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How to Cook Tamales in the Oven

Discover the Best Way to Cook Tamales in the Oven

Graze with me as we uncover the secret to cooking perfect tamales in the oven! No steamer basket, pressure cooker, or Instant Pot needed. This easy way promises the best results for your homemade tamales. And be sure to check out my other food tips and guides, such as How to Cook Thin Bottom Round Steak in an Oven.

tamales in the oven

Prepping the Fresh Tamales: Masa Dough and Fillings

Start by making masa dough. Mix masa harina with water to create corn dough. The right texture is key. It should be moist but not sticky. Now, grab those extra corn husks or banana leaves from the grocery store. Spread the masa dough onto your choice of wrap.

Choose your favorite fillings. Traditional Mexican dishes use refried beans or savory meats. Be sure to read my safety tips for uncured meats as well before selecting your fillings. But don’t be afraid to get creative with sweet fillings, too. Once your filling is inside, fold the corn husk or banana leaf around it. Ensure the open end is sealed.

Setting Up Your Tamale Steamer in the Oven

You don’t need a tamale steamer for this method. Instead, grab a large pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Place a steam rack at the bottom. Add boiling water until it reaches just below the steam rack. Keep an eye on the water level throughout the cooking process.

Create layers of aluminum foil to protect your tamales from direct heat. Lay a sheet pan or another steam rack over the foil. Arrange your fresh tamales on the steam rack, ensuring they don’t touch the boiling water.

Steam Tamales in the Oven for the Perfect Cook

Now, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Once it’s hot, place your tamale steamer setup in the oven. Cook for 1-1.5 hours, depending on the size of your tamales. Check the internal temperature to ensure they’re done. You’re aiming for 165°F (74°C).

Now that it’s time to serve your tasty tamales, why not pair them with some delicious side dishes. I recommend my recipe for Greasy Beans.

Cooking Tamales in Alternative Ways: Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, and More

If you don’t have an oven, don’t fret. Cooking tamales in a slow cooker, rice cooker, or air fryer are reliable alternatives. For slow cookers, layer your tamales and cook on high heat for 4-6 hours. In a rice cooker, follow the same process but cook for 1.5 hours.

For air fryers, wrap your tamales in foil and cook at 390°F (200°C) for 15-20 minutes. In all cases, ensure your tamales are fully cooked by checking the internal temperature.

Dealing with Leftover Tamales: Reheating Methods

Got some leftover tamales? Reheat them to enjoy moist tamales once more. The microwave oven is a quick option. Place tamales on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat on medium power for 1-2 minutes.

For a more traditional dish experience, re-steam your tamales. Use any cooking method mentioned earlier, but reduce the cooking time. Frozen tamales can be reheated using the same methods. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time to account for their frozen state.


Final Thoughts: Enjoy Your Perfect Tamales!

Now that you’ve mastered cooking tamales in the oven, it’s time to enjoy your traditional Mexican dish! Top with sour cream or other favorite condiments, and share with friends and family. And if you are looking for a delicious dessert to serve with this dish, why not try my recipe for Ube Flan! Happy feasting!