wrapped in banana leaves or corn husk, which will protect them, but to make sure they don’t dry you’ll have to wrap them in foil.

A single layer of foil will do, just make sure there are no openings!

Step 3. Place the Tamales in the Oven

Place your tamales on the oven tray and slide them inside your oven.

Let them cook for 20 minutes if they were in the fridge and 30 minutes if they were frozen.

Step 4. Check the Tamales.

remove tamales

Take out the tamales and carefully unwrap them so you can pull at the leaves / husk. If they can peel away easily then your tamale is ready. If not, stick it into the oven again and wait a bit longer.

Worried About Dry Tamales? Try This Instead!

If you’re worried about getting dry tamales, there’s a different method you may want to try. You’ll use the same exact things as with the method, plus a stew-pan and water.

Step 1. Prepare Everything

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and fill your stew-pan with about half an inch of water.

Step 2. Create a Base

Grab your foil and crumple it into a ball, then flatten it so you make a base that sticks out of the water. It doesn’t have to be huge, it just needs to be large enough to hold your tamales and tall enough to keep your tamales dry.

Step 3. Arrange your Tamales

Arrange the Tamales

Carefully place the tamales on the foil base. Keep in mind that this method can only heat one, maybe two tamales at the time.

Step 4. Cover the Stew-Pan

Once the tamales are in place, cover the stew-pan with more foil and carefully place it inside the oven.

Step 5. Cook Until Ready

This should take you anything from 40 minutes to an hour. Once again, check that the tamales can be ‘peeled’ easily to know if they’re hot or not.

Now you know how to reheat tamales in a way that will keep their flavor and texture intact so next time you’re at a party make sure to stock up on these delicious goodies so you can enjoy them for days!

Did you enjoy this tutorial? Do you know another way of reheating tamales? Did you find this tutorial useful? Let us know in the comments!

Emma Claire

I’m Emma, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of 3 kids, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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