What happens when you make too many tamales? Tamales can be refrigerated or frozen, but reheating them can be tricky, as most people end up with soggy tamales. If you’ve eaten one of these and discovered the taste of regret, we’re here to make sure it never happens again.
This article discusses how to reheat tamales in crock pot while keeping the inside soft and perfect. We’ll also show you how to properly heat tamales so they taste fresh.
What are tamales?
Tamales are a Meso-American dish, with the Mexican version being the most popular. They are steamed after being wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and filled with masa or cornmeal dough. Tamales are portable and mess-free because they are wrapped. It’s a complete meal thanks to the meat and vegetable filling and cornmeal dough.
Tamales have many different names and variations, and different people associate them with their own traditions. They are eaten at Christmas in Venezuela, and in the Andes, they are made with fresh cornmeal rather than dried cornmeal.
Tamales’ masa is typically made from masa harina or cornmeal. The masa harina is combined with broth, fat, and seasoning to make a dough. Fillings can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Slow-cooked meat, vegetables, and cheese are frequently used. Tamales are steamed after being wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. The wrappers aren’t eaten, but they do impart a distinct flavor to the tamales during the steaming process.
Tamales of various types
Tamales are classified into several types based on their ingredients, fillings, and cooking method. Tamales differ from region to region, and each family has its own recipe. There is no wrong way to make tamales, and there are nearly 500 different varieties!
With that said, here are the five most common types of tamales:
#1. Green tamales and red tamales
These may be Mexico’s most traditional tamales. They’re made with either chicken or pork and a red or green Chile sauce. This is a more common type of tamale that is eaten all year round.
#2. Colorado tamales
This colorful tamale has a variety of interesting and flavorful ingredients. Achiote and tomatoes provide the color. Sesame seeds, tomatillo, cinnamon, onions, garlic, and cloves are used to flavor the tamales.
The filling is made up of either chicken or pork. They are wrapped in Maxán leaves, which impart a distinct flavor to the tamal. This type of tamal, served with a side of bread, is popular in Guatemala during Christmas, New Year’s, and other special occasions.
Garifuna-style tamales contain no corn or cornmeal. This unique variation is made up of coconut milk and grated green bananas. They are steamed after being wrapped in Maxán leaves. These savory tamales are typically served with fish or soup.
#4. Dulce tamales
To finish your meal on a sweeter note, make a small batch of dulce tamales. While sugar is the most common filling for this type of tamal, dulce de leche, whole berries, pineapple chunks, dried fruit, and shredded coconut are also popular. Pink food coloring is also used to distinguish these sweet tamales from their savory cousins.
This Nicaraguan tamale is a complete meal in and of itself. It’s made with plantain leaves that have been stuffed with a ton of masa, rice, meat, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and even raisins. This dish takes much longer to prepare and contains many ingredients. You can eat this tamale on its own or with tortillas.
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How to reheat tamales in crock pot?
Tamales are easy to reheat in the Crock-Pot, especially since you can toss them in and forget about them. The only factor to consider is time. Because reheating food in a Crock-Pot or slow cooker takes longer, you’ll need to allow for extra time when using this method to reheat homemade tamales.
Set up your Crock-Pot or slow cooker.
Turn the heat up to high.
Remove your tamales from the fridge and place them in the Crock-Pot or slow cooker. When arranging them, make sure to stack them with the open end facing up (leave them in the husk). Don’t put too many tamales in the Crock-Pot at once. It’s better to do a couple of rounds of reheating than to overfill your Crock-Pot.
Sprinkle water over the tamales
Cook/reheat the Crock-Pot for about an hour, covered. Check on the tamales at the halfway point (30 minutes). Try rearranging them if they aren’t heating as quickly as you’d like. This can help ensure that all of the tamales are thoroughly heated.
When the timer goes off, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. When your tamales reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, they are ready to eat.
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Other ways to reheat tamales
Aside from reheating tamales in the crock pot, we will go over other methods of warming up tamales that will make them taste freshly cooked.
#1. Tamales reheated in a steamer
Try this method if you have a steamer or a steaming pot, especially if you want to reheat tamales without drying them out. Tamales are steam cooked to prevent them from overcooking or drying out, and it also helps to preserve their original flavors. One frequently asked question about this method is “how long do you steam tamales to reheat them?” That depends on your tamales, of course. Refrigerated tamales cook in approximately 10 minutes less time than frozen tamales. Follow these seven steps to learn how to reheat tamales in a steamer.
- Prepare your steamer.
- ¼ cup of water in the steamer
- Increase the temperature of the steamer to medium.
- Put the tamales in the steamer, and open the end up (make sure you leave them in the husk). Don’t put too many tamales in the steamer at once. It’s better to do a couple of rounds of reheating than to overfill your steamer.
- 15 to 20 minutes of steaming If you’re wondering how long to steam frozen tamales, the answer is simple. Simply add 5–10 minutes to the total heating time.
- Check the internal temperature of one tamale after the timer goes off. When your tamales reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, they are ready to eat.
- Using tongs, carefully remove them from the steamer. They’ll be scorching!
#2. Tamales reheated in the oven
Most people know how to bake tamales, but not how to do it properly. Because you can work in large batches, this is the simplest and most convenient way to warm up tamales. It is also a labor-intensive method.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wrap each tamale tightly in a couple of layers of aluminum foil, making sure there is no air between the layers.
- Arrange the tamales on a sheet pan in an even layer.
