How to Freeze Tamales?

Frozen tamales are a wonderful way to prepare them without having to deal with the hassle of reheating them. You can freeze them in advance and thaw them out when ready to serve them. This is a fantastic option if you are trying to prepare tamales for a party or an event. This article will teach you how to freeze raw tamales and cooked tamales and what is, the shelf life of tamales, and other important information about tamales. So let’s start!

How to Freeze Tamales

Can Tamales be Freeze?

Yes! The best thing about tamales is how tasty they are. How simple it is to prepare tamales in large quantities is the second best thing about them. Tamales’ simplicity in freezing is their third-best quality. Making tamales in bulk and then freezing the majority is a terrific time-saving technique because tamales often take hours to cook.

Due to their fillings, people frequently worry about freezing Tamales. Many people are hesitant to freeze cooked meat, cheese, and rice, frequently found in savory tamales. These ingredients can be frozen thanks to the slow cooking technique used to prepare tamales.

How to Freeze Tamales?

Tamales can be frozen either before or after cooking. When you decide to freeze tamales, it is up to you and what time works best for your needs. Ensure you have adequate space in your freezer if you intend to keep the tamales there for an extended period. Here are two techniques for freezing them:

Freezing Raw Tamales

Preparing tamales for gatherings with family and other special occasions is a big hassle. The next time you want to serve some wonderful tamales to your guests, you don’t have to spend as much time preparing the meal because you can do part of the labor-intensive job in advance and save time on the big day. As follows:

  • Cover the Masa: To prevent the raw masa from separating when freezing, carefully wrap it in plastic.
  • Divide the Filling: Take all tamale fillings and divide them among several airtight containers.
  • Hold on to the Wrapped Masa: The masa covered in plastic should be kept in a bigger airtight container or freezer bag. As a result, the masa will have additional protection and won’t crack in the bitter cold.
  • Label: Put a unique label on each tamale container, so you’ll remember what’s inside when it’s time to assemble them later.
  • Safe and secure: Make sure all of the container lids are airtight by tightly closing them. Thus, freezer burn will be avoided.
  • Freeze: Raw tamales can be frozen before the fillings completely lose their flavor after 6 to 8 months of freezing.

Freezing Cooked Tamales

You’ll have a few extra tamales left over from a family gathering if you’re lucky. Only only allows some of your efforts to go to use. Your cooked leftover tamales can be frozen for later enjoyment: As follows:

  • Let it cool: To prepare any leftover cooked tamales for freezing, let them cool to room temperature first. Move on to the following action as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
  • Divide Up: You may require several freezer bags or containers, depending on the number of cooked tamales you have to freeze. Consider how many tamales you’ll need to defrost once you’re ready to use them while dividing them into manageable amounts.
  • The Tamale Layers: Carefully arrange the tamales, so they lay flat in an airtight container or freezer bag.
  • Seal and protect: When using a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as feasible before sealing the bag. Make sure the container’s sides are properly closed for an airtight seal.
  • Label: Using masking tape and a permanent pen, write the contents and use-by date of the tamales on the container or freezer bag. Your freezer will keep tamales for six months.
  • In the freezer, lie flat: If you plan to use a freezer bag, be careful not to place your tamales in an area where they will be crushed when you are ready to freeze them. Place the bag on the freezer shelf with the tamales lying flat inside.
  • When To Freeze: That’s all, then! Close the freezer door and let the cold do its magic.

Is Freezing Raw or Cooked Tamales Better?

The tamales will freeze well and keep together when cooked from frozen if properly assembled. It is advisable to freeze the components separately if you are freezing uncooked tamales.

How are Tamales Defrosted?

Tamales can be thawed and defrosted in five different ways. Some are more successful than others, so we’ve ranked our favorites below:

Crockpot: We’re going to start with the finest choice. If you want your tamales to be moist, flavorful, and taste just as delicious as the day you prepared them, use the crockpot to defrost them. Even better, after you take them out of the freezer, you don’t have to unwrap them.

Place your Tamales in a Crockpot with 1/5 of the water (for bonus flavor, mix a stock cube into this water). Heat the slow cooker to medium-high or higher (depending on the size of your Tamales). Leave them alone for the next 7 to 10 hours. That’s how easy it is.

