Do Tortillas Go Bad? (HOW DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?)

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Are you ever in doubt when it comes to the question of whether tortillas go bad? If so, you’re not alone. Knowing how to store and handle your tortillas properly is key to avoiding tough and unsavory dishes. But getting the right answers can be difficult – that’s why we’re here to help!

Short Answer:

Just like other food items, tortillas can go bad. As for when the shelf life, it all depends on various factors.

Keep reading for tips on how to keep your tortillas fresh and delicious every single time.

Here you’ll also learn about all of the important dos and don’ts of storing and caring for this essential kitchen staple, so that you can make sure your burritos are always full of flor!

What Is A Tortilla?

Tortillas are thin and round unleavened bread made of cornmeal or wheat flour, baked on earthenware or iron. There are different types of tortillas, varying by location. (*)

For instance, Central America and Mexico have tortillas made of ground maize or corn. Guatemala and Mexico have various colors of corn dough for tortillas, made of white, yellow, or blue maize. South America has arepas, which are thicker versions of tortillas.

How Many Types Of Tortillas?

Here are some of the different kinds of tortillas:

Flour tortillas

They are made with wheat flour, baking powder, salt and fat or oil, and sometimes sugar.

They are often thinner and softer than corn tortillas, making them ideal for wrapping around fillings.

They can also be served without fillings as an accompaniment to dishes such as chili con carne or fajitas. They can also be enjoyed fried as tacos dorados or soft tacos.

Corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are made from dough made from corn masa (corn dough), water, oil, and sometimes salt. Corn tortillas are typically thicker and firmer than flour tortillas, and are an essential ingredient in tacos and enchiladas.

They can also be used for tostadas, sopes, or chips. Although they require more time to make than flour tortillas, they have a distinct flavor that many find irresistible!

Whole wheat tortillas

Whole wheat tortillas are a great way for kids to enjoy delicious meals that are healthier than regular white flour-based tortillas.

They are made from whole wheat flour, so they have more fiber and nutrients than regular white flour tortillas, as well as a delicious nutty flavor.

By using whole wheat tortillas in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and wraps, your child can have a yummy meal without missing out on the health benefits!

Spinach tortillas

These tortillas are made using a mix of spinach and wheat flour, providing added vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein compared to regular white flour-based tortillas.

With all the same flavors you love from tacos, wraps, quesadillas and enchiladas, your kids will be able to enjoy yummy meals while getting their nutrition too!

Do Tortillas Go Bad? How Long Do Tortillas Last?

And just like other food items, they do go bad. As for when the shelf life, it all depends on various factors, such as:

  • Type of tortillas
  • Past printed date
  • Storage conditions
  • Quality of ingredients

Here is the estimated shelf life based on their type and storage condition:

  • Spinach, whole wheat, and flour tortillas: Lasts for 1 week past its past printed date in the pantry, 3-4 weeks in the fridge, and 6-8 months in the freezer
  • Corn tortilla: Lasts for 7-10 days past its expiration date in the pantry, 6-8 weeks in the fridge, and 6-8 months in the freezer
  • Homemade tortilla: Lasts for 2-3 days past its expiration date in the pantry, 5-7 days in the fridge, and 6-8 months in the freezer

As you can see, homemade tortillas have a shorter shelf life compared to store-bought. Homemade versions contain little to no preservatives.

Also, note that opened tortilla packages last shorter than the estimates above, probably mere days if left in the pantry. Be wary of the best by date to get a gist on how long they can last. 

Learn more:

How to Tell If Tortillas are Bad?

Tortillas, like particular bread, only last for a few days or weeks after opening it. If you’ve had tortillas for a bit long and past the best by date, it’s best to test it out before using it on your dishes.

Here are signs that tell if they have gone bad:

1. The texture and appearance

Open your tortilla and hold it. If it feels slimy, it will most likely develop mold or already has. Tortillas that are too stiff don’t mean spoilage but may most likely need heating, as they lost their moisture.

Also, check for any unusual spots and color changes in the tortillas. They shouldn’t change colors, but once you see any green tinges, throw them away!

If there are insect bites or insects in the package, you must dispose of it right away.

2. Smell

Take a whiff of the tortillas. If you smell a rotten or unusual odor, it’s obviously spoiled, and you must throw it.

3. Taste

If you still aren’t sure if you can use them or not, cut a small piece and taste it before using the entire package. If it tastes rotten and dirty, that means it’s gone bad. But if it tastes like regular tortillas, feel free to use it for your food!

How to Store Tortillas Properly

They go bad because of mold growth, high humidity levels, hot temperatures, and the presence of insects.

To keep it from spoiling too quickly, it’s vital to store them well. Here are efficient storage tips to follow:

1. Keeping it in the pantry

We highly recommend keeping your unopened tortillas in a cold and dry place, like the kitchen pantry, at room temperature.

Please keep it away from any heat sources, direct sunlight, and high humidity levels.

Make sure that they aren’t exposed to fluctuating temperatures or humidity levels. Either leave it in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry, but don’t change its storage locations frequently.

2. Storing in the refrigerator

If you don’t use your tortillas within the week, do place them in the refrigerator. Transfer them into an airtight container or zip lock bag before storage. Check daily and use it before it starts showing signs of spoilage. (*)

3. Freezing tortillas

Whether you bought it frozen or not, freezing will help them stay fresh for a few months.

When you plan to freeze tortillas, wrap each one in wax paper and put them in a sealable bag.

Pack some in a bag, as opening it too frequently will cause heat and humidity to enter. This may cause it to melt over time, with its quality quickly decreasing.

Learn more: Can You Freeze Tortillas? Yes, Here’s How

4. Leftover tortillas storage

Keep your tortillas in a resealable package or airtight container, then keep it in a cold, dry place. It may be better to keep them in the refrigerator, reheating them when you’re ready to eat.

When you plan to remove the tortillas out of the freezer to use, keep them in the fridge overnight so they can thaw adequately.

Then, allow them to sit outside at room temperature for an hour and heat it in your toaster oven. You can also heat frozen tortillas in a microwave in the defrost setting.

Tortillas Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary

Tortillas have a moderate shelf life that ranges from days to months.

We hope we thoroughly answered your question, “do tortillas go bad”, and “how long do tortillas last?” Keep this information in mind the next time you get tortillas so you can have them last longer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions about tortillas our readers have submitted:

Up Next: The Ideal Shelf Life of Flour, Grains, and Wheat

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