Do Corn Tortillas Go Bad? | How Long They Last & Storage Tips

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There’s nothing quite as satisfying as biting into a taco made from a fresh corn tortilla. The flavor is unbeatable. However, now that you’ve had dinner, you may find yourself with some leftover corn tortillas, which will lead you to ask yourself:

Do corn tortillas go bad? Yes, your corn tortillas will eventually go bad, but they have a longer shelf life than flour tortillas. They will last up to 4 weeks if stored in the fridge.

It’s a real pity when good food goes to waste, so keeping on top of expiry dates is a must. But don’t worry, we are here to help.

In this article, we are going to be learning a little more about corn tortillas and their shelf life. We will also give you tips on how to keep them fresh for as long as possible.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

What are Corn Tortillas?

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Corn tortillas are unleavened flatbreads made using maize flour or masa harina.[*] They are panfried or cooked on a grill to lightly toast the outside.

They originated in Mexico but have since found their way across the world.

While most corn tortillas are made using yellow or white maize, there is also an attractive purple shade available that is common in Mexico.

Corn tortillas are used as the serving vessel in various dishes, including tacos, chalupas, enchiladas, and tostadas.

Do Corn Tortillas Go Bad?

Corn tortillas can go bad, but you can prolong their shelf life by storing them correctly. Since corn tortillas are a kind of bread, they will ultimately go stale or moldy if they are kept for too long.

Before we get into shelf life, we need to figure out what to look for in a fresh corn tortilla.

A Fresh corn tortilla will be:

  • Flexible: Most dishes you make with tortillas require you to roll or fold them, so it is important that they are flexible. A fresh tortilla will fold and bend easily without breaking, even when filled.
  • Fresh Flavor: The flavor of a corn tortilla will be slightly bready with a slight hint of corn in the aftertaste. It will not be too strong, so it doesn’t take away from the flavor of the fillings.
  • Slight Corn Aroma: When you open the bag, you should be hit with a comforting bread-like smell with a hint of corn flour. The scent should be faint and not overpowering.

Table Characteristics of Fresh Corn Tortillas

FlexibleA fresh tortilla can be easily rolled or folded without breaking.
Fresh FlavorThe flavor is slightly bready with a hint of corn aftertaste.
Slight Corn AromaWhen opened, it emits a faint, comforting bread-like smell with a hint of corn flour.

How Can You Tell if YOUR Corn Tortillas Are Bad? 

So, now that we know what a fresh tortilla is like, what do you need to look out for when a tortilla goes bad?

Off corn tortilla will be:

  • Brittle and Dry: The first sign that your corn tortilla has gone bad is the texture. If your corn tortilla cracks when you roll, it’s a sure sign that they have gone stale. This can happen if you have kept them too long or not stored them correctly.
  • Old Flavor and Bad Mouth Feel: If you try a piece of bad tortilla, it will have a dry and mealy texture. It will also taste old like it has been left in a cupboard.
  • Bad Smell: When you open the bag, you might first notice an unpleasant smell. This is a very obvious sign that something is wrong, and you must try your tortillas before using them.
  • Mold Might Be Present: If your tortillas have been exposed to moisture, mold may be present. The mold itself will be fluffy and white, but if it is left for a long time, it will get blue and furry. It will start around the edges and make its way to the center.  
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Table Indicators of Spoiled Corn Tortillas

Brittle and DryStale tortillas crack when rolled or folded due to loss of flexibility.
Old FlavorSpoiled tortillas have a dry, mealy texture and taste old, like they’ve been stored for too long.
Bad SmellAn unpleasant odor upon opening the bag indicates spoilage.
Presence of MoldExposure to moisture can lead to fluffy, white mold that may turn blue and furry over time.

How Long Do Corn Tortillas Last? (Shelf Life)

Corn tortillas can dry out quickly, so shelf life is largely dependent on how you store them. If stored correctly, corn tortilla will keep for 7-10 days in a cupboard and 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.

This shelf life is longer than flour tortillas, which only last a week. 

Table Comparative Spoilage – Corn Tortillas vs. Flour Tortillas

AspectCorn TortillasFlour Tortillas
CompositionMade from masa harinaMade from wheat flour
Moisture SensitivityMore susceptibleLess susceptible
Shelf LifeAbout 7-10 daysAbout 10-14 days
Preservative DependenceLimited shelf lifeLonger shelf life
Staleness PreventionProper storage crucialStill edible when stale

Follow our instructions below to keep your corn tortillas fresher for longer.

What is the Best Way to Store Corn Tortillas?

Corn tortillas can be stored in a dark cupboard at room temperature, but they last longer if you put them in the fridge.

You may be tempted to freeze your corn tortilla for later, but we do not recommend this will make them very brittle.

The key to keeping corn tortillas fresh is to keep them away from air, heat, and light.

Follow these instructions to keep your corn tortilla fresher for longer:

  • Transfer it from the original packaging: Often there will be mold spores or moisture trapped in the packaging, so we suggest discarding it to keep them fresh.
  • Place in an Airtight Container: Transfer the tortillas into a large airtight container. This will prevent them from drying out.
  • Refrigerate: Place the airtight container in the fridge and store there for up to 4 weeks. Ensure that you seal the container well after each use to stop the fridge air from drying them out.

Innovative Uses for Stale Corn Tortillas

Creative Culinary UsesDescription
Homemade Tortilla ChipsCut tortillas into triangles, bake for crispy chips
TostadasFry tortillas until crisp, top with various toppings
Tortilla PizzasUse as pizza crust, load with favorite ingredients
Tortilla SoupCut into strips, add to flavorful soups
ChilaquilesSimmer tortillas with sauce, cheese, and toppings
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And there you have it, all the info you could possibly need about storing corn tortilla. What have we learned?

  • Corn tortillas will last 7-10 days in a cupboard.
  • They will last 3-4 weeks in the fridge.
  • Corn tortillas have a longer shelf life than flour tortillas.

We hope this has got you hungry for some delicious Mexican food, served on a fresh corn tortilla.

Up Next: Do Tortillas Go Bad?

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