7 Easy ways to cook frozen tamales
Tamales are one of the best Mexican dishes to serve during a large family occasion. Not only are they a perfect combination of slightly sugary corn masa dough and delicate savory spices added to the corn flour, but Tamales are also really easy to clean up after because instead of using a plate, you can use the banana leaf wraps or the corn husks.
So, what is the best way to reheat frozen tamales? Perhaps you bought pre-packaged frozen tamales or you stored the leftover tamales you made over the weekend in your freezer. Whichever type of frozen tamales you have in your hands, we are going to show you some of the easiest ways to reheat tamales and get the best results.
Check them out below.
1. Reheating frozen tamales with a stovetop steamer
Steaming is a traditional method of cooking tamales and it ensures that tamales maintain their moist and soft nature. However, we recommend you watch the amount of time you take to steam because over steaming them with high heat may cause the tamales to absorb excess moisture and turn mushy.
The appropriate amount of time to steam tamales depends on the quantity of tamales you intend to heat and the stovetop steamer’s level of heat. If you are heating one layer of tamales, 20 minutes is enough to get the tamales moist and warm again. However, if you are heating multiple layers of tamales or using a cooler steamer, 45 minutes will do the job.
Pro tip: After about 20 minutes, check the state of the tamales and the internal temperature of the steamer to determine how quickly they are heating up. Rearrange the tamales so that every side is evenly heated.
Here are a few steps to take when reheating the tamales. They include:
If you are using a countertop steamer, ensure that you preheat it first according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Otherwise, if you have a stovetop steamer, place a few inches of water as well as a steamer basket inside a large pot and turn on the heat.
Add the tamales into the pot. Ensure that the corn husks or banana leaf wraps remain on. Place the tamales in a single layer with the open ends facing upwards within the steamer basket. Make certain that the tamales do not get in contact with the boiling water inside the pot because this may turn them mushy. Cover the pot with a tight lid.
Steam the tamales for about 20 to 45 minutes until they are evenly hot. Tamales are served best while hot.
2. Reheating tamales with a frying pan
If you are searching for an easy way to reheat frozen tamales, then you can consider frying them. Frying tamales is actually a tasty quick method of reheating them because the tamales will be left with a golden crust and a delicate crunch. Here are the steps to follow when reheating tamales with a frying pan.
Heat a large pan (preferable a skillet) with medium heat. While the pan heats, take the tamales and gently remove the banana leaf wrappers.
After the pan becomes hot, add only one tablespoonful of lard or vegetable oil. Let the fat heat up for several seconds before you add the tamales into the pot.
Place the tamales into the now hot skillet carefully and fry them for about 4 minutes on each side. Ensure that each side turns golden yellow color if you want that delicious crunchy feel. Keep frying the tamales until they are ready. Serve while hot.
3. Reheating tamales using an oven
Another heating method to provide a quick release of the tamales from their thawed state is by baking them in the oven. We recommend baking especially if you are reheating a huge batch of tamales.
Pro tip: When reheating the tamales in the oven, ensure that you wrap the tamales tightly in aluminum foil. This will help to seal in the moisture of the tamales and prevent them from over drying. After all, the most delicious tamales are those which are moist and soft.
Below are the steps you need to follow when reheating tamales with an oven. They include:
Preheat the oven to about 325F.
Wrap each tamales tightly in aluminum foil. Make certain that you do not remove the banana leaf wraps when wrapping the tamales in foil. Once you’re done, place the tamales on a baking sheet or sheet pan in a single layer.
Bake the tamales for about 20 to 25 minutes until they are evenly hot. Use a dish towel to safely remove the tamales and then serve while hot.
4. Reheating tamales by boiling
If you buy pre-packaged uncooked tamales that are carefully placed in an air tight heat safe plastice wrap, then boiling the tamales is not only a reliable alternative, but also the fastest way to reheat them. This method is most suitable if you have heat-safe cooking bags for use. The steps to reheating tamales by boiling include:
Heat a large amount of water in a pot until it boils steadily.
If the tamales came in heat safe plastic bags, leave them intact without opening the plastice wrap. Alternatively, if the tamales were not prepacked in a heat safe airtight container or bag, place them gently into a sous vide bag without removing the banana leaf wraps, and seal the bag.
Immerse the bag of tamales into the boiling pot carefully. Ensure that the bag touches neither the sides nor the bottom of the hot pot or else the plastic will melt and water will get in contact with the tamales, turning them mushy.
Pro tip: Place a steamer basket at the bottom of the pot to prevent the plastic bag from coming in contact with the pot.
Let the tamales boil for about 20 minutes especially if the tamales are 5 or less in number. Ensure that the tamales are properly heated before you remove them from the bag and take off the corn husk wraps. We recommend giving the tamales a few extra minutes to get heated, just to be on the safer side.
Serve while hot.
5. Reheating tamales in a microwave
Reheating tamales in a microwave is a great way to ensure that the tamales are evenly heated and maintain their flavor without becoming too dry. Here are the steps to follow when reheating tamales in a microwave oven. They include:
In case you bought the frozen tamales and they came in a microwave safe bag, leave the tamales intact within the bag. Snip a tiny hole on the plastic bag, which will allow steam to escape. If the tamales do not come with a bag, simply place them on a microwave safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel.
Alternatively, you can place the tamales in a glass bowl, sprinkle some water on them, cover them with a damp towel, and place them in the microwave.
Heat the tamales for about 3 minutes on medium so that defrosting can occur evenly.
Turn over the tamales and heat them for an extra 2 minutes at full power till they become very hot. Using a dish towel, take the tamales out of the microwave gently and serve.
6. Reheating tamales in a slow cooker or crockpot
A slow cooker is a great way to steam raw tamales because it helps to preserve the moisture and savor the flavor. Because a crockpot can act as a steamer too, it is perfect for steaming uncooked tamales as well. Below are the steps to follow when reheating tamales using a slow cooker.
Set the crockpot’s temperature to high. Ensure that you place the tamales in a vertical position within the crockpot and sprinkle a few drops of water on them.
Cover the slow cooker with an airtight lid or overturned bowl for about an hour.
Pro tip: Ensure that you rearrange the tamales after every 30 minutes to ensure that they are evenly cooked.
Serve when hot.
7. Reheating tamales in a deep fryer
It is very possible to deep fry tamales. However, before you place the tamales in the deep fryer, we recommend you first defrost them for about 2 or 3 minutes in the microwave at low power. Alternatively, you can leave the tamales to defrost slowly at room temperature if you are not in a hurry. All you need to do is ensure the tamales are rid of the chill, then you can deep fry them.
Steps of deep frying tamales include:
Set the heat to medium
Remove the corn husks from the tamales and use a paper towel to pat them dry and get rid of moisture.
Gently lower them into the oil and let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes
Once the tamales turn into a golden yellow color, remove them from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towel. Allow to cool and then serve.
There are numerous other ways of reheating tamales including using an instant pot, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and air fryer. Which method of reheating frozen tamales above can’t you wait to try next? Reach out to us today and let us know if this guide was helpful on your next tamales dish.