How long are tamales good for in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long are tamales good for in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of tamales. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot spoiled tamales.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long are tamales good for in the fridge?

Tamales last in the fridge for about 7 days if kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be kept in a plastic zipper bag or air-tight container on one of the refrigerator’s shelves.

It’s worth noting that the values given above are for tamales’ expected shelf life.

What is the best temperature to keep tamales at?

Tamales should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower at all times. Bacterial development is more rapid between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it’s best to keep your tamales at a lower temperature to keep them fresh for longer.

How to store tamales in the fridge?

  1. Allow the tamales to cool to room temperature.
  1. Find a container with an airtight closure and enough room to fit your tamales without bending or squashing them.
  1. A layer of tamales should be placed on the bottom of the container.
  1. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the tamales after the bottom of the container is full. Slightly tuck the plastic down the sides.
  1. If there is enough room in the container, add another layer of tamales on top of the first.
  1. After that layer has been done, cover the tamales with another piece of plastic wrap.
  1. Repeat this process until your container is completely full.
  1. Place one last layer of plastic wrap on top of the tamales and push it down to seal the container.
  1. Label the container and store it in the refrigerator.

How long do tamales last at room temperature?

When kept at room temperature, tamales last for around 4 hours.

Because bacterial growth occurs at a quicker rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, tamales left out for more than 4 hours should be discarded.

How long do tamales last in the freezer?

Tamales last for about 6 months in the freezer if stored wrapped in aluminum foil in an airtight plastic freezer bag. 

As a result, freezing the tamales extends their shelf life significantly due to the freezer’s low temperature, which inhibits bacterial growth on the tamales.

How to defrost frozen tamales?

You can quickly defrost frozen tamales by placing them in the refrigerator overnight, and thawed tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days before reheating/cooking and consuming them.

If you’re defrosting frozen tamales in a bowl of cold water, the microwave, or on the counter, you should utilize them right away after reheating/cooking them thoroughly.

Is it possible to refrigerate the reheated tamales?

Once the previously cooked refrigerated/frozen tamales have been reheated, they should never be refrigerated again. Because the temperature of the tamales goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit when reheated and we know that bacteria develops rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As a result, bacteria will make their way into your tamales and reheated tamales should never be refrigerated, rather it is better to consume them completely or otherwise discard the reheated leftovers properly.

How to vacuum seal tamales? 

You may even vacuum seal your tamales at home to extend their shelf life. It involves placing the tamales in a plastic zipper bag, eliminating the air, then nearly sealing the bag with a small amount of space remaining while lowering it into water.

After that, start pressing out the bubbles starting from the bag’s bottom and work your way up to the sealed end, closing the bag’s seal. 

A vacuum sealer pump can also be used to easily vacuum seal tamales at home.

What are different ways to spot spoiled tamales?

There are a few clear indicators that indicate if your tamales have gone bad. To determine if tamales have gone bad, look at their appearance, texture, and smell.


If you see mold or other organic growth on your tamales or if their color changes from yellow to orange or pink, it’s time to throw them out.

It’s worth noting that you should avoid smelling moldy tamales since molds can produce mycotoxins, which can disturb your gut microflora and damage your immune system if they enter your body by inhalation.


If you touch the tamales and it feels sticky, slimy, or gooey, it’s time to throw them out.


If you smell something sour or foul while sniffing your tamales, it’s time to throw them out.

Lastly, I do not recommend tasting cooked tamales with a foul odor, but if you are brave (and silly) enough, you will notice a significant change in the texture and mouthfeel of the spoiled tamales. It will have an off-flavor.

Thus, if the microbes have somehow gotten into your tamales and spoiled them, the best thing you can do is throw them out.

How to properly store tamales?

  1. Because microscopic organisms grow quickly at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, it is best to refrigerate the tamales within 2 hours they are cooked in airtight containers to extend their shelf life while keeping their quality.
  1. If you wish to extend the shelf life of prepared tamales, keep them in an airtight container in the freezer. Cooked tamales that have been frozen at 0°C are safe to use for extremely long periods.
  1. Tamales should be stored wrapped in cling film in shallow compact containers to allow them to cool quickly.

You can read how to make tamales here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long are tamales good for in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of tamales. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot spoiled tamales.


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