If you are a fan of Mexican cuisine, you likely are familiar with tortillas. Those soft, round, “taco shells” make the perfect shell for all manner of toppings and fillings. So, let’s find answers to all those tortilla storing and preserving questions that you have about how long tortillas last and also best ways to store tortillas.
How Long Do Tortillas Last?
To know how long tortillas last, you need to know about the expiration date and shelf life of the tortilla. Different types of tortillas have different shelf life. For example, a corn tortilla might last longer than a “flour” (wheat) tortilla, depending on how you store them.
Whenever you are wondering if the tortillas have gone bad, you should first check the expiration date on the packaging. While it is not a set-in-stone date, it will give you an idea of when your tortilla should be safe and good to eat. A few days to a week on either side of the printed date is usually safe to consume tortillas, if they have been stored in your refrigerator, provided there are no other visible signs that they are beginning to spoil or go bad.
In comparison to store-bought tortillas, homemade ones have a shorter shelf life. This is likely because of the lack of preservatives in them and the under-processed means of preparing and packaging that they go through. When making tortillas to enjoy at home, they will need to be eaten much more quickly than the ones bought from the store.
How Long Do Flour Tortillas Last?
Answering the question of how long do tortillas last comes down to what they are made of and how they are preserved. The expiration date of the flour tortillas depends on how you preserve them. What is commonly known as a flour tortilla has been made with refined wheat flour. If you keep them out on your kitchen counter, they’ll likely stay fresh for a week. But, storing them in the refrigerator often extends the expiry date by another 3-4 weeks.
Additionally, freezing further extends the shelf life of the flour tortilla by 6-8 months. So, in case you do want to save your flour tortillas for longer, freeze them. You will need to take care with reheating so that they do not dry out or get soggy, but it is possible to store tortillas for nearly a year in the freezer when done correctly.
How Long Do Corn Tortillas Last?
When talking about tortillas, the most popular ones are the traditional corn tortillas. So, how long do these corn ones last? Corn tortillas often last for around 8-10 days, depending on the storage methods, but if conditions are warm and the package has been open, often less.
If you refrigerate them, they’ll last for 7-8 weeks and in the freezer for 6-8 months. But, always ensure that you freeze them in batches instead of storing them in bulk. Separating each tortilla with parchment paper can help keep them from sticking together and tearing apart when you try to reheat and use them later on.
How Long Do Whole Wheat Tortillas Last?
Whole wheat tortillas are considered to possess the best nutritional value. These have a lot of fiber and nutrients and are also quite tasty and filling. If you leave them out in your kitchen, they’ll last around a week after the expiration date.
If you plan to store them in the fridge, they’ll last for 3-4 weeks without any issue. In the freezer, though, these tortillas stay fresh for 6-8 months easily and be quickly reheated to add to any dinner or lunch plans you may have down the road.
How Long Do Homemade Tortillas Last?
Homemade tortillas tend to have a shorter shelf life if left out on the counter since they don’t contain any preservatives. That said, they still stay fresh and edible for 3-4 days. Aside from that, these also stay fresh for 5 days to a week in the refrigerator. If you plan on freezing them, they will likely last for 5-7 months.
How Long Do Flavoured Tortillas Last?
Have you ever eaten those green and red “taco shells”? If yes, they are likely made with spinach and beetroot puree. They are high in nutrition and taste, just like any other tortilla that you eat. If kept outside, they will last for a week out on your kitchen counters. In the refrigerator, they do last for a month or so. In case you freeze them, they will keep easily you for 6-8 months.
One point to remember with these flavored varieties is that they can either be made from different ingredients or have other additives that bring color and flavor to the tortilla. These can sometimes affect preservation times, so keep that in mind when working with these varieties. Do not keep tortillas in warming baskets for more than a few hours because bacteria grow faster at higher temperatures. Using airtight containers to store tortillas can shorten shelf life at room temperature, as well.
How to Tell If the Tortillas Have Gone Bad?
Tortillas go bad quite easily if you don’t store them correctly. But how can you tell if they have gone bad?
There are a few different changes in the tortilla’s taste and texture that indicate it is too late to eaat. Being cautious of these signs is necessary to avoid the risks of consuming contaminated food.
Some of the factors to look our for to determine when tortillas go bad include:
Changes in Texture
If you have corn or flour tortillas lying around long on the kitchen counter, they will start feeling slippery on the outside. They also start forming green or black molds on the surface. If you find these kinds of growths on the outermost tortillas in the pack, you can discard them and eat the rest after carefully examining them to ensure there is no mold on the rest. But, be careful to check every single one of them before eating.
