How to steam tamales without a steamer? How long does it take?

to steam tamales without a steamer

How long does it take to steam tamales without a steamer ?

Tamales are much easier to steam than to roll them. Even if you don’t have a steamer in your home. In this article, we’ll look at how you can

This article will look at how you can steam tamales without a steamer. What is the time, and how long does it take?

What are the ingredients in Tamale?

Tamale is a traditional and common Mexican dish made from corn-based dough filled with meats, beans, and cheese. 

Tamales are usually wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and cooked, but later on, the husks are removed before eating. The dough, known as “masa,” is put on the Husk of corn to prevent it from burning and give tamales a good taste.

Which Husk is best to use?

As discussed above, Tamales are usually wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves to keep their structure. Since husks can be quite stiff and keeping tamales in them the right way is another challenge due to the hard surface, it is best to wash them completely and peel them apart in cold water to loosen them up.

The Husk must be soft enough to stick around the Tamale properly, or Tamales will fall apart. Once washed and separated, place them in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and let them in hot water for one to two hours, or until soft. 

How to Steam Tamale without Steamer

If you don’t have a steamer, do not worry, you can make one by yourself or use some good DIY methods to steam tamales without any difference in taste. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways:

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Reheating tamales in the oven is a simple and quick method and a reliable alternative to steaming. First of all, Preheat the oven to 425°F and carefully cover each Tamale in aluminum foil, ensuring there is no air left in it. Preheat the oven to 200°F and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

DIY Steamer

Fill a medium pot halfway with water, add three golf-ball-sized aluminum foil balls to the bottom, place a heat-proof plate on top of the foil balls, cover, and bring to a boil. Cover and steam the tamales until they are crisp-tender. It will take the same time required for tamales to cook as in a regular steamer. 

Metal Strainer

A mesh sieve or even a metal strainer can be used to steam your tamales. The metal sieve, as compared to the sieve, can be more difficult to use. Boil some water and hang the sieve/filter over it. 

The top of your pan won’t fit tightly over the filter’s handles. It is not an issue at all. This means that some heat will be lost, and you will need to extend your cooking time by a few minutes.

The most effective way to steam tamales without a steamer is by using a metal strainer.

Shallow fry

Shallow Frying is another great option for a crisp and satisfying taste. Remove the tamales from the corn husks, spray the bottom of the pan with oil, and cook until the tamales are heated through medium-low to medium heat. 

If you’re using cooking oil with a low smoke point, such as olive oil, reduce the heat. Use the pan on high heat if you’re using cooking oil that takes more time to heat up, such as olive or sunflower oil.

Deep Fry

Deep frying your tamales is another great option to make them crispy and fully cook the mixture inside quickly. To get the best results, make sure to keep the tamales as dry as possible before dipping them in oil. If you’re using frozen tamales, microwave them for a minute before frying to take off the ice. 

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Furthermore, pat down your tamales with paper towels before cooking them. It will take around two to three minutes to cook through and develop a fine, crispy surface.


Tamales can be cooked on an outdoor grill or barbecue by keeping them in the banana or corn husks and arranging them on the grill grates. Heat them over a low flame until they’re heated all the way through. 

The husks will darken or look burnt, but the insides will not burn if you turn the tamales repeatedly and keep the heat moderate. This method will give a nice smoky flavor to your tamales as well.


Microwave cooking produces the best results, and this method is most similar to steaming. Place up to two tamales in a microwave-safe plate and heat for two minutes. If you’re heating more tamales, allow extra time to fully cook the mixture. You can wrap your tamales in a damp paper towel to add moisture, but you’ll get good results without putting the paper towel.


Begin by placing the rack inside the crockpot for this procedure. Fill the crockpot halfway with water, just below the rack. Bring the water to boil on high heat, then reduce to a low heat setting.

Wrap each Tamale individually in foil while the water comes to a boil. When the water begins to boil, place the tamales on the rack, cover the crockpot, and turn the heat to high. Before serving, steam for 1–2 hours, or until well heated.

Pressure Cooker

To steam tamales in a pressure cooker, pour roughly two cups of water into the cooker, then place the tamales in the basket before activating the pressure setting on your appliance.

Allow the pressure cooker to reach the highest heat setting. You can turn down the heat when the water is heated enough to produce steam. The tamales should then be steamed for another 15 to 20 minutes. This should be enough to have the tamales properly reheated and wet.

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In this article, we discussed making tamales without a steamer. There are no other alternatives to making tamales with other methods. We also discussed the Husk used in tamales as well. 

Moreover, we have concluded that Tamales can be made without steamer as well.