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How long are tamales good for in the fridge?

Have you lately gotten some tamales and loaded them in your fridge, only to consider if that was a fine thought and whether they will stay fresh?

This article will tell you precisely how to store your tamales to stay fresh and luscious. So keep reading to discover what tamales are, how long tamales are good for in the fridge, how to duly store them, homemade tamales recipes, and the perfect ways to reheat them.

What are Tamales?

A tamale is a traditional Mexican cuisine that has arrived at prominence everywhere. This Mesoamerican corn-based dish is typically loaded up with various meats, cheese, beans, and last but not the least – chilies. The choice of stuffing is personal, and various individuals will incorporate multiple combinations to make distinctive flavors. Tamales are wrapped and cooked in corn husks and occasionally in banana leaves. Both corn husk and banana leaves fill a similar need, and they are removed before eating.

Tamales are plentiful in nutrients, fiber, and minerals that support ideal wellbeing. In addition, tamales also contain fundamental vitamins such as vitamin B3, which plays a crucial role in promoting blood circulation.

However, tamales have ingredients that spoil rapidly after it’s cooked. Thus, most people will wonder how long do tamales last? We got you covered in this article!

Shelf life of Tamale:

Here’s a brief summary  of tamale shelf life: 

Cooked tamales4-5 hours1 Week Up to six months
Uncooked tamales4-5 hours1 WeekUp to six months

How long are tamales good for in Fridge?

tamale in Fridge

Tamales can remain great for up to seven days in your chilling compartment; the conditions may vary, so you should treat your tamales case by case.

Cooked tamales

Cooked tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for around a week. They can also be stored at room temperature for about 4-5 hours and in the freezer for six months. In an airtight container or vacuum-sealed Ziploc bag, cooked tamales will stay delicious for around seven days in the refrigerator. That means you can simply warm them for lunch or supper. Tamales should be stowed in the fridge, both when they are raw and when they are cooked.

It’s essential to keep them cool to keep down the growth of foodborne microbes and ensure they stay safe to eat. It also depends on the ingredients used to make tamales. For example, corn masa, sometimes called “masa preparada”, can be stored up to 4 days in a refrigerator. Masa harina, also called cornflour, lasts between 10-12 months stored in a cool, ill-lit place such as a pantry. Once they are past those freshness dates, discard them.

Uncooked tamales

The criteria for storing the uncooked tamales in the refrigerator are the same as the conditions mentioned above for cooked Tamales, i.e., 4-5 hours in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer. However, there is an alternate option. Freshly bought tamales from stores can last for 2 weeks to a month. The best-case scenario is to keep them in the refrigerator immediately after purchasing. They will come uncooked when you open the parcel, so you can steam them later.

Nevertheless, tamales may be altered in flavor, odor, quality, organoleptic richness, or safety state. Therefore, one should try to consume them straight away. 

How long do tamales last in the freezer?

 Perishable foods like tamales keep so well in the freezer. As long as the dish is set up and prepped adequately, tamales will stay fresh for 6 months in the freezer with little to no changes in flavor or texture. Once they pass this age, they deteriorate or have a less appetizing flavor and texture. As with most frozen food, the longer they are in the freezer, the more the food quality will go bad.


Homemade Tamales recipe


  • 1 ¼ pound pork loin
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 dried  chile pods
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Tamale Dough:

  • 2 ½ cups of  masa harina
  • 1 (297 grams) canned beef broth
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tap salt
  • ⅔ cup of lard
  • 1 (226 grams) package of dried corn husks
  • ½ cup sour cream


