Heating Tortillas

So there we were in Mexico and I loved the Mexican-style tacos that were served in tortillas.  I bought some to have on Que Tal, but didn’t like them nearly as well.

Luckily, one of the first cruising friends we made was of Mexican descent.  And when I asked her what was a good brand of tortillas to buy, she took pity on me and explained that you have to toast the tortillas before eating them.

It’s actually really simple and the procedure is the same whether you’re using corn or flour tortillas:

  • Heat a skillet or griddle over high heat (my burners go from 1 to 7, I set it at 6 for tortillas).  Wait for the pan to be hot — a drop of water flicked into the pan should dance around immediately.
  • Put one tortilla into the dry pan — no grease — and leave it for 15 to 20 seconds, until it’s just getting some browned spots on the bottom.
  • Flip the tortilla over — I usually use a fork under the edge, but you can use whatever is easiest for you.
  • It’ll take slightly less time on the second side.
  • Remove from the fire.

It’s best to use them immediately, but if you need to keep them for a few minutes you can put them on a plate and cover with a clean towel.  You can also buy “tortilla warmers” (not used to warm them but rather keep them warm) very inexpensively at any Mexican grocery store or on Amazon.  If you use one of these, make sure to buy tortillas that will fit your warmer!

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10 Comments
  • John Ahern on Facebook
    Posted at 23 November 2012 Reply

    I know boats dont like steam, but I will heat water in kettle and and steam for 20 seconds and they become very pliable for rolling up

  • Elizabeth Aristeguieta
    Posted at 02 August 2013 Reply

    I wrap them in foil and put them on the grill (if that´s what I´m using, or in the oven for a few minutes and heat up a bunch at once.

  • Frances Garrett
    Posted at 03 August 2013 Reply

    I learned the same thing from my Mexican neighbor here in CA – so lovingly prepared, and she died of leukemia while her children were still in grade school. Our kids played together all the time. She had so little education…..yet she knew so much. An incredible example to me. But I digress.

    She did the same thing…..but didn’t even bother with the pan! Watch them carefully, and you can do the same thing directly on the burner. You can handle the tortillas by the edges with your bare fingers. Try it on a calm day, if you like.

  • Shawn Haugen
    Posted at 08 June 2014 Reply

    Mexican food done right is the absolute best! But like you we had to learn from the real deal!

  • Bob Bechler
    Posted at 08 June 2014 Reply

    Let alone how great they taste warm, just out of the machine at the bakery!

  • Robert Sayles
    Posted at 08 June 2014 Reply

    My wife’s aunt was Mexican & she taught us to get the pan hot, put butter in the pan, when melted flop tortilla in for short time. Come out moist, rollable, no burnt spots, & have a better flavor.??

  • Alex Shaffer
    Posted at 09 June 2014 Reply

    Huh? Fer’ Real? C’mon man. Of course ‘dem fellers gotta’ be heated.

    • Rick Johnson
      Posted at 09 June 2014 Reply

      heat yes. as long as you don’t nuke them. Unless you like eating wubber!

  • Lawrence Collins
    Posted at 09 June 2014 Reply

    That’s mostly how I eat them…warm.. Put in skillet, lightly warm, flip over and put anything between a half side. Flip the other side over and it’s a quesida, with anything in between. Breakfast, lunch or dinner…top with sour cream, salsa, guacamole ect. Yummy

  • Rick Johnson
    Posted at 09 June 2014 Reply

    Guess who invented the flour tortilla. The Germans! When they imigrated over back in the 17/1800’s all they found available were corn tortillas. Being German and all, this would not do! As a result, they made a flour version which to this day is the most popular with everyone including the Mexicans as well. The Germans also changed “Mexican” beer for the better, but thats a different story. On subject, I use an old electric wok to heat my tortillas. Works great, and you can do 4 or 5 at a time.

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