Can you freeze tortillas? Yes and here’s why you should try it!
Between my two teenage boys and my hubby, both flour and corn tortillas are a staple in our cost-effective kitchen!
Tortillas are a great way to make quick and easy meals but they can get expensive to buy at the grocery store and take time to make at home.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution that will save you time and money in the long run. And you won’t ever have to worry about running out of tortillas again! All you need is a good sale, a little time, and some freezer space.
You’re probably wondering if you really can you freeze tortillas? The answer is yes! Tortillas are freezer-friendly. Plus, pulling them out of the freezer is so much easier than making that last-minute, mad dash to the grocery store!
The good news is that you can freeze corn tortillas just as easily as you freeze flour tortillas.
Freezing your tortillas is a simple way to keep them on hand when you need them most.
As with most things you freeze, the effort you put into freezing tortillas will help them last longer and impact the length of time they retain their quality.
In this article, we’ll cover how to freeze corn tortillas, how to freeze flour tortillas, several methods of freezing tortillas, how to thaw frozen tortillas and discuss the pros and cons of each method you can get the best results possible.
Let’s get started…
What Are Tortillas?
In the United States, both flour tortillas and corn tortillas are extremely popular and can be found in abundance in various grocery stores.
A tortilla is a circular-shaped, unleavened flatbread. Tortillas can be made from corn flour or wheat flour.
Corn tortillas are made from corn flour (Masa Harina), salt, and water. And sometimes a little lime juice for added flavor.
These tortillas can be used for tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, corn tortillas chips, and nachos.
In the United States, flour tortillas are generally made from all-purpose flour (wheat flour), salt, water, and some type of fat.
The type of fat varies. I’ve seen recipes using lard, vegetable oil, olive oil, and a variety of other fats or oils.
Flour tortillas can be used for burritos, soft tacos, taco bowls, fajitas, flautas, quesadillas, pinwheels, and wraps.
As you can see, both corn and flour tortillas are an excellent cost-effective addition to your pantry. Now, let’s talk about how you can successfully store tortillas in a freezer.
Wanna Learn More Freezing Tips?
How To Freeze Tortillas
The simplest way to freeze corn tortillas, as well as flour tortillas, is to throw them right into the freezer in the same bag they came in. Yep, freezing tortillas is that simple.
With that said, I do have a few tips to help you improve the quality of your tortillas when freezing them in their commercial packaging.
Tip 1: Freeze tortillas flat.
This saves space in the freezer and keeps them in the proper shape when they are thawing.
Tip 2: Use within 1 month.
Remember, the bags your store-bought tortillas came in are thin and let air onto your tortillas, which can cause them to dry out. If you’re just freezing them as is, remember to use them quickly, preferably within one month but I’ve stretched it to two before with fairly decent results.
Tip 3: Freeze them away from foods like onions and garlic, which can impart a funky flavor to your frozen tortillas.
If you have a lot of foods with strong smells in your freezer, this option may not be for you. Instead, you may want to follow Option #2.
This is the best option for you if you intend on leaving tortillas in the freezer for longer than 30 days. With this option, you need to add an additional layer between your tortillas and the cold air. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Leave your store-bought tortillas in their original packaging.
Step 2: Place the whole package inside of a gallon or two-gallon zip-top plastic freezer bag.
Step 3: Squeeze as much air as possible from the zip-top plastic freezer bag then seal.
Step 4: Lay them flat in the freezer, away from foods with strong smells. As with the first option, strong odors can impart a funky flavor on your frozen tortillas so be sure to freeze corn tortillas as well as flour ones away from strong smells.
Note: You could also freeze tortillas wrapped in aluminum foil to help keep air and odors out. But, I wouldn’t do this. With the rising cost of aluminum foil, it’s not cost-effective. When using plastic freezer bags, you can wash and reuse them. :-).
I really didn’t want to include this as an option because it is definitely not cost-effective but nonetheless, it is an option.
If you are single and only eat one tortilla at a time, you could place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each tortilla before placing them in a plastic zip-top freezer bag. This way, you can defrost and consume one tortilla at a time. There’s no need to thaw the entire pack!
Pro Tip: Rather than spend the extra money on the parchment or wax paper, I would store your tortillas in the fridge as soon as you bring them home rather than in the pantry. Doing so will extend the shelf-life by a week or so. If you’re tossing them into the fridge in their original packaging, be sure you don’t have any strong-smelling foods like garlic or onions in your fridge!
Do Homemade Tortillas Freeze Well?
Homemade tortillas do freeze well but there are a few things you must keep in mind when you freeze tortillas made at home.
Freshly made corn and flour tortillas are delicious, soft, and devoid of preservatives found in many commercially bought tortillas. So, they go bad a lot faster. The good news is you can freeze freshly made tortillas the same way you freeze commercially made ones: in a zip-top freezer bag.
