Your Burning Questions

How to Heat Store-Bought Corn Tortillas

By • March 15, 2014 • 9 Comments

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: You've got your carnitas, your guac, your genius refried beans. Take your next taco night from good to amazing with piping hot tortillas.

It's impossible to not love taco night. It's satisfying, serves plenty, and adapts to your whims -- carnitas one week, fried avocados or grilled fish the next. With a spread of salsa, guacamole, beans, and warm tortillas before you, it's a DIY dinner and a sanctioned chance to play with your food.

Yes, we did say warm tortillas. And no, we won't ask you to make your own, unless that's what your heart is telling you to do. The truth is, store-bought tortillas work just fine for shuttling maximal taco fillings from plate to mouth, but try telling that to the cold, rubbery tortillas that sit neglected while you eat your carnitas with a fork. Look past the microwave -- with a little know-how, you can reheat tortillas so they're worthy of the things they hold. MarionRose asked for your tips, and you had her back:

  • Enlist your oven, like lisina does: "Wrap a stack of tortillas in aluminum foil and pop them in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes or so. They'll steam inside the packet and stay nice and soft. Keep them wrapped until you're ready to use them."
  • Chef's Hat prefers to stick with the stove: "I always put them in a non-stick pan, heating both sides until they start to get some color. Takes some time, but I like it far better then putting them in the oven."
  • Alternatively, cut out the middleman and get rid of the pan. Lisabu fires up her gas stove and says: "I take tongs and hold the tortillas directly over the flame for 10 to 15 seconds on each side." Pierino loves the same "radical approach," because it gives his tortillas "a slight char and a mildly smoky flavor," whether he's using them for tacos or huevos rancheros.

How do you do taco night? Tell us in the comments!

Jump to Comments (9)

Tags: how-to & diy, hotline, best question, tortillas, mexican food

Comments (9)

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6 months ago Brigitte Davila

You need an iron comal to heat through and get the proper toasty finish. I've seen griddles employed for this purpose and a pan, in a pinch, but for true earthy toasty corn flavor the comal is king. You will also get some of your iron RDA as a bonus.

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8 months ago Sarah Larter

My mom would put a wire rack over the pot of simmering meat/fillings and set the tortillas on that to warm up. With a wide lid, the steam heats the shells perfectly through.

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8 months ago Pat in SoCal

Over the gas flame...always!

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8 months ago Lu

on the gas range, a tip i learned from some mexicans years ago

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8 months ago AlohaHoya

Women in the market places in Mexico heat them over a gas flame like we do at home...it gives the tortilla a smokey woodsy flavor...

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8 months ago Suzanne

Our waffle iron grids flip over to a smooth side. We heat the iron up to high, spray on some olive oil, and pop each tortilla in for about 30 seconds or until the steam pours out the sides. Perfect.

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8 months ago emptypixels

Corn tortilla's are great heated in a non-stick pan if you give them a quick dip in water. I know it sounds weird, but the extra moisture is key.

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8 months ago annaclarice1

For flour tacos nothing beats the flame on my gas stove!
For corn tortillas I prefer a light brush of veg oil and a quick trip into my cast iron pan.

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9 months ago OnionThief

If you have a gas stove, directly over the fire is the way to go. There is nothing better for making your tortillas taste like the delicious, sweet, rich, FOOD that they are.