Tortillas are great to have around the house for a quick fix lunch or last-minute dinner guests.
Flour tortillas resemble smooth and very thin flatbreads. It is used often in Mexican cuisine, for wraps, or even to eat with stews or curries. They are perfect for stuffing and folding over, crisping up for dipping, or topped with a variety of ingredients.
The best thing about flour tortillas is that they can last for a few months depending on how you store them. Freezing flour tortillas allows you to have them handy at short notice as they don’t take long to defrost and can be used in a variety of ways.
Here is everything you need to know about keeping your flour tortillas well-preserved in the freezer.
What Are The Common Types of Tortillas?
White Flour Tortillas
As the name suggests, flour tortillas are made with a simple base of white wheat flour, water, shortening, and salt. Commercially-produced tortillas may also contain chemical raising agents such as baking powder as well as additional preservatives.
Flour tortillas are pliable and used for folding and wrapping up ingredients as in the case of burritos and quesadillas. They can handle a big amount of filling without breaking.
Flour tortillas have a very neutral flavor which means they can easily be incorporated into sweet and savory dishes.
Whole-wheat tortillas are the same as flour tortillas except that they are made with whole wheat flour instead of white flour where all the bran has been removed. This means they are richer in fiber and not quite as silky smooth. They will also have a slightly darker appearance.
Known as the healthier, slightly less processed version of the flour tortilla, whole-wheat tortillas are used in exactly the same ways as white-flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas are a very thin type of unleavened flatbread, with the main ingredient of hominy or masa, a specially prepared corn (maize) flour. Corn tortillas do not contain any shortening. They are smaller, firmer, and break more easily than flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas come in different flavors and colors depending on the kind of maize used including white maize, yellow maize, or blue maize.
Stores now mass-produce factory corn tortillas that are pre-packaged and contain added preservatives to extend their shelf-life. Of course, these tortillas have not been made in the same traditional way as their freshly handmade counterparts.
Can I Freeze Tortillas?
Yes, extra or leftover flour tortillas can be frozen to reduce waste and extend their shelf life.
If frozen properly, you will not even notice that the flour tortillas have been in the freezer as the texture and the taste will remain unchanged. Once thawed and cooked, the tortilla will return to the way it was as a fresh product.
How To Freeze Tortillas
It is important to ensure flour tortillas are sufficiently wrapped when freezing. Exposure to moisture and air will result in the deterioration of the tortilla quality. Follow the steps below when freezing flour tortillas to ensure they retain their freshly made standard.
- Step 1: Refrigerate
If the tortillas are not already stored in the refrigerator, refrigerate them to cool completely before freezing. Do not place warm tortillas in the freezer as this will cause them to spoil.
The freezing process draws moisture out of the warm dough, creating crystals that will result in the tortillas drying out. The quality will quickly deteriorate, and freezer burn will yield an unpleasant flavor and texture.
- Step 2: Layer
Place a piece of cling film, wax paper, or foil between the tortillas to create a barrier between them. This will prevent them from sticking to one another and allows you to separate the flour tortillas easily, thawing only as many as you need at any given time.
In addition, the wax paper layers help to reduce frost which toughens the dough, causing the tortillas to become chewy.
- Step 3: Wrap
Tortillas that are not wrapped sufficiently when frozen are prone to freezer burn which results in a poor quality thawed product. Wrap the stack of separated tortillas in foil or cling wrap.
Make sure the wrapping seals the tortillas completely without any open gaps where air can enter. Then place the wrapped tortillas into a resealable freezer bag.
- Step 4: Remove Air
Lie the bag flat and press out any air before sealing.
- Step 5: Freeze
Flour tortillas will become crisp when frozen which means they crack and break easily. Freeze the tortillas lying flat so they can safely retain their shape.
How To Thaw Frozen Tortillas
When freezing flour tortillas, moisture can form crystals and cause condensation on the tortilla surface.
Considering this, it is important to thaw your flour tortillas gradually to prevent them from becoming soggy. Defrost flour tortillas as follows for the best result:
Step 1: Refrigerate
Remove the amount of flour tortillas you wish to use from the freezer. Place them directly in the refrigerator to thaw for a few hours.
Step 2: Heat
Once the flour tortillas are defrosted, heat them as you would a fresh tortilla. Refer to the store package instructions to heat them either in a skillet, on the stovetop or in the oven.
Store-bought flour tortillas will last for 3 days at room temperature in a closed packet. It is always advisable to store flour tortillas in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of mold.
Plain store-bought flour tortillas without filling can last two to four weeks in the refrigerator and 6 to 8 months in the freezer when sufficiently wrapped and sealed.
Store-bought corn tortillas can be kept at room temperature for 3 days. It is always best to store corn tortillas in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of mold. Plain store-bought corn tortillas without filling can last 2 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Corn tortillas can be kept in the freezer for 6 to 8 months if properly wrapped and sealed.
Yes, flour tortillas can be frozen in the store packaging if it is unopened and well-sealed. It is best to wrap the pack of tortillas in another layer of cling film or to place it in a resealable freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
Keep in mind that the flour tortillas may stick to each other if there is no separating wax paper or cling film between them. You may have to defrost the entire pack at once in such a case.
Yes, you can freeze uncooked flour tortilla dough. Shape the dough into golf-ball-sized rounds and place them on a lined baking sheet. Cover and leave them in the freezer just until fully frozen.
Once the dough balls are hard, wrap each one in clingfilm and store them in a resealable bag in the freezer. This way you can remove the amount you need at a given time and thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
Defrosting flour tortillas in the microwave can cause them to become chewy or soggy.
Using the microwave to thaw corn tortillas can make them chewy or soggy. For the best results, thaw corn tortillas in the fridge before heating.
Store-bought flour tortillas that have been frozen are always best thawed in the refrigerator before cooking. If you really do not have time to wait for them to thaw in the fridge, cook them in a skillet or on the stovetop from frozen as a last option.
A world of deliciousness can be created around a simple flour tortilla. Wraps, fajitas, quesadillas, and burritos—these are just a few reasons to have these convenient wraps on hand at all times for a quick meal or fully-fledged feast.
Being able to freeze flour tortillas and only take out a small number at a time instead of wondering what to do with an entire batch is ideal. If you store flour tortillas in the freezer by wrapping them sufficiently, they will be as good as fresh for months to come.
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*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos