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How to Warm Tortillas | Eight Ways

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Let’s dive into how to warm tortillas, turning them into the perfect warm and flexible wraps for your tasty creations.

Tortillas in bowl next to a tortilla press.Pin
Photo Credit: Canva.

Believe it or not, there are many ways to heat tortillas. They can be soft and pillowy or crispy, depending on what you want to make with them.

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Tortillas are essentially a canvas, ready for you to unleash your creativity. It’s the perfect foundation for stacking delicious toppings and crafting a culinary marvel in every bite.

Ingredients

  • Corn Tortillas: Corn tortillas are made from corn flour or masa harina. They are easy to make, but store-bought tortillas will work as well. Buy good quality, thick tortillas for the best flavor and texture.
  • Flour Tortillas: Flour tortillas are made with wheat flour. They too are easy to make, but again, store-bought are fine.
Tortillas with wheat flowers and flour.Pin
Photo Credit: Canva.

Equipment

Depending on how you want to them to turn out, you will need different equipment for each finished product. Use the method and equipment that you have easy access to and is convenient for you.

  • Microwave: Your microwave will make soft tortillas, doubled up, in a street taco style.
  • Tortilla Warmer: These are great to use in the oven or in the microwave for soft tacos. There are a couple of different types of warmers. Some are soft fabric tortilla warmer pouches, while others are hard, heat-safe plastic.
  • Gas Range: Tortillas can be charged right over a gas burner.
  • Small Cast Iron Skillet: A skillet can be used dry for flour or corn tortillas, or add oil to it to soften tortillas for enchiladas or to fry corn tortillas to crispy.
  • Metal Tongs: To warm tortillas over a burner or in a skillet will be needed.
  • Oven: Use your oven to warm larger quantities of tortillas.
  • Grill: Tortillas can be warmed over a high grill flame. They will end up charred, similar to the gas range method.

How to Warm Flour Tortillas

There are essentially seven ways to warm your flour tortillas. If flour tortillas get charred, they get hard and dry, so you want to keep them moist.

On the Stove Top

Warm flour tortillas in a preheated cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Preheat it over medium heat. Do not use a non-stick skillet unless you are sure that yours can be heated without a lubricant. Many non-stick pans can become damaged if they are heated dry. This is the best way to make quesadillas or burritos.

Shell in the center of a small cast iron frying pan.Pin
Place on in a dry cast iron pan. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

If you own a gas stove, tortillas can be warmed directly over the open flame. Turn the flame on high. Use a metal tong to place the tortilla directly over the flame. When you see a bit of smoke (usually 10-15 seconds, depending on how high your burner is), move it so it doesn’t burn. You just want it scorched.

Tortilla set on top of a gas store fire.Pin
Set the tortillas directly over the flame. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.
Browned tortilla flipped to the other side.Pin
Flip it with tongs. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

In the Oven

You can warm a stack of flour tortillas in the oven. Wrap the stack in aluminum foil and place the foil on a baking sheet or on an oven-safe plate—heat for about 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.

The oven is the best option to warm lots of tortillas at once.

Foil packet set on a baking sheet.Pin
Set foil-wrapped shells on a baking sheet. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

In the Microwave

Place the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate. Cover the plate with a damp paper towel and microwave it in 15-second intervals. Don’t overheat them, or they will get dried out.

Tortillas on a microwave safe plate.Pin
Place them on a microwave safe plate. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.
Plate covered with a paper towel.Pin
Cover the plate with a damp paper towel. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

In a Tortilla Warmer

Flour tortillas can be placed in a tortilla warmer and warmed in the oven or the microwave. Use the instructions above for oven warming in the oven or microwave.

Taco shells sticking out of a tortilla warmer.Pin
Place up to six in a tortilla warmer. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

In Your Air Fryer

SOFT SHELLS

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil. You can stack them up, but limit them to six tortillas at a time. Preheat the air fryer for 3-4 minutes. Place the wrapped tortillas in the air fryer. Air fry for 3-4 minutes, until warm.

Tortillas in the center of aluminum foil sheet.Pin
Wrap in aluminum foil. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.
Wrapped taco shells in aluminum foil pouch.Pin
Wrap tight. Place in air fryer basket. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

hARD sHELLS

Preheat the air fryer for 3-4 minutes. Arrange the taco shells in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry for 2-3 minutes, until hot.

Hard taco shells arranged in an air fryer basket.Pin
Hard Taco Shells. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

On Your Grill

Similar to heating the tortillas directly over your burner, they can be heated over a hot grill. Preheat the grill. Watch the tortillas so that they don’t get too charred. Flip them with tongs. If you want soft tortillas, they can be wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on the opposite side of the grill where the burners are lit (referred to as indirect grilling). Grill them in the foil for about 20 minutes.

In Your Slow Cooker or Crockpot

Wrap a stack of tortillas in a slightly damp, clean kitchen towel. Place it in the slow cooker and set the temperature to warm. Heat them for about thirty minutes, but they can kept warm for a long time. This method is great for a taco bar.

Tortillas in a damp towel.Pin
Place tortillas in the center of a damp kitchen towel.
Wrapped tortillas in a slow cooker.Pin
Wrap them up and place them in a slow cooker. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

How to Heat Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas can be heated with all the above methods, including on the stovetop, in the oven, in the microwave, in a tortilla warmer, in a slow cooker, or on the grill.

Additionally, corn tortillas can heated in another way. Add about ½-inch of oil to a small skillet. Turn the burner on medium-high. Heat it until the oil is very hot. Place the cold tortilla in the oil. When the tortilla starts to form bubbles on the top, flip it and fry until desired crispiness. If you are making tostadas, flip the tortilla over flat. If you are making tacos, you can flip them and fold them in half with the tongs immediately after flipping. This is also the best way to soften tortillas for enchiladas and taquitos. Drain on paper towels before you use them.

Tortilla in a small cast iron pan with bubbling oil.Pin
Preheat the oil. Add the tortilla. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.
Flipped tortilla in the oil to heat the other side.Pin
Flip and soften the second side. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Helpful Tools

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Recipes Using Tortillas

Now, you’re an expert at warming tortillas for any occasion. Comment below and let us know your favorite method and what you make with them!

Five tortillas on a black plate with a tortilla press on a sarape.Pin
How to Warm Tortillas. Photo credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Originally published February 13, 2024.

Beth Neels

Author: Beth Neels

Title: Owner

Expertise: canning, game meat cooking, smoking

Bio:

Beth Neels is an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, author, and recipe developer. She founded Binky’s Culinary Carnival in 2014, focusing on “Crafting delicious recipes with sustainable ingredients.” She has been featured in multiple online publications, including MSN, Reader’s Digest, Associated Press, and Parade.

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