Corn Tortillas’s Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? How To Tell…

image of corn tortillas

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?

Short Answer: 

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.

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Without further ado, let’s get into it.

What are Corn Tortillas?

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.

Fresh corn tortillas will be:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

How Can You Tell if 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 tortillas will be: [*]

1. Brittle and Dry

The first sign that your corn tortilla has gone bad is the texture.

If your corn tortillas crack when you roll them, 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.

2. 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.

3. Bad Smell

What do bad corn tortillas smell like? 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.

4. 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.  

How Long Do Corn Tortillas Last?

Corn tortillas can dry out quickly, so shelf life is largely dependent on how you store them.

If stored correctly, corn tortillas 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. 

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

Learn more: Do Flour Tortillas Go Bad? How to Tell

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 tortillas 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 tortillas fresher for longer:

  1. 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.

  1. Place in an Airtight Container

Transfer the tortillas into a large airtight container. This will prevent them from drying out.

  1. 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.

FAQ

What is the difference between corn and flour tortillas?

Both flour and corn tortillas are popular South American flatbreads that are very similar.

The main difference between the two is that flour tortillas are made using wheat flour while corn tortillas use maize.

The corn tortillas have a distinctive grainy texture, while flour tortillas are slightly more pliable.

As we mentioned earlier, corn tortillas have a longer shelf life than flour tortillas. This is because flour attracts moisture more quickly than masa harina.

CAN expired corn tortillas make you sick?

No, eating expired corn tortillas shouldn’t make you sick.

Eating stale corn tortillas will be dry and unpleasant, but they will not harm you in any way.

However, if you eat a moldy tortilla, it will have a horrible taste and may make your stomach ache.

How to Reheat Your Corn Tortillas

To reheat your corn tortillas, bring them out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

You may choose to microwave them for 30 seconds per tortilla, or you can gently reheat them in a frying pan.

Be careful to heat them slightly, so you don’t overcook them and make them brittle.

Are corn tortillas gluten-free?

Corn tortillas are entirely gluten-free.

If you love Mexican food but are gluten intolerant, we suggest trying corn tortillas as a delicious alternative.

Conclusion

And there you have it, all the info you could possibly need about storing corn tortillas. 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? How To Tell

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