4 Best Ways to Reheat Tamales! (Updated 2024)

How to Reheat Tamales

Want to learn how to reheat tamales? Stick around as we share several methods…

Mexican cuisine is well-loved in all parts of the world, especially in the United States. The dishes are simply flavorful and blend perfectly with other dishes and desserts.

One of the most popular Mexican foods to try is Tamales, which are made from corn-based dough, and filled with meat, vegetables, cheese, and other fillings.

If you’ve ordered too much, leftover tamales can be stored in the fridge, reheated, and enjoyed. However, if you don’t know how to properly reheat them, tamales can end up soggy and dry.

In this article, we’re going to explore how to reheat tamales properly. Read on to learn how to retain the freshness, flavor, and texture of tamales when reheating.

How to Reheat Tamales 

There are approximately four ways to reheat tamales. These include using a microwave, steamer, oven, and a crock-pot or instant pot.

1. Reheat Tamales Using a Steamer

Tamales using Steamer

The most popular way to reheat tamales is by using a steamer. This method helps to retain the original texture and flavor of the dish.

The goal is to reheat without drying the tamales out. To do this, you need to know how long it will take to reheat the dish.

  1. Usually, it is best to reheat less than 10 minutes or 15 minutes for frozen tamales.
  2. Fill the steamer with water, turn the heat to medium, and then stack the tamales inside.
  3. Add more water if needed.

2. Reheat Tamales Using an Oven

Tamales in Oven

If the steamer isn’t available, an alternative method to reheat tamales is using an oven. In fact, frozen tamales are easily heated inside the oven, so make use of yours for the best results.

  1. What you need to do is preheat the oven to 425 degrees, then wrap the tamales tightly using aluminum foil.
  2. Make sure no air is trapped when wrapping each tamale, then place them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn them over at the halfway mark to consistently reheat each side.

3. Reheat Tamales Using an Instant Pot

Cooked Tamales

A good pressure cooker also helps to reheat tamales. Although it takes more time to reheat food using this appliance, the result is surely worth it.

  1. Once the instant pot is heated to the high setting, dampen the tamales a little, then warm them for about 10 minutes.
  2. Using this pot requires you to leave some space for each tamale, so they can be thoroughly warm.

4. Reheat Tamales Using a Microwave


A microwave is the last resort for reheating tamales. Because it will dry out the dough, what you need to do is wrap each tamale in a damp paper towel, then arrange them on a microwave-safe plate.

There should be space between each tamale to consistently heat.

If the tamales are frozen, never toss them inside the microwave. Let them thaw in the refrigerator first before microwaving.

What Is a Tamale?

reheating tamales

This dish originated in Central and South America, with customizable filling depending on the desired ingredients.

Mexican tamales are wonderfully made, carefully wrapped in dough called masa, and then wrapped once more with a corn husk.

The filling can include chicken, beef, pork, cheese, and vegetables. What makes the Mexican rendition better is the masa—similar to the complex dough used in making fresh pasta.

When cooking tamales, this dough shouldn’t be overcooked, otherwise, the texture can end up being mushy, dense, or dry.

Some people also love putting sweet, decadent fillings inside tamales for that lovely bite. Since the early times, this dish has been a wonderful addition to mealtime rotations.

Cooking the Perfect Tamales

Perfect Tamales

Now that you have uncooked tamales, the next step is to cook them properly. Follow these steps to cook your tamales.

  1. Get a large pot with a steaming basket. Fill with water then bring to a boil.
  2. Add a pinch of salt for flavor.
  3. Carefully stack the tamales on the steaming basket then lay them on their sides. Make sure the closed sides of the tamales are facing the steaming basket, and the opened sides are facing the top.
  4. Steam for about 1 to 2 hours. Open the lid at least every 20 minutes to check the water level. Pour in more water if necessary.
  5. Take out the tamales and cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Unwrap and check if the dough is firm and warm. If the texture is soft and squishy, put them back inside the pot until they are firm.
  7. Check every 10 minutes, then cool down. Serve.

If there are leftovers, simply place them inside an airtight container then store them inside the fridge.

Make sure the container is airtight to prevent moisture that could ruin the texture of the tamales. Note that tamales taste amazing when warm, with a firm texture.


Reheating tamales is easy and hassle-free using common kitchen appliances. Your best bet is to use a steamer to reheat each side thoroughly, without drying the texture and filling.

Check the tamales every few minutes to see if the texture becomes firm, then serve warm.


How to Reheat Tamales on the Stove

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Tamales are a Latin American dish consisting of a corn masa dough that is wrapped around a filling (meat, beans, cheese, vegetables). If you have some leftover tamales and want to want to reheat them from home.

Learn how to reheat tamales on the stove so they can be served nice and hot!


  • Author: Recipe Marker
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Serving 1x
  • Category: Reheat
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Meal


  • Tamales
  • Stovetop
  • Pan or Skillet
  • 1 tbsp of Butter


  1. Melt 1 tbsp of butter on low heat in a pan.
  2. Place the tamales in the pan once butter is melted.
  3. Turn up the heat to medium.
  4. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the tamale over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Check to see if the tamale has reached your desired heat. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes if necessary.
  7. Remove tamales from heat and let them stand covered for 2 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve and Enjoy!

best way to reheat tamales

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