8 ways to Prepare Tortillas for Mexican Dishes

How to steam taco shells | Reluctant Entertainer

We’re a Mexican-food family for sure. Anything with beans, rice, spice, tortillas … we love. And I’ve also found that for large group entertaining, hosting a Mexican themed party is always easy, especially if you are delegating dishes. It offers a wide variety of choices for your guests to bring, from entrees to chips and guacamole, to single condiment options such as olives, sour cream, onions, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, peppers, cilantro. The list goes on and on if you’re hosting a taco bar!

I love hosting Mexican dinners because you can spread the food in a buffet-style – right on your kitchen counter!

How to steam taco shells | Reluctant Entertainer

But heating tortillas? It can be tricky, especially when you’re feeding a crowd.

How do you keep them soft and healthy, or do you like them fried and crisp? How do you serve them hot?

So many questions.

And so many options!

How to steam taco shells | Reluctant Entertainer

I’m always asked about the quickest way to heat a tortilla, since frying them is not always the healthiest approach to take, even though we love the flavor.

Our go-to preparation: Steam!

But when we want a real treat (the way I grew up eating them), we fry them. Delicious!

Frying Corn Tortillas | Reluctant Entertainer

Here are more options to try …

How to Prepare Tortillas:

Steam (Cloth) Method: Moisten a cloth towel or paper towel, wrap the tortillas (12 at a time) in the cloth (or paper towel) and microwave for 1 minute. This method gives you very soft and moist tortillas.

Steam (Plate) Method: Place the tortillas on a plate. Flip another plate upside down on top of it. Microwave as you would normally. The tortillas steam with the moisture that’s already inside them and the plates contain that steam. Works every time!

Stove Top Method: Place tortillas directly on the stove burner for a few seconds until warm, then flip. This method works great if you’re heating up a few tortillas.

Frying Method: I wrote about how to cook (fry) soft tortillas, here. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories!

Cast Iron Skillet Method: In a dry, medium-high pan, place the tortillas. They will puff up, soften, and toast as you cook on both sides.

Flat Griddle Method: Follow the same method as you would for a cast iron skillet.

Oven Method: Wrap 6-8 tortillas in tin foil and place in pre-heated 350° oven for 15-20 minutes. If you need to heat multiple stacks, this method works great.

Gas Charring Method: Place the tortilla over the gas flames for a few seconds on each side. Flip by using tongs.

Happy Cinco de Mayo this weekend, Friends!

What’s your go-to method for heating tortillas for a larger group while entertaining?

13 comments on “8 ways to Prepare Tortillas for Mexican Dishes”

  1. I either use the microwave or if I want them crisp but not “fried” I either spray with cooking spray or brush with oil and lay on foil on my oven racks and bake at 400-425 till crisp. Flipping over part way through

  2. I want one of each. I wish I was partying at your house this weekend!

  3. Hahaha. I use that burner method for lunches. Quick and easy. For larger quantities I use the in foil/oven method.

    @Kirstin – I am going to try your brush with oil and lay on foil method for crisping. I really like that.

    Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  4. All great ideas, thanks for sharing. When we do Mexican we usually always do it buffet style as well so everyone can pick what they like, how much salsa, etc – it makes it fun too!

  5. We go through alot of tortillas around here, but I have yet to fry them. Must try!!

  6. Great post, Sandy! Thanks for all the tips on preparing tortillas!

  7. So many delicious ideas! Thank you and Cheers :)

  8. I’m certainly a “Cast Iron Skillet Method” dude! GREG

  9. This is perfect for Cinco De Mayo. My mouth is watering.

  10. I love this post! I actually “grill charred” mine this weekend and they were wonderful, it might be my favorite way to prepare them (other than frying ;) )

  11. I generally heat the tortillas on a flat griddle but I like them any way you make them!

  12. So weird – I now have a hankering for tortillas 8 ways. ;) Great post! I highly recommend the tortilla warmer. Works like a charm for me.

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