How Long Do Tamales Stay Out Of The Refrigerator?

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 05:20 pm

The Mexican cuisine “Tamales” is a very delicious meal. It, however, requires long cooking hours.

And due to this, it’s normal to make more than usual Tamales and store them in the refrigerator for future use. They’re usually cooked in a corn husk or banana wrap for added flavors.

Tamales are a corn-based food stuffed with fillings like cheese, meat, vegetables, and fruits.

They are best preserved in an aluminum foil or plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container, in the freezer, or refrigerator.

The delicious dish lasts for about seven days in the refrigerator and 4-6 months in the freezer.

Tamales stay out of the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Therefore, after attaining room temperature, you should store cooked tamales in the refrigerator, which should not exceed leaving them on the counter for four hours.  

How Long Do Tamales Stay Out of the Refrigerator?

Tamales Stay Out of the Refrigerator

Both cooked and uncooked Tamales don’t last more than a couple of hours outside the refrigerator. They can last for approximately four hours outside the fridge.

You can place them on the counter for a few hours to cool, and if warm, wrap them with a plastic wrapper to prevent contaminants.

The fillings in Tamales like meat and chicken tend to spoil easily when kept at a less ideal temperature.

For uncooked Tamales, it’s best to cook them within one or two hours after purchase.

The fresh ingredients can be a breeding ground for bacteria- thus, increasing the rate at which the tamales spoil. 

Moreover, you can also freeze the Tamales in the freezer if you plan on preserving them for a long time. They will last six months before going bad, although you can keep them for a bit longer.

Still, freezer burn sets in, and the tamales develop a weird texture and taste. Freezing uncooked Tamales can also help them stay up to six months in the freezer.

You can freeze uncooked Tamales by wrapping them individually to keep the quality intact. 

Furthermore, Storing cooked tamales is, however, advisable rather than storing uncooked ones.

Removing uncooked Tamales from the refrigerator and into the freezer can cause a change in the texture even before cooking. 

How Long Can Tamales Last In the Fridge? 

Fortunately, you can decide to cook a huge batch of Tamales and not worry about preservation.

Tamales can stay up to 7 days in the fridge before losing taste and texture.

Meanwhile, you can still eat them a little while after a week, but the fridge temperature will harden the texture beyond normal.

The more you prolong eating the tamales, the more you stuff the dough. It’ll lead to a brittle and tasteless corn-based meal.

Uncooked Tamales also last for a week in the fridge, but it’s advisable to eat them within two to four days when the filling contains meat.

All the same, you should store the dish correctly for it to last up to a week. Here are some tips on how to store Tamales in the fridge

  • Allow Tamales to cool at room temperature hours before placing them in the fridge.
  • Use a spacious airtight container. 
  • You can also use a plastic or ziplock bag to preserve the tamales.
  • Ensure you squeeze out the air in the bags before sealing.
  • Stack Tamales on each other and place a napkin to absorb excess moisture before covering with the container cover.
  •  Write the date and content of the dish on a sticker or masking tape and stick it to the container.
  • Place in the refrigerator and consume within seven days.

Do Tamales Go Bad in the Refrigerator?

Yes, tamales go bad after exceeding their shelf lives in the refrigerator. The maximum number of days to store cooked and uncooked Tamales in the fridge is seven days.

Prolonging the consumption of the tamales after these days can make them go bad. The bacterial growth then changes taste, flavor, and appearance. 

Meanwhile, if you won’t finish your tamales batch after these days, it’s safe to freeze them. Freezing the tamales will allow you to preserve them for four to six months.

Freezing can allow you to preserve the tamales for a year. However, you’ll have to use a vacuum sealing bag instead of a freezer bag for that longer than usual duration.

After, you can thaw and reheat the tamales in an air fryer or a steamer before consumption.

How to Tell If Tamales Are Bad?

Tamales don’t often go bad, but if they do, the smell is the first indication of their doom.

Most tamales contain ingredients like fruits, chicken, and vegetables which tends to give off a smell at the slightest rate of decomposition.

The accumulation of the bacteria from the fillings gives a pungent odor. You’ll find mold on the corn husk or banana wrapper, which shows that the tamales are completely bad.

Spores also develop on the tamales even though you might not see them.

It would be best if you didn’t eat the tamales after the appearance of the mold on the wrapper because they might as well be an invitation to illness.

Some other symptoms of a spoiled Tamale include; sour fluid, dark green mold spots, corn dough color change from yellow to orange or pink, and gray mold spots. 

When there’s a leaky tamale in the container, there’s a possibility that the whole batch has spoiled. The sour fluid is an advanced decay that can contaminate the other food. 

How Do You Store Leftover Tamales?

The best thing is to preserve the leftovers whenever you cook too many tamales that your household can consume.

It would be best if you ate Tamales within a couple of hours after preparing- but never store them at room temperature for more than 4 hours.

While storing Tamales at room temperature, wrap them with a cling wrapper to prevent insects and pests from feasting.

Consequently, you can store leftover tamales in the fridge and freezer. In the refrigerator, use a rectangular container that the tamales can fit into and ensure it’s airtight.

Ensure that you don’t stack a lot of tamales on one another. You can also place a cotton cloth over the tamales stack for moisture absorption.

In addition, you can use a plastic bag to store the maize dough dish and seal it. However, you must squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. 

Tamales leftover can even do better in the freezer. It would help if you used a big airtight container or a freezer bag that can accommodate the tamales.

Squeeze out the air in a freezer bag before sealing and freezing. There’s also the option of using a vacuum sealer bag which removes all air completely and can preserve the tamales for about a year. 

Tamales take hours to prepare; thus, cooking them in large batches and preserving them is the way to get the most out of the dish.

Bottom Line

Tamale is a masa-dough dish stuffed with fillings like meat, chicken, pork, vegetables, and fruits.

However, the room temperature hours of Tamales shouldn’t exceed four to prevent fast bacterial activity. Additionally, it would be best if you did not store warm tamales in the fridge.

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