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How to Heat Up Tamales


One of the most popular Mexican dishes is tamales. It’s a simple yet delicious food that has been a staple in Mexican households for literally centuries. Tamales are usually made by hand and are packed with different fillings such as meat, cheese, or vegetables. They are usually steamed and wrapped in corn husks, and can be enjoyed on any occasion. Let’s find out how to heat up tamales to enjoy their deliciousness.

However, many people struggle with heating up their tamales without making them too dry or mushy. There are different ways to heat up tamales, and it is important to choose the right one to ensure that you get the most out of your steaming hot tamales.

This article seeks to explore various ways of heating up tamales, including their strengths and weaknesses. By the end of this article, you will be able to enjoy your tamales like a pro.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of How to Heat Up Tamales


Steaming is one of the most popular ways of heating up tamales. It is easy, quick and a healthy way of preparing your tamales.

The strengths of steaming include:

Pros Cons
Retains the flavor of the tamales Can make the tamales too mushy if not done correctly
Keeps the tamales moist and juicy Requires a steamer
Uses minimal oil or fat, making it a healthier option Can take up to 30 minutes to steam, depending on the quantity of tamales

Overall, steaming is a great option that ensures that your tamales retain their flavor and moisture. It is important to keep an eye on the tamales as they steam to avoid making them too mushy or drying them out.

Oven Heating

Oven heating involves heating your tamales in the oven. It is a great option if you want crispy tamales or don’t have a steamer on hand.

The strengths of oven heating include:

Pros Cons
Heats up tamales evenly Can dry out the tamales if not done correctly
Makes the tamales crispy Requires an oven and baking sheet
Does not require adding extra water Can take longer to heat up the tamales compared to steaming

It is important to keep an eye on the tamales when heating them in the oven. Preheating the oven and wrapping the tamales in aluminum foil helps prevent them from drying out.

Microwave Heating

Microwaving tamales is a quick and easy way to heat them up. It is an ideal option if you’re short on time.

The strengths of microwave heating include:

Pros Cons
Quick and easy Makes the tamales too soft if not done correctly
Does not require additional equipment The tamales can explode if not properly pricked
Can heat up the tamales within minutes Can’t make the tamales crispy or browned

It is important to wrap the tamales in a damp paper towel or cloth to prevent them from drying out. Also, make sure to prick the tamales with a fork or toothpick to prevent them from exploding in the microwave.


Grilling tamales is an excellent option if you want them to have a smoky flavor. It creates a crispy exterior while keeping the tamales moist inside.

The strengths of grilling include:

Pros Cons
Makes tamales crispy and flavorful Requires an outdoor or indoor grill
Adds a smoky flavor to the tamales Can be difficult to control the heat and timing, resulting in unevenly cooked tamales
Fun way to cook tamales on holidays or family gatherings Can take longer time to grill the tamales, requiring more attention than other heating methods

It is important to preheat the grill and wrap the tamales in aluminum foil while grilling them. Turn the tamales over to evenly grill the corn husks and prevent burning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long should I steam my tamales?

A1: It depends on the quantity and size of your tamales. Generally, it can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes to steam tamales. You can check if they’re ready by opening one and checking if the filling is hot.

Q2: Should I add water to the steamer?

A2: Yes, it is important to add enough water to the steamer to create steam. However, make sure the water does not touch the tamales as it can make them too mushy.

Q3: Can I heat up frozen tamales?

A3: Yes, you can still heat up frozen tamales. However, you will need to steam or microwave them for longer than you would with fresh tamales.

Q4: Can I use a slow cooker to heat up tamales?

A4: Yes, you can use a slow cooker to heat up tamales. However, it can take several hours, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Q5: Can I add other ingredients to tamales while heating them up?

A5: Yes, you can add additional ingredients such as cheese or salsa while heating up your tamales. This will add more flavor and make them more delicious.

Q6: Can I heat up tamales in a saucepan?

A6: Yes, you can heat up tamales in a saucepan. However, you may need to add water or sauce to ensure that they do not dry out.

Q7: Can I make tamales in the microwave?

A7: No, it is not recommended to make tamales in the microwave. Tamales need to be steamed to ensure that they are cooked thoroughly.


Heating up tamales can seem overwhelming, but it is actually quite simple. The key is to choose the right method for your tamales and ensure that they are cooked evenly and thoroughly.

Overall, steaming is the best option for most tamales. However, if you’re looking for crispy tamales, oven heating or grilling is a great choice. Microwaving is the quickest option, but be careful not to heat the tamales for too long as they can become too soft.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to heat up your tamales like a pro, go ahead and enjoy a steaming hot plate of delicious tamales.

Note: Make sure to handle the tamales with care while heating them up to prevent them from falling apart or becoming too mushy.

*Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. The author and publisher of this article do not take any liability for any loss or damage resulting from the use of the information presented.

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