Can You Freeze Tamales?


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Tamales are a food dish made up of a corn-based dough and steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The wrapping is then discarded or used as a plate when you eat it. 

Tamales are filled with meats, cheeses, veggies, chilies, or whatever you’d like according to what your taste buds prefer. The filling of the tamale and the cooking liquid can all be seasoned. 

Originating in Mesoamerica, tamales are a favorite of many people. Maybe you have a friend who makes tamales for you and always gives you a whole bunch of this delicious food. Or maybe you enjoy cooking tamales yourself and end up with too many to eat. 

Can you freeze tamales to keep them good for later?

You can freeze tamales to save for future use. They can be frozen cooked or uncooked as long as you follow the right steps to freezing them.

Tamales make a great meal and are so delicious. If you have leftovers that have already been cooked, they can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Want to know something about freezing cooked tamales? They won’t lose their texture or flavor! 

Sometimes when you freeze food, it doesn’t taste as good when you thaw and eat it weeks or months later. Not so with tamales. They will still taste great! 

If you are a big fan of tamales and enjoy cooking them, you may like to save time by making huge batches of them to eat later on. You can preserve them by freezing them. But you have to freeze them correctly.

Although you can freeze uncooked tamales, it is easier to cook them first and then freeze them. This way you can just reheat them once they have been thawed. 

After cooking the tamales, let them cool at room temperature. Once they are cooled, transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags. If you are using freezer bags the best way to protect them is to individually wrap each tamale in aluminum foil or plastic wrap a couple of times before putting them in the bag. 

Whether you are using a freezer container or freezer bag, remove any air and seal it up really well. Lay the tamales flat in the freezer to retain their structure. Then label the container or bag with the current date so you know when they were placed in the freezer and store them until you want to use them.

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Do You Freeze Tamales Cooked Or Uncooked? 

Tamales are one of the staple foods in Mexican cuisine. Making tamales can be quite an event taking hours to do. If you are planning on cooking this dish but know you won’t eat them right away, should you freeze them cooked or uncooked?

You can freeze tamales cooked or uncooked. Just make sure to package them properly and you are all set to store the tamales in your freezer. 

I already discussed freezing cooked tamales earlier so now I will focus more on the uncooked type of this yummy food. 

The soft dough to make tamales is very perishable. Most people would recommend not to freeze the uncooked tamales simply because there is a greater chance that the masa or dough and other ingredients won’t hold up well during the freezing process. 

If they are frozen uncooked they may not have the same texture or taste after they are thawed to be eaten. To freeze uncooked tamales it just takes the right way of doing it to preserve the food’s delicious taste.

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to cook all of the tamales and need to freeze some and cook them later. Well by following certain steps you can freeze them safely without ruining their flavor. 

Make the filling as you normally would and wrap them tightly in the corn husk. Or you can opt to just place the entire batch unwrapped into the freezer. It doesn’t matter which one you do, it is all up to personal preference. 

Whichever one you choose, you need to put the tamales in a freezer safe container to keep them good. You don’t want to risk ice crystals forming on the tamales which can affect its texture and taste. 

By doing this you will keep the tamales tasty for when you want to thaw and cook them in the following weeks or months.

How Long Do Tamales Last In The Freezer? 

Talking about how to freeze the tamales, there is a certain amount of time the Mexican food can be stored in those frigid temperatures. How long do tamales last in the freezer?

Tamales last for 3 to 6 months in the freezer without going bad. So you can use them weeks or months after placing them in the freezer.

You can enjoy your tamales for up to 6 months after you have put them in the freezer. So if you make a huge batch and store them in the freezer, you will have them on hand for a while and can use them for dinner whenever you’d like. 

If they are cooked, all you need to do is thaw them and reheat. You are then ready for a delicious tamale meal. 

If you freeze uncooked tamales in the corn husk wrapping, you will need to thaw and cook them as you normally would. Uncooked frozen tamales that are not put together but have been frozen separately will need to be put together and then cooked as usual. 

When thawing the tamales you have two choices that are the safest. You can either let them defrost in the fridge for a day or steam them while they are still frozen. Then you can cook them and serve for a delectable meal.

Final Thoughts

You can freeze tamales cooked or uncooked. If you freeze them properly they will still have a good texture and taste good after they are thawed and cooked later. 

Tamales will last for 3 to 6 months in the freezer so you can enjoy them later without worrying about them tasting bad. By freezing tamales you will save yourself time and work later by making them ahead of time so you can just reheat and eat! 

Follow the steps mentioned above for freezing and thawing the tamales correctly and you will enjoy an effortless delicious dinner in upcoming weeks or months of tamales.

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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