How to Steam Frozen Tamales

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Things You'll Need

  • Deep stock pot or tamale steamer

  • Coin

  • Corn husks (optional)

  • Steamer basket insert

  • Tight fitting lid

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

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.


Step 1

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

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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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