Best way to reheat a cooked tamale

There are some things that we can always count on come the holidays, one of them is the abundance of tamales. A chicken tamale on a plate next to some rice and beans says it all. And because they’re made in large batches, we tend to have a lot of tamales left over for the following days. Luckily, we’ve basically perfected the art of reheating cooked tamales.



Start with some cooked tamales. Whether they’re homemade or store bought, try to stick with an authentic recipe. During the year, we either order from someone who makes them at their home, or we buy Del Real Foods tamales from the refrigerated section at our local supermarket. They’re available in chicken, pork, sweet corn and cheese & green chile.


Round up the rest of the ingredients. Oil, salsa de molcajete (red or green) and Mexican crema. Mexican cream is a bit saltier than sour cream and stays true to the authentic taste. Look for it at a Hispanic market, or try adding salt to regular sour cream.



Add oil to the pan. Enough so that it coats the bottom of the pan and comes up just a bit.


Remove the husks and add the tamales to the hot pan. Fry on until browned on each side.



Finish off your tamale plate by topping them with Mexican crema and salsa.


Frying tamales is my favorite way to enjoy a tamale, on any day of the year. It’s also the best way to enjoy leftover tamales because it doesn’t make them mushy. So forget the microwave and try frying a tamale. You’ll love it!


We used Del Real Foods tamales that were provided to facilitate this post. All thoughts and ideas remain my own. 

12 comments on Best way to reheat a cooked tamale

  1. Nolita
    March 13, 2016 at 9:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this!

    I have 2.5 bags of Del Real chicken tamales in the fridge. I just needed confirmation that they can be pan fried because I don’t want to waste perfectly good tamales. I just really don’t like how long it takes to reheat with steam + the microwave just isn’t as good as steamed to me.

    Thanks again 🙂

  2. Marti
    December 23, 2016 at 8:58 am (1 year ago)

    made tamales and they came out very dry. What can i do to soften them?

    • Pattie Cordova
      December 23, 2016 at 6:36 pm (1 year ago)

      I don’t know how to soften them. If I were you, I’d just put a lot of salsa and cream on them.

  3. Lita Waston
    June 6, 2017 at 12:56 am (1 year ago)

    Wow, so that tamale can be topped by with Mexican crema and salsa!? I never ever heard about it before. I have to try it right now. Thank for giving a great offer, Pattie Cordova!

  4. silvia
    December 14, 2017 at 11:30 am (6 months ago)

    Would warming them up slowly in the oven work too? Avoids adding more fat to the tamales.

    • Pattie Cordova
      December 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm (6 months ago)

      I’m sure it’ll work too (or the microwave)… but they just taste SO much better like this. LOL

  5. Joe
    June 27, 2017 at 2:37 pm (12 months ago)

    Can you kindly clarify if this recipe is for frozen or thawed tamales and how long, on each side, should they be cooked?

  6. Pattie Cordova
    June 28, 2017 at 7:24 am (12 months ago)

    These would be for thawed tamales. And maybe a few minutes on each side? It just has to be slightly browned.


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