Defrost Tortillas

How to Defrost Tortillas: Quick and Easy Methods?

Tortillas are a thin, flat bread commonly used in Mexican cooking for dishes like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. They’re made with simple ingredients like flour, water, salt, and oil. You can make them easily at home or buy them at the store. Sometimes you might need to freeze tortillas, like when you have extras and want to save them for later. Freezing them is no big deal. But when it comes to bringing them back to their original deliciousness, that’s where defrosting comes in.

So, how do you defrost tortillas?
There are a few ways. You can let them sit in the fridge for about 12 hours or overnight, zap them in the microwave, pop them in the oven, or warm them up on the stove. Keep reading for easy steps on how to defrost tortillas.

Ways to Defrost Tortillas

If you’ve got frozen tortillas and want to bring them back to their tasty best, don’t worry! You have a few options depending on your time and preference. Here are the best ways to defrost frozen tortillas without losing their delicious taste, texture, and appearance:

Defrost Tortillas in the Fridge

Thawing frozen tortillas in the fridge is similar to thawing meat – it just takes some time. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Put the bag or container of frozen tortillas in the fridge. Make sure it’s sealed tight to keep air out.
  • It may take a day for the tortillas to thaw to your liking. The freezer is only a few degrees cooler than your refrigerator.
  • Because thawing takes longer in the fridge, try bending or folding the tortillas to check if they’re thawed enough. If they’re still frozen, just put them back in.

The fridge does offer some benefits. If you remember to check your tortillas now and then, this method is the slowest and most controlled. Plus, the fridge should keep your tortillas moist as long as you keep the bag sealed.

Microwave Method for Defrosting Tortillas

Defrosting tortillas in the microwave is super quick, taking just a minute. Here’s a simple guide for you:

  • Put one frozen tortilla in the microwave, wrapping it in a damp towel to keep it moist.
  • Avoid defrosting them stacked because they might become soft and sticky, and the bottom ones may soak up water from the ones on top.
  • Set the microwave to the “defrost” setting and let the tortilla thaw for 30 seconds.
  • Flip it halfway through to ensure both sides are warm.
  • Check if it’s thawed completely. If not, microwave for another 30 seconds as necessary.
  • Don’t exceed 60 seconds in the microwave to prevent the tortillas from becoming chewy.

Defrosting Tortillas in the Oven

While not the most common way, you can defrost tortillas in the oven. Consider this: we often use the oven to cook various frozen foods, so why not leverage it to defrost corn, flour, and wheat tortillas? Here’s a simple guide for you:

  • Start by heating your oven to 350°F. Then, line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  • Arrange the tortillas on the pan, making sure they’re not stacked or overlapping.
  • Allow them to heat in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes until they soften.
  • If you’re aiming for crispy tortilla chips, you can leave them a bit longer.

Follow these steps, and you’ll have perfectly defrosted tortillas.

Defrost Tortillas

Stovetop Defrosting for Tortillas

When making tortillas at home, you probably use the stovetop or burner. It might take longer to thaw them from frozen than cooking fresh ones, but it’s still a great option. Here’s a simple guide:

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat until it’s warm.
  • Heat the tortillas in the skillet for about 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
  • If they’re stiff and need drier heat, you can heat them directly over the flame using tongs for a more authentic experience.
  • Once they’re heated through, let the tortillas cool on the side for a few minutes before serving.

Bonus Tip: If you’re freezing your tortillas and don’t mind a little extra work upfront for convenience later, try using waxed paper to separate them.

Easy Thawing: Leaving Frozen Tortillas Out

Thawing tortillas without any meat is easy – leave them out! It won’t harm the ingredients inside. Here’s a simple guide:

  • Take the frozen tortillas out of the freezer.
  • You don’t have to remove them from the container or bag. While you can take them out if you want, they might dry out faster if left exposed.
  • Leave the tortillas out at room temperature. It might take a few hours for them to thaw completely.
  • Once the tortillas feel soft and bendable, they’re ready. You can then take them out of the bag or container.

Thawing Tortillas in the Toaster

If you’ve got a toaster handy, it’s a great way to thaw frozen tortillas quickly, especially if you’re in a hurry. Keep in mind, though, that this method works better for smaller tortillas, not the larger ones commonly used in burritos. Here’s how to do it:

  • Grab two tortillas and slot them into the toaster like you would with bread. Having them together will help retain moisture.
  • Start with the toaster on the lowest setting.
  • Begin toasting the tortillas.
  • Watch the tortillas while they toast. The toaster shouldn’t get hot enough to burn frozen tortillas, but it’s good to check and make sure they’re not falling apart.
  • After the toaster pops, check to see if the tortillas are warm and moist to your liking.
  • If they’re not quite there yet, you can toast them again until they’re right.

Choosing the Best Way to Defrost Tortillas

When it comes to thawing tortillas, it all depends on what works best for you and how much time you have. Tortillas are tough and can handle a bit of heat, but some methods give better results than others.

If you’ve got time to spare, the fridge is your best bet. Let the tortillas thaw overnight, then warm them up in the oven or on the stovetop.

But if you’re in a rush and can’t wait, you can heat them straight from frozen.

If you’re short on time, try using the stovetop or oven. But if you’re in a real hurry, the microwave works too. Just be cautious, as microwaving can quickly make tortillas rubbery if you leave them in for too long.

Common Questions About Tortillas

How Long Do Tortillas Stay Fresh?

Store-bought tortillas last about a week in the pantry once opened. Homemade ones last 2-3 days in the cupboard but refrigerating them extends freshness to about 10 days. For longer storage, freeze-wrapped and sealed tortillas for 6-8 months, with the best quality within 2 months.

How to Freeze Tortillas Effectively?

Freeze tortillas by cooling them completely, layering them with paper in between to prevent sticking, wrapping them tightly, and sealing them in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze them lying flat to maintain their shape.

Is Thawing Tortillas Necessary?

Thawing tortillas helps prevent them from drying out. If baking, you may not need to thaw, but for flexible tortillas like in tacos, it’s essential to avoid biting into a frozen disc.

Can You Thaw Tortillas in Water?

Thawing tortillas in water isn’t effective because they’re made of flour. They’ll stick together if they get wet, regardless of whether the water is warm or cold.

Is Using Your Toaster to Defrost Tortillas Possible?

Yes, you can use a toaster to defrost tortillas if you’ve exhausted other options. Many people don’t consider this, but I’ve tried it, and the results are surprisingly ok.


See Also – Freezing and Using Leftover Coconut Milk: Tips and Tricks


Whether you prefer using the fridge, microwave, oven, stovetop, or toaster, there’s a method to defrost tortillas that suits your needs. Just ensure they’re thawed properly to maintain their deliciousness.

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