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How to Cook Instant Frozen Tamales

Tamales are a delicious and popular Mexican dish, typically made with corn dough and various fillings. They can be time-consuming to make from scratch, but luckily there are now many brands of frozen, pre-made tamales available. In this article, we’ll show you how to cook instant frozen tamales using a variety of methods, so you can enjoy them in your very own home!

Not everyone has the time to make homemade tamales from scratch with masa dough and corn husk wrappers or savory corn dough as the tamale dough. Making them from scratch can take several half hours to hours, so cooking frozen ones at home is much easier!

Here is the scoop on how to cook frozen tamales!

All About Tamales

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that dates back to the time of the Aztecs. They are made from corn dough (masa) that is wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and filled with various meats, cheeses, vegetables, or even fruits.

Tamales can be time-consuming to make from scratch, but luckily there are now many brands of frozen, pre-made tamales available. These can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.

In this article, we’ll show you how to cook instant frozen tamales using a variety of methods, so you can enjoy them in your very own home! The fastest way to cook frozen tamales is to create a moist environment.

Ingredients

– 1 dozen tamales, frozen

Steamer Basket, Instant Pot, or Microwave

How to Cook Frozen Tamales

There are a few different methods you can use to cook your frozen tamales. Choose the one that best suits your needs and tastes!

Method 1: Steamer Basket

One of the best ways to cook frozen tamales is in a steamer basket. This will result in moist, delicious tamales that are full of flavor.

If you steam tamales at a high heat, you are sure to enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh tamales in just a few minutes. It is a good idea to have a countertop steamer or tamale steamer with a quick release handle on the top of the trivet for easy opening.

Directions:

1. The first step is to fill a pot with water and place the steamer basket inside.

2. Add the frozen tamales to the steaming basket, making sure they are not touching each other.

3. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the tamales are cooked through. They should have an internal temperature of at least 165˚F.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and let the tamales cool on a damp paper towel or dish towel for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

how to cook frozen tamales

Method 2: Instant Pot

If you’re short on time, cooking your pre-packaged tamales in an Instant Pot is a great option. This method is quick and easy, and it produces delicious tamales that are moist and full of flavor.

A great way to set up your station is to lay out your frozen tamales on a sheet pan so that you can quickly grab them with a pair of tongs through the open end.

how to cook frozen tamales

Directions:

1. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot.

2. Place 1-4 frozen tamales in the pot, making sure they are not touching each other.

3. Close the lid over the single layer of tamales and set the valve to sealing.

4. Cook on high pressure for 2-3 minutes.

5. When the cycle is finished, let the pot sit for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure manually.

6. Remove the lid and let the tamales cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Method 3: Microwave

how to cook frozen tamales

If you’re in a hurry, cooking your frozen tamales in the microwave is the best bet. This is a very easy way to make delicious, moist tamales at a high temperature.

All you need is a microwave-safe plate and your desired number of tamales. A microwave is a great alternative appliance if you do not have a steamer in which to place tamales.

Just be sure to cook with the microwave on full power.

Directions:

1. Place the frozen tamales in a microwave-safe dish, making sure they are not touching each other.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water to the dish.

3. Cover the dish with a wet paper towel or a damp dishcloth.

4. Cook on high power for 2-3 minutes, or until the tamales are cooked through by the boiling water. It may take several 2 minute intervals, depending on the number of the tamales.

5. Let the tamales cool on a damp towel to absorb the excess water for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy the perfect microwaved tamale!

Tips and Tricks

If you’re cooking multiple tamales at once, you may need to increase the cooking time by a minute or two for better results.

You can cook your tamales in advance and reheat them later. Just place them in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to eat.

If you’re using a steamer basket, make sure to add more water to the pot if it starts to boil dry.

For best results in the reheating process, you can simply use hot water and plastic wrap to heat tamales in the microwave.

Enjoy your delicious tamales!

Things to Remember

If you go to the trouble of cooking or steaming your tamales, you may have some extras. The best method to store your leftover tamales in a Ziploc bag, a sous vide bag, or in an airtight container.

how to cook frozen tamales

You can also wrap them in a reliable alternative like a double layer of aluminum foil or in heat-safe vacuum-sealed bags or heat-safe sous vide. This will keep them fresh even at room temperature.

Keep in mind that frozen tamales do not just have to be store-bought. If you have a good recipe for foil-wrapped tamales that cook on a hot griddle, you may want to save them.

Having lots of additional tamales after your meal means that you can freeze the extras and reheat them for later. They will be just like your favorites in their thawed state.

The next time you make your favorite tamales, you will have a short reheating time for the delicious leftovers!

Final Thoughts

how to cook frozen tamales

There are many different methods for making frozen tamales. You can cook them in a rice cooker, an air fryer, a slow cooker, or even in a pressure cooker. Once you find the best way for you, can enjoy a large batch of tamales in your own home.

Not everyone thinks highly of reheated foods, but they are still delicious! Whether you are heating tamales for Christmas dinner with the quick method in a frying pan where you steam them in a pan of water, or you use the very traditional way of heating them at the bottom of the steamer, they will be delicious.

With not much water and a little effort, you can have great tamales in various shapes at home!

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how to cook frozen tamales

Frozen Tamales

Frozen Tamales
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package frozen tamales

Instructions

  1. Fill a pit with water and place the steamer basket inside.
  2. Add the frozen tamales to the steaming basket, making sure they do no touch.
  3. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and summer for 35-40 minutes or until the tamales are cooked through with an internal temperature of 165˚F.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and let the tamales cool on a damp paper towel for a few minutes before serving.
  6. Enjoy!

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How to Cook Instant Frozen Tamales