How To Steam Tamales In Instant Pot

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How To Thaw Frozen Tamales Before Heating


Thawing is essential before heating frozen tamales. If you do not thaw, it will result in damp and soggy tamales which will destroy the taste completely. Sometimes it can also lead to accidents, specifically in the case of deep-frying, using a pan or skillet. The oil might splatter when it comes in contact with the water of the frozen tamales. And that can be dangerous. So, thawing is of utmost importance.

You can thaw your tamales in various ways. Here are some suggestions for thawing that might be useful to you:

  • You can put your tamales in the microwave on medium heat for three minutes. Set them in a microwave-safe tray and cover with any bowl or lid to avoid splatter.
  • You can wrap the tamales in a wet towel or paper towel and leave them for 3-4 hours.
  • You can transfer the tamales to the cooler from the freezer one night before reheating them.

Use any of these three methods and your tamales will be properly thawed and ready for reheating.

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How Do You Cook Frozen Tamales Without A Steamer

How to Cook Tamales Without a Vegetable Steamer

  • Set a round metal rack inside a large pot.
  • Place a metal heat-safe bowl inside the pot upside down, resting it on top of the rack.
  • Stand the tamales on end inside the pot, resting them between the bowl and pot.
  • Place the lid on the pot.
  • Steam the tamales for one hour, checking the water level every 15 minutes or so.
  • Can You Steam Tamales Lying Down

    Another rule to remember is to always arrange them with the opening facing upward so that no boiling water can get directly inside the tamales. That is, in case you plan to steam them lying down. There are several ways to cook tamales but steaming them is widely accepted as the most suitable method.

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    What Is The Difference Between Butter Chicken And Chicken Tikka Masala

    Both of these Instant Pot Indian recipes have similar ingredients but they do have distinctly different flavors. Butter chicken is a creamier, less spicy dish. Chicken Tikka Masala is more of a tomato flavored Indian chicken dish and can have more of a kick since it doesnt have as much dairy in the recipe to subdue the spice.

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    How To Cook Tamales In A Ninja Foodi

    Instant Pot Pork Tamales are incredibly tasty and perfect ...

    I absolutely LOVE a good pork tamale. This recipe takes a delicious pork roast and transforms it into a fantastic Mexican meal that the whole family will love.

    The best part of this technique is that I can use the pressure cooker setting on my new Ninja Foodi. Its my favorite new kitchen gadget, so anytime I get to use it I get excited.

    This page contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using the link, I could receive a commission check out all the details here.

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    How To Reheat Tamales In An Instant Pot

    If you are reheating Tamales using the instant pot method, you must have a steamer basket specially designed for the pot. Follow the steps below to reheat or steam or Tamales in an instant pot.

  • Fill your pot with at least 2 cups of water to produce steam sufficient for proper heating. Make sure your Tamales do not touch the water in the pot.
  • Place the Tamales in the basket in a circular pattern and make sure they are placed in a standing position with the open end facing upwards.
  • Close the instant pot with a tight lid and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, let the pressure release naturally. After the pressure has released, remove the basket using tongs or mittens.
  • How To Steam Tamales In The Oven

    In general, conventional ovens are not the most suitable place to steam tamales as there is no simple way to do so. But if you have no other option, here is how to steam tamales in the oven:

    1. Turn on the oven and set the temperature to low.

    Like with any other method of steaming tamales, you need the heat on low, just enough to keep the steam going without drying the actual pieces. This is why we recommend using the lowest temperature your oven has.

    2. Arrange the tamales in the cooking utensil of choice.

    We recommend using a Dutch oven, but if you dont have one, use a casserole dish that has a lid.

    The most important tool you will need is a steam rack. In either case, you will need to put a steam rack inside the pot or casserole dish. Then, you need to assemble the tamales lying down with the open end facing upwards.

    3. Add boiling water and cook.

    The amount of water you will need depends on the dish you use to cook. It is important to add boiling water as steaming in the oven is not as simple as doing it on a stovetop.

    Generally, it should take from 4060 minutes to steam tamales in an oven but you can always check for yourself. You already know how to check for doneness.

    Remember not to increase the temperature of the oven or you risk drying out the tamales.

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    S To Making The Best Instant Pot Tamales

    Instant pot tamales sounds like a lot of work, right? It doesnt necessarily have to be, and the results are tasty. Who doesnt like Mexican food? But are you an expert? Truth is, tamales are hard work, and now that you have that instant pot, your workload just got easier.

