How to freeze Tamales – Step by Step

Hey foodies! Do you have a soft corner for Mexican cuisine? Well, if you have, you probably heard the name tamales. Yes, we speak about the savory dish, a starchy, doughy, corn-based dish steamed in a banana leaf or in a corn husk. Now, some people freeze the tamales for some time to use them later. However, the lack of proper storage protocol may lead to spoilage. Freezing is therefore considered to be an option for storing tamales. Now, many people just can’t keep up with the storage part, and thus spoil the tamales. So, here is a detailed discussion on how to freeze tamales. 

Let’s know a bit more!

Tamale: an overview

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Tamales are generally filled with meat, cheese, and chilies. In some parts of the world, these are filled with fruits and vegetables as well. According to the taste, the filling can be changed a little bit. 

Can you freeze Tamales?

Well, this is a significant question when we talk about tamales—some people around the globe love to store them for a longer period and then eat it. And for storing, a freezer has been considered the best option. And yes, you can freeze them comfortably. 

If you are keeping the tamales in the freezer properly, they can remain in their best versions for about three to six months. However, you may obtain a little change in taste, for that matter. So, freezing is welcome; but freezing in the wrong procedure leads to spoilage. 

How to freeze Tamales?

Now we have come to the main focal point of the topic- how to freeze tamales? 

Well, earlier, we said that storing tamales in the wrong way may spoil them. And that is precisely where we come in. Here is an easy step-by-step procedure for keeping the tamales in the freezer. Hold tight!

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Here you have to be careful of one thing. It is better if you cook tamales prior to storing them in a freezer. Some people have stored raw tamales in the freezer for a long time. But that might increase the chances of bacteria accumulation. 

Hence better to cook it.

Now you will need some essential items for storing your tamales:

  • cooked tamales
  • airtight container
  • aluminum foil
  • marker 
  • masking tape

Steps:

  1. First, take the tamales and cook them as you want. Cooking prior to storing decreases the chances of illness caused by food poisoning.
  2. Now let the tamales cool down first. Do not let it stay at room temperature for any longer than two hours. Make sure the tamales are completely cooled.
  3. Now, take the aluminum foil and wrap each tamale with the foil. Ensure you make two wrappings on each tamale while using the aluminum foil. 
  4. Put the foiled tamales in freezer bags. You can use airtight containers as well. But those will be bulky to store. Hence freezer bags are the best option. Make sure you use a suction tube and take out all the air from the bag. 
  5. Stick a masking tape on the bag and write down the date of storing the tamales on it. Hence, you can calculate the time while eating the tamales. 
  6. Take the bag in the freezer and store it for six months at a maximum level. 

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Can you freeze uncooked tamales?

Well, the straight answer to this question will be yes. You can freeze uncooked tamales. But one has to know the right procedure for storing raw tamales. Here is the right method for you. 

Tamales are made of a delicate dough – called masa – that is profoundly transitory. In any case, with the right strategy, you can make tamales early and store the uncooked clump in the freezer for later cooking. Simply push the filling as you regularly would. 

Then, at that point, you can either pack the tamales filling in their corn husk or banana leaf wrapping. Then, at that point, freeze or simply freeze, the entire group opened up. There is no correct method of doing this present; it’s a matter of your choice.

Yet, you decided to set up the tamales batter and make a point to pack it in a freezer-safe container. This would go notwithstanding if the batter was stuffed in corn husk wrappings or not. On the off chance that you didn’t utilize a freezer-safe container, the ice could saturate the batter, changing its surface and consistency for great. This will change the taste of the tamales a little bit.

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How to reheat frozen tamales?

There are several ways of defrosting and reheating frozen tamales. To defrost frozen tamales, essentially move the container where you stored the tamales previously from the freezer to the fridge. Pass on the dish to defrost for quite a long time to expedite. With regards to warming tamales, there are various approaches to do it. Let’s know the methods.

