How to Steam Frozen Tamales

Cornmeal dough wrapped around a sweet or savory filling with a corn husk covering is known as a tamale. These are a holiday favorite in many Hispanic households. Today, the multicultural cook can find frozen tamales for sale at grocery stores, Hispanic markets and on the Internet. A tamale steamer suspends the tamales over boiling water to cook the dough. You can improvise a tamale steamer from a stockpot and steamer basket. Steaming your frozen tamales will make them taste just as good as fresh. Just do not eat the corn husk wrapper.

Tamales are wrapped in an inedible corn husk which holds them together during cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Deep stock pot or tamale steamer

  • Coin

  • Corn husks (optional)

  • Steamer basket insert

  • Tight fitting lid

Step 1

Fill the bottom of the stock pot with water to just below the steamer insert.

Step 2

When you hear the coin rattling against the bottom of the pot, you must refill the steaming water.

Drop a coin into the water. When you hear the coin rattling against the bottom of the pot, you must refill the steamer with more water.

Step 3

Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

Step 4

Cover the steamer insert with a layer of corn husks if desired.

Step 5

Arrange the still frozen tamales upright with the open end pointed up. Do not pack the tamales too tightly as they expand during cooking.

Step 6

Place the steamer basket into the pot above the boiling water.

Step 7

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and begin timing.

Step 8

Steam pre-cooked frozen tamales for 25 minutes. Cook frozen raw tamales for 3 hours or until cooked through. Remove the corn husk before eating the cornmeal dough and filling inside.

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