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How Long Are Tamales Good for in the Fridge?

Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by Lauren Beck

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that is made of cornmeal dough, typically filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese. They are then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. Tamales can be eaten as is, or they can be served with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

So, how long do tamales last in the fridge? Tamales that have been properly stored can last in the fridge for 3-5 days. Be sure to place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.

If you want your tamales to last even longer, you can freeze them. Tamales that have been frozen can last for 2-3 months.

Shelf Life Of Tamales

Here are some general guidelines for the shelf life of tamales:

  • Cooked tamales: 3-5 days in the fridge, 2-3 months in the freezer
  • Uncooked tamales: 1-2 days in the fridge, 2-3 months in the freezer
  • Tamales that have been sitting out: 2 hours at room temperature, 1-2 days in the fridge

How to tell if tamales are bad?

The best way to tell if tamales are bad is by looking at them. Tamales that are starting to go bad will have a slimy or sticky texture. The corn husks may also start to turn brown or black. If you notice any of these changes, it is best to throw the tamales out.

You should also trust your nose when it comes to tamales. Tamales that are bad will have a sour or unpleasant odor. If you notice any off-putting smells, it is best to discard the tamales.

Finally, if you are unsure if the tamales are still good, it is always better to err on the side of caution and throw them out.

How to make tamales?

old woman wrapping tamales

If you want to make tamales at home [1], here is a simple recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of masa harina
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of lard or vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 10-12 corn husks

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, warm water, and salt. Mix until the dough is smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lard or vegetable shortening and chicken broth. Microwave for 1 minute, or until the lard is melted.
  3. Add the lard mixture to the masa dough and mix until well combined.
  4. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred with a fork.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
  6. Add the spice mixture to the shredded chicken and mix until well coated.
  7. To assemble the tamales, take a corn husk and spread a layer of dough on the wide end. Add a spoonful of chicken mixture and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll up the tamale, folding the narrow end over to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  8. Steam the tamales for 30-40 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through.
  9. Enjoy!

How to eat tamales?

Tamales can be eaten as is, or they can be served with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

If you are eating tamales that have been frozen, be sure to thaw them completely before reheating. Tamales can be reheated in the microwave or in a steamer.

Do not eat tamales that have been sitting out for more than 2 hours. Tamales that have been sitting out longer than that may not be safe to eat.

How To Store Tamales

Here are some tips for how to store tamales:

  • Cover the tamales with a damp towel to keep them moist.
  • Place the tamales in a single layer on a plate or tray.
  • Do not stack the tamales on top of each other.
  • Cover the plate or tray with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • You can also freeze tamales for up to 3 months. Be sure to wrap each tamale individually in plastic wrap before freezing.
  • To reheat frozen tamales, thaw them overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave or steamer.

Can tamales make you sick?

Tamales that have been stored properly and eaten within the 5-day timeframe should not make you sick. However, tamales that have been left out for more than 2 hours or that have been frozen and thawed multiple times may be contaminated with bacteria and could make you sick. If you are unsure if the tamales are still safe to eat, it is best to throw them out.

Conclusion

Tamales are a traditional Mexican food that is typically made with a corn-based dough and filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. Tamales can be eaten as is, or they can be served with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream. Tamales should be stored in the fridge and eaten within 3-5 days. Tamales can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Reference:

  1. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-tamales-recipe-22943666
Lauren Beck
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