    Here are the 7 steps to making the best instant pot tamales:

    Step #1: Gather all your ingredients

    The first thing to think about is the masa dough for the tamales, which means you need dry masa harina, baking powder, salt, chicken broth, and oil. Tamales tend to be meat-filled, usually with pork, so for the filling, you will need pork shoulder, garlic, ancho chile pods, oregano, and salsa roja. Keep in mind that you will also need the cornhusks, and a bowl of water to dip your fingers so you can make the tamales.

    If you need to, you can replace some of the seasonings with your favorite things, such as adobo, chili powder, cumin, or paprika. You can also make tamales with other meat, like beef, chicken, or a vegetable mix to make your food vegetarian.

    Step #2: Begin by soaking your cornhusks

    When you have never made tamales, you may not realize that you need to soak the cornhusks for a while. You will hear conflicting theories on how long and with what type of water. Even though some people seem to think you need boiling water or over a 24-hour soak, the reality is, a few hours of soaking will probably do the trick.

    Step #3: Cook the filling in the meantime

    Instant Pot Steamed Tamales

    Instant Pot Frozen Tamales – the best ever way to steam frozen tamales is in the Instapot! OMG!

    Making tamales is a labor of love. Make it easier on yourself by cutting out the lard and making Instant Pot steamed tamales. Any fillings you like with an easy to follow method.

    Just in case you havent noticed, I have been sharing, slowly but surely, most of what was on our Christmas dinner menu. My apologies if you already noticed this and I am just being Captain Obvious right now.

    Better late than never!

    This year for Christmas we flipped the script and ate everything from pozole to tamales. We had lots of salsa and toppings. I even made a small side of Mexican street corn off the cob in addition to Mexican rice. I would like to say that after this meal I felt satisfied and not the typical roll-me-out-of the-dining-room after dinner sorta full.

    That satisfied feeling was in big part to the menuand also maybe hosting and running around like a loon for a while.

    Whos to say?

    This recipe for tamales is from my second book, The Big Book of Instant Pot Recipes. It isnt very traditional. There is stock used in the place of the lard/fat. You do also add in a bit of canola oil to the tamale filling so that does help with the moisture factor.

    A tamale is a steamed masa dough with a few spoonfuls of a sweet or savory filling tucked inside and rolled together tightly in a banana leaf or corn husk. Captain Obvious here again for some of you.

    Do not be intimidated to try this recipe!


    Filling the tamales is up to you!

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    How To Serve Tamales

    Now that you know just about every way to cook tamales, its time to think about the meal. Here are the top toppings and sides to go along with your tamales.

    Can You Cook Homemade Tamales In The Oven

    Tamale making is a Mexican tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Tamales are traditionally cooked in a corn husk wrapped around a filling of meat, beans, vegetables, herbs, spices, and other ingredients. Tamales are usually served during celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, quinceanera, birthdays, and Christmas.

    Read Also: How To Cook Frozen Tamales In Instant Pot

    How Long Do You Steam Hot Tamales

    Generally speaking, it should take about 30 to 40 minutes for tamales to steam on a stovetop. However, some factors could change the time it takes for them to steam.

    Each batch of tamales will be different. Large batches will need longer to steam, for example. Nobody can make the same filling and masa each time, so some batches might need longer for the masa to stick together without falling apart. Some might need only 30 minutes, otherwise, they will oversteam and become too soggy.

    You should always make one or two more tamales than usual in a batch to check whether they can peel away from the husk. You should also check the water levels every 15 minutes because you could accidentally be waiting longer if the water has evaporated.

    How To Steam Tamales In An Instant Pot

    Instant Pot Pork and Roasted Green Chile Tamales

    Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pressure cooking pot and place a steamer basket inside. Gently place the folded tamales standing up in the steamer basket.

    Seal the lid and cook the tamales on High Pressure for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release.

    To check your tamales for doneness, remove one tamale from the cooking pot and let it cool for a few minutes. Carefully unwrap to check the masaif its ready, the masa will be set and will pull away easily from the corn husk wrapping. If not, return to the Instant Pot and cook a few minutes more.

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    Steaming In A Pressure Cookerwith A Steamer Basket

    The basic steps here are identical to those we discussed above when using a regular pot with the small difference that steaming in a pressure cookertakes less time to cook. Your tamales can be ready in just 30 minutes or so using this method.

    My personal favorite pressure cooker can be And then just get a steamer basket like this one.

    1. Add water and a steamer basket.

    Obviously, you need to add water first, ideally around 2 cups but this may depend on the size of your basket. Just remember not to let the water get too high.

    2. Arrange the tamales in the steamer basket.

    Once again, you need to arrange them vertically, open side up, to prevent any boiling water from getting inside and ruining your tamales.

    3. Close the lid and set pressure cooker to high heat.

    Before you get to the regular steaming on low pressure you need to get it to the very maximum.

