How to Reheat Tamales

Learn how to reheat tamales so even the ones in your refrigerator and freezer will taste freshly made.

Stuffed with cheese and chicken or decadent, sweet fillings, tamales are a delicious addition to your mealtime rotation. But warming up leftovers is an art! Whether you’re making them from scratch or picking them up from a local Mexican grocer, learn how to reheat tamales so they won’t dry out and will retain their freshness and flavor.

For all methods, we advise keeping the husks on.

How to reheat tamales in a steamer:

The gold standard of reheating tamales, steaming helps the Mexican delicacies retain their original flavor and texture. Fill your steamer with water, and turn the heat to medium. Keep your tamales in their husks and steam for 15 to 20 minutes, adding an extra 10 minutes if your tamales are frozen.

Make it a meal by pairing tamales with some pork chili verde or fresh homemade guacamole.

How to reheat tamales in an oven:

A reliable alternative to steaming, reheating tamales in the oven is a simple, quick method. Preheat your oven to 425°, and wrap each tamale tightly in a few layers of aluminum foil, making sure there is no air. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them over at the halfway mark.

How to reheat tamales in an Instant Pot:

When you want a delicious lunch but don’t want to think about preparing it, turn to a good pressure cooker. Once your Instant Pot is heated to high, dampen your tamales and let them warm for about 10 minutes. Make sure they’re spaced apart so that they’ll all be thoroughly cooked.

Master more of our go-to Mexican recipes.

How to reheat tamales in a microwave:

When you have serious tamale cravings, this is your best bet. The secret to the perfect microwaved tamale is to wrap each in a damp paper towel. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate, making sure there is space between them. Heat the tamales for one to two minutes. While we love how quick this method is, keep in mind that it does risk drying them out more than other methods. If your tamales are frozen, let them thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours before microwaving.

Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.