Tamales are a delectable traditional Mesoamerican delicacy loaded with meats or beans and cheese wrapped in a banana leaf or a corn husk. They’re steamed and served with pico de gallo and rice or full of flavor and spice.
It’s simple to make, and you can prepare it ahead of time and reheat it for a quick lunch. Whether handmade or store-bought, there are a few things to keep in mind when warming these little pouches so you can get the most flavor out of them.
Here are the best techniques to ensure you get the perfect hot tamales, whether you have a steamer, microwave, stove, oven, or air fryer.
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How To Reheat Tamales In The Oven
An oven is a reliable option for reheating your tamales. It helps to bring out the full, rich, and fresh flavor in tamales. So, if you want to get the best out of your cold tamales, reheating your hard tamales with an oven will be your best alternative. This process will only take about 20 minutes—excluding the preheating time.
So, what do you need to reheat your tamales with an oven:
- Oven—either gas or electric
- Oven-proof tray
- Aluminum foil
- Meat thermometer
Be sure to follow these simple steps when reheating your tamale with the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 325 ℉
- Using two to three sheets of aluminum foil, wrap each tamale
- Squeeze each wrapped tamale to remove any trapped air
- Put the tamales in a pan or oven-safe—remember to leave spaces between them
- Transfer the dish to the oven and heat the tamale for about 20 minutes. If you froze your tamales, let them heat for around 25 minutes
- For uniform heating, flip the tamales at the ten-minute mark
- Use a meat thermometer to check your tamale’s temperature, and when they hit 165 ℉, they’re ready to be devoured
Carefully remove the tamale from the oven when the time is up—they should be golden and crispy by then. Confirm if your tamales are evenly heated by slicing one tamale open to see if the inside is hot.
How To Reheat Tamales In A Steamer
Reheating tamales with a steamer is simple, and you only require 20 minutes to complete the reheating process—similar to with an oven. The best thing with reheating your tamales with a steamer is that you don’t have to monitor the process closely (unlike with the oven).
This method is the best if you want to reheat your tamales and keep the same familiar flavor or if you want them to be moister than when they’re first served. But always remember to leave them in the husk. Moreover, this method is ideal for individuals concerned about overheating the tamale as you can never go wrong using a steamer to reheat your tamales.
The procedure will require the following items:
- Pot – half-filled with water
- Steamer – the Bamboo steamer basket is the most effective. But a metal double-boiler is okay too.
- You’ll need about 45 minutes to reheat thawed and about an hour for frozen tamales.
Once you have the above equipment, follow these steps to reheat your tamales in a streamer:
- Line up your steamer
- Pour a quarter of water in your steamer
- Start your steamer and set it up to medium heat level
- Put your tamale in the steamer with the open end facing up. They must be left in the husk, and don’t overcrowd the tamales in the steamer—make sure there’s enough room between each of them for air to flow
- Steam it for 15-20 minutes. For the frozen tamales, steam for at least 25 minutes
- After the timer goes off, Use a meat thermometer to check your tamale’s temperature. If it reaches 165 ℉, then the meal is ready
- With the help of tongs, carefully take out the tamales.
How Can You Reheat Tamales In The Microwave?
Microwave is your best option for reheating if you’re running out of time. However, don’t expect your tamales to be as delicious and crispy as those reheated with an oven, as they will probably come out a bit drier than usual. Nevertheless, your tamales will preserve their flavor, and you can still have the excellent taste you always wanted.
While this method is not the best out there, it’s ideal for those in a hurry. And with proper preparation and some tricks, you’ll be just fine. The length of time that your microwave will take to reheat thoroughly varies depending on if your tamale is thawed or if it’s still frozen. For the already thawed tamales, it’ll take 30 seconds, while for the still frozen ones will take two to three minutes.
Therefore, when reheating a tamale in the microwave, it’s essential to tell whether it has thawed or is still frozen. After which, you’ll wrap them in a paper towel and put them in the microwave. And with precise timing, your tamales will have that fresh taste again.
The following are what you need:
- Microwave-safe bowl
- damp paper towels
The following procedure will help you to reheat your tamale using a microwave:
- Wrap each tamale in a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out
- Put the tamales on a microwave-proof plate (not more than two at a time)
- Turn on the microwave on medium-high for 15 seconds
- Take them out of the microwave and unwrap the paper towel, which should be dry by at the time—note the side facing up
- Wrap them in a damp paper towel and place back on the platter, flipped over to reheat the other side equally
- Microwave for another 15 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave and check if the surface is thoroughly heated. If not, continue the process in 15-second bursts until the food is adequately heated.
Can You Reheat Tamales in an Air Fryer?
You can reheat frozen or cold tamales in an air fryer, and the process is not complicated; simply coat the tamales with a bit of oil and throw them in the air fryer basket. Preheat the oven to 350°F and let your tamales reheat for another five to eight minutes, and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, you can wrap the tamales with aluminum foil, but make sure that the aluminum does not obstruct any of the air fryer’s circulation channels.
That said, follow these simple steps to reheat your tamales using an air fryer:
- First, heat the air fryer to a medium-level temperature
- Moisten the husks or wrappings of your tamales with cold water
- Place the moisten tamales in the frying basket without crowding them, and heat for five minutes
- Remove them from the basket with caution, as they may be hot.
Because it’s quick and easy, using an air fryer to reheat tamales is becoming increasingly popular.
1. How Do You Reheat Tamales In Corn Husk?
Simply steam your well-thawed tamales while keeping the corn husk on. If you don’t have a steamer, you can alternatively use a microwave to reheat your tamales. If you decide to use a microwave, you need to wrap the tamales in a damp paper towel before heating them for about one to two minutes in the microwave. The wet paper towel will ensure that your tamales don’t dry out during the microwaving process.
2. How Long Does It Take To Cook Raw Tamales?
If you’re using a steamer, start checking if the tamales are ready after 30 minutes of steaming. It can go from 45-120 minutes when using other cooktops to prepare tamales. If the dough feels firm, your tamales are ready.
3. Why Are My Tamales Soggy?
Tamales become soggy when you pour too much water when cooking them. After the water has hit the boiling point and flows over the steamer basket, you’ve already soaked the bottom of the tamales. This can cause the masa to take longer to cook and the tamales to become excessively moist.
4. What Temperature Do You Cook Tamales On An Oven?
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and wrap each tamale in aluminum foil. Make sure they’re wrapped before placing them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. When it hits the 10-minute mark, turn your tamales so that they heat uniformly from all sides.
5. What Do You Do When Your Tamales Don’t Cook?
You must boil the water and then allow it to cool to a medium temperature. Once the water is at medium level, you need to add tamales to the steamer, cover the pot, and let them cook for about 30 minutes before checking if they’re ready. In most cases, people don’t steam the tamales long enough and then complain about how hard they make.
6. How Long Does It Take To Reheat Frozen Tamales?
Frozen tamales will take about 25-30 minutes to reheat. On the other hand, thawed tamales can take about 15-20 minutes for your tamales to get ready. However, the process for reheating is the same—preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for baking. Remove the tamales from the bag and wrap them in foil before placing them on a sheet pan.