The Mesoamerican dish Tamales can make an amazing addition to your dinnertime repertoire. This dish has both savory and sweet variations and is a firm favorite of millions around the world. Tamales are simple to make in large quantities, so you’ll often have leftovers.
However, due to their ingredients, it is very important to prepare your leftovers correctly. It seems almost everyone has a different ‘trick’ for reheating these delicious parcels of joy.
NOTE – The most crucial part to remember about reheating your tamales is that you must get them hot enough to make the rice and meat safe to eat. You should also make sure that the tamales are cooked and hot the whole way through.
In this article, we’ll be talking you through the fine art of safely reheating tamales. We’re going to show you the top 5 methods for making the most of these tasty leftovers, with some tricks of how to make the tamales taste just as good as when they were fresh.
Reheat Tamales in the Crockpot
It’s common knowledge that the Crockpot can be used to prepare delicious meals while you’re out at work or busy. However, many people don’t know that Crockpots are also the perfect way to give new life to your leftovers.
Crockpots are at the top of our list as not only do they give you the best flavor, but they also don’t take any looking after once you’ve set them up.
The Crockpot is one of the tastiest ways to reheat tamales; however, it does take some forward planning, as it is a slow method. Slowly steaming the tamales will keep the fillings both moist and tender, to the point where they really don’t feel like leftovers anymore.
Take your defrosted leftovers and individually wrap the tamales in tinfoil. Fill the bottom ⅕ of your Crockpot with hot water (throw in a stock cube if you’re feeling extra fancy), place your tamale packages in the water, and leave to cook at medium heat for 6-8 hours.
Reheat Tamales in the Steamer
This is a great option if you want to heat your tamales straight from frozen. So for those days where you just can’t wait for your tamales, the steamer is the choice for you.
We also love using the steamer because, like the Crockpot, once you’ve set it up, you don’t have to worry about it again until your tamales are ready to eat.
Fill your steamer/steaming pot with ¼ water, then arrange your tamales so that their open ends are facing the top of the steamer (you don’t want the open ends to be submerged in water). Allow it to cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the tamales. If you are reheating frozen tamales, it will take 30-50 minutes.
It is important to make sure that less than half of each tamale is submerged in your steamer. If too much of it is boiled, it will lose its flavor and structure (which are two of the best things about tamales).
Reheat Tamales on the Stove Top
Reheating your tamales on the stovetop is a great, guilt-free way to recreate the crispy ‘greasy tamales’ without the hassle of a deep-fat fryer. This is a quick method that will give you hot tamales in less than 10 minutes.
When cooking using this method, we only recommend cooking 2-3 tamales at a time to avoid overcooking.
For this method, you will need defrosted tamales with the husks removed (the tamales will not cook on the stovetop unless the husks are removed), and a pan with a lid on it.
Add a small amount of oil to your pan at medium heat. Place your tamales in the pan, and cover. Flip the tamales every 2 minutes until they are golden brown on both sides. This process should take 5-10 minutes per batch of tamales, depending on their size.
Reheat Tamales in the Oven
Although the oven is not the quickest cooking method on our list, it is a great option for safely cooking and bringing out the flavors of your tamales.
To begin, preheat your oven to 430F. This will be high enough to cook the tamales the whole way through, but not so high that they dry out.
Remove the tamales from their husks and wrap them in tinfoil. 3-4 layers of tin foil work best; you should also make sure you have squeezed all the air out of the parcels.
Place the parcels in an oven-safe dish, two inches apart from each other, and cook for 22 mins. Halfway through, at 11 minutes, flip the tamales to help them cook more evenly.
Reheat Tamales in the Microwave
The main benefit of reheating your tamales in the microwave is the speed. This method won’t give you the tastiest tamales ever, but if you’re in a hurry, it does the job. Unlike some of the other options on this list, the microwave shortens the tamale’s journey from fridge to plate to under a minute.
NOTE – If your tamales are frozen, allow them to defrost before microwaving, or they may not cook the whole way through.
When microwaving your tamales, the key to stopping them from drying out whilst being reheated is to take a damp paper towel and individually wrap your tamales in the towels.
You should microwave the tamale at high heat for 15 seconds before replacing its wrapping and turning it over before returning it to the microwave for a further 15 seconds. Allow the tamales to cool for 30 seconds before eating.
If your tamale is still not hot enough after the second round, once more, wrap it in a wet towel and cook for another 15 seconds at medium heat.