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How To Steam Tamales In A Rice Cooker – It’s A Simple Way

How To Steam Tamales In A Rice Cooker – It’s A Simple Way

Tamales are a Mexican dish that is easy to make.

There are different kinds of tamales such as steamed pork, fried pork, chicken, beef, etc.

The tamales are wrapped in either banana leaves or corn husks. You can fill the tamales with whatever you please.

The wrappers, however, do not get eaten but will let off a certain taste in the tamales when they get steamed. You can steam tamales in a slow cooker, oven, and steamers.

Wait, did you know you can also cook tamales in a rice cooker? No way! How is it done?

How To Steam Tamales In A Rice Cooker

To steam tamales using a rice cooker, you need to place a steaming rack into the cooker and place the tamales on it in single layers. Place the lid on the cooker and let the water come to a boil over mid-heat. Once the tamales are done to your liking, remove them and allow them to rest before serving.

What Is A Tamale?

A tamale is a traditional dish and is made of dough or masa, which is then steamed in a banana leaf or corn husk. The wrapping can either be used as your plate or discarded.

Cooking Tamales In A Rice Cooker

Get your rice cooker out and fill it with 5 inches of fresh water.

Use the steamer basket, but first, you need to put something on the bottom to makes sure the tamales are not touching the water at all.

Once you have done that, place the steamer basket on top ad place your tamales into the basket.

If the tamales end up touching the water, they will become soggy and yuck.

It is best to lay your tamales down on the seam and keep them tight together. If you stand them up, they will take in too much steam and end up getting soggy, and everything will fall out.

Get your corn husks and lay 4 on top of the tamales.

Put the lid on your pot and start the machine.

You want to keep it steaming for between 60 to 90 minutes.

How long for will depend on how big your tamals are.

Make sure you are checking the water level often, and if it’s low, refill it. If the water is allowed to evaporate, the tamales will taste scorched. 

Once they are done, take them out and allow them to rest for a few minutes before you dish them up.

How Do I Check If My Tamales Are Cooked?

Steam them for one hour, then with some tongs, open the tamale by peeling the leaf or husk back and check for doneness.

You can also use a skewer and piece the tamal. If the dough is sticky and mushy still, they are not ready. The dough needs to be firm and not sticky.

If you have meat inside the tamales, especially chicken, take some filling out to see if it has cooked all the way through.

Can I Reheat Tamales?

If you have frozen tamales and want to reheat them to eat, you need to make sure you reheat them at the correct temperature.

Do the same process that you did to steam and cook the tamales. Steaming them to reheat is the best option as it keeps the moisture in, so they don’t dry out as much.

This is especially true if you have meat in your tamales as meat dries out when reheated.

Steam until they are hot all the way through.


If your rice cooker comes with a steam basket, then go ahead and steam whatever you like that will fit in it.

That includes your tasty tamales.

Steam vegetables with your tamales; if you have the room, then just set and go about your business.

Don’t get extra pots and pans out when you can just use the one machine to steam what you like.

Always check your manual if you’re not sure if you can steam in your machine or if you need the instructions on how to do it, as some machines will vary.

If you are buying one, opt for a bigger size so you can steam more than one dish at a time to save both time and effort of not having to wash too many dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Steaming Tamales

How Long Do I Steam Tamales For In A Rice Cooker?

You can steam your tamals for between one hour and two. The size will determine how long they will need to be cooked for.


How Long Should Tamales Sit After Steaming?

The tamales need to sit for about 10 minutes after they have been removed from the cooker. It is best not to eat them right after taking them out of the pot as they will be extra soft. You want to eat them once they have had a chance to firm up.