  • Place pork into the oven with onion and garlic and pour water to cover. Bring it to boil, then decrease the heat to low and bubble until the meat is cooked thoroughly, about 2 hours.
  • Put chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Use rubber gloves to detach seeds and stems from the chile pods. Simmer, lay bare for about 20 minutes, then take off from heat to cool. Bring the chiles and water to a blender and blend till smooth. Strain the mixture, mix some salt, and put it aside. Shred the cooked meat and combine with one cup of the chile sauce.
  • Soak the corn husks in a bowl of lukewarm water for 20 minutes or until softened. In a large pan, beat the lard with a tablespoon of the broth until fluffy and smooth. Mix the masa harina, baking powder, and salt; blend into the lard mixture, adding more broth to form a pulpy dough.
  • Disperse the dough over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Put one tablespoon of the meat filling in the middle. Turn over the sides of the husks toward the middle and place them in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.
  • Separate tamales from husks and sprinkle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, blend sour cream into the chile sauce.
  • To test if the tamales are done, remove one tamale and manage to pull the husk off. If the husk pulls away neatly from the tamale, they’re done. If the dough is still damp or sticky, let them be cooked for 8-10 minutes longer and try again.
  • Store the leftover tamales in the refrigerator for about a week, depending on the freshness of your ingredients.

FAQs about how long are tamales good for in the fridge

How long are tamales good for in the fridge?

How to tell if tamales are bad?

With tamales, mold and foul smell typically indicate that tamales are bad. Concerning the texture, bad tamales will have mold growing on them. Its color will also switch from a yellowish color to orange or pink. If you notice mold and the color changes, discard the entire tamales.

Will tamales go bad in the refrigerator?

Tamales last about one week in the refrigerator, six months in the freezer, and three to four hours on the counter. Storing the tamales in the fridge and freezer is the foremost measurement when wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a sealed container. Tamales shouldn’t be exposed for any longer than four hours.

Is it better to freeze Tamales cooked?

Yes, it is better to freeze tamales cooked. The reason is that the cooked tamales can reserve the consistency, flavor, aroma, and structure better than uncooked tamales. In addition, the cooked ingredients have less chance of inviting microbes in.

How do I store Tamales?

 The best way to store the tamales is to wrap them well and store them in the refrigerator. Or, if you would like to keep them for a considerable time, put down tamales in a plastic and airtight container, then store them in a freezer. You can store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you want to keep tamales longer than 6 months, try using a vacuum sealer.

Can tamales make you sick?

No, tamales can not make you sick. In fact, tamales provide healthy micronutrients, including folate, vitamin A, zinc, phosphorous, calcium, potassium, and iron. In addition, adding spicy peppers give tamales an extra kick and may help support metabolic and vascular health.

How long do tamales last unrefrigerated?

Tamales and other short-lived food should never be stored at room temperature for more than 4 hours. You should always try to consume them or cook them within a couple of hours. Due to the ingredients such as meat and chicken used in tamale filling, bacteria will start growing on them speedily.

How can you air fry frozen tomatoes?

An air fryer is an ideal method for warming up tamales. Here are the steps:

  1. Brush them with oil, then place the frozen tamales directly into the air fryer, avoiding overfilling. You don’t need to remove the wrappings or husks. Instead, tamales will be warmed up by the hot air coming from the air fryer.
  2. Set the temperature to 375ºF (190ºC) and cook for about 8-10 minutes until the color changes to golden and the texture crispy.
  3. With the help of tongs, remove them and dish them out. After releasing their husks, you can savor them with a cup of coffee.

How should I store and reheat Tamales?

 To reheat the cooked tamales, just steam them for a little while. The perfect way to reheat tamales, either frozen or unfrozen, is to use a moist paper towel and fold it around the tamale husk, making it a package. Then, wait for a minute if frozen. This makes the masa stays nice and moist and never drained.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, tamales are scrumptious food that can be easily stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you want to keep them in the fridge, ensure that you consume them within a week to maintain peak freshness and delicious flavor.

Tamales will last in the freezer for about 6 months with the right storage strategies. Don’t forget to label your bag with the contents and date so you don’t miss track of when you cooked them and how long they will last.

If you are going to be serving tamales at a feast or dinner party, you should keep them warm in a chafing dish to prevent bacteria growth. Do you have a favorite way to store tamales? Let us know in the comments!

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