How to Steam Tamales

1 of the most common questions I get asked is “How long do I steam tamales for?” or “How do I steam tamales?”
So I figured I would answer that here for everyone to read and share if needed.

I steam almost all my tamales for 1 hour in a regular single stack steamer. Pictured below.

There are times when I may go a little longer, maybe 1 hour 15 min at most and only if I have a wetter meat or wetter than usual masa. I like a moist tamale and do not want to bite into a dry masa. This amount of time is plenty. I have heard people steam pots for up to 2 hours. I personally feel that is too long. I have “forgotten” what time I put a pot on and have went over and as long as it isn’t too much over an hour the masa remains moist.

When making several pots of tamales I have to keep track of what time I out them on or I will mix up what time I put each 1 on and that makes for an instant headache and panic LOL! Write it down and keep track! Trust me when I say this! You will be thankful when you bite into moist delicious tamales! I also like to keep count of how many dozens I make as I go and what flavors. A dry erase board is a magical tool when it comes to keeping track on tamale making day!

Now if you own a double or triple stack steamer, which I LOVE for tamale making parties or a tamale making business, you may have to stream for 1 hour 30 min- 2 hours. This depends on how tight you stuff them in, which by the way you do not want to do. Loosely lined for room to expand and steam properly is ideal. I LOVE this steamer pictured below! Talk about save time and stove space!

Happy Steaming!

Tamale Mama