How To Reheat Tamales In Three Simple Ways

Tamales are a signature Mesoamerican dish that is served and loved by many. As a fan of tamales, whenever I feel like making this delicious dish, I always make a batch of them and end up having plenty of tamales left.

Usually, I will keep them in the fridge and reheat them to serve for one or two days. However, the tamales left no longer taste as delicious as the freshly cooked ones.

After a couple of hours of looking for tips on reheating tamales, I was surprised to see a lot of people were also struggling with preserving the tasty flavor of tamales after reheating. 

If you are looking for tips on how to reheat tamales, you have come to the right place. I have compiled the three following methods that work perfectly well with tamales for your consideration.

The ultimate goal of each method is to retain the original flavor of tamales as if they were fresh out of the steamer.

With the tried-and-tested methods below, you won’t have to worry about leftover tamales anymore.

A Brief About Tamales

A tamale is a type of steamed dough (also known as masa) dish that is wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaves.

reheating tamales

Tamales can be stuffed with pork, beef, cheese, vegetables or even chilies. You can be as creative as you want with the fillings of tamales.

Before I show you how to reheat tamales, you should first keep in mind that only properly stored tamales can be reheated to their original flavors.

Storing tamale leftovers is no hard work. The ideal way to store untouched tamales is to keep them wrapped and put them in the refrigerator.

If you wish to keep them for a long time, consider putting them in a tightly sealed storage bag and keep them in the freezer.

Otherwise, storing them in the fridge can also keep them fresh for a couple of days. Remember not to unwrap them to preserve their taste.

Once you have finished storing your delicious tamales, check out the following reheating methods below and pick the one that works best for you.

How To Reheat Tamales In The Oven

And that’s none other than your lovely oven. Do you know that your oven can be helpful in reheating your leftover food?

This method will require more time and preparation, but the result will be incredibly rewarding.

See the steps below for details and the next time you have leftover tamales, think about giving your oven a try, and you won’t be disappointed:


  • Prepare a heat-resistant bowl or tray that can be used in the oven and some aluminum foil.
  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit


  1. Cover each of your tamales with aluminum foil carefully.
  2. Place your tamales in the bowl or tray and transfer it to the oven.
  3. et the tamales be heated in the oven for 20 minutes then turn off the oven.
  4. Take out the tray and turn over your tamales and return them to the oven for ten more minutes.
  5. Your tamales are ready to serve now.

How To Reheat Tamales In The Steamer

Since tamales are steamed food, the best way to reheat tamales is undeniably steaming. It will keep the best taste and texture of tamales.

The key lies in the steaming technique which should be adjusted to warm up the filling while softening the delicate dough.

If you have a steamer ready at home, reheating your tamales will be a piece of cake.

Steaming is not effective in reheating a wide variety of dishes but also a very healthy way to deal with the leftovers.

Most nutrients are preserved during the steaming process. Therefore, you are encouraged to cook tamales by steaming.

Please prepare an instant pot or crock pot and follow the steps below to reheat the frozen tamales with a steamer:

  1. Prepare your steamer and fill your instant pot with water. The water should be about one-third of the pot.
  2. Put the steam rack over the water, set the steamer to medium heat to bring the water to a boil.
  3. Place your tamales on the steam rack, cover the instant pot with a lid and let the heat simmer down
  4. Have your tamales steamed for around 10 minutes if they are kept in the fridge and up to 15 or 20 minutes.
  5. Check the internal temperature and give your tamales enough heating time for their fillings to warm up. Otherwise, they will taste warm on the outside but utterly cold and rigid inside

How To Reheat Tamales In The Microwave

If you are looking for an even easier way with less preparation, the microwave will be your top choice.

A microwave is arguably the most common way to reheat just any type of dishes, and tamales are no exception.

One big advantage of using a microwave is its efficiency, which means you can successfully reheat your tamales with minimum preparation.

Below is how to reheat tamales with a microwave explained in the following steps:

  1. Prepare a microwave-safe plate or bowl and place your tamales inside
  2. Cover your tamales with a damp paper towel so that your tamales can be steamed with water from the towel
  3. Turn your microwave to high and set the timer for 30 seconds or one minute
  4. Check the internal temperature of tamales to see if there’s any cold spot.
  5. Rotate or rearrange your tamales and repeat the process to warm up thoroughly the tamales. One of the drawbacks of using a microwave is that your tamales tend to get drier and unevenly heated. To achieve better results, try microwaving one or two tamales at a time.

How To Reheat Tamales In The Frying Pan

Unlike the previous methods, this is an unusual way to reheat your tamales, but the result makes it worth a try.

This method works on the principle of using heat to warm up your tamale from its core, but this time, you won’t use steam.

If you are into tamales in their unusual crispy texture, this method is for you. To reheat your tamales through frying, you need to remove their cornhusks or leaves first. Then follow the below instructions:

  1. Get your frying pan ready with some oil and turn on the heat
  2. Place your tamales on the hot pan and fry on each side of the tamale turns light brown
  3. Transfer your fried tamales onto a dish coated with a kitchen paper towel to soak the excess oil
  4. You can serve your tamales with Mexican crema or other side dishes that you’d like
  5. This method is ideal for those who are more adventurous and keen on eating crispy stuff. One downside to this frying method is that it can be oily and unhealthy in comparison with the first two.

To Sum Up

Thanks to their versatility, tamales are enjoying their popularity in many regions.

There is no restriction on the type of fillings for a tamale, whether it is sweet corn, cheese, beef or chicken or just veggies.

Learning how to reheat tamales can save you a great deal of time and effort while still being able to enjoy the full flavor of your favorite dish. No more worries about the leftovers!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Lita Waston - 4 years ago

The section “To Sum up” seems verry interesting, but adding more picture to illustrate the steps isn’t a bad idea. Have you tried it, Kevin

    Kevin Richard - 4 years ago

    Thanks Lita,

    That’s a good idea. I will try next time :).

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