Do Tortillas Go Bad? (The Answer Will Surprise You)

Do you also worry about the expiration date whenever you buy tortillas? I buy tortillas in bulk, so it's a concern for me to not know when they go bad or if they even go bad. A no expiration date on the package raises a concern, and I start to worry after a week or so of buying. Do tortillas go bad? We need to know this because what if the kids open one of our kitchen cabinets and find some tortillas, right?

In this article, we'll find out once and for all if tortillas ever go bad.

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What Are Tortillas?

What Are Tortillas

Tortillas are a thin, round, unleavened bread that is prepared from cornmeal or at times, wheat flour. They are baked on a flat plate of iron or earthenware.

Tortillas may vary slightly based on your location. In Mexico and Central America, tortillas are made from finely ground maize or corn. In Gautemala and Mexico, there are three colors of corn dough in making tortillas — the white maize, yellow maize, and the blue maize. Meanwhile, the tortillas in South America that are called “arepas” are notably much thicker than the regular tortillas.

Corn tortillas are the ground basis for most traditional Mexican dishes. Some of these include tostadas, flautas, tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, enchiladas, and the tortilla soup. Warmed tortillas are also being served as an accompaniment to soups, stews, grilled meats and other dishes in other locations.

Do Tortillas Go Bad? If So, How Long Do They Last?

How Long Do They Last

You must know first what type of unopened tortilla you're currently keeping. Where you keep them is another factor for determining how long you tortillas will last. Do you keep them in a pantry, refrigerator, or your freezer? These can alter your tortillas’ expiration date quite dramatically after their past printed date.

As such, if you keep your tortillas past their expiration date in a freezer, most of them should last from 6 to 8 months. It's a different story now if you decide to keep them in your pantry or refrigerator.

Your corn tortillas should last after their past printed date in a pantry for 7-10 days while it should last for 6-8 weeks if they're kept in a refrigerator. For flour tortillas, they should last a week in a pantry and 3-4 weeks in a refrigerator.

For your homemade tortillas, they are still safe to be eaten past the printed date for 2-3 days if you keep them in a pantry. If they're stashed away in a refrigerator, then you can still consume them within 5-7 days. For spinach and whole wheat tortillas, you should still be able to enjoy them for a week after their past printed date if kept in the pantry. You can also keep them for 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

For your convenience, we have provided a table containing information about the validity of various types of tortillas after the expiry date. Remember, this is strictly for unopened tortillas.

Unopened Tortilla Variations

Freezer

Pantry

Refrigerator


Past Expiry Date

Past Expiry Date

Past Expiry Date

Spinach Tortillas

6 to 8 Months

1 Week

3 to 4 Weeks

Corn Tortillas

6 to 8 Months

7 to 10 Days

6 to 8 Weeks

Homemade Tortillas

6 to 8 Months

2 to 3 Days

5 to 7 Days

Whole Wheat Tortillas

6 to 8 Months

1 Week

3 to 4 Weeks

Flour Tortillas

6 to 8 Months

1 Week

3 to 4 Weeks


If you’d like to re-heat your tortillas, here is a thorough procedure you can follow.

How Do You Tell If Your Tortillas Have Gone Bad?

If Your Tortillas Have Gone Bad

The perfect response to this question all boils down to two things — your senses and the preservatives which were used to extend the life of your tortillas.

As such, their life’s extension will vary depending on the preservatives that were used. Generally, tortillas are pliable in their nature, but once they begin to age, they get stiffer. One visible sign that your tortilla might be going bad is the presence of spots of mold on their surface. Additionally, some notable signs of outdated tortillas would be dark specks, discolorations, bad or off smell, etc. Once you see these, please throw them right away.

There could be a couple of reasons why they have gone bad. Either they were kept for way too long in the storage or else, moisture got its way to the pack.

A nifty little tip to check whether they are still good or have gone bad is to taste a small slice prior to adding any ingredients when in doubt. As a result, even if it has gone bad, the ingredients would not go to waste along with the tortilla.

