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How to Reheat Tamales? – 7 Steamy Ways

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Tamales are a Mexican cuisine famous dish that uses corn dough flour (masa harina) to wrap in a meaty filling. The special flour makes this dish distinctively sour.

The filling is basically made up of spicy pork and chile pods. It is then placed inside the dough flour mixture and further wrapped in corn husks to be steamed.

Tamales can be stored and reheated for another day. This guide will show you how to reheat Tamales in 7 steamy ways.

How to Reheat Tamales in an Air Fryer

Reheating Tamales in an air fryer is gaining all the popularity nowadays. The foolproof way to ensure the perfect reheating of Tamales in an air fryer is to do it in batches.

You should place them apart on the rack so all sides will heat through. Setting them by an inch apart also promotes good airflow, as the air fryer will not be crowded. You should also put the husks in with the Tamales, as the husks trap in moisture creating a watery environment for the Tamales. This will prevent them from drying out while they are being Air fried.

Preheat the air fryer to medium-high (400F). Reheat each side for 8 minutes. Don’t forget to baste the husks with water, so they can stay moist and not dry out.

How to Reheat Tamales in a Microwave

How to reheat Tamales in a microwave requires covering them with a damp paper towel. This will keep them moist and soft, not crumbly. It also prevents Tamales from drying out.

To microwave Tamales, wrap them with a damp paper towel. The paper towel must be damp enough but not dripping wet.

An alternative would be to moisten the husks instead. The water used should be cold.

Set the microwave to medium-high, about 70% power. Place about two wrapped Tamales on a microwavable plate, but make sure they are kept apart.

Reheat each side with 15-second intervals until both sides are hot to the touch. You need to replace the damp paper towel every time you flip the Tamales over. If you are going to wet the husks, ensure that the husks are damp enough first before you pop them back in the microwave.

How to Reheat Tamales in an Instant Pot

Reheating Tamales in an instant pot will make them extra moist and keep them soft. This is a quicker method than a steamer but works just the same.

Pour a cup of water and place in the steam basket or trivet of the instant pot. The water should not touch the underside of the basket.

Stack in about 4 Tamales per batch. They should be placed vertically and apart so that they can heat through evenly and more quickly.

Seal the lid of the pot tightly. Set the instant pot to a steamer, with the timer set to 5-minutes. Once they’re done, press a quick release and open the lid. With caution, unwrap the steamy hot Tamales.

How to Reheat Tamales in a Steamer

Using a steamer is the best way to warm up Tamales. The heating time in a steamer will really test your patience. But the Tamales will feel and taste just like it was cooked the first time.

To reheat Tamales in a steamer, boil 2-3 inches of water on the steamer. Set the flame to high.

The steaming basket is placed before the water starts boiling. The underside of the basket shouldn’t touch the boiling water.

When the water goes on a rolling boil, adjust the flame to medium heat. Place in the Tamales. Keep each Tamale apart so all sides will be evenly heated. Cover with lid.

Wait for about 30 minutes, so that each Tamale completely heats through.

How to Reheat Tamales in a Roaster Oven

Reheating Tamales in an oven would make their surface crispy. If you want this kind of texture for your Tamales, the oven is a good option.

To reheat Tamales in an oven, wrap each one with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil. Make sure no air is trapped between the layers.

Place them in a baking pan and slide them in the oven that’s preheated to 425F. Make sure there’s space between each Tamale when you put them on the sheet pan.

Bake for about 7-10 minutes on each side. After 15-20 minutes, slide them out and carefully unwrap them.

How to Reheat Tamales on a Skillet

Reheating Tamales on a skillet is common in Mexico. In fact, this is how they reheat Tamales without having fancy equipment. Heating it on a skillet also creates a crispy outside Tamale.

Preheat the skillet to medium heat. Pour in a high smoke point cooking oil, such as peanut or canola oil.

Discard the corn husks or banana cover of the Tamales. Carefully fry the naked Tamales for a minute or two on each side. Repeat by flipping each one every minute until all the sides turn light golden brown. Know that this option is only suitable for reheating thawed or defrosted Tamales.

How to Reheat Tamales on a Stovetop

Reheating Tamales on the stovetop resembles the reheating of the tamales on a skillet.


Can you keep reheated Tamales moist?

Keeping them in the fridge will lengthen their shelf-life. But the trade-off is that they would tend to dry out.

Leftover Tamales can stay moist when reheated, as long as you use the best reheating method for it. The best way to keep them moist is to reheat them in an instant pot or steamer.

Reheating them in a steamer or instant pot creates a moist environment for the Tamales. The water at the bottom reservoir will evaporate, get trapped inside, and eventually condense on the surface. This process keeps the inside environment moist, with the Tamales reabsorbing some moisture.

How do you reheat Frozen Tamales?

Putting Tamales in the fridge may make them moldy. Mold easily attracts Tamales because this food has high moisture content.
Leftover Tamales are best kept frozen. The icy cold and low-temperature environment will keep them mold-free. Freezing them for storage will stretch their expiry date for up to 6 months.

The ideal way to reheat Tamales is to also warm them up straight out of the freezer. Thawing or cooling them down even in the fridge is sometimes not the best idea.

The reheating time will take extra minutes, but it will result in a much safer alternative. You will follow the same steps mentioned above, but leave it to reheat for a tad longer.

Reheating frozen Tamales would take 1.5 hours in the steamer/crockpot. Using an air fryer, it’s 11-12 minutes for each side. If you chose to bake it in an oven, then it will take 25-30 minutes.

Through the microwave, frozen Tamales are warmed up for 2-3 minutes. In an instant pot: 15 minutes.

A good rule you should always follow is to check if the inner temperature of the Tamales reached 165F before serving and enjoying it.

Can you Microwave Tamales in its cornhusk?

Absolutely. In fact, it is a must for Tamales to be reheated with its cornhusks. Reheating Tamales in a microwave with cornhusks intact releases an enticing aroma. It adds value to the Tamales as it makes them more delicious to eat.
Don’t worry. The microwave won’t go haywire when you put cornhusks inside it. Steamed cornhusks have small moisture in them, unlike tin foils.

What’s the best method when reheating Tamales?

It depends on a lot of factors. Different reheating methods call for different results.

Steaming them is the best way when you want your Tamales super moist and soft. But using a steamer will take on a longer reheating time (we’re talking about an hour and a half). Use this method when you have ample time to reheat Tamales.

Microwaving Tamales takes quite a shorter time to reheat. But you may overheat, overcook and dry it out if you don’t pay careful attention while microwaving it. Use this method if you lack the time but are willing to put on extra effort in observing its condition.

The air fryer is making its mark as an ideal reheating method for the Tamales. It’s the best of both worlds, as it balances out the reheating time and the perfect outcome.

Unfortunately, not everyone has an air fryer in their kitchen. If you have one, you should definitely try reheating Tamales this way.

How long do you reheat Tamales in the steamer?

An hour and a half would do it if the Tamales are reheated straight out of the freezer. If they are warmed to room temperature first, then you can steam them for only 15-20 minutes. If thawed, it should be 45 minutes of steaming.

Cooling down Tamales at room temperature for more than half an hour makes them moldy. If you choose to go this route, then you are advised to cook them thoroughly.

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