The Ultimate Guide to Reheating Tacos: Mastering the Art of Taco Reheating

How to Reheat Tacos: A Comprehensive Guide

Tacos are a popular culinary creation that often leaves us with leftovers to enjoy later. However, reheating tacos can be a challenge because you want to preserve their original flavors and textures. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different methods for reheating both hard and soft shell tacos to help you achieve the best results.

Reheating Hardshell Tacos

When it comes to reheating hardshell tacos, the oven is your best friend. Follow these steps to make sure your hardshell tacos are crispy and delicious:

  1. Preheat your oven to a moderate temperature, about 350°F (175°C).
  2. If you have a stainless steel taco rack, use it to keep the shells upright in the oven. This will help them hold their shape and prevent the filling from spilling out.
  3. If you don’t have a taco rack, you can lay the taco shells on their sides and support the top with a small ball of aluminum foil. This makeshift support will keep the shells from collapsing during reheating.
  4. Place the taco shells in the oven and heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until crisp and heated through.
  5. Once reheated, remove the taco shells from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before filling with your choice of ingredients.

It’s worth noting that hardshell tacos are best deconstructed before reheating. This means separating the fresh ingredients, such as lettuce and tomato, from the shell to preserve their crunch. This allows you to enjoy the contrast of textures in every bite.

Reheating soft shell tacos or flour tortillas

Softshell tacos or flour tortillas require a different approach to reheating. Here’s how to get soft and warm tortillas:

  1. First, place a slightly damp paper towel between each tortilla to retain moisture during reheating.
  2. Microwave the tortillas on high for about 30 seconds or until warm and tender. If you have a large stack of tortillas, you may need to microwave a little longer.
  3. After reheating, cover the tortillas with the paper towel to keep them warm and prevent them from drying out.
  4. If you have leftover tortillas after the meal, make sure they are completely cooled before storing them in a Ziploc bag. Remove as much air as possible to maintain freshness.
  5. The tortillas will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but if you plan to keep them longer, it’s best to freeze them.

When reheating soft-shell tacos or flour tortillas, it’s important to keep them moist for a pleasant texture. The microwave method with the damp paper towel will help achieve this goal.

Reheating corn tortillas

Corn tortillas have a tendency to stiffen quickly and require a special approach to reheating. Follow these steps to enjoy warm and pliable corn tortillas:

  1. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  2. Place the corn tortillas on the heated surface and heat for 30 seconds to one minute on each side. This process makes the tortillas more pliable and easier to work with.
  3. If you have leftover corn tortillas, wait until they are completely cool before sealing them in a Ziploc bag. Because of their lack of gluten, corn tortillas don’t keep as well in the refrigerator as flour tortillas. It’s best to use them within a day or two, or freeze them for longer storage.
  4. Before reheating corn tortillas, you can moisten them with water to slightly rehydrate the corn. This step will make them more pliable without making them mushy.

Reheating corn tortillas in a pan or on a griddle is an effective way to restore their flexibility and enhance their flavor.

Reheating taco meat

Properly reheating taco meat is critical to maintaining its flavor and juiciness. Follow these steps to reheat your taco meat:

  1. Scoop leftover taco meat into a Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. If you prefer to freeze the meat, use a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Before storing meat in the refrigerator or freezer, allow it to reach room temperature to avoid temperature shocks.
  4. To reheat taco meat, place in a skillet over medium heat. If reheating from frozen, using a lid will help retain moisture. If reheating from the refrigerator, you may need to add a teaspoon of water or a drizzle of fresh olive oil to keep it from drying out.
  5. Heat the meat for about 3 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature.

Following these steps will ensure that your taco meat is thoroughly reheated while maintaining its juiciness.

Dissecting Reheated Taco Fillings

In addition to reheating taco shells or tortillas, it’s important to consider fillings and toppings. Here are some guidelines for reheating common taco ingredients:

  1. Cheese: When reheating tacos with cheese, it’s best to add the cheese after the shells or tortillas have been reheated. Simply sprinkle the desired amount of cheese on the warm shells or tortillas and let it melt naturally.
  2. Meat: Reheating taco meat was discussed in the previous section. However, if you have leftover grilled or broiled meat, such as steak or chicken, it’s a good idea to reheat it separately in a pan or oven to keep it tender and flavorful.
  3. Salsa and guacamole: Salsa and guacamole are best enjoyed fresh, so it’s best to prepare them in small portions to avoid leftovers. If you do have leftover salsa or guacamole, store it in an airtight container and consume it within a day or two.
  4. Lettuce and tomato: As mentioned earlier, it’s ideal to break up the taco before reheating to preserve the crispness of the lettuce and tomato. Add these fresh ingredients to the tacos just before serving to keep them fresh.
  5. Beans and rice: Beans and rice can be reheated separately in the microwave or on the stovetop. Be sure to add a little water or broth to keep them from drying out.

Storing Leftover Tacos

For the best results when reheating tacos, proper storage is essential. Here are some tips for storing leftover tacos:

  1. Separate the components: If possible, deconstruct the tacos and store the components separately. This includes keeping the shells or tortillas separate from the fillings and toppings. This approach helps preserve the texture and quality of each component.
  2. Airtight containers: Use airtight containers to store taco ingredients. This prevents moisture loss and helps maintain freshness.
  3. Label and date: If you expect to keep leftovers for more than a day or two, label the containers with the contents and the date of storage. This will help you keep track of their freshness.
  4. Refrigeration: Leftover tacos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. However, it’s important to note that quality can deteriorate over time, especially with ingredients like lettuce and tomato.
  5. Freezing: If you have a large amount of leftover tacos or want to store them for an extended period of time, freezing is a good option. Wrap the tacos tightly in plastic wrap or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Frozen tacos can generally be stored for up to two to three months.


Reheating tacos can be an easy and enjoyable process if you follow the proper methods. Whether you’re reheating hard shell tacos, soft shell tacos, or corn tortillas, the oven, microwave, and stovetop are your allies. By deconstructing tacos, reheating components separately, and using proper storage techniques, you can enjoy delicious tacos even after they’ve been sitting in the refrigerator. So don’t let your taco leftovers go to waste-reheat them using the methods outlined in this comprehensive guide and enjoy the flavors all over again.


Can I microwave Hardshell Tacos?

It is not recommended to reheat Hardshell Tacos in the microwave as they can become soft and lose their crunch. Using the oven or grill is a better option for reheating Hardshell Tacos.

How long should I microwave soft shell tacos?

Softshell tacos or flour tortillas can be microwaved on high for about 30 seconds. Adjust the time as needed to achieve the desired warmth and softness.

Can I reheat corn tortillas in the oven?

While it is possible to reheat corn tortillas in the oven, it’s not the most recommended method as they can become dry and brittle. It’s best to heat them on a skillet or griddle to keep them pliable.

Is it necessary to break up tacos before reheating?

Deconstructing tacos before reheating is generally recommended, especially for hard shell tacos. Separating the fresh ingredients, such as lettuce and tomato, helps keep them crisp and prevents them from getting soggy.

How long can I keep leftover tacos in the refrigerator?

Leftover tacos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. However, it’s important to note that the quality of certain ingredients, such as lettuce and tomato, can deteriorate over time.

Can I freeze leftover tacos?

Yes, you can freeze leftover tacos. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Frozen tacos can generally be stored for up to two to three months.