Ultimately, one must always practice proper food hygiene and safety techniques so your tortillas would not only last past their expiration date, but are also safe to consume all throughout.

How Do You Extend Tortillas' Life?

How Do You Extend Tortillas' Life

Moisture is a significant culprit in most spoiled foods out there, so it’s a must that you store your packages of tortillas in a cool, dry environment. This location should not be susceptible to temperature alterations.

In essence, when the temperature changes from cool to warm, and vice-versa, the moisture in the air will condensate inside these packages. This, in turn, will produce mold in your tortillas and spoil them eventually. It will help to have a dehumidifier too in an area where there’s a water leak inside your house.

Moreover, you should check how they were stored in the store when you bought them. And, depending on that, you have to store the new tortillas like they were stored in the store. So, if it was stored in the refrigerator in the store, you should also throw it into the refrigerator as soon as possible.

But if the package was not refrigerated, then you can keep that in a dry and cool place to keep it away from heat. For that, you can use a cabinet in your kitchen or the pantry. Chances are, the label on your tortilla packaging will specify how to store them properly. However, if that is not the case, you should go and put the package in the refrigerator anyway. Because it is known that Tortillas stay fresh at very low temperatures.

If You Have Opened the Pack

If you have not opened the pack, then you can store it as it is. But what if you have already opened the package? In that case, no need to worry. You can usually store them as you would do when the package was unopened. But remember to tightly wrap the tortillas and close the pack properly before storing them in the refrigerator or your storage.

Then again, there are many brands that sell tortillas in re-sealable packs. If that is your case, then you are very lucky. Because it will not be that hard to close the pack appropriately. However, if you want the best result, you can use freezer bags, any air-tight containers, or aluminum foil to wrap the tortillas up. And, in the case of homemade tortillas, you can also follow the same procedure.

Keep them in the fridge wrapping them up with aluminum foil or use freezer bags, or else an air-tight container will do. That way, the moisture will not get into the packaging. Also, the tortillas in such packaging wouldn’t be affected by the frequent change in temperature. So, you know why we are urging you to store the tortillas in an air-tight container.

Can You Freeze Tortillas For a Longer Period of Time?

Simply put, there is nothing wrong with freezing tortillas. However, as always, you should follow the label. If it says you should not freeze the particular tortillas, then you should not actually. Otherwise, you can definitely freeze tortillas.

Another thing to consider is that after freezing, the texture of the tortilla will change a bit if you freeze it. But that is not an issue. Now, your primary goal should be to keep away cold air from the tortillas while you are freezing them. That way the tortillas will stay fresh for a long time.

In order to ensure that, we have to go back to aluminum foil or freezer bags again. We would suggest you replace the original packaging with the above-mentioned ones. Because most of the time, the original packaging is not up to the mark for keeping tortillas fresh for a long time. And, if you are using aluminum foil, then you should make sure that they are wrapped very well.

Tips On Storing Tortillas in the Freezer

It should go without saying that it is better to pack as many tortillas as you will need at a time. For instance, if you think that you will need 4 tortillas for dinner, then you should keep 4 of them in each pack. That way, you would not have to defrost all of them at once when you need them. As you should already know that taking out/in food from the fridge frequently decreases the freshness.

For the best result, you can take out the tortillas half-an-hour earlier you will need them. That way, they will automatically thaw out and be ready for eating after a while.

Final Thoughts

Evidently, your tortillas are just like most foods — they also go bad. And just like them, it’s necessary to keep them properly through a good hygiene and safety techniques. Ultimately, it’s also a necessity for you to know which type of tortilla you’re currently keeping and where you are keeping them to understand how long they could last under these parameters.

But as most foods go, keeping them unopened in a freezer is probably the safest way to extend the life of your tortillas!

If you feel like sharing your tips on how to keep your tortillas safely, please feel free to write them in the comment section below!

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