    4. Reduce pressure and cook.

    Once the pressure reaches the maximum, reduce to the lowest possible setting, and leave your tamales to cook for up to half an hour. Generally, this method takes around 20 minutes but it depends on your own pressure cooker.

    5. Release the pressure and check for doneness.

    Once around 20 minutes have passed, turn off your pressure cooker and release the pressure naturally over the course of 10 minutes or so.

    Once the pressure is gone, pick a tamale and check for doneness in the same way we mentioned above. If it needs more cooking, steam for an additional 5 10 minutes.

    So Can I Bake Tamales In The Oven Instead Of In A Steamer

    Absolutely! There are countless ways to steam your tamales, as long as they are encased in the vital corn husk or banana leaf coverings.

    The best way to do this is by preparing your tamales as usual and keeping the heat in the oven low to ensure the warmth of the water without potentially drying out the tamales.

    A casserole dish is great for baking tamales in the oven, just make sure to use a rack to keep the tamales and water separate.

    The same rules apply with a steamer keep an eye on the water and dont let it either disappear or touch the tamales.

    Place a lid on the casserole dish and wait about 40 minutes, and then open one of the husks to check if the masa has cooked properly.

    The oven steaming method is a lot quicker, but does run the risk of potentially dryer tamales. It is also possible to make an open tamale in the oven that does not require corn husks. This is often known as a tamale pie, and is a really simple way of feeding large families or gatherings without the fuss of having to check the corn husks.

    Of course, this may not have the desired moist texture every time as opposed to steaming, but if you prefer a golden crunch to the masa, this is an effective method.

    The tamale pie is a southern comfort food, reportedly originating from Texas.

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    How To Make This Recipe

    Pork Filling Add all pork filling ingredients into a large stockpot and cover with 6 cups of cold water.

    Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 ½ hours, or until the pork is tender and easy to shred.

    Remove the pork from the broth, shred, and set aside for later.

    Strain the broth into another container and set aside until needed. Discard the bay leaves then add the remaining ingredients to a blender. Top with 1-½ cups of strained broth. Blend to make the chili sauce.

    Mix 1½ cups of the chili sauce in with the shredded pork and strain the rest through a sieve to mix with the masa. Taste the filling to see if it needs further seasoning adjust as needed.

    Soak the corn husks in cold water for 30 to 60 minutes. You may need to use something to weigh them down.

    How to Make Masa From Scratch Whip shortening or lard in a large mixing bowl. Continue to whip, while working on the next steps.

    In a large bowl, whisk Maseca, baking powder, salt, cumin, onion, and garlic powder.

    Add 4 cups of warm pork broth and the reserved chili sauce to the dry ingredients and mix until combined, add to shortening or lard.

    Mix with the paddle attachment until you have a creamy, peanut butter or hummus-consistency. You may need to add more broth to get the right texture.

    How to test the masa to see if it’s ready Take a small piece of the masa and plop it in a glass of water. If the dough floats to the surface, your masa is ready. If it sinks to the bottom, you have more work to do.

    Consistent Results With Sous Vide


    Have you wondered how to cook frozen tamales in a sous vide cooker?

    It takes an hour or more and only three or four tamales fit in a sous vide bag at a time. So why consider the sous vide cooker?

    The perfect temperature control makes perfect moist tamales. If you can wait for them, you will not be disappointed.


    • Temperature-controlled so tamales cook to perfection.


    • Takes an hour or more.
    • Smaller capacity than other cooking methods.
    • You must watch for leaks in the bag. You may be tempted to keep the tamales in the plastic packaging they came in. However, the plastic packaging was not intended for submersion, so it may leak.


  • Remove all plastic packaging from the tamales but keep the corn husks intact while they cook.
  • Place three or four tamales in a sous vide bag. Seal the bag.
  • Preheat the sous vide cooker to 130° F.
  • Drop the sealed bag into the water bath.
  • Cook for 1 hour. Check the bag every once in a while, to make sure there are no leaks in the bag.
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    What About The Husks

    Corn husks or banana leaves are used to encase the tamale and keep them in their structure. Husks can often be quite stiff, so it is recommended to wash them thoroughly and peel them apart in cold water to loosen them up.

    They have to stick around the tamale properly, otherwise the structure will fall apart, so they must be malleable to do so.

    Once cleaned and separated, put them in a pot of water, bring it to boil, then let them sit in the hot water for one to two hours until they are soft. This is to fully ensure that they are pliable enough for the tamales. There is not much of a difference between using corn husks or banana leaves other than preference. If you are using banana leaves, make sure to defrost them under cold water if they are frozen. Cut away the edges of the leaves.

    Like with corn husks, keep them in warm water for up to an hour until they have softened.

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