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How Long Do Tortillas Last: How to Store Tortillas

November 06, 2020 6 min read

How Long Do Tortillas Last

Tortillas are the tasty wraps that you use to make burritos, tacos, and a number of other delicious sandwich-style meals. They’re flatbreads, usually circular in shape, that originate from Latin America. They’re generally cooked on a large flat plate and vary in diameter. 

These bundles of deliciousness are so tasty, we wouldn’t be surprised if you ate a few in a day. Tortillas do often come in packs or you might make too many homemade tortillas for one dinner. Whatever the case, you may find yourself wondering what the best tortilla storage options are. 

Do tortillas go bad? 

Tortillas are made with only a few simple ingredients, which means that they generally stay fresh for a while. However, like all food, tortillas certainly can go bad. 

Different types of tortillas stay fresh for different periods of time, which is why we’ve put together this article all about the shelf life of tortillas, how long they’re good for, and what you can do if tortillas go bad. 

How long do tortillas last? 

The good news to the question ‘do tortillas go bad’ is that this generally takes a while, and their lifespan can be elongated if you store them in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Furthermore, the lifespan of tortillas varies depending on which tortillas you purchase, how close they are to the printed date, and whether they have been opened or not. It also depends on whether you refrigerate tortillas or keep them in a cupboard or the freezer. 

If you’re wondering how long do tortillas last, take a look at this handy table comparing a few different types of tortillas and their lifespans: 

Unopened - Past Printed Date

Cupboard

Refrigerator

Freezer

Flour

7 days

3-4 weeks

6-8 months

Whole Wheat

7 days

3-4 weeks

6-8 months

Corn

7-10 days

6-8 weeks

6-8 months

Spinach

7 days

3-4 weeks

6-8 months

Homemade

2-3 days

5-7 days

6-8 months


If you’ve opened your tortilla package, they’ll last for a few days until the air gets to them. Then they’ll start to harden, smell bad, and look moldy. At this point - throw them away!

How long do homemade tortillas last?

Homemade tortillas, which will obviously not be in a tortilla packet, will only last around 2-3 days in the cupboard. However, they last up to a week in the refrigerator and much longer in the freezer, so why not make your own tortillas and store them away for when the burrito craving hits!

All you need to make homemade tortillas is flour, vegetable oil and salt, a tortilla press, and a frying pan. Making fresh tortillas yourself is the most surefire way to know that they’ll be delicious every time.

How to tell if tortillas are bad

When expired tortillas get old, they’ll begin to stiffen. Even if they are a little solid, they may be ok to eat - but if you see any spots of mold on the tortilla’s surface, you should presume that the entire packet is bad and should be thrown away. 

There are a few other ways to tell if tortillas are bad.

  • If your tortillas start to feel a bit slimy, they’re likely to develop mold soon. This is one of the first signs of wheat tortillas turning bad, but it’s relatively easy to spot with corn tortillas as well. 
  • Unusual spots forming on your tortillas are a sign of them going off.
  • If there is any color change to your tortillas, this should be treated as a sign that they’re going bad. Tortillas should not change in color at all, but if you notice any kind of neon or green tinge, it’s time to get rid of them! 
  • If any kind of unusual or bad smell comes from the tortillas, they should be thrown away.

The shelf life of tortillas often varies depending on the exact pack. Store-bought tortillas are more reliable, but even these can vary! Therefore, it is essential to know the warning signs of tortillas going bad to keep you from getting sick. 

Can you eat expired tortillas? 

Check your tortilla expiration date before consuming the wraps - however, if that date has already passed, you may still be able to eat your tortillas. To define your tortilla shelf life, go by how they look, feel, and smell. 

You may find that your tortillas harden slightly once past their expiry date, but if you still want to eat them, they should be ok regardless. However, if they have any mold on them, or smell bad, it’s best to throw the entire packet away. 

How to store tortillas

To ensure that your tortillas last, make sure that you store them correctly. 

Packaged Tortillas

Packaged tortillas are simple to store, especially if the packet is unopened. All you need to do is place the unopened packet in the cupboard, refrigerator, or freezer, and use our table above to work out how long they’ll be good for. 

Store the tortillas away from any fluctuating temperatures - for example, make sure that the cupboard that they’re kept in isn’t close to the oven or a radiator that might heat it up, and if you are storing tortillas in the freezer or refrigerator, try to store them away from the door. This will ensure that their shelf life is extended. 

Homemade tortillas

Homemade tortillas are not as simple to store - but there are some tips and tricks to get it right! Whether you’ve made your tortillas yourself or have bought from a tortilla maker, the same procedure applies. 

First, ensure that the tortillas are separate - if they’re in a bag or container, peel them from each other, one by one. Place a cloth cover over them and let them cool to room temperature. Once the tortillas are at room temperature, you can stack them back on top of each other. 

Then, place paper towels around the stack of tortillas to give them extra protection. Place them in either a Tupperware container or a zip lock bag, and pop them in the refrigerator or freezer. They’ll be ready, fresh, for when you want them! 

Can you freeze tortillas?

Yes, you can certainly store tortillas in the freezer. Freezing tortillas is a great way to ensure that they stay fresh for whenever you want to use them - even if it’s a few months later! Just wrap them well so they’re airtight, and place them in the freezer. 

Make sure that your tortillas won’t be snapped or broken by any heavy containers around them, and leave them there until you are ready to enjoy them!

How to defrost tortillas?

The best way to defrost tortillas is to remove them from the freezer and keep them at room temperature for around one hour. Because they are thin, they shouldn’t take longer than an hour to defrost fully. 

If you can’t wait to enjoy your delicious tortillas, you can heat them on the ‘defrost’ setting of a microwave. But be careful with this - if you heat them for too long or at too high a power they will go soggy, and this will make them more likely to tear or rip.

How do I use old tortillas? 

You might not want to use tortillas that are a little hard or stale to wrap your burrito, but there are actually plenty of other ways to ensure that your tortillas do not go to waste. 

Traditional Mexican recipes often call for stale tortillas, and you can make some delicious authentic dishes such as chilaquiles (tortilla chips covered in salsa and cheese, amongst other ingredients), or use them like chips with store-bought or homemade salsa verde!

Or try Migas. This tex mex classic is a mix of scrambled eggs and small tortilla pieces, which can be served along with black beans and salsa for a delicious Mexican staple. 

Alternatively, make tortilla soup! You’ll find tortilla soup all over Mexico - from the historic dish Pozole to standard tortilla soup that is served with every dish. However, your tortilla soup doesn’t have to be Mexican - you can add stale tortillas to any kind of soup. For some inspiration, check out this chicken and tortilla dumplings soup recipe

Tortillas are a tasty component of any meal and are easy to store, so they can be enjoyed long past the date you bought them! With this guide, it’s simple to store tortillas, and ensure that they’re just as fresh and tasty when you eventually get around to eating them.



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