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Home » How Long Do Tamales Last?

How Long Do Tamales Last?

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made of ‘masa’ (corn dough) and are usually stuffed with pork. While pork tamales are very popular, modern interpretations of this dish include a variety of fillings, such as chicken, beef, vegetables, and cheese. There are vegan and vegetarian options, gluten-free options, and more–so, everyone in your family can enjoy this traditional Mexican dish!

Tamales are held together by corn husks and steamed until the masa is cooked through and are usually accompanied with salsa and salad. Home chefs can shake it up by making a side of nachos or Spanish rice to pair with their tamales, as well.

Stacking tamales in a roasting pan.

What we love most about tamales is that they can be prepared and stored for later. If you are looking for a quick and delicious dinner but don’t have time to cook, premade tamales are a great option! Premade tamales usually last about four days when they are stored in a, sealed container in the refrigerator. 

Making tamales in larger batches also minimizes food waste and is more economical in the long run. So, if you are making tamales to prepare meals for the week, it’s important to understand how to store and reheat them correctly. This will ensure their shelf life is maximized without sacrificing flavor and quality! 

What Factors Impact the Shelf-Life of Tamales?

The shelf-life of tamales depends on several factors, such as the ingredients, the cooking method, and the storage conditions. Generally, tamales can last for up to four days in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer, provided that they are stored correctly.

However, the actual lifespan of tamales can vary depending on the recipe and preparation methods. For instance, tamales made with fresh, raw pork may spoil faster than those made with pre-cooked or cured pork. Similarly, tamales that are overcooked or undercooked may spoil or become dry and tough sooner than those that are cooked correctly.

Another factor that affects the longevity of tamales is the storage temperature and environment. Ideally, tamales should be stored in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator or freezer. The container should be airtight to prevent moisture and bacteria from getting in, and the tamales should not be exposed to odors that could alter their taste or texture.

Best Practices for Storing Tamales

To ensure that your tamales last as long as possible, follow these tips for storing them:

Separate Tamales Into Manageable Batches

Separate the tamales into batches of four or six, depending on your needs. This will make it easier to reheat them later without having to thaw the entire batch.

Label Each Batch Clearly

Label and date the container or bag with the tamales, so you know when you prepared them. This allows you to keep track of their freshness and avoid eating spoiled tamales.

Store Tamales in the Refrigerator or Freezer

Can you freeze tamales? Yes–tamales should be stored in the fridge or freezer, depending on how soon you plan to eat them. If you plan to eat the tamales within four days, refrigerate them. Eating your tamales next week or even later? We recommend freezing them. 

If you are freezing your tamales, wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil first, and then place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. This will prevent freezer burn and protect their flavor.

Reheat Tamales Safely

How do you reheat tamales? To reheat tamales safely, make sure they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria. You can do this using an oven or stovetop steamer.

Feast on Tamales All Year Round

Tamales are a great way to bring some Mexican flavor and fun into your home, and they can be enjoyed at any time of the year! By following these guidelines and storing your tamales properly, you can meal-prep for the week ahead and avoid food waste. Now, let’s get cooking!

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