Can you freeze tortillas without them becoming a soggy mess when thawed? Learn how my tortilla-loving family freezes and defrosts this delicious food all the time!
Tortillas are a great way to make quick and easy meals, but if your family eats a lot of them, store-bought tortillas can easily blow your grocery budget.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution that will save money in the long run. All you need is a good sale, a little time, some freezer bags, and a little freezer space for this freezer-friendly food.
Freezing tortillas is a simple way to keep them on hand when you need them most.
As with most things you freeze, the more effort you put into the freezing process, the longer they’ll retain their quality when frozen.
In this article, we’ll cover how to freeze corn tortillas, how to freeze flour tortillas, and how to defrost frozen tortillas. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each method so you can get the best results possible.
Let’s get started…
What Are Tortillas?
A tortilla is a circular-shaped, unleavened flatbread that can be made from corn flour or wheat flour.
In the United States, both flour tortillas and corn tortillas are extremely popular and can be found in abundance in various grocery stores.
Corn tortillas are made from corn flour (Masa Harina), salt, water, and sometimes a little lime juice for added flavor. They can be used for tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, tortilla 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. You can use a flour tortilla to make burritos, soft tacos, taco bowls, fajitas, quesadillas, pinwheels, and wraps. A flour tortilla can also be fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.
As you can see, both corn and flour tortillas are excellent, cost-effective additions to your pantry. Now, let’s discuss how to successfully store tortillas in a freezer.
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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 their original package. Yep, freezing tortillas can be that simple.
That said, they won’t have much protection. Tortillas frozen only in their original package will last up to a month. If you want them to last longer, you need to add an additional protective layer to help prevent freezer burn. Here’s how.
- Wrap the unopened flour tortillas or corn tortillas tightly with plastic wrap or put the original package inside of a freezer bag.
- Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly.
- Place tortillas in the freezer. Make sure they are flat. This will save freezer space and help them keep their proper shape when you defrost them.
- Write a use-by date 1 to 2 months from the date you freeze them.
- Freeze tortillas away from strong-smelling foods. Foods like onions, garlic, and fish can impart a funky flavor to everything in the freezer. If you can’t separate your tortillas, consider adding a third layer as a precaution.
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 foil, it’s not cost-effective. You can wash and reuse plastic freezer bags.
Freezing Individual Tortillas
I really didn’t want to include this as an option because it is definitely not cost-effective, but nonetheless, it is an option.
Here’s how to freeze your tortillas individually so you can thaw them individually.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each tortilla you place into a freezer bag.
- When the bag is full, remove any excess air and seal tightly.
- Using a black Sharpie, write the date frozen on each bag or write in a “use by” date three months from the date frozen.
- Then, you can defrost the tortilla and consume one tortilla at a time there’s no need to thaw the entire pack!
Pro Tip: Rather than spending the extra money on 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!
Can You Freeze Homemade Tortillas?
Yes, tortillas made at home can be frozen. In fact, freezer storage is the best way to extend the shelf-life of preservative-free tortillas.
Homemade flour tortillas (and corn tortillas) freeze well, but a few things must be kept in mind when freezing them.
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 fresh 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 it 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 Frozen Tortillas Last In The Freezer?
According to the USDA, foods frozen at a constant state of 0° F are safe to eat indefinitely. Yep, keep those tortillas properly frozen, and they will be safe for consumers forever.
However, 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 begin to dry out. But if frozen with a double layer (original packaging and a freezer bag), they should last in the freezer for around three months or so.
How Do You Defrost Tortillas?
There are two very good options you can choose when defrosting tortillas. One way to thaw tortillas is to keep them in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Another is by defrosting them on the counter at room temperature for a few hours.
If you’re in a pinch, you can remove all the tortillas from the plastic bag, wrap the whole stack in damp paper towels, and use the microwave. Be sure to defrost them on low power (or your microwave’s defrost setting) until completely defrosted.
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 due to the lack of preservatives.
How To Reheat Tortillas Once Thawed?
You can reheat a thawed tortilla the same way you heat up ones kept in the pantry or the fridge.
Reheating Tortillas In The Oven
1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2: Wrap up to eight tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in the oven or use a tortilla warmer.
3: Warm tortillas for 15 or 20 minutes or until they are heated through.
Note: you can make multiple packets of 5-8 and heat them up at the same time. Just place each packet in a single layer in the oven.
Reheating Tortillas In The Microwave
1: Place up to eight tortillas on a microwave-safe plate with a damp paper towel on top.
2: Reheat the tortillas in 20 to 30-second bursts until they are heated through.
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:
1: Heat up a nonstick or stainless steel pan over medium heat.
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 for up to two months.
How Long Do Tortillas Last Past Their Expiration or “Best By” Date?
If unopened and stored in the pantry, white and whole wheat tortillas are usually good up to 7 days past their best buy or expiration date. Unopened corn tortillas will last 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 fresh 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 properly extends the shelf life to around 6 to 8 months!
Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen
In this article, we’ve shown you how to freeze flour and corn tortillas successfully so you’ll always have them 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 frozen tortilla: using wax paper or parchment paper between tortillas in the freezer.
So, next time you see store-bought tortillas on sale, consider buying a few extra and freezing them.
Please let me know if you have any other questions about leftover tortillas, freezing tortillas, or defrosting frozen tortillas. I’d be happy to help!
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Until next time…