Reheat Tacos

How Do You Reheat Tacos? Simple Tips and Methods!

Tacos, originating from Mexico, have gained immense popularity worldwide, especially in the U.S. where 95% of people love and consume over 4 billion of them each year. While they’re best enjoyed fresh, it’s possible to freeze and reheat them for later consumption. Knowing how to reheat tacos properly is crucial to savor their flavors and avoid wasting food and money. I’ll cover various methods to reheat different taco types while also delving briefly into the history of this beloved comfort food.

Taco Basics: What You Might Not Know

Tacos are all about the shell, also known as tortillas. The variety of taco shells can create different sensations in your dish and require specific reheating techniques.

There are ten varieties of taco shells: corn tortillas, flour tortillas, half-and-half tortillas, as well as seven more, including Spanish, blue corn, nopal, beetroot, hoja santa, jamaica, and pan arabe tortillas.

These shells fall into two groups: hard and soft. Corn tortillas are hard, while flour tortillas are soft.

Hard-Shell Tacos

Hard taco shells are made from corn tortillas. They’re famous in Mexican cuisine for being smaller, semi-hard, and crunchy with a roasted corn smell. The main goal when reheating hard-shell tacos is to keep them crunchy.

Soft-Shell Tacos

Soft-shell tacos are created using flour tortillas. They have a tasty, tender, and chewy texture. While they might be plainer than corn tortillas, they work well with different ingredients and can hold more fillings.

How to Store Leftover Tacos for Reheating

When storing leftover tacos, always prepare them individually to have control over the leftovers. Store each component separately in airtight containers for freshness. If using salsa or sour cream, don’t return them to their original containers to avoid contamination.

Storing Tacos in the Fridge

  • You can store tacos at room temperature for up to two hours if it’s below 90°F. Over 90°F, limit it to one hour.
  • To store longer, place them in the fridge in airtight containers, ensuring a temperature of 40°F or below. They’ll stay fresh for up to four days.

Storing Tacos in the Freezer

  • Separate the tacos into three parts: taco shells, meat, and cold ingredients.
  • Wrap taco shells in foil or parchment paper to keep them airtight. Take care of hard shells to prevent breakage.
  • Split meat and cold ingredients into portions for individual tacos. Wrap each tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Place all these parts in separate freezer bags, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  • 4 months is a safe time to store in the freezer.

Pre-Reheating Preparations for Tacos

First, remove wet ingredients like tomatoes, guacamole, or sauces. If you’re reheating hard shell tacos, keep the meat with the shells or warm it separately to maintain the crispy shell texture.

For soft tacos, heat the fillings and shells separately to avoid odd tastes from warming fresh veggies, sour cream, and meat together.

How To Reheat Tacos

To reheat tacos, you can use various methods such as oven, grill, air fryer, microwave, or stovetop, depending on the taco type. The best way is to separate them into shells, meat, and cold ingredients like veggies, sour cream, and cheese. Reheat the meat and shells while leaving the cold ingredients at room temperature.

Reheating Meat Filling

To reheat meat stuffing, you have two options:

Stovetop Method to Reheat Tacos

  1. Heat a non-stick pan on the stovetop over low-to-medium heat.
  2. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil.
  3. Place your meat filling in the pan and stir it for 2 to 4 minutes.

Microwave Technique to Reheat Tacos

  1. Place your meat filling in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Set your microwave to medium to high heat.
  3. Microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the bowl, gently stir the meat filling, and microwave for an additional 10 to 15 seconds.

It’s best to reheat taco shells before the meat so everything is warm when you assemble the tacos. Also, be cautious not to leave reheated food at room temperature for over two hours, especially if it’s warmer than 90F.

Reheating Soft Tacos

If you want to warm up soft tacos, try any of these methods for reheating.

Soft Shell Tacos

Oven Method

The oven is the most efficient and gentle method to thoroughly reheat soft tacos, ensuring even heating with fewer uneven “hot spots.” This method works well for homemade, store-bought, or pre-made tacos by following the steps below.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 F.
  2. Wrap soft tacos tightly in aluminum foil to keep them airtight.
  3. Place the wrapped tacos in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Check for even heating; if needed, re-cover and heat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Unwrap, fill the tacos with ingredients and serve immediately.

