HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


are you not supposed to eat corn tortillas straight out of the bag?

I'm not a tortilla eater but I happened to buy a bag of corn tortillas at the supermarket for a change of pace. I tried one out of the bag and it was like eating cardboard. Awful stiff texture and not very tasty. So I wasn't sure whether corn tortillas were ever meant to be eaten straight like that? Do they have to be heated up to be appetizing? Or am I just not appreciating how they're meant to taste like when cold?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think you are supposed to heat tortillas. Didn't grow up eating them but I've only been served heated tortillas at restaurants. And my friends who grew up with them always microwave before eating.

    1. I always warm/scorch them over the flame on my gas stovetop. I don't know if that's correct or anything, but makes them warm and tasty!

      1. No, corn tortillas are not supposed to be eaten cold. The above-mentioned tip to warm them directly over the flame on a gas cooktop, turning frequently with tongs until puffy and lightly browned in spots, is what I do. Warming them on cast iron is more traditional, although it takes longer and you get less browning.

        Or, yeah, you can just throw them in the microwave wrapped in a lightly-dampened paper towel for a few seconds.

        1. They won't kill you cold, but they're intended to be eaten warm. Restaurants that serve tortillas usually serve them in covered dishes or wrapped in cloth so they'll stay warm at the table.

          Probably because corn has no gluten and little fat, cold tortillas are stiff and tend to crack when you fold them. They become pliable when warmed, either on a griddle, in the microwave, or dipped in hot liquid a la enchiladas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tardigrade


            Also to add to this, corn tortillas usually aren't eaten plain - you use them to make tacos, enchiladas, etc. If you have really good ones, try them warm spread with butter, and drizzled with honey with a touch of cinnamon.

          2. A fresh corn tortilla is pliable. How ancient are the tortillas you're buying at the supermarket?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks for all the comments which mention corn tortillas really need to be heated. They were certainly pliable out of the bag, but I guess unlike flour tortillas, corn ones taste unpalatably stale when cold, at least the ones I got.

            2. They are normally grainy and dry when cold. If you like them that way, then eat them cold. If you like them tender and pliable, warm them up. I was actually served a taco on cold tortillas at a restaurant once. Let's just say you can tell when a cook has no idea or no pride in what they are doing.

              Flour tortillas are better warmed up as well.

              1. I like thin white corn tortilla chips right out of the bag, with a piece of swiss or cheddar cheese and a bowl of Pace sauce for dipping.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Veggo

                  The OP is talking about tortillas, not tortilla chips.

                  1. re: JMF

                    Thanks, I got it now. It would never occur to me to eat a corn tortilla right out of the bag. Maybe an occasional very fresh made warm one, sometimes with butter. The tortillas at Coquitas in Dallas are delicious that way.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      I have a friend who is Hispanic and very traditional in his food preferences; he will not eat a tortilla that is more than a few hours old, his wife makes the best corn tortillas, he uses the day old ones for migas, or gives them to his chickens!!

                2. You really should warm them up. 10 seconds in the microwave should be enough.You could always use the the stove top or oven if you have more time.

                  1. You can also warm them on a grill in a big frying pan, but be careful because they will burn fast. I have a flat, round pan from Mexico called a comal.

                    1. Packaged tortillas are not fully cooked. It's because if fully cooked they would not reheat very well. This applies to corn as well as flour tortillas.

                      Home made corn tortillas fully cooked but not meant to be reheated or they'll turn out stiff.

                      Home made flour tortillas are fully cooked and if made thick enough can be reheated. If they are as thin as packaged tortillas they cannot be reheated well.

                      1 Reply
                      1. Hi Stratford-

                        They taste better once you pay for them.