Because your tortillas will be preservative-free, they will not last as long once thawed. You may want to place paper between each tortilla so you can defrost in small batches.
Note: you can also freeze uncooked corn tortillas so all you have to do is thaw and cook whenever you need them.
How Long Do Tortillas Last In The Freezer?
According to the USDA, foods frozen at a constant state of 0° F will be safe to eat indefinitely. Yep, keep those tortillas properly frozen and they will be safe for consumers forever.
With that said, the quality will suffer greatly and you probably won’t want to eat them.
For quality purposes, tortillas in their original packaging will last 1-2 months in the freezer before they being to dry out. But if frozen with a double layer (original packaging and zip-top bag), they should last in the freezer for around six months or so.
How Do You Thaw Tortillas?
There are two very good options you can choose when defrosting tortillas. One way to thaw tortillas is in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Another is by defrosting them on the counter at room temperature.
And if you’re in a pinch, try the microwave but be sure to defrost them on low power (or your microwave’s defrost setting).
Then, be very careful when you are pulling them apart so you don’t rip them. Fully defrosting them is the key to preventing them from sticking together.
Can You Refreeze Tortillas?
As long as they have not gone bad, you can safely refreeze both corn and flour tortillas. However, you should be extremely careful with homemade ones as they tend to go bad quickly.
How To Reheat Tortillas Once Thawed?
You can reheat thawed tortillas the same way you heat up ones kept in the pantry or the fridge.
Reheat Tortillas In The Oven
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Wrap four or five tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in the oven.
Step 3: Heat for 15 or 20 minutes or until the tortillas are heated through.
Note: you can make multiple packets of 5 and heat them up at the same time. Just place each packet in a single layer in the oven.
How To Reheat Tortillas In The Microwave
Step 1: Place up to eight tortillas on a microwave-safe plate with a damp paper towel on top.
Step 2: Reheat the tortillas in 20 to 30-second bursts until they are heated through.
Step 3: Keep them covered with a damp paper towel until they are ready to be consumed.
Keep in mind, the more tortillas you have in the stack, the longer it takes to reheat them. The longer you reheat, the greater chance the tortillas will become chewy and tough.
It’s best to do smaller batches but if you have a large family, you can get away with up to 8 at a time!
How To Reheat Tortillas On The Stovetop
Reheating on the stovetop is a great option if you’re reheating one to two tortillas. Any more than that and it’s just too time-consuming and totally not worth it.
Here’s the basic method for reheating on the stovetop:
Step 1: Heat up a nonstick or stainless steel pan over medium heat.
Step 2: Reheat your tortilla for about 30 seconds on each side.
If your tortilla is on the dry side, spritz or brush on a little water before reheating. You could also add a little olive oil or butter to give your tortilla a little extra flavor and some crispiness!
Tip: Squeeze a little lime juice in the pan before laying your tortilla in it. The juice will give your tortilla a nice hint of lime! This is a tip I learned from my youngest teenage son, who loves to experiment in the kitchen!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Tortillas Last In The Refrigerator?
Once opened, ready to use flour tortillas usually last around a month if stored in the refrigerator while ready to use corn tortillas usually last in the fridge for up to two months.
How Long Do Tortillas Last Past Their Expiration or “Best By” Date?
If unopened and stored in the pantry, flour tortillas are usually good up to 7 days past their best buy or expiration date. Unopened corn tortillas will last in the pantry around 7 to 10 days beyond the printed date.
How To Tell If Tortillas Have Gone Bad?
You should always rely on your eyes and nose when determining whether tortillas have gone bad or not. Tortillas will develop an “off” smell and show signs of mold once they have gone bad. They will also become dry and brittle. If you suspect a tortilla has gone bad, you should discard the entire package.
Remember, it costs a whole lot more to visit the emergency room than it is to replace your bad tortillas!
How Long Are Homemade Tortillas Good For?
You can store tortillas for up to 2 or 3 days at best if stored in an airtight container in the pantry. Storing them in an airtight container in the fridge will gain you up to a week while freezing them extends the shelf life to around 6 months! They, too, are freezer-friendly!
Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen
In this article, we’ve shown you how to freeze flour tortillas as well as corn tortillas successfully so they’re always on hand. We’ve also shown you how to defrost frozen tortillas, how to tell if your tortillas have gone bad, and how to reheat tortillas.
We’ve also given you tips on the best way to defrost an individual tortilla is by using wax paper or parchment paper between tortillas in the freezer.
So next time you buy some tortillas, consider buying a few extra and trying out these tips on how to freeze tortillas. Then let me know how it works for you!
Until next time…