Microwave Method 

To efficiently reheat soft tacos in the microwave without making them hard or burnt, follow these steps:

  1. Slightly dampen a paper towel.
  2. Cover a microwave-safe plate entirely with the damp paper towel, using multiple towels if necessary.
  3. Place the tacos in a single layer on the plate, ensuring they’re not touching.
  4. Microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds (15 to 20 seconds for a single taco). Heating them longer will make the tacos too hard, or burnt.

Grill Method 

Heating soft-shell tacos or burritos on a grill is a great way to retain their flavors without removing the cooked fillings. All you need is aluminum foil and a grill with a lid.

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Wrap the soft-shell taco with its cooked ingredients tightly in aluminum foil.
  3. Put the wrapped tacos on the warm grill and shut the lid.
  4. Rotate the tacos every 5-7 minutes until they’re warmed through. To check, use a toothpick to pierce the foil; if it doesn’t feel warm, continue grilling.

Reheating Hard Tacos

Here are the methods you can employ to reheat hard tacos.

Hard Shell Tacos

Air Fryer Method

Using an air fryer is an excellent method to restore the crispness and texture of hard taco shells. Follow these steps:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350-400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
  2. Create a taco shape by folding aluminum foil and placing your tortilla inside. If you’re unsure about using aluminum foil in air fryers, fold your taco to fit the rack instead.
  3. Lightly oil the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking oil using a silicone brush.
  4. Place the folded tacos in a single layer in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Once done, fill the crispy taco shells with meat and cold vegetables.

Oven Method

Using an oven, including a toaster oven, to reheat hard tacos involves a slightly different technique than reheating soft tacos. Here’s the process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350-400°F and ensure it reaches the desired temperature.
  2. Prepare the hard taco shells by placing them on a baking sheet and folding them in halves to fill later. To maintain their shape, consider using taco racks or improvise by rolling aluminum foil and inserting it between the folded tortillas if taco racks are unavailable.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the tacos to heat for 10 minutes, or until they reach your preferred level of crispiness.

Stovetop Method

Reheating hard taco shells on the stovetop is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Heat a skillet on low to medium heat.
  2. Add a bit of non-stick cooking oil to the skillet.
  3. Use tongs with rubber tips to place the hard taco shell on the skillet.
  4. Heat each side for 30 to 45 seconds, holding the shell with tongs if needed to prevent it from flipping while heating.

How to Successfully Reheat Tacos

For successful taco reheating, consider these tips to preserve the flavors and texture:

  • Avoid Microwaving Hard Shell Tacos: Microwaves may not maintain the crispiness of hard shell tacos, resulting in a soft and chewy texture. Opt for alternative methods like the oven to reheat hard shell tacos effectively.
  • Utilize a Baking Dish: If reheating several soft shell tacos in the oven, using a baking dish can streamline the process, allowing for easy removal of multiple tacos once heated.


If you’re craving a quick and zesty taco with a satisfying crunch, you can prepare one in no time. Tacos are simple to reheat because of their compact and thin nature. While using an oven provides the optimal taste and texture for reheating, it’s good to be aware that you have alternative methods at your disposal.


Is it possible to reheat whole tacos?

Reheating whole tacos is possible, but it might make the taco shells soggy and change the taste of some ingredients.

Can you reheat tacos that contain sour cream?

Reheating tacos with sour cream isn’t recommended as the sauce can become runny, making the food mushy.

What’s the best way to reheat taco meat without drying it out?

To prevent drying out, place the taco meat in a bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel or microwave-safe lid to retain moisture.

Is it possible to reheat shrimp tacos?

Yes, you can. Reheat the taco shells using the suggested methods and use the stovetop for reheating the shrimp separately.

Is it possible to reheat fish tacos?

You can reheat fish tacos. Separate the fish and other ingredients, and use the oven to reheat the fish, keeping a close eye on it due to its delicate nature and potential for quick spoilage.

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