Knowing how to warm tortillas and keep them soft is essential for taco night. Making Mexican food at home is delicious and affordable, but no one enjoys cold tortillas. Learn how to warm tortillas 5 ways, so you always have the perfect tortillas for tacos, fajitas, burritos and more.
Why Warm Tortillas?
There is nothing like a warm, soft tortilla. The taste is comforting, and it's much easier to build your taco or fajita when the tortilla is warm. I especially like them when I make recipes like Skillet Chicken Fajita Tacos, Crockpot Shredded Chicken, and Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Cabbage Slaw. Plus, warm tortillas are much easier to work with when making wraps or burritos. Of course, if you have a tortilla warmer, that is the easy way to keep them warm, but here are ideas if you don't.
Five Ways to Warm Tortillas
Warmed tortillas are perfect for tacos, burritos, enchiladas and more. When they are warm, tortillas are soft and pliable, making them easy to work with and preventing them from tearing. These 5 methods are simple and effective, but the best way is the method that works for you.
To heat tortillas in the oven, preheat to 350 degrees F. Place a stack of tortillas on a piece of aluminum foil and wrap them to enclose the tortillas. Place the stack in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tortillas are soft and warmed. The oven method gives you soft, tender tortillas. You can keep them on a plate if it is oven safe. Learn about what plates are oven safe HERE.
Place several tortillas on a microwave-safe plate. Cover the tortillas with a damp paper towels and microwave in 20-second increments until the tortillas are pliable and warm. This method can make the tortillas pliable and not crispy, but it's great when you are in a hurry.
On the Stove Top
There are two methods for heating tortillas on the stovetop.
If you have a gas stove, using the open flame below the grates is a quick and simple way to warm the tortillas. Use tongs and lay the tortilla over the flame, resting it on the grate. Heat for 10 to 15 seconds and flip with the tongs, repeating on the other side and then with each tortilla.
You can also use a hot, dry skillet such as a cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet. Preheat the skillet over medium heat until hot and lay the tortilla in the bottom of the skillet. Heat for about 30 seconds, flip and heat on the other side.
Both of these methods are relatively quick and will give you soft tortillas with a bit of crunch on the outside.
On the Grill
As with the stovetop, you can grill tortillas directly on the grill grates. The method is quick, but expect a bit of crunch to the tortillas. If you prefer super soft tortillas, wrap them in foil and place the bundle over indirect heat while you grill the meat and vegetables.
Wrap tortillas in a damp towel or cloth and place them in a slow cooker set on warm. They will heat through in about 30 minutes, and the slow cooker will keep them warm indefinitely. This is an excellent method for keeping tortillas warm for a party or buffet.
How To Keep Tortillas Warm
Once tortillas are warm, keeping them warm is easy with a plastic or terra cotta tortilla warmer. You can also wrap warmed tortillas in foil or towels. All three methods will keep tortillas warm and soft for about 30 minutes.
Corn Tortillas versus Flour Tortillas
Tortillas come in several different sizes and can be made from flour or corn. You can also find white corn, yellow corn tortillas, and, occasionally, blue corn. With all of the options, you may be wondering which tortilla is the best. While tradition plays an important role, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Flour Tortillas are made with flour, lard, salt and a leavening agent like baking powder. The dough is rolled and then cooked on a griddle. Flour tortillas are a bit studier than corn and are often used for Tex-Mex tacos, burritos, quesadillas and fajitas. This homemade tortilla recipe from Grumpy's Honeybunch is one of my favorites. They are great with some Mexican Ground Beef rolled inside or even something simple like shredded cheese.
Corn tortillas are typically made with masa harina (ground corn flour), water and salt. The mixture is pressed with a tortilla press to form a circle and cooked on a skillet until soft. Corn tortillas are typically used for street tacos, regular tacos, enchiladas, and taquitos or are fried to make crunchy shells or tortilla chips.
How to Serve Warm Tortillas
Tortillas are the standard for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and more but they are the perfect stand-in for bread when serving soups and beans and can even be layered like noodles in a casserole. Here are some of my favorite ways to use tortillas.
- Serve warm with butter or peanut butter as a snack.
- Serve on the side of beans or soup.
- Roll with meat and cheese or make a Hummus Veggie Wrap for a simple lunch.
- Make Breakfast Wraps with Prosciutto, Eggs and Avocado.
- Use for steak tacos. The possibilities are endless!
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