Want to know how long do tamales last in the fridge and and also once frozen? Plus get tips for both cooked and uncooked tamales. You’ll learn everything you need to keep enjoying those delicious homemade Mexican tamales and keep them fresher longer.
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How Long do Tamales Last
Tamales are not difficult to make. The thing about them is that they just take longer to prepare than other Mexican foods.
Check out all of my tamales recipes and tips and tricks for make tamales. Go to the archives here.
Of course after all that hard work, we want to take all the necessary precautions to make sure that our tamales last as long as possible. You don’t want all that work and effort to go to waste and have to toss out your tamales.
Today we’re going to learn the best way to keep tamales fresher longer, so keep reading.
Something to be very much aware of is that different ingredients used in the tamales making, will have different shelf life.
Generally speaking vegan and vegetarian tamales will last longer than meat filled ones.
Please note that meat filled tamales run a higher risk of contamination, so if you’re using this guide for meat tamales do take extra precautions — but all of the tamales recipes on this website are vegan tamales or vegetarian tamales.
How Long do Tamales Last in The Fridge
Refrigerating your cooked tamales or raw tamales is a must for food safety reasons as well as extending their shelf life.
How Long do Cooked Tamales Last in The Fridge
Start off by removing the cooked tamales from the steamer basket.
Lay on a baking sheet or a wire rack, like those used for cooling cookies, and allow to cool.
Before storing cooked tamales in the refrigerator make sure that they have cooled down to room temperature. You want to touch them and make sure they don’t feel hot to the touch.
You can read my How to Store Tamales article to learn all the ways you can prepare your tamales for storing in the fridge.
Once your cooked tamales have cooled and you have placed them in an airtight container or a Ziplock bag (or even those type of bags that use a vacuum sealer to seal are great), then you can place in the refrigerator.
Cooked tamales will last in the fridge for about about 7 days.
Remember that our vegan and vegetarian tamales have a longer shelf life than meat based ones. So take precautions.
How Long do Uncooked Tamales Last in The Fridge
Uncooked tamales can also be safely be refrigerated.
Once you have your homemade tamales made, lay them angled on sheet pan or standing up right in a large plastic container. This is so they keep their shape and avoid any spillage.
Raw tamales will keep fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. But my advice is to cook them within the next day or so to retain optimal freshness and prevent spoilage.
Again, note that meat based tamales should be ideally cooked the next day!
Can You Freeze Tamales
You can safely store any leftover tamales in the freezer.
The thing you need to be most careful with freezing is preventing freezer burn. While it’s normal for some ice crystals to form on the corn husks, due to the moister on them, you don’t want the masa dough or the filling to get freezer burn.
After allowing the fresh tamales to come to room temperature you can wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in a plastic bag, or simply place tamales inside a resealable freezer bags or airtight freezer-safe container.
You could even wrap them in extra corn husks to give them an added layer of protection.
Then place in the freezer to freeze.
Please note that freezing corn husk tamales and those made with banana leaves, is perfectly safe and easy. The same method works for both types.
For more detailed tips on how you can store tamales please read my article on How to Store Tamales.
How Long Can You Freeze Tamales
Knowing how long you can freeze tamales for will ensure that your tamales don’t spoil. Additionally freezing is a great option for a large batch of tamales. This means you can keep enjoying your tamales for a long time after all your hard work.
It only takes a couple of hours for them to be mostly frozen. So the process is pretty straightforward.
How Long do Cooked Frozen Tamales Last in The Freezer
To start make sure to put them in airtight freezer containers. As mentioned about, this is to prevent both spoilage and freezer burn.
Cooke frozen tamales will stay fresh in the freezer for about 6 months.
You don’t want to go longer than that because they’ll taste off and the texture changes a lot as well.
How Long do Uncooked Frozen Tamales Last in The Freezer
Raw tamales as long as they are properly packaged before freezing, they too will have a long shelf life in the freezer.
Just like the cooked, raw tamales too will keep fresh in the freezer for about 6 months. Longer than that and both taste and texture begin to deteriorate.
How to Tell if Tamales Have Gone Bad
If not stored properly, tamales won’t last long and they will go bad. Don’t let all of your hard work and that whole day of making tamales go to waste!
Tamales that have gone bad will have a different texture. The filling and tamale dough will have a sour smell to them. Just like regular perishable foods.
Make sure that when you are thawing the frozen tamales to do so in the refrigerator. Starting the night or day before is a great idea.
How Long Are Tamales Good For
When you’ve made a of huge batch of tamales or even if you just have a dozen tamales leftovers, it’s perfectly safe to freeze them.
But you could also store them in the refrigerator.
Raw tamales in the refrigerator will be good for 3 days. Cooked or steamed tamales will be good for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Cooked tamales at room temperature will be good for a few hours. Then it’s best to place in the refrigerator or freezer.
Cooked tamales and raw tamales frozen will be good for up to 6 months if frozen.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…