It’s no surprise that you may need to freeze tortillas. After all, they’re an extremely versatile food that just makes foods better. I’m sorry but the naked burrito? Nope, not for me. I want the rice and beans wrapped up in a tube of goodness.
Of course, it’s most famous for its use in Mexican foods like enchiladas and tacos because, well, it’s from the region, but the humble tortilla can be used in so many more ways! (At least 70 different ways actually!) They can be used in anything from wraps to soups. And if you got a bit too excited at the grocery store and bought way too many tortillas, don’t worry, I got you covered.
Like most foods, tortillas are still probably a little better when they’re fresh – which are even better than premade tortillas from the store. But, either way, if you don’t eat all of your tortillas don’t worry – they’re still really good after they’ve been frozen too.
No matter if they’re whole wheat, corn, or flour tortillas, I’ll explain how you can keep your tortillas fresh longer.
Can Tortillas be Frozen?
Yes! Tortillas can most definitely be frozen. In fact, they’re one of the best things that you can freeze. Tortillas are very freezer-friendly, in multiple ways actually. Not only do they freeze well in that they keep a high quality after they have been defrosted, and that they can be frozen for a long time, but their shape is also quite convenient to store in the freezer.
Their thin and flat shape means that they can fit in small spaces and are super easily stackable. Quality and convenience, how great is that?
This goes for all types of tortilla. You can freeze homemade or store bought tortillas. You can freeze whole wheat, corn, and flour tortillas. Whatever form they take or wherever they come from, they all keep a good quality after they’re defrosted.
How to Freeze Tortillas
If you’re going to freeze tortillas you can freeze them in the packaging that you bought them in, or you can freeze them another method that I will go over that works a bit better.
If you’re going to freeze them in the same package that you bought them, the package shouldn’t be opened. So, only freeze them in the store package if you will be storing the whole package for later use. For the best results, you shouldn’t freeze them in the package for more than two weeks. Whilst they’ll still be safe to eat, the quality of them might suffer due to the residual air in the packaging.
Though it’s convenient that isn’t the best method to freeze tortillas if you want to keep them at the best quality for the longest time possible.
Take a look at my favorite method to keep the tortillas in the best quality, longer.
- Take them out of the store packaging.
- Tightly wrap the entire stack of tortillas in foil, freezer paper, or aluminum foil. If you don’t want to use all of them at once then you should layer the tortillas with a piece of baking paper – wax or parchment paper – between each tortilla. This is to prevent them from freezing together.
- After you’ve prepared and properly wrapped the tortillas, place them in a freezer bag. A gallon-size freezer bag usually does the job just fine. Squeeze out any residual air before sealing it.
- Before putting them in the freezer make sure that you label the bag with the date! This is important so you know how long they have been in the freezer and to use them while they’re still of the best quality.
- Lastly, lay them flat in the freezer so they can keep their flat shape. Also make sure that they won’t change position while they’re freezing. They can be more prone to breaking in the freezer if they are frozen in a curved shape.
You can freeze whole wheat, flour, and corn tortillas using this method.
How Long Do Frozen Tortillas Last?
How long tortillas can be frozen for depends on a few factors. If they’re frozen in the original packaging that they were bought in, then they can be stored like that for a few weeks to keep the best quality.
If they’re stored using the method I described above, then they can be kept in the freezer for up to 6-8 months without losing their quality. This means that their flavor, texture, and overall structure of the tortillas will degrade. But it’s not recommended to wait that long. You should aim to enjoy your tasty tortillas as soon as you can!
However, technically speaking, they will be safe to eat indefinitely. So if you have forgotten about last year’s tortillas that have found their way to the bottom of the freezer somehow, don’t worry. You can still eat them if you don’t want to waste food. But you shouldn’t expect the same quality.
Whether your tortillas are store-bought or homemade can make a difference as well. Tortillas you buy pre-packaged at the store will have a longer shelf-life than those that you make at home. This is because generally pre-made tortillas are made with added preservatives that allow them to stay better, longer. This is the price you pay for a bit of extra quality I suppose.
How to Defrost Tortillas
If you don’t defrost tortillas the right way, it can make for either dry and even crispy tortillas, or wet and soggy tortillas. Both are things that you really want to avoid. Luckily enough, it’s a super simple process.
The best way is to simply take them out of the freezer and leave them to defrost on the counter. How long it takes depends on how big of a stack your tortillas are, how thick your tortillas are, and if you have placed wax or parchment paper between each tortilla. As a rule of thumb, defrosting this way usually takes about 1 hour.
Defrosting Tortillas in the Microwave
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have enough time to wait, you can also defrost them using a microwave. To do this, microwave the tortillas on low heat. Make sure to only do it for short intervals though. Microwaving them for too long is how you can end up with tortillas that are soggy or overly dry. Be sure to check on them periodically to make sure they just become defrosted and not overdone.
Defrosting them in the microwave works the best if the tortillas are already separated. This is another advantage of placing paper between each tortilla when freezing, even if you plan on using them all. Defrosting them in smaller sections, or individually, is better than attempting to defrost an entire stack.
How to Use Defrosted Tortillas
The great news is that tortillas are pretty much just as versatile when defrosted as when they’re fresh. You can use them in something authentic like enchiladas, or something a bit more American, like a wrap. Let’s check out a few of my favorite ways to use defrosted tortillas.
Of course, you certainly can’t go wrong using your defrosted tortillas for a traditional (or not so traditional if you choose) Mexican favorite. The combination of meat, cheese, beans, and of course the deep flavor of enchilada sauce are definitely hard to beat. A classic and a favorite.
You can use your defrosted tortillas for quesadillas as well. Quesadillas have been one of my favorite foods for a long time. And I’ve probably eaten far more of them than I should have…
They can be as simple or as complex as you like. I have enjoyed them when I was in a hurry and I needed something filling and quick. I have also had them as a complete meal as well – topped with heaps of guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, etc. – the whole nine yards if you will.
Wrap A Wrap
Different from a burrito, you can use a whole wheat tortilla to make a healthy lunch wrap with your favorite sandwich items. My personal favorite styles of wraps are probably chicken caesar (classic), buffalo chicken, BLT, and mozzarella pesto. But don’t limit yourself. There are hundreds if not thousands of different recipes out there to utilize your defrosted tortillas in “wrap form”.
Transform Them Into Pizzas
While usually Italy and Mexico have very little in common besides both having Latin-based languages, you can make a quick and super tasty Mexican-Italian fusion snack with your defrosted tortillas. This can work with whole wheat, corn, or flour tortillas. The thicker the tortillas the better, though. If the tortilla isn’t quite thick enough on its own, you can bolster the thickness of the “crust” and boost the flavor by using two tortillas as a base instead of one. You can stick them together by using cheese. Yes, you have read that right. You can have a quesadilla pizza if you like! I most certainly recommend that you give it a try.
Use Them Normally
Ultimately, since tortillas keep so well, which can’t be overstated, defrosted tortillas can be used in pretty much the same way that fresh tortillas can. So don’t worry. Enjoy your defrosted tortillas to your heat’s content.