Another change in texture is that the tortillas go stiff if they have gone out of date. But, the hardened texture doesn’t always mean they have gone bad, so you need to check for other signs. When trying to answer the question of how long do tortillas last in the fridge, the texture is just one of the signs to look for. (If your tortilla has dried up and there are no signs of discoloration, you can sprinkle tiny drops of water on them and heat them up slowly in a covered pan. The evaporating water will rehydrate your tortillas again.)
Changes in Appearance
Aside from the texture, a bad tortilla will show changes in its appearance too. If you witness spotting all over the tortilla, it is likely because of the growing molds. Mold growth is usually fuzzy and soft looking and is often green, black, white, or a muddled grey color. Additionally, any kind of change in the color of the tortilla is also a bad sign. If you especially notice a green or yellow tinge to the tortilla itself and not necessarily anything growing on it, it is likely that the tortillas have already gone bad.
How to Store Tortillas to Preserve Them?
The primary reason why tortillas fail to stay fresh is because of improper storage. How long do tortillas last? It all comes down to how you preserve them. If you don’t store the tortillas the right way, they will only remain good till their expiration date.
So, how do you store tortillas the right way? This depends on what kind of tortillas we are talking about.
How to Store Tortillas from the Market?
Store-bought tortillas are easy to store. All you have to do is keep them in a container when kept inside the freezer or fridge. Understanding how long do corn tortillas last in fridge vs in the freezer and how preservation affects the overall quality of the tortilla is something to consider when buying in bulk. If you cannot properly store what you buy, it might be better to buy smaller quantities that can be easily used before they start to go bad.
Smaller quantities can easily be stored in the fridge or freezer and it is safe to do so. Just ensure that the fridge and the freezer have constant temperatures inside. If possible, wrap them before storing them in the fridge. If your tortilla has an open package, try resealing it before storing them. In case you can’t, use freezer bags.
How to Store Homemade Tortillas?
Do tortillas go bad? Of course, they can eventually go bad. In fact, homemade foods have a much shorter shelf life and can’t be stored for as long. This is part of the reason why homemade tortillas are quite hard to store, especially because they are often hot when sold by vendors. So, know that they last less than the store-bought options (but are generally more delicious).
For this, you need to follow the steps mentioned.
- If your tortillas are warm, make sure you separate each of them and let them cool down first. Avoid keeping the tortillas in a pile if they are warm or hot.
- Once they cool down completely, put them back into a pile. If possible, you can even wrap them in individual papers before storing them.
- Put every packed tortilla into an airtight container and store it in the freezer.
Do Tortillas Go Bad?
Yes, tortillas come with a specific shelf life. Store-bought tortillas tend to last longer in comparison to homemade ones. So, if you have any type of tortillas lying around in your house, know that they come with an expiration date. The majority of them last for around a week on the kitchen counter. It is important to know how long corn and flour tortillas last so you can ensure you and your family do not accidentally get sick from eating tortillas that have started to go bad. Refrigerating tortillas will ensure they take many more weeks before they go bad than tortillas that are simply left out.
How Long Will Tortillas Last in the Fridge After Being Opened?
Tortillas tend to last for 4-5 weeks in the fridge after you have opened them. But, it is essential to store them the right way (wrapped or in an airtight container) to prevent contamination with other foods in the fridge.
How Do You Keep Tortillas Fresh?
Generally, if left out of the fridge, they only last about a week. If you have some leftover tortillas that you want to eat in the weeks to come, you can always pack them up in a freezer bag and then keep them stored in a fridge. If you want to preserve them for longer than that, you can always freeze them in an airtight container.
Do Tortillas Need to Be Refrigerated After Opening?
Generally a package of tortillas should be refrigerated after being opened. Leaving tortillas open on the kitchen counter can cause them to become stiff in texture and grow mold because of the warm air but you can get away with leaving them out for a few days.
Do You Have to Refrigerate Tortillas?
No, but they will keep a lot longer if you do. You can leave tortillas out for about a week but you have several more weeks if you refrigerate them. So, for large families that enjoy tortillas every day, you can probably get away without refrigerating them but for the rest of us, it is a very good idea to refrigerate your tortillas.
Guide to Storing Other Popular Mexican Dishes
For those who love eating tortillas filled with taco meat, here is a guide to reheating taco meat.
When you buy a pack of tortillas or even make tortillas by hand, you will most likely have leftovers to deal with (here is a tip on how to manage leftover flautas).
Tortillas are commonly used in many dishes though there are some popular tortilla-inspired dishes that don’t actually use tortillas. A Chipotle bowl is essentially a burrito without the tortilla, check out how to reheat your chipotle bowl, plus there are also other recipes you can find that play off a traditional tortilla dish.
Conclusion – Understanding How to Keep Tortillas Fresh
If you have always wondered about ways to preserve your extra leftover tortillas, I hope this article gives you all the insights you possibly need. Make sure that you follow the storage instructions for maximum safety and to prevent spoilage and know how long your particular tortillas will last.