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How do you steam a large batch of tamales at once?

I want to make a huge batch of tamales for a family gathering. I don't have a canning pot to steam them in large numbers. How can I do this cheaply (i.e. without extra equipment)? Is there an oven method? Any hints will save me hours of steaming up the kitchen. Thanks!

asked by midnitechef over 5 years ago
14 answers 44738 views
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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

Could be difficult, depending on how many and what equipment you have access too, do you have a neighbor with a outdoor turkey deep Fryer? You could build a bit of a 'lift' with a small wire rack and an inverted flower pot dip pan to lift them off the water.
If you have one...be sure to remove the LP tank after your finished to avoid kids from turning it back on.
I'm not sure about the oven method...but one of those old fashioned roasting pans with a lid might give you the volume you need...I'd use it on the cook top tho to avoid drying them out or use on a gas grill.

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added over 5 years ago

Sam1148 has a couple of great ideas. Here is a site that has pictures of large number of tamales being steamed together. I find I do need those pictures! It seems to me you could do this on an outdoor grill also, one with a temp control.
http://www.fabulousfoods...

0f493ab9 068f 4498 ba2c 95c992214d52  sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

@skk
I love the idea of using galvanized buckets. Cheap and have other uses.
I would wonder if normal galvanized buckets would work--instead of a 'tamale steamer bucket'. as things just aren't as made as 'strugged' today.

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

How large a batch, and what size are the tamales? What comes to mind is a large roasting pan, supplemented by three or four brownie (9" x 13") pans, in which you place wire cooling racks, on which you sit the tamales. Pour boiling water in the bottom, then cover tightly with the lid of the roaster, or foil. Cook at about 400 for 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the efficiency of your oven. I'd probably try to rig up two or more layers, using small (4 ounce) glass canning jars, inverted, on which I'd sit more cooling racks, if my pans were deep enough . . . . ;o)

C0d1f1de 4134 43ba 9510 1d7a8caa31f3  scan0004
added over 5 years ago

Here's a possible option -- a pressure cooker. If you have one, and if the logistics work for you, consider it:
http://chowhound.chow.com...

2269774e 64e7 47ec 8fb3 d6fb03cce199  debbykalk photo
added over 5 years ago

How many people and how many dozen tamales?

97043910 0361 479c bed1 89ab1eecb0e6  claire
added over 5 years ago

@latoscana: 30-50 or more people, I'd say at least 6 dozen tamales.
@susan g: I don't own a pressure cooker
@AntoniaJames: Size - about 5" long, 2" diameter. I tend to put as little masa possible to maximize space for fillings. Smaller are better for pot-lucks too.
@SKK and Sam1148: thanks for the links. I do have a burner that I could set a large pot to boil, I have to buy the pot though.

Thanks to everyone for your ideas! This should get me in the right direction.

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added over 5 years ago

Possibly ask someone to borrow a pot or go to Goodwill or a thrift store.

2269774e 64e7 47ec 8fb3 d6fb03cce199  debbykalk photo
added over 5 years ago

When we're serving a crowd, we figure 3-4 tamales per person, assuming there are some side dishes as well. I don't think 6 dozen will go far enough for your guests, unless they are very large tamales. I'd suggest more like 8-9 dozen for conventionally-sized tamales. Some people will eat 1 or 2 but some will devour a bunch.

It seems to me that you are going to spend a fair amount feeding 50 people so a small amount more will ensure a great meal for everyone. There's a big 21 qt Granite Ware pot on Amazon that's under $20: http://www.amazon.com/Columbian....

Have a variety of green and red salsas and garnishes (sliced peppers, limes, cilantro). Delicioso!

97043910 0361 479c bed1 89ab1eecb0e6  claire
added over 5 years ago

Hi latoscana, it's a pot-luck so there will be plenty of other things to eat. Most of my family has never had a tamale, so I don't think I'll need as many as you suggest. Last time I made Posole and half of it was left.

2269774e 64e7 47ec 8fb3 d6fb03cce199  debbykalk photo
added over 5 years ago

Ah, got it. You are probably just fine with 6 dozen, then. Explain to them to remove the husk...
I hope they are a big hit!

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added over 5 years ago

Lucky family to be tasting your tamales! By the way, I love Round Rock, Tx.

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added over 5 years ago

I remember once being at a tamalada (a large-scale tamale-making party) & the hostess didn't have a steamer to put on the bottom of her large tamale pot. So she threw in a big handful of spoons, forks & knives at the bottom & began building her "nest of tamales" on that! Ingenuity!

32fb3935 151a 4db2 ac26 980d4c0d5cea  lorigoldsby
added over 5 years ago

This may be too late to help you...but I made appetizer sized tamales for our neighborhood progressive dinner 75ppl... I used a foil deep sheet pan to hold the water, and placed my grid cooling wrap on top. Wrapped tamales with foil. Worked great. This week I had to improvise because I did not have foil. Placed over the rack of water, but didn't cover. Charred the husks a little and they weren't as moist, but were a hit with the crowd as "something diferent"