The delicious tamale is the iconic food dish of Mexicans. Tamales are loaded with ingredients, so it’s not easy to prepare them. However, you can still learn to prepare and perfect the cooking technique. But since the preparation is cumbersome, follow what others do. Cook a whole bunch and store the excess for another day. When the craving returns, there is the best way to reheat tamales, so the taste will be like they’re newly cooked.
Best Way To Reheat Tamales
Tamales are really meant for storing because you can have it practically for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For lovers of this Mexican dish made of corn-based dough, a reheated tamale straight out from the fridge can be just as good as the last one. But the secret to still good tasting tamales is where it’s reheated and the reheating method that applies.
The general texture of tamales is quite different such that it easily loses its taste when you reheat them the wrong way. You have 4 options to reheating your favorite tamales and in the right way.
Reheating tamales in the microwave may be the quickest way to satisfy your craving but not necessarily the best option if you’re thinking the taste would be like newly-cooked tamales.
Thaw the tamales from the fridge or defrost if frozen and prepare a microwavable plate and a damp full-size paper towel for covering.
Line up your tamales on the microwavable plate and arrange them in a way each will not touch the other. Do not load up the plate and place just right number of pieces following the needed spacing. This is to ensure even reheating.
Cover the top of the tamales with the damp paper towel and place the plate at the center of the microwave. Set the temperature at full power and the timer at 15 seconds then push the start button.
Open the microwave and turn the tamales over and repeat Step 3. The water in the paper towel converts to steam and works to preserve the texture and taste.
Reheating tip: If you’re not satisfied with the uneven cooking, interchange the positions of the tamales then reheat for another round. Reheating in your microwave will not bring out evenly cooked tamales. You’ll burn them or distort the taste if reheating goes beyond the prescribed time.
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Set up your cooking steamer and fill up ¼ with water.
Turn the heat setting to medium.
Place and distribute the tamales with open end up around the edge of your cooking steamer.
Reheating tip: Make sure to steam the tamales for 15-20 minutes if taken from the refrigerated and about 20-30 minutes if frozen.
Before reheating the tamales on your oven, remove the husk covers.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and thinly spread butter on the pan.
Place the tamales on the pan and reheat. If you have a dozen tamales, the ideal cooking time is 30-45 minutes. You’ll know the tamales are ready for feasting when the skin color turns to dark brown and crispy.
Reheating tip: Heating your tamales in the oven brings out all the opulent flavors inside the tamales.
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4. Deep Fryer
Set the heat setting of your deep fryer to medium.
Remove husk of the tamales and drop them slowly into the deep fryer.
Cook the tamales individually for about 2-3 minutes. Remove the tamales from the deep fryer when the skin turns crispy brown.
Reheating tip: Take note that before deep frying frozen tamales, defrost them first in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes. Also, cooking time for a dozen tamales takes about 10-12 minutes. Yes, you can deep fry tamales too! By the way, they taste Great! The only problem is all the extra calories.
Place your cooking pan on the stove then set at medium heat.
Spread one tea spoon of your favorite cooking oil (Canola oil, Olive oil, Vegetable oil).
With the husks removed, place the tamales inside the pan then cover with a lid. Flip the tamales every 2-3 minutes until they are crispy and ready to eat up.
Reheating tip: Cooking time for a bunch of 12 tamales is 5-10 minutes.
You can reheat your tamales using a stove. In my opinion, this is the best way to reheat your tamales and bring out the most flavor.
The Best Ways to Prepare Tamales Before Reheating
Now you’ve learned the best way to reheat tamales; here are some tips on tamales from the pro:
Keep the corn husks on the tamales
La Mesa Tortillas, a well-known tamales restaurant in Arizona suggests that for the moist heating process (steamer and microwave), you keep the corn husks on the tamales. The corn husks keep the food together and prevent the fillings from scattering during reheating. The corn husks will also add flavor to the tamales fillings.
Better to steam frozen tamales
Another tamales resto, the Texas Lone Star Tamales in Fort Worth, recommends steaming your tamales from a frozen state. The steaming time will extend from 5 to 10 minutes longer than when you steam tamales from a thawed state.
Tamales that are steam from a thawed state may come out unevenly cooked. Usually, the ends of the tamales will thaw first thus start cooking ahead of the thicker center. The ends tend to dry out before the center of the tamale reaches the desired internal heat temperature level.
Fry it for crispy tamales
If you prefer your reheated tamales to be crispy, then fry it as if you’re cooking them again. The outer layer of the tamales will become drenched with cooking oil. To counter that, wrap each piece of tamales with two layers of paper towel after frying. Apply pressure by patting the surface. The paper towels will absorb the excess cooking oil.
Easy Homemade Tamale Recipe (Video)
Store Up on Tamales
There’s never a problem storing cooked tamales as it can last for several months. Storing tamale is very straightforward. You can either keep in the refrigerator freeze.
Place tamales inside Ziploc bags then store in the fridge for 3-5 days. But if you prefer to store volumes of tamales longer, wrap the tamales in plastic wraps or foil and store in the freezer and it can last for 6 months or more. For freshness sake, do not store tamales for an extended period as the taste might degrade over time.
By now you already know the best way to reheat tamales, so, whenever you feel the craving food in a snap, take out those tamales and reheat them to satisfy your sudden craving.
There you have it. I hope that this post has given you some useful information on reheating tamales. Although we have discussed some of the best way to reheat tamales but there is still another method available too.
For example, I ever see someone on a food blog tried barbequing the tamale by applying some butter on top and the result is superb! Well, I never tried that before but if you ever did that, do let me know if you like it and what is your best method to reheat tamales by commenting it below.
I've been the cooking for my family since 2009, and my passion for cooking grew stronger each day. Whenever I have time, I love to blog about my culinary experiences and how my kitchen has trained me to become a better chef for my family and friends.