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How long are Tortillas good for?

If you are like me you have several questions about tortillas. How long are tortillas good for? Do they expire or go bad?  How do you store them so that they have a longer shelf-life? Well, you would be glad to know that I have answers to almost all your questions.

First things first, what are tortillas? Tortillas are a thin flat bread made from either wheat or cornflour. The appearance of tortillas usually varies depending on your location. In Mexico locals make tortillas using white, blue, or yellow corn flour thus tortillas can be either of the three colors. In some states, tortillas are usually thicker than they are in others.

People in the United States love tortillas. In fact, tortillas are one of the most popular breads in the US. Locals substitute most bread with tortillas.

TortillaPantry StorageFridgeFreezer
Whole wheat tortillas7 days4 weeks8 Months
Corn tortillas10 days8 weeks8 Months
Normal flour tortillas7 days4 weeks8 Months
Homemade tortillas3 days5 days5 - 6 Months
Spinach tortillas7 days4 weeks7 Months

Tortillas are quite versatile. You can use tortillas as a base for pizza toppings, you can make chips with them, and you can use tortillas as a wrap, or make quesadillas. The possibilities are endless. Tortillas are also very easy to use. When you want to use them, you can either steam them, warm them in the oven, grill them, or fry them. It all depends on your preference and what you want to use them for.

Most of the time, I buy tortillas in bulk. My cravings for Mexican food usually kick in at any time so I like having them in hand. Seriously, I always have tortillas in my freezer. In my experience, I have learned a few important things about tortillas and I am happy to share this knowledge with you.

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Do tortillas go bad?

Yes, tortillas also go bad, just like other foods do. However, you can extend the shelf-life of your tortillas by proper hygiene and storage.

Homemade tortillas tend to go bad faster compared to other tortillas but they can last for much longer if you store them properly.

Proper storage is key if you don’t want your tortillas to go bad.

How to tell when tortillas go bad.

The obvious sign that your tortillas are not as good as they were before is when they start getting stiff. Your tortillas may also start growing molds on them which is a clear sign that you should throw them out.  Another sign that your tortillas have gone bad is when their texture changes and begins to feel slimy. This usually indicates that they have started molding and it is safer not to eat them.

Your tortillas may also change color when they go bad. You should be keen on any color changes. If your tortillas start changing color to a yellowish color, they have definitely gone bad. Color change may be a bit difficult to notice, especially in corn tortillas, but keep an eye out for it.

Some tortillas start having unusual spots on them when they go bad, so be careful to notice them.

Eating bad tortillas may cause food poisoning. It is advisable that you throw them out if you see any sign of them going bad.

Normally, tortillas last way past their expiry date. It is really up to you to extend their shelf life.

How long do tortillas last?

Store bought tortillas usually come with a best by date. The date is just an estimation of how long the tortillas will retain their good quality.

Different types of tortillas last for different periods of time.  Their shelf life also depends on the type of preservatives used.

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Here is how long different types of tortillas last.

  1. Whole wheat tortillas

Whole wheat tortillas are usually great for anyone trying to lose weight. Normally, when stored in the pantry, they will stay fresh up to one week past the best by date.

If you store them in the refrigerator, they can last up to four weeks past the best by date. When frozen, they can last for eight months.

  1. Corn tortillas

For some reason, corn tortillas last for much longer compared to the other types of tortillas. When stored in the pantry, they stay fresh up to ten days after the best by date.

In the refrigerator, they last for approximately eight weeks and when frozen they can stay fresh for eight months.

  1. Normal flour tortillas

These tortillas stay fresh in the pantry a week after the best by date and four weeks when they are refrigerated. If you choose to freeze them, you will extend their shelf life and they can last for eight months without going bad.

The tortillas will taste as good as they did on the first day. They will also look the same.

  1. Homemade tortillas

Tortillas are not that hard to make, and once in a while, you can make your own tortillas at home. Unfortunately, homemade tortillas have a way shorter lifespan compared to the ones we buy at the store. This is mostly because they do not have any preservatives.

Homemade tortillas can stay fresh in the pantry for about three days. If you keep them for longer than that their taste will change and they will start going bad. Inside the refrigerator, they will stay fresh for five days. However, if you freeze them they can stay fresh for up to six months.

  1. Spinach tortillas

Just like whole wheat tortillas, spinach tortillas stay fresh for about one week when stored in a pantry.  In the refrigerator, they last for about four weeks.

When frozen, they can also last for 7 months like the others.

Extending the lifespan of your tortillas

Like most foods, the main cause of tortillas going bad is exposure to moisture. Tortillas should be stored in a dry place. If moisture gets inside them, molds start to form, and consequently the go bad.

If you want your tortillas to last longer, the best option is to freeze them. Frozen tortillas last for several months and the best part is that they still taste as well as they did when you first bought them or made them.

How to properly store tortillas

  1. Store-bought tortillas

These tortillas are usually pre-packaged. They are easy to store since you don’t need to repackage them. You can store them as they are inside the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.

Tortillas need to be kept at a stable temperature, so if you are storing then in the refrigerator, don’t place them at the door. If you are storing them in the pantry, make sure your pantry is completely dry. Moisture and tortillas are great enemies.

If you unwrap the tortillas, make sure that you wrap them tightly before putting them back in the pantry, fridge, or freezer. If the original package cannot be resealed, simply repackage the tortillas into freezer bags or wrap them with aluminum foil.

Some brands recommend that you store tortillas the same way you bought them, i.e. if they were unrefrigerated, store them in the pantry and if they were refrigerated, place them in the refrigerator as soon as you get home.

However, I recommend that once you open them, store them in the refrigerator if you want them to last for a longer period. Always make sure that the package is sealed and replace it if need be.

  1. Homemade tortillas

Storing homemade tortillas is a bit complicated, but it is not rocket science. You just need to have a little bit of patience since more work is required.

Storing homemade tortillas in the pantry is a no for me because they go bad after only two days. I recommend storing them in either in the refrigerator or the freezer

Here is how to store homemade tortillas.

  1. Separate the tortillas while they are still warm so that they don’t stick together. Cover them with a soft cloth.
  2. Let them cool down at room temperature.
  3. Once the tortillas are cold, wrap each of them with paper towels. Ensure that each tortilla is covered properly.
  4. Place the covered tortillas in freezer bags or airtight containers.
  5. Put them in the fridge or the freezer. Don’t place them at the door because the temperature there keeps fluctuating. Instead, place them inside where the temperature is stable.

Tips on freezing Tortillas

As we have seen, freezing tortillas is the best way to extend their shelf life. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when freezing tortillas. First, the packages of store bought tortillas are not perfect for freezing. You should transfer the tortillas into air tight containers or freezer bags if you want them to last for much longer.

Secondly, you need to make sure that the tortillas are wrapped properly. You can wrap several of them together using aluminum foil or just wrap each one separately. They will last longer if wrapped properly.

Lastly, there is no better way to thaw tortillas than thawing them inside the refrigerator. For instance, if you want to have the tortillas for the next day’s lunch, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

I never thaw them in the microwave because doing so tends to make them a little bit stiff, which I don’t like at all.

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