There are literally hundreds of types of tortillas, but the most well-known are going to be flour and corn.

flour tortillas wrapped in blue linen

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are a thin, unleavened flatbread, made from hominy and come in three colors: white, yellow and blue.

If you are making them at home, you’ll need a special flour called masa, also used to make homemade tamales.

Corn tortillas are used for  soft tacos and in many recipes for layers, like a Mexican lasagna, but can also be fried into hard taco shells, tostadas, huevos rancheros and tortilla chips.

Fresh corn tortillas are like a dream, soft, flavorful and totally delicious. Store bought, however can get a little gummy and dry because they lack gluten.

My best advice before serving them is to heat them slightly. Look for thinner tortillas and layer them, if needed. Heating them makes them more pliable and flexible for folding and handling, but they cool fast and will turn gummy again. use a tortilla warmer to prevent this (see below).

Corn Tortilla Storage, Freezing & Reheating

Corn tortillas are also best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They can be frozen.

To reheat, you can use the microwave or oven, follow the same instructions for flour tortillas below, or…

  • Griddle & Skillet: Place tortillas on the hot griddle or skillet in a single layer, turning after about 30 seconds to heat evenly. It takes a little longer because you have to work one at a time (unless you have a big griddle) but is worth the effort.
  • Fire!: There is nothing better than a tortilla with slightly charred edges. If fresh, skip this step and go right to the flame, but if old or reheating, run the tortilla under water for a quick second to dampen. Place the tortilla directly on the open flame of a gas stove. Leave it a few seconds, then turn the tortilla over. Do this one at a time or over several burners at once. You can also do it on the grill and I’ve even used a butane lighter in a pinch.

Flour Tortillas

Flour tortillas are soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. While typically thought of as Mexican as well, there is some history to suggest that flour tortillas are actually of Jewish heritage.

Flour tortillas are often used in place of corn because they are softer and easier to handle. They are also used in all the same ways like soft tacos, burritos, enchiladas and as a layer, but can not be fried up crispy.

Flour Tortilla Storage, Freezing & Reheating

Flour tortillas are best kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can stay good for a few weeks. They can also be frozen.

They do tend to lose moisture over time and will become dry or stiff. To reheat them, they should be lightly steamed so that no more moisture is lost.

  • Microwave: Cover the tortilla with a damp paper towel. To reheat more than one, alternate tortillas with paper towels. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds intervals until hot.
  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Wrap a stack of tortillas in a damp dish towel and place them in a casserole dish of similar size. Cover the dish with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil placed tightly on the dish. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Tortilla Warmer

You can also use a tortilla warmer, which seems extravagant, but is actually a really cool tool that we use often. It works for both flour and corn tortillas.

This one is microwave safe and safe in the oven up to 190 degrees. You can even warm your tortillas and then transfer to this device to place on the table to keep them warm.

Bonus: It also works for pancakes!!!

Recipes that Use Tortillas

These Spinach, Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas are rolled in flour tortillas, covered in a delicious homemade sauce and smothered in gooey cheese! Using pre-made rotisserie chicken makes them ready in a snap!
Baked Chicken Enchiladas
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