Have you also been in a situation where you worry about the expiration date of your tortillas? Or do you frequently ask this question—Do flour tortillas go bad and how long can they last?
If you buy tortillas in bulk, you’ll be worried about the expiration date of your tortillas. If the tortilla package doesn’t have any expiration date, then you become more nervous.
But not to worry because this post will clarify everything you need to know about tortillas’ shelf life, including how you can store them.
So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
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What Are Tortillas?
Tortillas are a form of flat, thin unleavened bread and a Mexican cooking style staple and have become so popular over the years in almost all households—both in South and North America.
Usually, tortillas are made from either corn flour or wheat flour—corn being mixed with water and some little salt.
Corn tortillas are popular on dishes, such as tostadas, chalupas, tacos, enchiladas, etc. On the other hand, flour tortillas are more common with dishes, such as burritos, which usually need a softer wrap.
With tortillas’ rise in popularity, they are not just used as a cuisine in Mexico but also come in handy to serve as wraps or serve as a substitute for bread when having sandwich fixings.
You can either serve your tortillas at room temperature or heated—it’s all your prerequisite. Besides, you can bake tortillas or make them in the form of chips—again; this is your choice. In a nutshell, tortillas have a mild flavor and can go with almost anything.
Do Flour Tortillas Go Bad?
Yes, tortillas will go bad eventually, as any other food will also go bad at some point. However, properly storing your tortillas—sealed against heat and moisture will extend their shelf life and help maintain their quality.
If you buy tortillas from the store, it is recommended that you don’t open the packaging until you have decided you want to use them. In other words, the seal by the manufacturer is the best as far as its storage against spoilage is concerned.
Once you have opened your store-tortillas, ensure that you have kept them in an airtight container to minimize temperature fluctuations that might result in condensation. Moisture can lead to mold and this is why keeping your tortillas in an airtight container is recommended.
Meanwhile, there’s a need to know the type of tortilla you want to keep. Besides, you’ll want to know where you will store your tortillas because this will help determine their shelf life. Do you want to keep your tortillas in the fridge, pantry, or freezer? You’ve got to decide on that.
You can keep your tortillas in the freezer for an additional six to eight months after the expiration date or the ‘best before’ date on the packaging. However, the duration will change if you choose to go with a different storage method, such as refrigeration and keeping in the pantry.
For example, if you choose to keep your flour tortillas in the fridge, expect to keep your tortillas safe for use for a further three to four weeks. Corn tortillas may last longer in the refrigerator—between six and eight weeks.
If you have homemade flour tortillas, you’ll be able to use them in the next two to three days after you open them. If you choose to keep them in the refrigerator, your homemade flour tortillas will stay in the fridge for five to seven days.
How to Store Tortillas
While you can store most of the baked products at room temperature, tortillas are slightly different, and that’s why it’s a good idea to discuss how you can keep your tortillas.
In general, it’s recommended that you store your unopened tortillas the same way they were in the store before you purchased them. For example, if the unopened package was in the fridge while buying it, ensure that you put it in the refrigerator once you get home.
Likewise, if you bought your tortillas and stored them at room temperature, you need to make sure they are stored at room temperature once you get back home.
Every tortilla manufacturer has their unique formula for storing tortillas to keep them safe. Some manufacturers prefer to add some preservatives to increase their shelf life, while others choose not to add any preservatives, and these without preservatives will require refrigeration.
If you open your tortilla package, not so much will change. When this happens, the first thing you need to do is wrap the leftover tortillas tightly before returning them to their package. If the tortilla package is resealable, use the seal.
Some tortilla manufacturers will ask you to refrigerate your tortillas after opening them, while others will not. Most products will not stay longer once you open them and when the manufacturer hasn’t given any direction, go ahead and refrigerate to increase shelf life.
Can You Freeze Tortillas?
Yes, you can freeze tortillas unless there is a specific instruction from the manufacturer indicating you should not freeze your tortillas. Sure, freezing your tortillas will change the texture, but you shouldn’t worry about that if you look forward to increasing its shelf life.
When freezing this Mexican cuisine, the essential consideration is to ensure you protect them from cold air. In other words, you need to wrap them properly before you can freeze them. While there is packaging, it usually isn’t good enough—so freezer bags or foil will do.
Another consideration is to have a divider so that the tortillas don’t freeze together, making them difficult to separate when you want to use them.
How Long Do Tortillas Last?
Flour tortillas should last for seven days when kept in the pantry and three to four weeks when kept in the fridge.
Tortillas bought at your local store should always have a best before date and this date should guide you on how long your tortillas will last. Your tortilla will be safe for consumption even after the expiration date, but it will go bad after some time.
Once you have opened your tortilla package, store it using any of the storage methods discussed in this post and it should stay until the expiration date—or even more days after that. If you are sure you won’t use your tortilla in the future, use it up and freeze the rest.
Suppose the manufacturer didn’t indicate that you refrigerate your tortillas after opening. In that case, the safer bet is to refrigerate them so that they can last another four weeks—better than letting it go bad.
As I mentioned earlier, depending on where the tortilla you bought was stored, do the same when you reach home. This is because most manufacturers don’t recommend any storage method, leaving you in the dark.
The best storage method that would make your flour tortillas last longer is freezing them. Freezing is a long-term storage remedy, unlike other storage remedies, such as keeping in the pantry or refrigeration.
How Do I Tell If Tortillas Have Gone Bad?
Now that you know what tortillas are, whether or not they can go bad and the different ways you can store them, how do you know that your tortillas have spoiled? This is critical because you wouldn’t want to be a victim of food poisoning.
The first step is to check the most common signs of spoilage for any food. Check to see if there are any molds, discolorations, dark specs, or some bad smell from your tortilla. If you confirm any of these, know that your tortillas have gone bad—so throw them away.
On the other hand, if there are no such signs, it means that your tortillas are still safe for consumption.
All you need to do is choose a suitable storage method, depending on how long you want them to stay—the freezer would be my most preferred if I needed them to stay for a couple more weeks.
If you are unsure whether your tortillas have gone bad using the methods above, cut a small piece of your tortilla and taste to see if the taste is familiar.
1. What Happens If You Eat Expired Flour Tortillas?
Expired tortillas will begin to stiffen, but they will still be okay to consume. However, you need to watch out for signs, such as dark specs or molds on your tortilla’s surface. If you notice any of these signs, kindly throw away the tortilla and get fresh ones from the store.
2. Can Old Tortillas Make You Sick?
Yes and no because you can still consume expired tortillas a few days after they expired, but it won’t be advisable to eat tortillas that already have mold or dark specs on them. Doing so might cause food poisoning, making you sick.
3. Should You Refrigerate Flour Tortillas?
Yes, you can refrigerate flour tortillas, but it isn’t necessary unless you have opened the package and want to extend its shelf life or match the expiration date. Tortillas can always last three times longer if you choose to refrigerate them.
4. How Do I Use Old Tortillas?
You can use your old tortillas in soup—tortilla soup or any other soup you prefer. You can have them smashed and stirred into a posole bowl, but it’s all your choice. Fresh tomato soup can also be ideal if you love such.
Yes, flour tortillas will go bad after some time, but the shelf life will depend on the storage method you choose. If you decide to freeze over refrigeration, then rest assured your flour tortillas will last longer—six to eight months, to be precise.
Freezing isn’t the only way to store your flour tortillas—you can still store them in the pantry or the refrigerator, depending on your goals.
Over to you now—please let me know in the comments how you prolong the life of your flour tortillas, especially when you buy them in bulk. Let me know if you’ve got any experience with flour tortillas that went bad and how you reacted.