How to Reheat Tamales the Most Easily and Quickly – 4 Most Common Methods

Food tastes the best when fresh and hot, and this extends to tamales as well. But then sometimes leftovers are inevitable. And it’s better and less wasteful to store your leftovers in the refrigerator rather than discarding them into the bin, right? On that note, let’s find out how to reheat tamales the next day so they don’t taste and feel soggy.

As long as you’re going to eat them right after heating it all up, it’s time to get started. Speaking of which, the quickest way to heat tamales is the microwave. Don’t expect them to become crispy though. For that, you may have to use the oven method. Whatever the case, I have discussed these two methods and more…

What About Reheating FROZEN Tamales?

Needless to say, the process of reheating frozen tamales is more tedious in comparison to reheating refrigerated tamales. Be it your microwave, oven, steamer, or stove, the time taken with reheating frozen food is 5-10 minutes more. And you can’t just reheat frozen tamales in the microwave – it’s not the most ideal indeed. You have to thaw them first.

But you can defrost frozen tamales in your microwave. Place the food in a large enough bowl and heat it for around 3 minutes on the medium heat setting.

Whether it’s tamales or any other food with meat, check the temperature with a thermometer prior to eating. The rule of thumb, for health and safety standards of course, is that all reheated foods should reach around 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

And it goes without saying that storage is done using either airtight containers or Ziploc bags. Then you place the storage bag or container with tamales in your fridge. Now it’s time to find out how to reheat these whenever you get a craving for them…

How to Reheat Tamales In the Microwave

No doubt, the microwave method is the most common because it’s simpler, easier, and faster.

You start by moistening the husks using cold water. You can instead wrap the tamales in damp paper towels. Then place all of them on a plate, microwave-friendly of course. Make sure to leave some space between the tamales. Heat the food for 1-2 minutes.

Now it’s only natural for microwave heating to sort of dry up the food, even tamales. And this is why steaming seems to be a better choice in terms of retaining most of the original taste and texture.

And once more, if your tamales are frozen and not refrigerated, then don’t forget to thaw them first before reheating in the microwave.

How to Reheat Tamales In the Oven

Even the oven is a very reliable reheating method for cold tamales.

Begin by reheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Every tamale should be wrapped 2-3 times using aluminum foil. Gently squeeze each one for removing any trapped air. Now place them all in an oven-friendly dish and space them out properly. Place the dish in your oven and heat for around 20 minutes. In case they were frozen, then heat for no less than 25 minutes.

You should flip each tamale after about 10 minutes into heating, so the food is reheated thoroughly and evenly. You can use the meat thermometer for checking the internal temperature, which ideally should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Reheat Tamales On the Stove

The stove is another method for reheating tamales. In fact, it’s the best one for bringing out the delicious flavor and crispiness of the dish.

First off, you can’t reheat tamales on the stove with their husks on. So remove them and then get on with the rest of the process.

Add some olive oil to the pan. Let it heat for around 2-3 minutes on moderate heat. Now it’s time to bring in the tamales and cover the pan with the lid. After 2-3 minutes flip them to reheat the other side for another 2-3 minutes.

The stove method shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes max. Just know that the end result should be brown, crispy tamales – just how you’d like them!

How to Reheat Tamales In A Cooking Steamer

In case you happen to have a steamer on you, how about steaming them? After all, steaming, unlike microwaving, keeps your tamale leftovers from becoming too dry or getting overcooked.

Start by filling the steamer pot with water, around 2-3 inches high. Make sure it doesn’t reach the top, that is it doesn’t reach the bottom of the steamer basket. First, you let the water come to a boil, with the basket and lid on of course. And then, with the help of tongs, place the tamales into the basket. The heat, at this point, should be on medium. And cover the steamer pot.

Give the whole thing around 30 minutes to steam up your tamales. Obviously, if they were frozen before, then add 5-10 minutes extra.

But First, Do You Know How to Properly Store Tamales?

Since tamales contain meat, it’s very, very important to know how to store them the right way. Otherwise, the freshness and delicious taste of the dish gets compromised. When it comes to meat, any meat (pork, chicken, etc.), the formation of bacteria should be prevented at all times. Because if neglected, it’s only your health that’s at risk.

Never leave tamales containing meat at normal or room temperature for a long time. In fact, less than 2 hours even in case it’s too hot outside.

With the help of aluminum foil, cover the food. Or you could also use plastic wrap. Needless to say, airtight containers are a must for the storage of food. Place the tamales in those sealed containers and then into the refrigerator. You can store them in there for about 2 to 3 days.

What about vegetarian tamales then? They’re certainly less bothersome in terms of storage. Nevertheless, be careful and place them in the fridge before the completion of 4 hours at room temperature. And then you can consume them within 4 days.

Obviously, freezing is an option too. Once again, use airtight containers. However, freezing tamales is not the best idea as freezing such fillings tends to change their original, appetizing texture.


Be it in the winter or summer months, eating tamales is always a delightful experience. But then leftovers are also a part of that experience, right? In that case, it’s best if you pack them up and place them in your refrigerator for later consumption. And whenever that is, you simply have to take it out and microwave the food.

But the problem with microwaving is that it tends to dry out the dish. So to avoid that, why not use the oven or steamer! Reheating on the stove is also a good idea if you want the perfect brown and crispy results.

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