can you steam tamales in a rice cooker

Can you steam tamales in a rice cooker“? The answer is quite simple. Yes, you can steam your tamales in a rice cooker.

Tamales are known to be very common street food.

Some people believe that only a tamales pot and steamer can be used to make tamales.

But that isn’t true, as there are other kitchen appliances you can use to make tamales.

So yes, you can use a rice cooker to steam tamales. I believe a rice cooker to be the best appliance for making tamales.

How to Steam Tamales

steam tamales

There are so many ways to steam tamales based on the kitchen equipment you possess.

Here are ways to steam your tamales and different types of kitchen appliances.

Using a Steamer Basket

A steamer basket is the most common instrument used in making tamales.

Here are the steps to follow when using it.

Step #1: Add Water To The Pot

Water should be added to a big pot until it just touches the bottom of the steamer basket.

Make sure it doesn’t pass the bottom of the basket.

Instead of laying them down, place the tamales vertically in the steamer basket so that they are standing with the open end up.

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This will aid in preventing water from entering the tamales.

And we all know what happens when too much water touches the tamales, it goes mushy 

Step #2: Turn Down The Heat

turn down the heat

Once the water has boiled, turn down the heat to medium-low. A very gentle simmer should be maintained in the water.

Occasionally add more water to maintain the steam.

Check the water level frequently to make sure it doesn’t run out throughout the time it will take to cook the tamales.

If more water is required, add it and adjust the heat so that a gentle simmer is maintained.

Step #3: Remove The Husk

When the husk easily peels away and the tamale feels firm to the touch, it is ready.

After the tamale has rested for a few minutes, pull off the husk.

Return the pot and let the tamale continue to steam if it does not feel firm or the husk is difficult to remove.

Using a Pressure Cooker

using pressure cooker

The method of steaming tamales with a pressure cooker is quite similar to the previous method explained above.

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Step #1: Add Water to the Cooker & Switch On

You fill the cooker with water until it is just below the steamer basket.

Arrange the tamales vertically, open side facing up, in the steamer basket.

Put the pressure cooker’s lid on and turn the heat up to high.

Step #2: Turn Down the Cooker to the Lowest

After the pressure cooker reaches its maximum setting, turn it down to the lowest setting and continue cooking the tamales for an additional 30 minutes.

Depending on the size and type of the pressure cooker, this procedure normally takes 20 minutes.

turn down heat pressure cooker

Step #4: Turn Off the Pressure Cooker

Turn off the pressure and release the pressure once 20 minutes have passed.

Check if it is done. If it isn’t, place it back inside to steam for an additional ten minutes.

Using An Oven

using oven

Utilizing an oven is the least preferable approach for making a tamale but in situations where that is all you have, you can make it possible.

Here are the steps for making tamales using an oven.

Step #1:  Lower The Temperature To The Bare Minimum

Tamales will steam at a very low temperature without drying out.

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The tamales should be added to the pot or casserole dish on a steam rack with the folded end facing up as usual.

Step #2: Pour the Hot Water in Until It Just Touches The Rack

The tamales should steam for at least half an hour, after which you can now check for doneness.

If it isn’t ready, place it back inside the oven to steam for about 10 to 20 minutes.

Steaming Without a Steam Basket

steam without basket

Step #1: Choose Either a Plate or a Pot

Select a heat-resistant plate and a pot. A plate can be used in place of a steamer basket if you don’t have one.

Pick one that can withstand heat and has enough room on the sides for the steam to circulate.

To make room for the plate, use aluminum foil. Create several sizable foil balls, then drop them into the saucepan.

This will give the plate a basis on which to rest.

Step #2: Add Water & Arrange The Tamales

After finishing the aluminum balls, put the plate on top and pour in the necessary amount of water.

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Just underneath the plate, there should be water.

If you can, arrange the tamales vertically. You can place them flat on the dish if they can’t stand upright on their own.

Step #3: Lower The Heat & Cook For An Hour

lower heat and cook

Bring the water to a boil in the covered pot, then lower the heat to medium.

Tamales cook in about an hour, the same as when using a steamer basket. To make sure there is enough water, frequently check the pot.

Check if your tamales are done by removing them from the plate. Return it to the pot and continue steaming if extra time is required.

The equipment you are using greatly affects the tamale-cooking procedure. You can proceed and follow the standard instructions for heating tamales in a steamer if you’re using one.

Tamalero is the name of the particular steamer designed for steaming tamales in it.

It is created specifically for tamale cooking and is used mostly by food vendors. This brings us back to our next question.

Can You Steam Tamales In A Rice Cooker? 

steaming tamales in rice cooker

Yes, you can steam your tamales in a rice cooker without encountering any hitches.

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So, I’ll be quickly listing out the step-by-step instructions on how to steam tamales in a rice cooker.

Rest assured, with these steps you will get it right.

Step #1: Prepare the Pot

Add about 4 to 5 inches of water to the rice cooker. If the rice cooker has a steam basket, you are in luck.

If not, you have to use something to raise the tamales to make sure it doesn’t touch the water.

Step #2: Place The Tamales In The Rice Cooker

The rice cooker’s pan is quite small and a little flat. Because of this, boiling tamales in it would be quite challenging.

You need to make sure that the water only touches the pot and steams the tamales rather than touching the hot, boiling water.

boil water

 You can make use of a rack or foil, or even an overturned plate. The only thing left to do is to add oil and begin adding your tamales to the steam bucket.

The size of the tamale will determine how much space it needs. 

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Try to make your tamales smaller so that they can fit inside your rice cooker with ease. Then place the tamales horizontally in the rice cooker.

If the tamales are up to a dozen then they should be placed vertically to allow them to steam evenly. 

Step #3: Allow To Steam

The tamales should be allowed to steam for at least 20 minutes depending on the placement.

Step #4: Check To Know If It Is Done

check doneness of tamales

After steaming them for an hour, verify their doneness by opening the tamale by peeling back the leaf or husk with a fork.

They aren’t ready if the dough is still soft and clammy. The dough must be stiff and not runny.

Step #5: Bring It Out To Cool Then Serve

After being taken out of the cooker, the tamales must rest for roughly 10 minutes.

The best advice is to wait a few minutes before eating them since they will be soft.

How To Steam Frozen Tamales 

steam frozen tamales

Two types of tamales are steamed in a rice cooker, raw tamales, and frozen tamales.

Frozen Tamales are either store-bought or preserved tamales. Either way, both have already been pre-cooked which means they both require more time to steam.

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The tamales should be steamed and cooked using the same procedure we used with normal tamales but with more time.

The ideal method for reheating them is to steam them. This is because it preserves the moisture inside. 

Doing so also prevents excessive drying since tamales are best enjoyed when moist.

Steam them until they are well heated and wait till it’s cool before eating. 

TipYou can also make use of other equipment like an instant pot for example or a slow pot to cook tamales.

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Your delicious tamales can be served with any side dish of your choice. But in most cases, it can be eaten alone.

I do hope we’ve been able to answer the main question that brought you here in the first place “can you steam tamales in a rice cooker”

Thank you very much for your time, I hope the article has been helpful.