Tamales should be steamed until the masa dough becomes firm, which is about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. When the tamales are ready, the masa dough should pull away easily from the corn husk.
Tamales are a traditional Mexican food made from a meat or cheese filling wrapped into masa, a corn-based dough. They are wrapped in corn husks and steamed until the dough becomes firm.
To steam tamales with good results, use a large lidded pot with a metal strainer or colander. Place the steaming basket or colander on the bottom of the pot and fill it with water to a level that does not touch the colander. The purpose of this is to steam the tamales instead of getting them wet. Stack the wrapped tamales standing up inside the colander, with the open end facing the top. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Steam the tamales for up to 2 hours or until the masa dough is firm. Check the level of water from time to time and do not let it run dry. Allow the tamales to cool for at least 5 minutes before unwrapping them for serving.