Tamales are amazingly delicious so it makes perfect sense that you would want one of the best tamale steamers. Steaming tamales can be tricky, but getting some help from a purposely built tamale steamer is the best way to ensure you’ll get amazing results.
If you’re already here, you know how to make a tamale. And, you also know the importance of having a great tamale steamer at home to conveniently make tamales whenever you feel like.
We can’t even blame you for that, they are just so delicious. While tamales first came out of Mexico and Central America, these days you can find them just about anywhere.
While the snack is tasty, it does require a lot of work and preparation. Many families love making tamales as an activity. Thus not only making it a lot easier but also enjoyable for the whole gathering.
However, a good tamale steamer makes everything much easier because it allows you to pile tamales upright due to its longer size.
When you want to go out and still want to eat healthily, you can carry the homemade tamales in a thermal lunch box and carry it with you.
Without further ado, let’s check out the top-rated tamale steamers and what they have to offer.
What is a Tamale Steamer?
Tamales are known for their soft and moist texture. However, getting that perfect texture can be difficult. A tamale steamer is an essential piece of cooking equipment when it comes to making a delicious treat.
A tamale steamer is essentially a stainless-steel stockpot and basket that steams and boils all sorts of foods, tamales included.
Buying a quality tamale steamer will make the difference between a good tamale and a great tamale. If you use a tamale steamer properly, you will get firm and thoroughly cooked tamales. Once it has gotten to that perfect balance, you’ll want to let it cool for a minute before eating.
Which Tamale Steamer is Best?
The best tamale steamer is the Bayou Classic 1136. This product is best not because of how affordable it is, but also due to how durable it is and how fast it works.
What will draw you instantly to the Bayou Classic 1136 is the material of the steamer. The stainless steel is of restaurant quality, being that is 0.8 MM and 20 gauge. The sturdy handles also make it easy to grip and maneuver. The polish of this steamer reassures you just how well-crafted it is.
This steamer comes with a stainless steel 36-quart stockpot, a 36-quart stockpot basket, and a lid. The stockpot also has indentations that allow the basket to hover three inches off the bottom of the stockpot, making it that much easier to use.
How Do Tamale Steamers Work?
Tamale steamers make steaming tamales much easier. Essentially, a tamale steamer cooks tamales through the steam of the boiling water. The heat and steam from the steamer help cook the tamale to perfection.
Steaming tamales can also increase the amount you cook at once rather than baking them. When using a tamale steamer, it ensures that the tamales are tender and that the dough is soft. You can tell the tamales are ready when the masa pulls away from the corn husk of the tamale.
Comparing The 5 Best Tamale Steamers
|Bayou Classic 1136|
|GasOne Stainless Steel Stock Pot|
|Granite Ware Tamale Pot|
|Cuisinart 77-412 Chef’s Classic|
|Smart Cook Tamale Steamer|
1. Bayou Classic 1136 – Best Overall
We selected the 36 quartz version and it performed incredibly well while steaming tamales. It is a stainless steel stockpot that can be a great addition to any household or cooking environment.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Bayou Classic 1136 is the quality build. The stainless steel is of a high gauge. It is restaurant-quality stainless steel that is 0.8 MM and 20 gauge. The shiny exterior gives it a very polished look, and overall this steamer looks extremely well-crafted. The handles are perfectly placed and are easy to use.
The package includes the stainless steel 36-quart stockpot, a 36-quart stockpot basket, and a lid. One of the best things about the Bayou Classic 1136 is that the stockpot has indentations that allow the stockpot basket to over three inches off the bottom.
This makes it a great part to do tamale steaming. The Bayou Classic 1136 is also available in different quarts as well, ranging from 24 quarts all the way up to 162 quarts.
- Made of premium materials.
- The basket remains 3 inches from the bottom.
- It is well constructed.
- Some users report getting a defective unit.
2. GasOne Stainless Steel Stock Pot – Runner-up
The stockpot is made of sturdy and durable materials that will last a long time with ease. We were really impressed to help take the GasOne Stainless Steel Stock Pot was, coming at 1 mm thickness it is one of the most robust tamale steamers on the market.
The design of the GasOne Stainless Steel Stock Pot is simple yet very elegant. The satin finish stainless steel gives the GasOne Stainless Steel Stock Pot a sleek look. It is also very visually beautiful to look at.
The part also comes with a steamer rack which is essential in making tamales. It also makes sure that the tamales are getting equal heat during cooking.
The 32-quart stainless steel stockpot is perfect for tamale steaming. It is made out of strong steel and is a little heavier to lift. It is not a big con because the trade-off is a longer life which we would gladly have.
