Skip to Content

How To Freeze Cooked Tamales

How To Freeze Cooked Tamales

How To Freeze Cooked Tamales

To freeze cooked tamales, just wrap each tamale individually in aluminum foil and place them in a freezer bag. You should always label the package with the date you froze them. When they are frozen, remove them from the freezer and store them in a cool dry place.

This is because a cooked tamale can hold its consistency, flavors, and structure much better than an uncooked, frozen one. It is also faster to heat frozen tamales that are pre-cooked once thawed, saving you tons of time. It is also quicker to reheat pre-cooked frozen tamales after they have thawed, so that is a big time-saver.

To learn about How To Preserve Food, check out my article where I cover everything you need to know.

If you do not want to wait overnight to let your tamales thaw, you can defrost and heat your tamales right out of the freezer. You could let frozen, uncooked tamales thaw overnight in the refrigerator, which is the most reliable way to allow them to thaw, then put them into a steamer to cook.

Way to freeze cooked TamalesShelf life
Wrap each tamale individually in aluminum foil and place them in a freezer bagIn refrigerator 4-7 days
When they are frozen remove them from the freezer and store them in a cool dry placeAt room temperature 1 hour
How to freeze cooked Tamales and the shelf life of Tamales.

It does not matter whether or not you decide to wrap uncooked tamales in the wrapper, just make sure to store them in a suitable container. While some people recommend unwrapping tamales to freeze, since freezing will destroy the husk-wrapping, this does not appear necessary. When preparing the tamales, it is important that the tamales are wrapped correctly and thoroughly for freezing, since the initial corn husk wraps are far too fragile to hold up under intense freezer temperatures. Yes, you are encouraged to microwave tamales inside their corn husks so they keep their shape and moisture content

Watch to learn about the preservation of cooked Tamales

Frozen, uncooked ingredients in tamales can taste different after spending long periods of time in a freezer, as well as when they are defrosted. It is best to freeze cooked tamales, since raw ingredients can change flavor and texture during freezing, so freezing tamales once they are cooked really preserves the most flavors, textures, and quality. Freezing cooked tamales also means the flavors of the fillings were frozen in the strongest flavors, so little changes when reheating. When you freeze cooked tamales, the flavors from the fillings have been frozen at their peak of flavor, so when you heat them up, the taste and texture are very similar to when they were first cooked.

By thawing the frozen tamales in the Crock Pot, you get the same moist texture and taste as you did when you first cooked them. Do not pack your crockpot full of tamales–allow them to sit down a bit more freely, they will warm up quicker this way. Once you have prepared the prepared cooked tamales, regardless if you used the wrapper or not, put the tamales/tamale mixture in a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container.

By the way, if you’re interested in How To Preserve Carrots, check out my article on that.

You should wrap the tamales in plastic first, and then put it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Instead of using plastic wrap to wrap your homemade Tamales tightly, you can instead pack them tight with foil. Put your homemade tamales into a zipperlock bag to protect from cross-contamination, since the foil would not do. Wrap the aluminum foil several times around the tamales to keep air and moisture from getting inside and ruining the tamales.

Wrap the individual tamales (leaving the corn husks on) tightly in foil, then lay them on a sheet pan in one layer. Leave your homemade cooked tamales in the corn husks and completely cool them on a rack with wire cooling racks. Remove cooked handmade tamales from their corn husks and put on wire cooling racks to fully cool.

Place the prepared homemade tamales onto a microwave-safe dish, inside their husks, wrapped in a moist paper towel and piece of plastic wrap. To freeze uncooked tamales, you can either package the filling inside of the husk wrapper, or package the filling batch unwrapped into an airtight container. Depending on your personal preference, and whether or not you have corn husks handy, you can pack tamale filling into husks now, or freeze filling so that it is added to a husk when it is thawed. If you freeze your tamales wrapped in foil, you can prepare your tamales in a steamer from frozen, not first defrosting.

The tamale can take 25 minutes of steaming time over medium heat, but that will vary depending on the tamale size and how much you are trying to steam. To heat, individually unwrap each tamale and roast in 350F, 180C oven until heated through, about 20-25 minutes. Defrost the pork tamales before baking, or, if the pork tamales are cooked, defrost them in a microwave oven on a plate wrapped in saran wrap for two to three minutes.

You should store the tamales in the refrigerator unless you expect to eat them within one or two hours of cooking. If you are not planning on eating your leftovers or a tamale mixture that is been made ahead of time for seven days, you are better off freezing it instead, so that they will not spoil. If you are not planning on eating your leftovers or pre-made tamales mix within 7 days, it is best to freeze them instead of spoiling them. Whether freezing homemade or leftover tamales, it is important that you let your dishes cool down fully before baking.

If you must freeze tamales with a vegetable or fruit filling, you will want to undercook the filling a bit, or do not cook it at all, to ensure that you do not end up with frozen mush.

Although, with proper technique and preparation, you can prepare the tamales ahead of time and store uncooked in a freezer for cooking later. With the proper packing and preparation, you can keep both the cooked and uncooked tamales in the freezer up to six months. You can also thaw the tamales overnight in the refrigerator, and then prepare them the way you normally would, but that takes longer due to the prep work. By using freezer-safe containers, you will keep each Tamales from getting crushed up with the rest of your items in the freezer.

If you purchase dried corn husks to make your tamales, you might find yourself with a few corn husks left over from your tamaladas, traditional tortilla-making gatherings. Get a baking sheet, spray or rub some cooking oil or butter onto the sheet, then lay out the home-made tamales (husks removed).

How long do cooked Tamales last in the fridge?

Cooked and uncooked tamales will remain great for about seven days in the fridge or up to six months, freeze them in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed Ziploc bag.  Tamales are best kept in the refrigerator and freezer when wrapped in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. Tamales should not be left out on the counter for more than four hours.

How long do cooked tamales last in the freezer?

Toasted tamales that have been cooked and frozen should be consumed within six months. After that, they should still be edible, but freezer burn may begin to develop and give them an odd flavor and texture. The shelf life of frozen, raw tamales is also about six months, although there can be issues.

How many tamales should I eat?

I would suggest making a dozen or so healthy tamales for these individuals, using all of our healthy replacements, and everyone should limit the number of tamales they consume, regardless of how they are made. Another thing that would be beneficial is to consume tamales in moderation.