How to Cook Tamales in a Rival Roaster Oven

A plate of traditional tamales.
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Tamales are a traditional holiday favorite for many families, but they also make a satisfying meal anytime of the year. Commercial tamales are pre-cooked and only require reheating. A Rival electric roaster works well for this task, especially if you are hosting a large group. If you are making tamales by hand, however, steam them to ensure that the dough cooks evenly without drying out.


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Step 1

Fill the electric roaster with about 3 cups of water or broth, or enough to cover the bottom of the roaster with 1 inch of liquid. Tamales are traditionally steamed. Putting some water in the roaster keeps them moist and prevents burning.

Step 2

Place the rack in the bottom of the roaster. The rack holds the tamales out of the liquid, creating a steam effect. Tamales that sit directly in the liquid become soggy and may fall apart.


Step 3

Lay the tamales on the rack horizontally. If necessary, stack the tamales on top of each other for a large group. A Rival electric roaster can cook 30 to 50 tamales at a time, depending on the model and size.

Step 4

Set the roaster at 325 degrees F., but watch it closely. Add more broth if the liquid runs dry, and turn the roaster down if the tamales get too hot. When the tamales are warm enough, turn the roaster to 200 degrees F. to keep them warm.

Step 5

Serve tamales with salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives, tomatoes or green chili, depending on your preference.

Things You'll Need

  • Rival electric roaster

  • Roaster oven rack

  • Beef or chicken broth

  • Tongs


Although tamales are traditionally placed in a pot of boiling water during cooking, they are packed tightly and cooked quickly so the dough doesn't become mushy. In an electric roaster, they may cook for a longer period of time, under less controlled circumstances. Do not allow them to sit in water or they will become soft.

A slow cooker heats tamales by using the same technique.


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