How to Heat up Frozen Tamales

Tamale is a traditional dish from North America which is discovered from Mesoamerica. It is made of corn dough or masa that is wrapped in a steamed corn husk and banana leaf. This husk is discarded before serving. They are usually filled with Mexican style minced meat, cheese, vegetables or sometimes with fruits.

Healthy Benefits:

Tamales came with health benefits like they contain complex carbohydrates which provide fuel and energy to the body. They also contain essential vitamins and have a high content of phosphorus and iron.

8 Best Methods How to Heat Up Tamales

If you have leftover tamales from last night party or you got your hands on pre-cooked frozen tamales, there are numerous ways to heat up them.

Having precooked tamales in hand is easy to enjoy spicy Mexican flavor without all hassle. Heat them quickly within the microwave or deliver them extra time within the oven, steamer or cooking appliance.

When your tamales arrive, if they’re no longer frozen, they may be refrozen or refrigerated. In the vacuum-sealed bags, they can stay inside the freezer 12+ months and within the fridge for three weeks.

Here is the list of some amazing yet easiest ways to heat up tamales and enjoy as fresh

Heat up tamales in the steamer

If you own a steamer or steaming pot, try this method, in particular, if your purpose is to reheat tamales without drying them out. Steaming tamales maintains them from overcooking or drying out, and it also helps to hold their original flavors. Refrigerated tamales take approximately 10 minutes much less than frozen tamales. To get the lowdown on the way to reheat tamales in a steamer, follow with these seven steps.

how to heat up frozen tamales

  1. Set up the temperature and time of steamer
  2.  Fill the steamer upon 1/4th cup of tap water
  3.  Make sure steamer is setup on medium heat
  4. While placing tamales make sure the open side of tamales is placed on the upper side. Do not overload your steamer with all tamales. Heat them in 2 or 3 rounds.
  5. Do not heat them more than 15-20 minutes.
  6. When the timer goes off the check whether they are cooked from the inner side or not
  7. Take them out one by one with tongs so they don’t break.

Heat up tamales in the frying pan

Frying tamales is the easiest and delicious way to heat up. By frying them it gives the crispiest texture to it. It has a simple method

how to heat up frozen tamales

  1. Heat the pan on medium flame. While the pan is heating remove the husk from tamales.
  2. When the pan is hot pour vegetable oil according to your requirement but 1 and a half tablespoon is enough.
  3. Allow the oil to heat for few seconds and then add tamales in pan one by one
  4. Make your there should be two or three tamales at a time
  5. Fry each side for 3-4 minutes or until they turn into golden brown.
  6. Take out tamales and put them on the tissue to absorb excess oil

Heat up tamales in the crockpot or slow cooker

Reheating tamales within the Crock-Pot is a breeze, specifically since you could toss them in and forget about them. The only thing which requires constant attention is time. Since a slow cooker takes a little longer time to heat the food. Following are the method of heating tamales in the crockpot

how to heat up frozen tamales

  1. Set up the temperature of slow cooker
  2. High temperature is recommended
  3. Place tamales one by one
  4. Do not remove the corn husk
  5. Do not put all the tamales in one round. Make them in 2 or 3 rounds
  6. Sprinkle water on them and close the lid
  7. Set the timer for one hour max
  8. Check the condition of tamales after half time
  9. When the timer is done check the inner temperature of inner tamale and remove them one by one
  10. Repeat the process if you are doing another round

Heat up tamales by boiling

Some companies provide tamales in pre-packed vacuum-sealed bags which are easy to cook you just have to reheat them in boiling water and they are ready to eat.

  1. Heat the tap water in a large pot
  2. Meanwhile, get out the prepackaged and wrapped bag of frozen tamales or place the tamales, with the corn husk wrappers intact, in sous vide bag and seal it.
  3. When the water begins to boil and bubbles start forming put the sealed bag carefully in a pot. Make sure plastic is not touching the walls of the metal pot
  4. To avoid contact with the pot and plastic use a steam basket.
  5. Boil one packet containing 4-5 tamales for a maximum of 20-25 minutes and check them carefully before taking out because you cannot put them in a bag again and they might get wasted.

 Heat up tamales in the microwave

Heating them in the microwave is not an ideal method but in case of emergency, you can use this method as it is quick and easy.

how to heat up frozen tamales

  1. Place all tamales on a big plate which can fit easily in a microwave oven.
  2.  Make sure to leave space between tamales because after melting they will stick together if there is no space.
  3. Wrap tamales in wet paper towel separately or place a towel over tamales to cover them up
  4. Set the timer according to the power of your microwave oven. Standard time is 2 minutes
  5. Check and flip tamales after 30 seconds interval
  6. Remove the towel and serve them when they are cool.
  7. Check the directions written on the backside

Heat up tamales using the grill

If you use the grill to reheat your frozen tamales it will give you the crispy texture and grilled taste. This method is perfect if you are serving tamales at the barbeque party.

  1. Heat the grill
  2. Place the tamales on the grill directly or on layers of aluminum foil.
  3.  Do not remove corn husk. They will start turning black after sometimes but that doesn’t mean your tamales are cooked. Check them internally after an interval of 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Flip them evenly
  5. Remove from grill when cooked and serve after removing corn husk.

Heat up tamales by deep-frying

Deep frying the tamales give you different taste and aroma. Before deep-frying make sure you defrost the tamales. Make sure not to over defrost as it is very hard to fry soften tamales.

  1. Set your flame on medium for deep frying
  2. Remove the corn husk and pat each tamale to remove excess water if any
  3. Slowly put the tamale in oil
  4. Fry each tamale for 2-3 minutes
  5. Take them out after they are golden brown
  6. Spread them on the paper towel to absorb extra oil

Heat up tamales in instant pots

Instant pots are easy to use and are easily available worldwide. There are so many recipes that are easier to cook in instant pot.

  1. Place the steamer basket in instant pot.
  2. Pour 2 or 2 and a half glass of water. When water will settle down at the bottom of the instant pot because direct contact of water is not good for tamales. It will make them soggy and inedible.
  3. Place the tamales in a circular pattern with the open end on top. Place them on the edges of the pot. Do not overload the pot with tamales.
  4. Close the lid and change setting to manual and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  5. When the timer goes off wait for the natural release which instant pot does with pressure. Do not switch the toggle to quick release.
  6. Before removing check the internal temperature of tamales
  7.  Remove them one by one carefully. Use tongs for removal procedure as tamales are very hot.


First thing first- make sure you defrost tamales before heating up. You can use any of the methods from the above options, but it is recommended not to rush for the microwave method unless the hunger strike is for real or you are running out of time. Heating in the steamer is considered as the best method to heat up tamales. You can use frying options if you want crisp touch in your dish otherwise steaming or boiling is best. Always use tongs no matter what but don’t take a risk of touching hot tamales. Tamales are usually made in big batches and stored in the freezer so whenever you take out your batch try different methods and enjoy them with individual taste.

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