How Long Do Tortillas Last?


How Long Do Tortillas Last

Have you ever asked yourself how many tortillas are too many tortillas?

Neither did I.

Tortillas are some of the most delicious and versatile baked products that can be bought nowadays. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can even make a snack out of them. I mean, who does not love munching on nachos and dip while watching TV.

I usually buy tortillas in bulk without even thinking about if they can go stale or god forbid moldy in my pantry, which I admit is a very irresponsible thing to do.

So in lack of storing instructions on the product or in some cases even the expiration date is missing from the package, I decided to take matters in my own hands and do thorough research before it is too late and someone ends up in ER or with a bad stomach caused by food poisoning.

Today I am going to talk about how long do tortillas last in your shelf, pantry, and fridge. I hope you will find the following text useful. Let’s start.


What Are Tortillas?

Did you know that the first tortilla was made by the Aztec people around 12000 years ago? They used grounded corn to make a special dough that they called masa. The most interesting thing is that the recipe did not change a lot over the years; the only thing that did change is a production method.

The tortilla is thin, flat, and round bread made from cornmeal or, in some cases, from wheat flour. After the corn has been grounded, cooked, and kneaded in the dough, the dough is pressed to form a flat patty and baked on a hot flat plate. Check out our article on does cornmeal go bad.

Tortillas are the basis for most traditional Mexican dishes like tostadas, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tortilla soup, and more. Warmed tortillas are usually a great accompaniment to soups, stews, and grilled meat.

I personally prefer serving them alongside lime and sour cream to neutralize the heat of spicy curries and chilies.

Depending on the location from where it originates, it can be made from finely ground maize or corn, which is the case in Mexico and Central America. On the other hand, in some regions in Mexico and Guatemala, corn comes in three different colors yellow, white, and blue maize. The wheat tortillas are usually used in America for making burritos and quesadillas.


How To Properly Store Your Tortillas?

Usually, almost all baked goods such as bread and pastry can be stored at room temperature, but that is not the case with tortillas. Storing is always different for opened and unopened packages; it also depends on the kind of flour and ingredients that are used for making. Are they store-bought and pre-packed, or are they homemade (in which case they are usually bought warm)?

Every tortilla manufacturer has its own formula and recipe that they follow, so the best possible way to store them is to read the recommendation on the label. In case the manufacturer did not label the storing advice, you can always do the smart thing and put them in the fridge.

Unopened Package

  • Until you open up your package, you should store them the same way as they were stored in the store. If you bought preservative-free or organic tortillas, they must be stored in the refrigerator. If you choose to buy tortillas with added preservatives, you must store them in the dark and cold pantry since they have a prolonged shelf life.
  • If you have any doubts about how to store your tortillas, you should always opt to place them in the fridge since they will retain freshness at low temperatures.

Opened Package

  • After you open up the original package or you bought the homemade tortillas, you must store them in a refrigerator.
  • To prevent tortillas get soggy, you need to wrap them tightly. It would be perfect if the original package features a resalable design, but if they do not, you can transfer tortillas into freezer bags or wrap them into the plastic or aluminum foil.
  • In case you bought homemade tortillas first thing you must do is to separate them from the bulk and leave them cool down completely. Make sure you cover them with a soft cloth to prevent tortillas from drying. Take each tortilla and wrap it in the paper towel, making sure it is completely covered and put it in the sealed container or freezer bag. In case you want to freeze them, do not put them in the paper towel.
  • If you prefer homemade tortillas, you need to know that they will retain freshness for about a week in the fridge. The best thing you can do is to leave as much as you need for a week in the fridge and freeze the rest.

How To Prolong Their Shelf Life?

Tortillas are usually sold with a best-by date, especially the kind that does not need to be stored in the refrigerator. The common mistake is that people think that best-by date is the expiration date when it is not.

The date is usually a pretty good estimate of how long the tortillas will retain quality and freshness. There is no need to worry if you forgot about your tortillas since you can still use most of them a few days past the best-by date. If you open the package after the best-by date, you should either use all of them right away or freeze the rest.

Some brands do not require you to refrigerate the tortillas after opening, but if you store them in the fridge, you will get up to 4 weeks of extra shelf life, which is a great way to save up some money. If you bought more tortillas than you need, it is best to freeze them sooner you do that the longer you can store them.

Unopened tortillasPantryFridgeFreezer
Past best-by datePast best-by datePast best-by date
Wheat flour tortillas1 week3-4 weeks6-8 months
Corn tortillas7-10 days6-8 weeks6-8 months
Whole wheat tortillas1 week3-4 weeks6-8 months
Spinach tortillas1 week3-4 weeks6-8 months
Homemade tortillas2-3 days5-7 days6-8 months

Storing them in the freezer is the best and only way to prolong their shelf life.

The only enemy of your stored tortillas is the possibility of moisture appearing. This will happen if the temperature changes from cool to warm, and vice-versa since this will make the air to condensate inside the packages. The next thing the mold is starting to grow in your tortillas and will spoil them eventually. When you are ready to use them, just pop them into the microwave, steamer pot, or toast them in the pan.

Read More: Can You Freeze Tortillas?


How To Tell If The Tortilla Gone Bad?

Finding out your tortilla becomes stale can be very frustrating. Especially if you didn’t check it out in time, and you already prepared your lunch and ruined perfectly good ingredients by pairing them with a slightly acidic funky tortilla.

To avoid that from happening, you need to pay a lot of attention to proper storing, but that does not mean you should not check them thoroughly after taking them out of the fridge just in case since it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Like with all other types of foods, the first obvious signs of spoilage are mold, dark specks on the surface, discolorations, and a bad smell. If any of these signs occur, throw the tortillas out immediately. This will happen if you stored them improperly if the temperature in the freezer fluctuates a lot and the moisture got to them, or they simply sat in the pantry or fridge for too long.

If neither of the signs is present, but you are still not sure if they are safe to eat, the safest thing to do is to cut out a small slice and taste it before you add any other ingredients.


Let’s Recapitulate

It is safe to say that the tortillas are just like all other foods prone to go funky and stale if you do not practice good food hygiene.

I am pretty sure that most of us did not pay attention to which type of tortilla we bought, so naturally, we didn’t store them the proper way, which resulted in tortillas going bad and lots of money wasted. Now, after all the discussion above, I am sure none of us will make the same mistakes again.

Remember consuming food that turns bad can cause some severe food poisoning and health issues, so in case you are not so sure about your tortillas, it is best to throw them in the trash on your way to the store to buy a new fresh pack.

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