How to Freeze Tamales

The traditional Mexican dish of tamales is a major component of Mexican cuisine and culture. They are made of a starchy corn-based casing called masa, which can be filled with various fillings and then steamed in a banana leaf or a shell. Pork, veggies, cheese, fruit, and various other ingredients can be used as fillings.

Because the first tamale-making activities stretch back to the ancient Mayan society, tamales constitute a significant aspect of Mexican culture. They were prepared and consumed at festive occasions.

Because they are often produced in huge quantities for special occasions and family gatherings, every single tamale is rarely consumed.

Can you Freeze Tamales?

Tamales, whether cooked or uncooked, may be frozen successfully. Tamales may be preserved in the freezer for approximately 3-6 months if properly prepared and stored. Furthermore, the texture and flavor of the tamales will not be significantly altered.

Our goal in this post is to provide you with the necessary information on freezing tamales (both uncooked and cooked). Additionally, you will learn the many techniques of reheating tamales so that you may enjoy them as if they were just cooked.

Freezing Cooke Tamales:

Following Steps to Freeze Cooke Tamales
Following Steps to Freeze Cooke Tamales

Tamales can be frozen in a matter of minutes and are simple to prepare. It’s a good idea to prepare an extra batch or two of these before freezing them for later use.

One batch will be consumed on the same day, and the second batch will be stored in the freezer. After all, the preparation and cooking of tamales take a significant amount of time.

Once you have finished cooking all of the tamales, divide them into two groups: those that will be eaten immediately and those that will be frozen.

To prep and freeze tamales, follow the methods outlined below:

Step 1: Allow It to Cool Down to Room Temperature

Make sure to allow the tamales to cool down completely before freezing them by placing them on a cooling shelf. In an hour, the tamales should have cooled down.

It is advised that you do not let them cool for a lengthy amount of time after cooking. Bacterial containment might result as a result of this action.

As a result, check on the tamales every ten minutes to ensure that they have cooled down sufficiently. Additionally, letting them cool will avoid moisture in the storage bag when the temperature is below freezing.

Step 2: Container Storage

Once all of the tamales have cooled, they are ready to be placed in storage. You may either use a sealed jar or freezer bags to store your tamales once they’re made. Both of these methods are useful in protecting the tamales fresh in the freezer.

If you want to give the tamales a little extra protection, you may wrap them in aluminum foil or cling wrap before baking them.

Wrap each one separately a couple of times in plastic wrap before placing them in the container. Even though some air may have gotten into the jar, the wrappers will help to keep the tamales from being damaged.

Step 3: Label the Container with Marker

Once the tamales have been put into the container, make sure they are properly sealed. Check for leaks in the zipper or the airtight container’s lid to ensure that nothing is leaking. Then, using a permanent marker, mark the bag or jar with the date it will be frozen.

Step 4: Store in the Freezer

It’s ready to be kept in the freezer once it’s been packed in a freezer bag or an airtight container. If you want to store items in freezer bags, ensure there are enough spaces in the freezer for the bag to rest flat. These steps will allow for even freezing throughout the tamales, preventing them from splitting into pieces.

If you have a small amount of freezer space, you may stack the tamales on top of one another. Before you begin, ensure the tamales are frozen before proceeding.

Freezing the Uncooked Tamales:

Following Steps to Freeze Uncooked Tamales
Following Steps to Freeze Uncooked Tamales

The masa of tamales is a delicate and perishable component of this dish. When it is raw, it tends to crumble when exposed to cold for an extended period.

This is one of the reasons why some people choose to freeze uncooked tamales rather than prepared tamales.

When you freeze uncooked tamales, there is a greater likelihood that the masa may fail to hold the filling together, which will result in a mess during the thawing and cooking processes, so plan accordingly. The tastes and texture may not be as good as they would be if the vegetables had been cooked first, as a result.

Despite this, it is still feasible to freeze uncooked tamales, provided you take the proper precautions and follow the instructions.

Step 1: Wrap the Filling

Before steaming the tamales, make them in the usual manner for tamales. Then, carefully wrap them in a banana leaf or a husk to keep them warm. It is critical to wrap them as tightly as possible to encourage the masa to remain in position.

If you like, you may freeze the filling and the masa in separate containers. While this method may be more difficult and take up more freezer space, it allows you to form the masa around the filling once it has thawed on your counter.

Step 2: Storing the Tamales

Whatever you do, be sure to keep the uncooked tamales in an acceptable container. It doesn’t matter if you wrap them in a husk or not.

The best container for this is an airtight, freezer-safe jar. These measures are taken to avoid ice crystals and moisture from accumulating in the jar, which would harm the flavor and texture of the tamales.

It is preferable to maintain the tamales tightly packed to avoid the masa from crumbling. This will also aid in the preservation of the container’s airtightness.

Step 3: Make a Label for the Container

Make sure you identify the box with the tamale fillings as well as the day you put them in the refrigerator. 

How Do You Defrost Tamales?

Depending on the method you select, you will not need to thaw your tamales before reheating them.

Even if you have to defrost frozen vegetables before cooking them, putting them in the refrigerator overnight is by far the most effective method.

By using this method, you may safely raise the temperature of the tamale without facing the risk of exposing it to dangerously high temperatures in the process.

Is it Possible to Refreeze Tamales?

Is it Possible to Refreeze Tamales
Is it Possible to Refreeze Tamales

It is possible to refreeze Tamales; however, it is not recommended. This is since when the tamale has defrosted, it becomes extremely mushy. Furthermore, if it is frozen again, the quality will very certainly deteriorate.

Try to split them out before freezing them so that you can only thaw what you want to consume. This will save you from having to pick between refreezing them or throwing them out later on.

Frequently Asked Question:

How long can tamales be stored in the refrigerator?

A week’s worth of tamales may be stored in the refrigerator. This is useful for keeping leftovers fresh to be eaten for lunch or a fast meal later on.

Do the fillings in tamales have an impact on freezing?

Because there are so many different filling possibilities for tamales, it’s crucial to know which ones are the best for freezing before you get started. Because they keep their flavor after being defrosted and reheated, meat and fish fillings are excellent candidates for storing in the freezer.

Is it possible to air fry frozen tamales?

Yes! There isn’t much that an air fryer can’t handle. Heat the air fryer on a medium setting while you wet the husks or banana leaves with ice water and lay them aside. Put the tamales in the air fryer so that they do not get overloaded.


If you wish to freeze tamales, the first step is to defrost them before proceeding properly. As soon as they’ve become soft and malleable, wrap each one individually in a moist paper towel or cheesecloth and place them in a freezer bag, pressing as much air out of the bag as possible.

When you’re ready to eat your frozen tamale, remove it from its packing and microwave it for around 2 minutes before serving it to your family. We hope you found this article to be informative.

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