The best thing about the GasOne Stainless Steel Stock Pot is that you can use it for not just tamales but also a number of different dishes including turkey and crabs.
- Extremely strong build.
- Looks very sleek.
- Can be used for a lot of dishes.
- It is a little expensive than other options.
3. Granite Ware Tamale Pot – Best Budget Tamale Steamer
Coming with a black marble-like finish, the Granite Ware Tamale Pot is certainly a unique looking tamale steamer. We also loved how the glass-like finish doesn’t interact with food at all. The inert nature of the surface makes it great not only for steaming tamales but also for cooking anything else that is prone to sticking.
The design is also very well managed, it is traditional of course but really like how the handles are placed on the steamer. There is also an insert that allows you to stream tamales without worrying about them falling in the water.
While it is smaller than other best tamale steamers on the list, it also comes at a very reasonable price. So if you want some delicious tamales but don’t want to spend a lot of money on getting one of the best tamale steamers, the Granite Ware Tamale Pot is one of the best options available.
- Unique and stylish design.
- Price is great.
- Comes with a steamer insert.
- It’s a little smaller in size.
4. Cuisinart 77-412 Chef’s Classic – Most Versatile Tamale Steamer
The Cuisinart 77-412 Chef’s Classic is a great option for those who want to enjoy tamales but also other steamed dishes. We immediately noticed how shiny and sleek the Cuisinart 77-412 Chef’s Classic looks. It has a mirror finish that complements its classical look. We were also impressed by how well managed the heat distribution is.
There is aluminum in the base of the pot so it heats evenly and completely eliminates hotspots. There is also a stainless steel cooking surface that remains the same regardless of how many times you use or heat it.
The Cuisinart 77-412 Chef’s Classic also comes with a stainless steel grip handle that is able to stay cool even on the stovetop. There is also a helper handle that will come in handy when pouring the contents.
We also really like the design of the Cuisinart 77-412 Chef’s Classic because there is some thought put into it. Little touches like the tapered rim make for easier pouring. It is also dishwasher safe so you’ll be able to clean it with ease.
- A beautifully solid design.
- Can be used for multiple dishes.
- Can be washed in a dishwasher.
- It is pricier than other offerings.
5. Smart Cook Tamale Steamer– Cheapest Tamale Steamer
No products found.If you’re looking for an inexpensive tamale steamer, the Smart Cook Vaporera Stock Pot is one of the best choices available.
While there are some quality control issues, the overall product is perfect for steaming tamales. It is a simple stockpot that is made out of premium materials and will get the job done with ease.
The Smart Cook Tamale Steamer is a straightforward streamer that can be used not only for tamales but also for seafood. It is a 20-quart aluminum pot that comes with a lid and a steamer rack. You’ll be easily able to steam tamales, vegetables, and seafood for a much healthier diet.
That’s not all, is also great for soup, stew, and chili. We also really like how the lid is perfectly aligned with the rim to keep the heat and nutrients in.
The handles on the Smart Cook Tamale Steamer remain cool even when the pot itself is exposed to prolonged heat. We had no trouble lifting the pot with the handles or the lid thanks to its good design.
Overall, the Smart Cook Tamale Steamer is an inexpensive tamale streamer that will last you a long and produce delicious tamales for you to enjoy.
- Comes at an affordable price.
- The handles are well made.
- Comes with a steam rack.
- Some users have reported getting defective units.
How to Use a Tamale Steamer
Using a tamale steamer is simple and when done correctly, produces amazing quality tamales. Here are a few simple steps to follow, getting you the best tamales.
- Pour 1 inch of water into the stock pot and add a steamer basket. Set the stock pot on the stove. Pour in about 1 inch of water into the stockpot and place the steamer basket inside of the pot. Note that the water should be just short of touching the steamer basket. If the basket has water in it or touching it, dump some of the water out.
- Place the Tamales in vertically. Place the tamales into the basket standing straight up with the folded ends of the tamale sitting on the bottom of the basket. The open ends should be facing up. Make sure that the tamales will not fall over in the basket.
- Bring the water to a boil then turn down the heat. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts boiling at the bottom, bring the heat down from high to medium. The water is boiling if you see steam escaping from the top.
- Add water every 20 minutes and simmer the tamales. Let the tamales steam until the dough starts to separate from the husk. Pour 1/2 cup of hot water into the pot in 15 to 20-minute intervals, this helps keep the steam going.
- Check the tamale husks, then serve. Peel away the husk to see if the dough pulls away from the husk easily. The tamale should be firm and cooked throughout. If so, let tamales stand for one minute, then serve and enjoy!
