Can You Freeze Tamales?

Hey food enthusiasts! If you’ve found yourself with a delightful surplus of tamales, you might be scratching your head, wondering what to do with them all.

Can you freeze tamales? Is it possible to enjoy them later without sacrificing their delicious flavor and texture? The answer is an exciting “Yes!” but, like many culinary delights, it requires a bit of know-how.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the art of freezing tamales, helping you preserve their tasty goodness for another day. So grab your apron, and let’s dive right in!

Can You Freeze Tamales?

Yes, you can freeze tamales. Freezing tamales is not only possible, but it’s also a fantastic way to keep them fresh and flavorful for those unexpected cravings.

Whether they are homemade or store-bought, properly frozen tamales can save the day when you need a quick and delicious meal.

Don’t skip the following sections, where I’ll share step-by-step instructions and some creative culinary ideas for those beloved tamales.

How To Freeze Tamales?

Step 1: Allow Tamales to Cool

If your tamales are freshly cooked, let them cool down to room temperature. Freezing them while they’re still hot could lead to condensation inside the packaging, which might cause freezer burn later on.

Step 2: Wrap Individually

Wrap each tamale tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will help preserve the flavor and texture, ensuring they taste just as good as the day you made them.

Step 3: Place in Freezer Bags

Place the wrapped tamales in a freezer-safe bag or container. Be sure to squeeze out any excess air, as this will help prevent freezer burn.

Step 4: Label with Date

Don’t forget to label the bag or container with the date. Tamales can be frozen for up to six months, but labeling helps you keep track of how long they’ve been stored.

Step 5: Freeze

Pop the tamales into the freezer, preferably in a flat position. Freezing them flat helps them to thaw more evenly later on.

Step 6: Enjoy When Ready

When the craving strikes, your tamales will be ready for you. Just follow the defrosting and reheating instructions below!

Freezing tamales is a cinch, isn’t it? But how long can you keep them in the freezer, and what’s the best way to defrost them? Read on to find out!

How Long Can You Freeze Tamales?

Tamales can stay tucked away in your freezer for up to 6 months. While they might last longer, their quality will start to diminish after this period. The flavor, texture, and overall enjoyment of the tamales are at their peak within those six months.

So, make a mental (or actual) note of when you put them in the freezer and try to enjoy them within that timeframe. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

How Do You Defrost Tamales?

Defrosting tamales is a breeze, but it’s crucial to do it right to maintain their delightful taste and texture. Here’s how:

  1. Remove from Freezer: Take the desired number of tamales from the freezer.
  2. Thaw in the Refrigerator: Place the tamales in the refrigerator and allow them to thaw overnight. This slow process helps retain the texture and flavor.
  3. Optional Quick Thaw: In a rush? You can use the microwave’s defrost setting, but be gentle! You don’t want to cook them just yet.
  4. Steam or Microwave to Reheat: Once thawed, steam the tamales for 15-20 minutes or microwave them wrapped in a damp paper towel for 1-2 minutes.

See? It’s as easy as pie—or, in this case, as easy as tamales!

Do Tamales Freeze Well?

Tamales freeze surprisingly well! When properly wrapped and stored, they retain most of their flavor and texture. It’s like a little culinary magic trick: homemade or store-bought, tamales can be enjoyed weeks or even months later, and they’ll still taste as though you just made them.

Just remember to follow the freezing, defrosting, and reheating instructions carefully. This way, those deliciously steamed pockets of joy will be ready for you anytime you want, just like they’re fresh out of the steamer.

Can You Refreeze Tamales?

Now, this part is a bit tricky. While it’s technically possible to refreeze tamales after thawing, it’s generally not recommended.

Refreezing can cause a loss in quality, both in flavor and texture. It can make the masa doughy and the filling less vibrant.

If you find yourself with more defrosted tamales than you can eat, consider inviting a friend over to share or get creative with the leftovers.

Speaking of creativity, let’s explore some unique ways to use tamales.

Creative ways to use tamales

  1. Tamale Casserole: Layer defrosted tamales with cheese, salsa, and veggies, then bake until bubbly.
  2. Tamale Salad: Chop tamales and toss with greens, corn, black beans, and a tangy dressing.
  3. Tamale Breakfast Skillet: Saute with eggs, peppers, onions, and cheese for a hearty breakfast.
  4. Tamale Soup: Simmer in chicken or vegetable broth with spices for a comforting tamale-inspired soup.

The possibilities are endless, and these tasty creations could spark even more culinary inspiration.


Freezing tamales is more than just a convenient way to store leftovers; it’s an art that can save the day when you need a delicious meal on the fly.

With the proper steps and a bit of culinary love, you can enjoy the taste of freshly-steamed tamales anytime you like. And don’t be afraid to get creative with those frozen tamales! From casseroles to soups, the possibilities are boundless.

So next time you find yourself with an abundance of tamales, fear not. Just pop them in the freezer and know that a delightful treat awaits you in the future. Happy freezing!


Q: Can I freeze tamales with different fillings?

A: Yes, you can freeze tamales with various fillings. Just follow the same freezing process.

Q: What if I don’t have plastic wrap or aluminum foil?

A: You can use freezer paper or airtight freezer containers. Just make sure the tamales are wrapped tightly.

Q: Can I reheat tamales directly from the freezer?

A: It’s best to thaw them first, but in a pinch, you can steam or microwave them straight from the freezer, adding a few extra minutes to the reheating time.

Q: Is it safe to freeze store-bought tamales?

A: Absolutely! Just follow the same instructions as you would for homemade tamales.

Q: Can I refreeze tamales if I’ve only defrosted them in the fridge?

A: While not ideal, if the tamales have only been thawed in the fridge and haven’t been left out at room temperature, you may refreeze them, understanding that quality might be slightly compromised.

Q: What are some other creative ideas for leftover tamales?

A: Think outside the box! Tamales can be used in stir-fries, sandwiches, or even as a pizza topping. Experiment and have fun!

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