How to Cook Tamales in Air Fryer?

How to Cook Tamales in Air Fryer?

If you’re a fan of tamales, you’re in for a treat! In this section, I’ll guide you on how to cook tamales in an air fryer. This is not only a time-saving method but also results in crispy and delicious tamales that are hard to resist.

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made from masa (corn dough) filled with various ingredients and wrapped in corn husks. Using an air fryer to cook them is a game-changer as it gives them a crispy exterior without deep frying.

Key Takeaways:

Getting Started: Preparing the Tamales

Before we can cook our tamales in the air fryer, we need to prepare them properly. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Soak the corn husks: Start by soaking the corn husks in warm water for about 30 minutes until they become pliable. This makes it easier to wrap the tamales around the filling.
  2. Prepare the filling: While the husks are soaking, prepare your filling of choice. Whether it’s shredded chicken, cheese, or sweet fillings like chocolate or fruit, make sure it’s all cooked and ready to go.
  3. Make the masa dough: Next, prepare the masa dough. You can either make it from scratch or buy pre-made masa dough. Follow the instructions on the package and add water until you get the right consistency.
  4. Assemble the tamales: Once everything is ready, it’s time to assemble the tamales. Take a corn husk and spread a layer of masa dough on it, leaving enough space on the sides and top for the filling. Spoon the filling onto the masa layer and roll the tamale tightly, folding the bottom end up to seal it.

Now that we have our tamales assembled, it’s time to cook them in the air fryer.

Cooking Tamales in the Air Fryer

Now that we have prepared our tamales, it’s time to cook them in the air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to around 375°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes.

While the air fryer is heating up, arrange the tamales in a single layer inside the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd them. This will ensure that each tamale cooks evenly and gets crispy on all sides.

Once the air fryer is preheated, carefully place the basket inside and set the timer for 15-20 minutes. It’s important to flip the tamales halfway through to ensure even cooking on both sides.

The cooking time may vary depending on the size of your tamales and the brand of your air fryer. If you’re not sure, it’s best to check on them periodically to ensure they don’t overcook or burn.

Once the timer goes off, remove the basket from the air fryer and carefully take out the tamales. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving. Now, your tamales are ready to be enjoyed!

Serving and Enjoying Your Air Fryer Tamales

Now that your air fryer tamales are cooked to perfection, it’s time to savor their deliciousness. Remove them carefully from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

One of the best things about tamales is that they go well with a variety of toppings and sauces. You can serve them with classic condiments like salsa, guacamole, or sour cream. Alternatively, you can experiment with different flavors and try out new combinations. For example, you can serve them with a drizzle of hot sauce, or top them with diced onions and cilantro for a fresh and zesty twist.

Pair your air fryer tamales with a side of rice and beans for a complete meal that is both satisfying and nutritious. The crispy exterior of the tamales pairs perfectly with the soft and fluffy rice, while the beans provide a rich and hearty source of protein.

Take a bite and enjoy the explosion of flavors and textures in your mouth. The crispy exterior gives way to the soft and flavorful filling, creating a delightful contrast that will leave you wanting more. Don’t forget to share with your loved ones and watch their faces light up in amazement at your culinary skills!

Tips and Variations

If you want to take your air fryer tamales to the next level, here are some tips and variations to try:

Experiment with different fillings

One of the great things about tamales is how versatile they are. Try experimenting with different fillings to create your own signature tamales. Shredded chicken, beef, pork, cheese, and beans are all popular options, but you can also get creative with sweet fillings like chocolate, fruit, or even Nutella!

Add extra flavor to the masa dough

The masa dough is the foundation of any good tamale. To give your tamales an extra burst of flavor, try adding some spices or seasonings to the dough. Cumin, chili powder, and garlic are all great options to consider. Just remember not to go overboard – a little flavor goes a long way!

Adjust cooking time and temperature

Depending on the size of your tamales and the brand of your air fryer, the cooking time and temperature may vary. Keep a close eye on your tamales as they cook, and adjust the settings as needed to achieve your desired level of crispiness. Remember that every air fryer is different, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little.

  • Start by preheating your air fryer to around 375°F (190°C).
  • Arrange the tamales in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  • Cook the tamales for about 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  • Check your tamales frequently to avoid overcooking or burning.

Get creative with toppings and sauces

Finally, don’t forget to have fun with your toppings and sauces. Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are classic options, but you can also experiment with different flavors and textures. Try adding some fresh herbs, diced onions, or crumbled queso fresco on top for an extra burst of flavor.

With these tips and variations in mind, you can create air fryer tamales that are truly unique and delicious. So grab some masa, your favorite fillings, and start experimenting today!


As a lover of tamales, I can confidently say that cooking them in an air fryer is a game-changer. Not only does it save time, but it also gives the tamales a crispy texture that is hard to resist. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can create perfectly cooked tamales that are crispy on the outside and filled with flavorful goodness on the inside.

While cooking tamales in an air fryer may require some trial and error, it’s worth the effort. You can experiment with different fillings and spices to create your own unique version of this traditional dish. Whether you’re making tamales for a special occasion or just for a weeknight dinner, the air fryer is a convenient and delicious way to prepare them.

So, what are you waiting for?

Grab your air fryer, gather your ingredients, and embark on a flavorful journey of making tamales in the air fryer. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things. With the air fryer, the possibilities are endless when it comes to making delicious tamales. I hope you enjoyed this guide and happy cooking!


Q: Can I use frozen tamales in the air fryer?

A: Yes, you can cook frozen tamales in the air fryer. However, you may need to increase the cooking time slightly to ensure they are heated through.

Q: Can I reheat leftover tamales in the air fryer?

A: Absolutely! The air fryer is a great tool for reheating tamales. Simply place the leftover tamales in the air fryer basket and cook at 375°F (190°C) for about 5-7 minutes, or until heated through.

Q: How do I prevent the tamales from sticking to the air fryer basket?

A: To prevent sticking, you can line the air fryer basket with parchment paper or lightly coat it with cooking spray before placing the tamales inside.

Q: Can I cook different types of tamales at the same time?

A: Yes, you can cook different types of tamales at the same time in the air fryer. Just make sure to arrange them in a single layer and adjust the cooking time if necessary.

Q: Can I use an air fryer oven to cook tamales?

A: Yes, you can use an air fryer oven to cook tamales. Simply follow the same instructions for preheating and cooking, adjusting the cooking time as needed.

June Brandt
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