How Long do Tamales Last?

How long do Tamales last

You are in a situation where you love eating Tamales, but you have cooked so much that even if you try, you cannot consume all of it.

But you have prepared Tamales with so much love that you don’t want to throw them away. 

Ever been in such a situation? I guess you have that is why you are scouring the internet to know how you can make your Tamales last longer. 

Tamales are an incredible Meso-American dish, most famous from Mexico, which made its way to the US in the 1930s. 

Since then, they have evolved and traveled to other parts of the US and the entire world. 

You don’t need to worry if you don’t know how long the Tamales stay fresh. We are here to answer all your queries regarding how long tamales last and how you can store them properly. 

Interesting fact: Did you know that National Tamale Day has been celebrated on 23rd March since 2016?

Shelf Life of Tamales

There are several ways to make this dish, but an essential ingredient is ‘Masa’ (maize dough) and corn leaf. 

In some countries, banana leaf is used instead of corn leaf, several factors in the shelf-life of Tamales. It depends on whether you have cooked tamales or not.

It also depends on the ingredients that are used in making Tamales.

Another important factor is where and how you store the Tamales. 

Let’s dive into knowing how long tamales will last under different conditions:

Here’s a Quick Answer if you Don’t have Time

Store Bought, Cooked3 hours4 to 5 days Not recommended 
Store Bought, Uncooked4 to 5 hours7 days6 months 
Homemade4 to 5 hours7 days6 months

How long do Tamales last in Fridge? 

You are planning to prepare for a fun dinner party and want to prepare ahead of time to enjoy the party. 

You can make tamales in such situations and keep them in the fridge. Tamales stay in their best quality in the fridge. 

You have to be careful while storing tamales, and if you succeed, your tamales will stay fresh for almost a week if they are cooked.


If your Tamales are uncooked, they will last for around 4 to 5 days.

Most countries also wrap them in banana leaves instead of corn husk. Both corn husk and banana leaves serve the same purpose.

How long do Tamales last at room temperature? 

Let’s be honest; those Tamales get eaten by everyone soon. Sometimes you may leave it outside if you have made it for everyone too much.

You should do this to protect your Tamales from being contaminated by microbes.

If you properly follow the required procedures, you can leave Tamales outside for 4 to 5 hours if cooked.

You shouldn’t leave Tamales for more than 3 hours if they are uncooked.

Be mindful of the ingredients involved in making Tamales as they can affect the shelf-life of Tamales

How long do Tamales last in Freezer?

Yes, you can store Tamales in the freezer. But you should be very careful of how you store Tamales.

Uncooked Tamales are not recommended to store in the Freezer as they may lose their texture quickly and will not taste good when cooked.

Store the Cooked Tamales in the freezer in a plastic or a Ziploc back properly.

If you store them properly, your delicious Tamales may last for around 6 months in the freezer.

Tamales served

How to Store Tamales?

It is quite simple to store Tamales. As said earlier, the best way to store Tamales is to keep them in the fridge. It’s one of the easiest ways to store Tamales.

You just need to remember a few points, and you will be all good to go. 

Firstly, you must let your Tamales cool down completely before keeping them in the fridge.

This is because hot Tamales are more susceptible to bacterial contamination than hot ones.

If you keep hot Tamales in the fridge, they may get contaminated sooner than the average time.

Next, you must transfer all your Tamales in a Ziploc or in an airtight container. Any type of container, plastic or glass, would completely work.

If you are storing it in a plastic bag, make sure that you remove all the excess air for better preservation.

You need to thaw Tamales if you have frozen them properly. You can thaw Tamales and heat them back in a pressure cooker, oven, microwave, or pan.

How do we know if Tamales have gone bad?

Tamales, if stored properly, can last for a long time.

As they contain meat, they risk being contaminated by salmonella or clostridium and even by campylobacter. 

These are the ways you can know if your Tamales have gone bad –

If you notice that your Tamales are giving off a sour smell, it indicates that they have gone bad.

If you seem to find gray or dark green mold spots on your Tamales, it’s time for you to discard them as they have gone bad.

If liquids are being secreted by your Tamales, then you need to let go of them as they are safe to consume anymore.

Sadly, if the color changes from yellow to pink or even orange of your corn dough, it means your tamales must be thrown out.


We hope that we have answered all your queries regarding how long your Tamales will last and how you can store them in order to prolong their shelf-life.

Remember the key points mentioned in our article, and you will be good to go and can enjoy your Tamales.

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