  • Tamale Steamer

Reheating tamales on a tamale steamer can be a good option. Since it is made for tamales, the texture after reheating will be perfect. But there is one thing to focus on. If you place the tamales directly on top of the steamer, there are fair chances that the dough will stick to the bottom. Make sure you put them with the corn husk wrapping or the banana leaf wrapping and then steam it. In this way, the tamales are not directly placed. So, they won’t stick to the steamer.

  • Microwave

Another excellent option for reheating tamales will be to microwave them. Many food enthusiasts all over the globe have tried this method. And honestly, the results are quite satisfactory. 

But you need to open up the wrappings of the tamales for this procedure. Start the process by opening the wrappings of the tamales. After removing the husks or banana leaves, put the tamales on a microwave-safe plate. Now add a cup full of water into the same platter and microwave it for about two to five minutes. This process will make your tamales soft and delicate.

  • Frying

You can also reheat the tamales by frying them on a skillet. Put some cooking oil in the skillet and heat it for five to ten minutes. Now, this procedure requires the removal of husks. So, take the frozen tamales and remove the wrappings. Now, once the oil is heated, place the tamales on the skillet and fry them. Make sure you turn both sides well and fry properly. 

  • Baking

Finally, you can reheat the tamales by baking them. So, first, you need to remove the husks from the tamales. And then you have to place them over a baking sheet. Make sure you grease the baking sheet with oil or butter and then place the tamales on top of it. Once arranged, place the baking sheet in the oven and bake it for about half an hour at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Restaurant-style tamales recipe

And now, we bring you the amazing restaurant-style tamales recipe that you can make at home. Eating them in any food junction gives us immense pleasure. But smart are those who make it in their own kitchen. And honestly, the process is not hard. You can make it with some readily available ingredients. So let’s start!

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For preparing tamales, you will need:

  • dried corn husks
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/3 cups lard
  • Two teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups broth (beef, vegetable, or chicken broth)
  • One teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups Masa Harina

For the filling, you may include:

  • chicken
  • ground beef
  • ground pork
  • bean and cheese
  • Salsa verde chicken
  • vegetables (carrot, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, etc.)

Steps:

  1. First, you have to soak the corn husks well. Take a large container or a pan and fill it with warm water. Do not pour boiling hot water. Lukewarm water will do the job. Now, take the corn husks and of them in the container. Make sure they are submerged. Since they can float initially, you may add something heavy on top of them for dipping them.
  2. Next, it is time to mix the Masa Harina for making dough. In a large bowl, use an electric blender to beat the lard. Add two tablespoons of stock or broth until soft, around 3-5 minutes. After that, add the masa flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt, to a different container. Mix into the fat blend and beat well with an electric blender.
  3. Once you are done with preparing the dough, cover it with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel. And keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
  4. Now it is time to prepare the filling. You can prepare whatever filling you desire to make. For that, you can use pan-fried chicken breast or pork, or ground beef. You can also toss some veggies and cheese with it. Red and green sals work great for filing. And once the filling is done preparing, you can add avocado, sour cream, or cilantro as toppings. 
  5. Now, take out the soaked corn husks. Lay the husks on a flat surface ( preferably a chopping board).
  6. Spread the masa over the corn husk. Make sure the dough is spread evenly to wrap and cover all the filling.
  7. The next step is to add the filling to the tamales. Scoop out the filling in a considerable amount and add it on top of the dough. Add the sauce of your choice.
  8. Now it is time to fold the corn husk. First, fold the corn husk halfway. The initial fold should be vertical. Continue folding it like a burrito so that it takes a cylindrical shape. Make sure one end of the tamale is open, and the other end remains closed.
  9. Now tie the tamales together with a baking strip or a corn husk strip.

Final thoughts

Tamales are considered to be one of the most popular appetizers all over the world. Its soft texture and delicious filling can make anyone fall for it instantly.

However, some people love to store them in the freezer and then eat it. That is totally fine. But the best way to derive the original taste of this dish is when they are fresh.

Tamales can remain best in a freezer for as long as one week. If you do not want to eat your extras or pre-made tamales blend inside seven days, it is ideal for freezing them rather than ruining them.

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