- Bake Tamales for 15-20 minutes.
- Do you want to know how to bake frozen tamales? Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fillings are hot and bubbly.
#3. In an instant pot, reheat tamales
Tamales can absolutely be heated in pressure cookers. Reheating tamales in the Instant Pot is a convenient way to prepare dinner quickly and easily.
- Turn the instant pot to high.
- After the pot has been thoroughly heated, dampen each tamal with 2-3 drops of water and place them inside the instant pot without crowding it.
- Warm the tamales for 10 minutes, or until the fillings are thoroughly heated.
#4. Tamales reheated in the microwave
This is a quick way to reheat a tamale, particularly if you only need to warm one or two portions.
- Wrap the tamal in a paper towel, then spritz it with water to dampen it.
- Place it on a microwavable plate. If you want to heat multiple tamales, make sure to separate them.
- Heat for 1-2 minutes, checking frequently to prevent drying or overcooking.
#5. Tamales reheated in a double boiler
If you only have pots, you can make a double boiler by filling one pit with water and placing another pot on top, making sure the water in the bottom pot doesn’t touch anything.
- Fill half of the pot with water and set it aside to heat up.
- Place the second pot on top of the first once the water is steaming.
- Arrange the tamales on the second pot, leaving space between them.
- Covered, double boil them for 15-20 minutes. Heat them for up to 30 minutes if they are frozen.
#6. In a skillet, reheat tamales
If all you have is a skillet or nonstick fry pan, you can still reheat tamales. Here’s what you should do:
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet or any other type of pan over medium-high heat.
- In the skillet, place the tamales. Check that they have spaced out and that the husks are still wrapped around them.
- Cook Tamales until the husk is charred. Cook the other side until charred as well, about 8 minutes per side.
#7. Tamales reheated in an air fryer
This multifunctional kitchen appliance can fry foods with little to no oil, baked goods, and, yes, even reheat leftovers. Another advantage is that it performs the functions of a conventional oven at breakneck speed.
The time it takes to reheat food in the air fryer is nearly the same as in the microwave, but the results are far superior. Isn’t it cool? It couldn’t be easier to reheat tamales in an air fryer! Here’s how it’s done:
- Place the tamales in the air fryer basket, husks intact, with at least an inch of space between them.
- Air fry them for 8 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip the tamales with a pair of tongs. 8 minutes more in the air fryer.
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Reheating techniques for tamales
These hints will make reheating tamales safer and more delicious.
If you aren’t going to eat them within a day or two, always freeze them. In the fridge, they can become moldy or dry.
Allow the tamales to cool completely before freezing. Wrap them in airtight freezer bags to avoid freezer burn.
They can be stored in the freezer indefinitely, but it is best to eat them within 6 months to avoid flavor and freshness loss.
Tamales can be safely reheated without thawing if the following steps are followed.
To prevent moisture loss during the reheating process, always wrap the tamales in their husks or in layers of aluminum foil.
Leftover tamales: how to freeze and save them?
You worked hard, and now you have some leftovers. If you want to save some tamales for later, you must properly store and freeze them. Before wrapping the tamales, make sure they are completely cool.
To freeze leftover tamales, keep them in their husks and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or foil before placing them in airtight food storage containers or freezer bags.
According to most experts, we can store properly packaged tamales in the freezer for up to six months. If your tamales contain pork, chicken, or beef, you should eat them between two and six months later (and no later than that).
Getting ready for frozen tamales
Don’t have the time or patience to wait for your frozen tamales to thaw? Not a problem!
Instead, consider the following options:
- Defrost the tamales in a large bowl or pot of room temperature water, using a defrosting tray or leaving them in a plastic freezer bag.
- Simply reheat them using one of the methods listed above, but leave them on the heat for another 10-15 minutes.
- You can even sous vide the frozen tamales in their plastic bags. Even better if you have special sous vide bags.
- Use strong plastic or silicone bags that perfectly seal. Boil these bags for 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure they don’t become damaged and leak water.
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Frequently Asked Questions
#1. Is it safe to line a slow cooker with aluminum foil?
Aluminum foil can be used in your crock pot. Aluminum foil cooking has been shown to increase the aluminum content of food by up to 378 percent. However, medical researchers generally believe that aluminum foil is safe to use in the kitchen, and increased aluminum exposure has not been shown to cause health problems.
#2. How long should I reheat the tamales?
Remove the tamales from the bag and steam for 15-20 minutes in a hot steamer (5-10 minutes more if frozen). For baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the tamales from the bag and place them on a baking sheet wrapped in foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes if thawed; 20-25 minutes if frozen.
#3. Can a crock pot be used as a steamer?
Your slow cooker is more than just a convenient appliance that cooks meals while you are away. It also functions as a double boiler, steamer, and bread maker.
#4. How should I cook tamales in boiling water?
You can steam them with a steamer, cook them in a double boiler, or even boil them in their plastic bags. Using boiling water allows you to reheat your tamales in a variety of ways.
#5. Is it possible to freeze Tamales?
Tamales should be frozen in airtight plastic packaging to keep them fresh.
Because tamales are quite labor-intensive, it is always a good idea to make a large batch at once and freeze it for later use. Once you understand how to reheat tamales in crock pot properly, you can plan meals and warm them for weeknight dinners.
They reheat quickly, and the methods we demonstrate are simple and painless. Having said that, what kind of tamale do you prefer for quick reheated dinners?