Tamales are a delicious and meaningful food to eat, especially during the winter holidays. They can also be very time consuming and labor intensive to make. After spending so much effort making tamales, what should you do with all of the leftovers? Read on for answers to all of your tamale freezing and refreezing questions.
You can refreeze tamales for up to two weeks. However, refreezing can change the texture of the tamales as well as the flavor. For this reason, it is not recommended to refreeze tamales more than once. Refreezing tamales can also introduce bacteria into your food.
How Long Can Tamales Be Frozen?
So just how long do tamales last in the freezer? Tamales can last from 3 to 6 months in the freezer.
Cooked tamales generally freeze better, but both cooked and uncooked tamales will remain fresh for up to 6 months.
The flavor and consistency will change over time though. Meat fillings tend to hold up better in the freezer over time than vegetable fillings. Vegetables tend to become mushy after long stretches in the freezer, and dairy fillings, like cheese, can crumble. Tamales with cheese fillings are best enjoyed within the 3 month mark.
In general, the masa or dough that makes up the tamales will dry out and become more brittle over time. If you prefer a softer and more flavorful tamale it’s best to eat your tamales sooner rather than later.
How to Freeze Tamales
Can I freeze cooked tamales? The answer is definitely yes!
Since cooked tamales can last up to 6 months in the freezer, it makes sense to make a huge batch and freeze some for the future. However, you want to package them properly to ensure freshness. Freeze tamales for later with these tips:
- Make sure the tamales have cooled before freezing them. This will prevent freezer burn and condensation in the freezer.
- Place the tamales in an airtight container or sealable bag.
- It’s better to package them in small quantities so they are easier to thaw.
- You can wrap them one by one in plastic wrap or wax paper to preserve freshness and texture.
- Label your container with the date. Tamales should be good in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
What is the easiest way to reheat tamales?
Tamales can be reheated in a crockpot, in the oven, or on the stove. However, the easiest way to reheat tamales is in the microwave.
To reheat tamales in the Microwave:
- Make sure to remove them from their foil or other packaging
- Wrap or cover each thawed tamal in a slightly damp paper town to preserve moisture.
- Heat the tamal in the microwave for 1-3 minutes or until warm. Flip halfway through to ensure even heating.
In general, tamales freeze very well and keep for long periods of time in the freezer. However, freezing can impact the quality and taste of the tamales. As a result, it is not recommended to freeze them more than once.