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How to Microwave Tamales: A Complete Guide

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you’ve probably enjoyed tamales at some point in your life.

These traditional dishes consist of masa dough that’s steamed or boiled inside corn husks and filled with anything from pork to chicken, beef, cheese and veggies.

While tamales are delicious fresh out of the pot or oven, it’s common for people to have leftover food that they want to reheat later.

Microwaving is a convenient and popular way to warm up tamales quickly without dealing with pots and pans.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about microwaving tamales – from benefits and precautions to expert tips, cooking times and more.

Let’s get started!

How to Microwave Tamales

Why You Should Consider Microwaving Tamales

Microwaving your leftover tamales comes with several benefits:


Microwaves are an easy-to-use appliance that most people have in their homes. They don’t require a lot of setup time or maintenance and allow for quick reheating.


When using a microwave, you can warm up your tamales in under five minutes. This means you can enjoy delicious food without waiting for hours for the oven or stove.


Microwaves use less energy than stoves or ovens. They also produce less heat, which means your kitchen stays cooler during the summer months.

Step-by-Step Guide on How To Microwave Tamales

Now let’s see how you can microwave your leftover tamale using these simple steps:

Step 1: Prepare Your Dish

Place one tablespoon of water on a plate or dish large enough to fit your tamale(s). You can also use a damp paper towel if you prefer.

Step 2: Position Your Tamale(s)

Place your tamale(s) onto the dish and space them out so they don’t touch each other. Covering them with a damp paper towel can help prevent drying.

Step 3: Microwave

Microwave your tamale(s) for one minute on high power. Check the temperature and if needed, continue microwaving in 30-second intervals until reaching your desired temperature.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Once heated thoroughly, you can enjoy your delicious tamales right away.

Precautions for Microwaving Tamales

While microwaving tamales is a great way to reheat food quickly, it also comes with some precautions you need to keep in mind:

  • When using a microwave to heat up tamales, be cautious of steam that may escape when removing the corn husks.
  • Microwaves heat unevenly so make sure the internal temperature (165°F or above) is reached before consumption.
  • To reduce drying out, cover with damp paper towels but don’t wrap too tightly.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

Several factors can affect how long you should microwave your tamales:

  • The size of the tamale(s): Larger tamales may take longer to heat evenly than smaller ones.
  • Strength of Microwave: High wattage output or “power” setting needs less time; lower wattage outputs can require longer cooking periods Overall wattages range from around 600watts to over 1000 watts.
  • The quantity of tamales being heated – larger quantities may require closer monitoring and additional time as compared to only heating one or two.

Expert Tips for Perfectly Microwaving Tamales

With these tips from experts, you can ensure perfectly heated up tamales every time:

Use Prongs

Use prongs or fork-like utensils rather than knives when handling hot foods like steaming hot tamales coming out– Avoid any unneeded cuts or injuries.

Use Plate or Dish with Lid

Using a microwave safe dish with a lid can trap moisture and heat to prevent over-drying or dehydration of tamales

Cook on 50% Power

On nearly any recipe or food, it’s ideal to microwave at around 50% power level. You’ll need slightly longer cooking times compared to full power settings but this – will give heat time to distribute evenly, reduces burning and/or overheating on specific spots

Advantages of Microwaving Tamales

Microwaving tamales comes with many benefits:

  • Saves time and energy
  • Easily reheat leftovers
  • No extra dishes or appliances required for heating up wrapped dishes
  • Ability to control temperature changes without risking food overcooking.

Disadvantages of Microwaving Tamales

While microwaving is a great way to quickly reheat food like tamales, there are also some disadvantages:

  • Uneven heating that could result in dry or cold spots
  • Some people don’t like the texture of food from the microwave,
  • Certain ingredients change their texture and flavor when reheated in microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions about Microwaving Tamales

Here are some common questions that people have when they consider microwaving their leftover tamales:

Can I microwave frozen tamales?

Technically, yes! But frozen foods will take more time since they must be thawed thoroughly before being reheated. Frozen tamales should come out at around five minutes for each tamale if it’s freshly made.

Should I add oil or butter while microwaving the tamale?

Oil does not benefit tamale heating in the microwave. Simply warm up your tamale direct from refrigerated conditions until internal temps reach standards for eating – no additional seasoning is necessary!

Can I wrap my tamale with plastic wrap?

Microwaving tamale with plastic wrap is not recommended. Wax paper can be used but damp paper towels are the most popular reheating option to keep a consistent texture.

If you’re interested in making tamales at home, there are many easy recipes available online. Tamales are a beloved dish in Mexican cuisine and can be filled with a variety of ingredients depending on your personal preference.


Microwaving tamales is an efficient way to reheat your leftovers quickly without sacrificing taste or quality.

With a few precautions, anyone can enjoy perfectly heated up tamales from the comfort of their own home. We hope this guide helps you reheat your leftover food conveniently and easily!

jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.