How to Steam Precooked Tamales

Tamales are wrapped in corn husks so that they do not fall apart when you cook them. They are a Mexican food that consists of corn meal, meat, spices and sauce. After you place them in the refrigerator or freezer, you need to reheat them properly to prevent ruining the texture and taste. Steaming the tamales is the preferred method because it ensures that they will not become soggy and crumbly.

Things You'll Need

  • Dutch oven
  • Steamer basket or rack

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Fill a Dutch oven with 1 ½ to 2 inches of water. Bring the water to boil on the stove.

Place a steamer basket in the Dutch oven. Place the tamales in the basket so that the folded husk rests against the seam side of the tamale and steam them, and then place the lid on the Dutch oven.

Reduce the heat so that the water simmers. Steam refrigerated tamales for 15 to 20 minutes and frozen tamales for 20 to 35 minutes.

Check often to make sure that the water does not boil away. The tamales are cooked thoroughly when the husk separates from the dough, and they are no longer sticky. The precooked tamales need to be heated through to the center before you can safely consume them.


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