Steamer: This is a quicker way to prepare food than a crockpot. Because of its pace, this approach will produce tamales slower than the method described above, but it will produce tamales with a greater depth of flavor. Your tamales should be taken out of the freezer and left to come to room temperature.

Place your Tamales in the steamer after filling it (again, flavor the water by adding some stock). The more Tamales you place in the steamer, the longer it will take them to cook, so keep that in mind. Tamales should steam for 35 to 50 minutes. Then delight.

Oven: Take your Tamales from the freezer, unwrap them, take off the corn husk or banana leaf covering, and then wrap them again in tin foil or baking paper. Make sure you have completely removed the air from your new packages.

To start:

  1. Preheat your oven to 430F.
  2. Place your tamales in an oven-safe pan with a two-inch space between each, and bake for 22 minutes.
  3. After 11 minutes, flip the tamales over and continue cooking.
  4. Make sure your tamales are fully cooked before consuming them.

Stovetop: Your tamales should be taken out of the freezer, unwrapped, and left to come to room temperature. Now fill your frying pan with a small amount of oil. Fry the Tamales in batches of no more than two.

To achieve consistent cooking, flip the Tamales every few minutes. Eat the Tamales once they have fully heated through. This is a fantastic way to make greasy tamales without the trouble of a deep oil fryer.

Microwave: Just a heads up: while it is the quickest method for defrosting tamales, it is by no means the most effective. Take your Tamales out of the freezer, open the packaging, and let them come to room temperature. Then take off the corn husk or banana leaf covering. The style and flavor of the Tamales will be greatly diminished, and they are also particularly prone to burning in this manner.

Place each tamale in the microwave after wrapping it in a damp paper towel. Only one should be heated at a time—Cook the tamale at high heat for 15 seconds before flipping it over and cooking for 15 seconds. Before eating the Tamales, give them 30 seconds to cook. Before consuming, ensure that they are fully cooked.

How Long can Tamales be Frozen?

The masa will typically be cracked, dry, and may crumble, which is an unfortunate inevitability. Wrap the masa filling in cling film and place it in a freezer bag for up to 8 months if you want to freeze raw tamales. The remaining tamale ingredients can then be frozen in Tupperware containers. Tamale dishes can also be frozen for up to six months.

Whether the tamales were cooked before freezing makes no difference; try to limit their time in the freezer to prevent this. It’s incredibly useful to mark the container or freezer bag with the date you put the tamales in the freezer because it will let you know how long they have to last.

How to Reheat Frozen Tamales?

The quickest way to reheat a frozen tamale if you’re in a hurry is in the microwave. Take the tamale out of the husk, put it on a microwave-safe pan, and heat it for 45 to 1 minute on high. While the tamales are still in their husks, arrange them on a baking sheet and heat the oven to 350 degrees—Bake for roughly 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. You can reheat the tamales in the oven if you have additional time.

Steam frozen tamales for 20 to 30 minutes to reheat them. As an alternative, reheat them on the stovetop or oven if you don’t have a countertop steamer, and steam tamales in a rice cooker or Instant Pot. The use of other techniques, such as boiling and microwave cooking, is permitted but not recommended. Tamale filling options range from rice and beans to meat.

It’s ideal to properly defrost your tamales until they are just defrosted if you plan to fry them. Make sure the corn husks are still securely on them before cooking. You will only get a perfect result if you reheat tamales in a microwave because these devices don’t distribute heat evenly. A microwave might be your only option if you’re in a rush. It would help if you were to take note of the temperature and time when microwaving tamales.

How Long do Tamales Last in the Refrigerator?

For up to a week, tamales can remain fresh in the refrigerator. It is best to freeze leftovers or pre-made tamales mix if you aren’t going to use them within seven days to prevent spoilage.


A popular South American food, tamales can be filled with various meat, beans, and cheeses. Using corn husks or banana leaves in traditional tamales helps to hold the masa and filling together while being steam-cooked.

Tamales are typically made for special occasions due to their complex and time-consuming construction. However, you can always freeze some if you want to enjoy this delectable treat at other times besides birthdays or special occasions.