No steamer basket? No problem. You can DIY your way to steamed tamales. Here are four ways.


Things You'll Need

Pasta Colander Method

Place a metal pasta colander in a pot large enough to hold it. Pour enough water in the pot to just cover the base of the colander.

Put the tamales in the steamer and cover.

Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the tamales begin to separate from the husks while still retaining their shape.

Wire Mesh Strainer Method

Place a wire mesh strainer in a pot large enough to hold it. Hook the edge of the strainer onto the side of the pot, and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pot.

Put the tamales in the strainer and cover.

Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the tamales are firm enough to separate from their husks.

Chopsticks Method

Arrange a handful of chopsticks to form a “rack” that will hold the tamales up off the bottom of your wok. Add water to the bottom of the wok up to within an inch of the chopsticks.

Arrange the tamales on top of the chopsticks and cover.

Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat. Cook for at least 30 minutes, or until the tamales are firm enough to begin separating from their husks. Make sure to re-season your wok when you’re through.

Casserole Method

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour about half an inch of water into the bottom of a casserole pan.

Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil, and then flatten it out a bit to create a stand you can use to raise the tamales up off the bottom of the pan.

Place the tamales on top of the foil, then cover the pan with an additional sheet of foil.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tamales are firm enough to begin separating from their husks.

Note: The time it takes to steam tamales depends on their size, but most cook in half to 3/4 of an hour.