Things to Consider While Buying a Tamale Steamer
Not all pots or steamers can be used to make tamales. By now you already know how tamales are made, they have to be placed upright in the steamer. So not all steamers are tall enough to accommodate that orientation.
Here are a few things that you need to consider while purchasing a tamale steamer:
The size of the tamale steamer is very important. If you are only going to serve a few people, purchasing a large tamale steamer will be a waste of funds and storage space.
However, tamales are usually made in a large batch and it makes sense to own a bigger tamale steamer to accommodate a large number. Usually, a tamale steamer around 10 to 30 quarts would be enough to make 70 tamales in each batch. We’ve also included larger tamale steamers so you can even go bigger if there is a need.
A steamer rack is an essential part of any tamale steamer. It can be formed as an insert or rack with holes that allow steam to get in during cooking.
There has to be a steamer rack with the tamale steamer otherwise it will be just another pot. So make sure there is one with the tamale steamer you are purchasing. Usually, they are bundled together so you don’t have to look for it elsewhere. Every item in the best tamale steamer pan list comes with a steam rack so there is no reason for concern.
Most tamale steamers are designed with a dome-shaped or flat lid and equipped with a handle on the top. The lid is made up of stainless steel or tempered glass. With a glass lid, you will be able to monitor the cooking progress.
The lid should fit snugly. Otherwise, it would take a lot of time for tamale to cook and the steam can escape easily. Additionally, if the lid isn’t tight enough, the flavors will “take flight”.
Some lids come with built-in vents for steam. These vents let out a certain amount of steam and heat from time to time. This is a good way to reduce pressure while cooking.
Handles are usually placed on both sides of the steamer. In most cases, these are securely welded or riveted to make it easy to lift and carry the steamer. Make sure the handles are secure and tight because your steamer will get heavy when completely filled with tamales.
Most tamale steamers come with metal handles. They are prone to getting hot over time, which is why you may need additional pot holders or heat resistant kitchen gloves. To stay cool all the time, some handles are designed specifically to be heat resistant.
Some electric tamale steamers even accompany ergonomic handles with various preferences for cooking the dish.
This is a very universal thing to consider when purchasing any cookware. Tamale steamers are available in stainless steel, galvanized metal, carbon steel, and aluminum. If you’re looking for the best of the best, getting an aluminum and stainless steel tamale steamer because they are very easy to clean and are great conductors of heat.
Some steamers are equipped with a steel basket that has a lot of perforations. The additional advantage of the basket is that it comes with an extra lid that makes it easy to take out the basket. Make sure the basket is positioned at least 1 inch from the steamer base.
Another thing of high importance is the steamer height. Any height greater than 3 inches is considered convenient. This is because it prevents the boiling water from touching the tamales, so you won’t worry about refilling it constantly.
You can also consider buying a quality food dehydrator which will preserve the prepared Tamales for a longer period of time.
Tamale Steamer FAQs
Q: How Many Tamales Can Fit in My Steamer?
A: Well, this will depend on the size of your tamale steamer. Generally speaking, tamale steamers fall somewhere between 10 and 70 quarts. The size of your steamer will determine the number of tamales that can be cooked at a time.
A 10-quart tamale steamer will allow you to cook about 30 tamales per batch. With a 38-qt pot, you will be able to cook from 90 to 100 tamales at a time.
Q: Why Use a Steamer for Tamales?
A: Instead of baking tamales, steaming ensures that tamales are tender and dough soft. This is why you need to use a steamer when cooking tamales.
Use a vegetable steamer or a steamer that is specially designed for tamales rather than a regular pot. While you will still be able to steam your tamales, you will never get the same quality.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Steam Tamales?
A: It may take from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on which steamer and stove you have. This will also depend on whether you are steaming fresh or frozen tamales.
It is recommended to cover your pot during cooking; this lets the tamales steam. After about half an hour of steaming, start to check your tamales for softness.
Ready To Buy The Best Tamale Steamers?
These were some of the best tamale steamers on the market and we hope you love the collection we have here. We tried to include many different tamale steamers on the list so you can become well aware of what kind of steamer pans are available.
Making tamales is a tradition among many families so we also included tamale steamers that are large enough to accommodate tamales for the whole extended family. The whole process of making a tamale is fascinating and can be an enjoyable experience for everyone included.
We had a lot of fun making tamales in the office as well and we hope that you also have a lot of enjoyable experiences doing so.
Questions? Suggestions? Opinions? Feel free to talk to us in the comments. If you have some special family recipes that you would like to share, we would love to hear them as well.
Also, check our review of top-rated food processors, in the event you want to make nut butter or other meals.
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