Panamanian Tamales
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Traditionally served on holidays and at celebrations in Puerto Rico, pasteles have an outside layer of dough made of plantain, potato and green bananas and are brimming with seasoned pork. These wonderful main dishes are usually made in large batches, so freezing them is a common way to save leftovers. Properly defrosting pasteles keeps their integrity while keeping you safe from foodborne illness. If you don't plan to eat them the same day, defrost them in the refrigerator, rather than in the microwave or cold water.

Defrost Pasteles in the Refrigerator

Remove the pasteles from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator.

Leave them in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.

Use the pasteles within three to four days.

Defrost Pasteles in Cold Water

Fill a clean sink or a large bowl with cold water.

Submerge the pasteles, wrapped in a watertight plastic bag, in the water. Leave the pasteles in the water for two or three hours. Change the water every 30 minutes.

Heat and eat the pasteles immediately after thawing them with this method. Do not store them in the refrigerator.

Defrost Pasteles in the Microwave

Wrap the pasteles in a paper towel and place them on a microwave-safe plate.

Set the microwave power to 50 percent and microwave in 1-minute increments until they're defrosted. You can also use your microwave's automatic defrost function.

Change the power to 100 percent to thoroughly heat the pasteles and serve them. Do not store pasteles in the refrigerator if they've been defrosted in the microwave.


Never defrost pasteles in hot water or at room temperature.