The Ultimate Guide to Defrosting Tortillas: The Best Methods Revealed

How to defrost tortillas: The Best Methods

Tortillas are a versatile staple of Mexican cuisine, often used in dishes such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. Whether you have homemade or store-bought tortillas, there may come a time when you need to thaw them for later use. Freezing tortillas is a simple process, but the key is defrosting them properly to preserve their flavor, texture, and appearance. In this article, we will explore the best methods for thawing tortillas, including step-by-step instructions for corn, flour, and wheat tortillas.

The types of tortillas

Before we dive into thawing methods, let’s briefly discuss the three main types of tortillas: corn tortillas, flour tortillas, and wheat tortillas.

  1. Corn tortillas:
    Corn tortillas are thin, unleavened flatbreads made from hominy or masa, a type of corn flour. They come in a variety of colors and flavors, depending on the type of corn used. Corn tortillas are generally smaller and firmer than other types, and they do not contain shortening. However, they tend to break more easily.
  2. Flour tortillas:
    Flour tortillas, also known as white flour tortillas, are made with plain white flour, water, salt, and shortening. Some commercially made flour tortillas may also contain leavening agents and preservatives. These tortillas have a neutral flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They are known for their ability to hold a large amount of filling without breaking.
  3. Wheat tortillas:
    Wheat tortillas are similar to flour tortillas, but are made with whole wheat flour instead of white flour. These tortillas are often considered a healthier alternative to flour tortillas due to their higher fiber content. They have a slightly darker appearance than flour tortillas.

The best methods for thawing tortillas

Now let’s explore the best methods for defrosting tortillas to ensure they maintain their quality and flavor.

1. Defrosting in the refrigerator

Defrosting tortillas in the refrigerator is a safe and easy method, although it does take some time. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Place the frozen tortillas on a refrigerator shelf, making sure they don’t stick together.
Step 2: Let the tortillas sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Step 3: Once thawed, you can heat or reheat the tortillas on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave. Keep in mind that they will still be cold after thawing.

2. Defrosting in the microwave

If you’re short on time, microwave defrosting is a quick and convenient option. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Place a frozen tortilla in the microwave, wrapped in a damp towel to trap moisture.
Step 2: Avoid defrosting tortillas in a stack, as they can become soft and sticky, with the top tortillas absorbing water.
Step 3: Set the microwave to defrost and thaw the tortilla for 30 seconds.
Step 4: Flip the tortilla halfway through to ensure both sides are evenly heated.
Step 5: Check to see if the tortilla is completely thawed. If not, microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Avoid microwaving for more than 60 seconds or the tortillas may become tough.

3. Defrosting in the oven

Although less common, defrosting tortillas in the oven is another viable option. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Step 2: Place the frozen tortillas on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Be careful not to stack or overlap them.
Step 3: Bake the tortillas in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until they are tender.
Step 4: If desired, leave the tortillas in the oven a little longer to crisp up and turn into tortilla chips.

4. To thaw on the stove top

If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can defrost the tortillas on the stovetop. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Heat a skillet over medium heat without oil.
Step 2: Place the tortilla on the skillet and heat for 20-30 seconds on each side.
Step 3: For corn tortillas, which tend to be stiffer, you can heat them directly over an open flame with tongs for a more authentic experience.
Step 4: Once heated, set the tortilla aside and repeat the process for the remaining tortillas.

Bottom line

Defrosting tortillas is a simple process that can be accomplished in a number of ways. Whether you defrost them in the refrigerator, microwave, oven, or stovetop, the key is to ensure that they thaw properly without losing their taste, texture, and appearance. By following the step-by-step instructions in this article, you can confidently defrost any type of tortilla, be it corn, flour, or wheat. Enjoy your delicious thawed tortillas in your favorite Mexican dishes, knowing that they were defrosted using the best methods to preserve their quality.


Can I thaw tortillas at room temperature?

It is not recommended to defrost tortillas at room temperature as they may become soggy and lose their texture. It is best to use one of the recommended methods such as defrosting in the refrigerator, microwave, oven or stovetop.

How long can I keep frozen tortillas?

Frozen tortillas can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. However, for best quality, it is recommended that they be consumed within 1-2 months.

Can I re-freeze tortillas after thawing?

It is generally not recommended to refreeze tortillas after defrosting, as this can affect their texture and quality. It is best to defrost only the amount of tortillas needed for a single use.

Can I defrost and reheat tortillas in the microwave at the same time?

While it is possible to defrost and reheat tortillas in the microwave, it is recommended to defrost first and then reheat separately. This ensures that the tortillas thaw evenly and maintain their desired texture.

Are the defrosting methods the same for corn, flour and wheat tortillas?

The general defrosting methods are the same for corn, flour and wheat tortillas. However, corn tortillas may require a slightly longer defrosting time due to their more stable nature. It is always best to follow the specific instructions in the article for each type of tortilla.

Can I freeze homemade tortillas?

Yes, you can freeze homemade tortillas. It is recommended that you allow them to cool completely before placing them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Make sure they are properly sealed to prevent freezer burn. When ready to use, follow the defrosting methods outlined in the article.