Reviving Tamales 101: Mastering the Art of Reheating in Boiling Water

How to Reheat Tamales in Boiling Water

Tamales are a delicious Mexican dish made with masa dough and various fillings, such as meat, cheese, or vegetables. Whether you’re enjoying leftovers or have store-bought tamales to reheat, boiling water is an efficient and convenient method to preserve their authentic flavor and texture. In this blog post, we will guide you step-by-step on how to successfully reheat tamales using boiling water.

Gather the Ingredients

Before diving into the reheating process, make sure you have the following ingredients:

  1. Tamales (cooked)
  2. A large pot with a lid
  3. Sufficient water to cover the tamales completely
  4. A pair of tongs for handling hot food

Prepare Your Pot and Water

Start by selecting a large pot that can comfortably fit your desired number of tamales without overcrowding them. Fill the pot with enough water so that it covers all the tamales when submerged but leaves some room at the top to prevent overflowing once boiling.

Boil Water on High Heat Setting

Place your filled pot on a stovetop burner over high heat. Allow it to come to a rolling boil before proceeding further. The boiling point ensures even heating throughout each tamale while preventing them from becoming soggy.


If your tamales are frozen, allow them first thaw in the refrigerator overnight or until fully defrosted before starting this reheating process.

Add Tamales Carefully Into Boiling Water

Gently drop your tamales one by one into the boiling water using a pair of tongs. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot, as this can lead to uneven reheating and compromise their taste. If you have a large number of tamales, consider reheating them in batches.

Cover and Simmer

Once all the tamales are added to the pot, cover it with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat setting to medium-low or low, maintaining a gentle simmer rather than a vigorous boil. This slow cooking method allows the steam generated within the pot to reheat each tamale evenly without overcooking or drying them out.

Reheating Time

The exact reheating time depends on various factors such as tamale size, filling thickness, and whether they were previously refrigerated or frozen. On average:

  • If refrigerated: Reheat for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • If frozen: Reheat for around 25-30 minutes.

Remember that these times are general estimates; always use your judgment based on how well heated you prefer your tamales.

Check for Doneness

To ensure your tamales are thoroughly reheated before serving, carefully remove one from the boiling water using your trusty pair of tongs (be cautious – it will be hot!). Unwrap a small portion (without burning yourself) and check if both masa dough and filling appear steaming hot throughout. If needed, continue simmering for an additional few minutes until fully heated.


To avoid injury when removing hot food from boiling water, always exercise caution and wear protective oven mitts or gloves when handling pots and utensils.

Serve and Enjoy

Once your tamales are heated to perfection, carefully remove them from the water using tongs. Place them on a plate or platter, allow them to cool slightly before serving, and then enjoy! Tamales can be accompanied by traditional sides like salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

Now that you know how to reheat tamales in boiling water effectively, you can savor their deliciousness whenever the craving strikes. Whether preparing leftovers at home or enjoying store-bought treats, this reheating method will help preserve the authentic flavors and textures of these mouthwatering Mexican delights. Happy cooking!

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