Knowing how to warm tortillas for your favorite Mexican dishes is a must. For Mexican food lovers, the tortilla is the foundation for so many wonderful dishes such as tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas and more. These easy chicken fajitas or our fan favorite green chicken enchiladas are a great time to use warm tortillas.
Corn and flour tortillas are mostly interchangeable and based on your preference, although corn tortillas stand up better to heavier fillings. For example, if you are going to make these Birria Tacos you may want to use corn tortillas as they will hold their own with dipping them in the adobo sauce.
What is not optional, is not warming your tortillas before filling them. Warming tortillas has so many benefits. It brings out the flavor or the corn or flour and it softens the tortillas so they don't crack during filling. Finally, you aren’t serving warm ingredients in a cold tortilla. And, if you are doing a taco bar, you will want to keep your tortillas warm for a longer time.
Why You Should Warm Tortillas: Store-bought flour tortillas will dry out over time and become tough or rubbery if not reheated properly. Store-bough corn tortillas are more flexible and not as prone to cracking when they are reheated.
How To Warm Tortillas in the Oven
The best way to heat flour tortillas is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap 6 to 8 tortillas with aluminum foil. Heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through. Keep the tortillas wrapped in the foil until serving. You can heat a dozen tortillas or more using the oven so it is a great way if you are serving a crowd.
Alternatively, you can wrap them in a damp dish towel and place them in a basket or on a pie plate or other oven-safe dish. Cover the basket or plate tightly and place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Keep the warm tortillas wrapped until ready to use.
How To Warm Tortillas on the Stovetop
The best way to heat corn tortillas in on the stovetop. Corn tortillas are stiffer and are best reheated with dry heat on a hot skillet. Heat a dry skillet, cast iron skillet, or comal over medium heat. Do not add oil. Heat tortillas in a single layer about 30 seconds to 1 minutes per side, or until warm and slightly browned in spots. Place the tortillas on a sheet of foil and seal them tightly. Keep wrapped until ready to use.
How To Warm Tortillas in the Microwave
If you are short on time, this is the fastest way. Microwaving is the easy way and will work for both corn and flour tortillas. Place 3 to 4 tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a slightly damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 seconds.
While using the microwave is a quick way to heat your tortillas, do not microwave tortillas too long as they can harden. Keep them in the paper towels on the plate. When ready to serve or use in your recipe, discard the paper towels.
Steaming the tortillas directly (the oven and microwave methods also use steam) is another way to reheat them that helps improve their flavor, softness and flexibility. Steaming works better for corn tortillas.
To steam tortillas, add 1 cup of water and the steamer rack to an Instant Pot. Place a clean kitchen towel on the rack and stack up to 12 corn tortillas on the towel. Cover the tortillas with the towel and close the lid. Pressure cook (or steam) for 1 minute, then let stand until the float valve drops down. Keep tortillas wrapped until ready to serve. Find out more on how to use the Instant Pot excerpted from my cookbook 175 Best Instant Pot Recipes.
You can also steam your tortillas for 1 minute with a rice cooker or steamer following the manufacturers instructions.
Heating Tortillas on a Gas Stove
This method to warm your tortillas is my least favorite. It requires your absolute undivided attention, which is not always realistic. But, it is a good way to make soft tortillas with a bit of charred surface. Set your gas burner to medium-high heat. Using tongs, place tortilla over the open flame and turn the tortilla quickly until warmed and slightly charred. You can transfer the heated tortillas to a baking sheet and cover them with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
Tortilla warmers are a nice option for heating a stack of tortillas either in the oven or microwave depending upon the type you have. They can also make a nice way to serve them. Always follow the manufacturers instructions on how to use your tortilla warmer.
How To Reheat Tortillas FAQ's
What is the best way to warm tortillas? Warming tortillas in the oven is my favorite way to reheat tortillas and keep them warm. The oven method described earlier is an easy hands-off way to heat a larger amount of tortillas and keep them warm. If I want to just heat 1 to 2 tortillas, I will use the dry stovetop heat method using my cast iron skillet or comal.
How do you heat tortillas for tacos? Again we prefer the oven method, but you can use either the oven method or a stovetop skillet for heating your tacos. If you are having a taco night or hosting a party with a taco bar, you can heat many more tortillas in the oven and keep them warm,
How do you warm tortillas without drying them out? Wrap the tortillas in a slightly damp kitchen towel or place a slightly damp paper towel with them in foil or in a basket. If using the microwave, do not heat them for more than 30 seconds.
How do you soften tortillas without a microwave? You can soften tortillas and keep them warm in an oven instead of the microwave. While the microwave method is one of the easiest ways, there are many other heating methods covered here. This is actually our preferred method. I haven't used or owned a microwave in years.
How do you make store bought tortillas taste better? Warming tortillas is the best way to make store bought tortillas taste better. We all can't or don't want to make homemade tortillas and serve them fresh off the griddle. To make the best tortillas, the methods detailed here are you best options.