Tortillas are unleavened, thin, round Mexican bread usually prepared from cornmeal flour and baked on an iron or earthenware flat plate. People use them to wrap ingredients added to tacos, burritos, and various sandwich-style meals.
Nowadays, you will probably buy this tasty food commercially packed, so the crucial questions are – do tortillas go bad, and how long do tortillas last. Let’s see.
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Do Tortillas Go Bad?
Unfortunately, you can expect tortillas to go bad over time like any other product made from dough. While homemade products can’t last more than 2 to 3 days when stored in your pantry or only a few additional days in the fridge, commercially made tortillas will last longer.
Since this product always has an expiration date or best-by date printed on the label, you can use it as a guide.
However, tortillas’ longevity will primarily depend on the humidity level in the region you live in, the flour type used for making them, and the way of their store. The rule of thumb is to store this food in original packaging whenever possible.
Otherwise, you should put them in an airtight bag and keep them away from temperature fluctuations and consequential condensation.
Always keep in mind that tortillas are not too expensive food, so there are actually no reasons to store large amounts. The better option is to buy fresh tortillas regularly, so it is better not to risk spoiling.
How Long Do Tortillas Last?
In general, you can expect tortillas to last approximately 5 to 7 days after the best by date printed on the packaging when stored in the pantry. However, their shelf life will also depend on the ingredients they are made of and a way of processing and keeping.
You will get the best result when keeping this product appropriately stored in an original, unopened package. Once you open the packaging and tortillas come in contact with air, they will become hardened and lose typical taste. In such circumstances, they will be edible for only several days.
Tortillas shelf life
|7 to 10 days
|Up to 2 months
|6 to 8 months
|Up to 1 month
|6 to 8 months
|Whole wheat tortillas
|Up to 1 month
|6 to 8 months
|Up to 1 month
|6 to 8 months
|2 to 3 days
|Up to one week
|6 to 8 months
Remember that the tortillas’ expiration date is the last moment a manufacturer vouches for their quality. It is not a measurement of tortillas’ safety. In other words, you can prolong this product’s shelf life and use it a bit longer when storing it appropriately at lower temperatures.
5 Tips to Tell if Tortillas Have Gone Bad
You can find the expiration date printed on the packaging, and you should follow it since there is no rule applying to all brands. You should know that companies don’t use the same preservatives, so their products will be edible for different periods.
Your senses are not always perfect, but they can be reliable instruments for determining if tortillas are still edible. The problem with this food is that they look excellent at first sight, although they are actually rotten.
Therefore, you should be careful, particularly with homemade tortillas. Let’s take a look at the subject.
As soon as you notice an unusual odor when opening the packaging with tortillas, you should know that this product is not edible anymore. In most cases, such a product is affected by mold.
Any unusual spots on tortillas surface are sure signs that you have a moldy product. If you have green spinach tortillas, you will recognize that something is wrong when they turn yellow or brown.
Soft and flexible tortillas will go stiff, dry, and stale over time. In fact, the first sign of degradation will begin after opening the packaging, although you can’t see it.
Thanks to some recipes, you can use them even they are not fresh and perfect but be prepared that texture changing leads to the taste worsening.
Even though tortillas look and smell suspicious, you can take one more step in an attempt to save your food. Cut a small piece and taste it before making a final decision. If you are still not sure, you can warm them up and then taste them once more.
You should expect your tortillas to become slimy and moldy if you keep them in a place with high moisture levels. Once you spot visible blue-green or even dark spots on the tortilla’s surface, it is time to get rid of them.
Sometimes, you can see the whole tortilla color changes to whitish and blackish, meaning that the entire packaging is affected.
3 Tips to Store Tortillas
The rule of thumb is that you should store tortillas the same way they are kept in the store.
A cold and dry pantry is an excellent place to store tortillas for a while. This product will last at least a week if you protect it from moisture and significant temperature variations.
You can refrigerate tortillas if you plan to keep them for a few weeks. Avoid storing them in the original packaging after opening it to prevent the harmful effects of high humidity. Place them in an airtight container before storing them this way.
- Packaged tortillas – You can save an unopened product in the fridge for one to two months, depending on the type you use.
- Opened tortillas – It is better to avoid keeping tortillas in an opened packaging. Put them in an airtight container and properly store them.
- Homemade tortillas – Unfortunately, homemade tortillas are not easy to store since they usually don’t contain any preservatives or chemicals. You can store them in a fridge for about a week, but always keep them separate with a cloth cover between two layers.
Place them in a zip lock bag or airtight container and close them tightly to prevent air from entering. Don’t forget to check them daily just in case.
Freezing is an excellent way to keep tortillas fresh for months, including those you have bought frozen. Wrap each in wax paper and then put all of them into a sealable bag.
It is better to pack just a few tortillas in one bag since frequent opening can quickly cause heat to enter. In such a case, they can melt, and their quality will decrease over time.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Tortillas
To make it clear, you can’t get sick after eating expired tortillas. The only trouble is in consuming the hard and tasteless product you won’t like. Basically, the date on the packaging will show you how long tortillas will be delicious and soft.
You can count on a few days more when storing the packaging appropriately, but nothing will happen even after that period. The only trouble will cause mold that can appear on the product’s surface, but tortillas will often be edible even in that case.
It will be enough to remove fungi with a knife and use tortillas as usual. However, don’t expect to enjoy their taste under these circumstances. It will be better to throw away moldy food and buy fresh one instead.
Can You Freeze Tortillas?
It is not rare for tortilla lovers to store this food in the freezer and keep it for at least 6 to 8 months more than expected. This solution is excellent when you want to have this product whenever needed. When stored at low temperatures, tortillas will stay fresh, soft, and tasty after thawing.
Remember that the crucial thing is to protect tortillas from cold air. Therefore, you should find a way to wrap them thoroughly and place them in a re-sealable freezer bag or airtight container before putting the packaging into the freezer.
Always place a divider between two tortillas before freezing them. Otherwise, you will have a problem separating them after thawing. When you usually need a particular tortilla number, you should freeze them in a few bags. That way, you will quickly take only a necessary amount without defrosting the whole bunch.
Unfortunately, freezing will cause a slight texture change, especially if you freeze this product in the original packaging. Once you want to thaw tortillas, you should remove them from the freezer and let them sit for an hour at room temperature.
Another option is to heat them in a microwave by setting the timer to defrost. Be careful with the chosen temperature since prolonged heating will result in a soggy product that will tear while using.
Tortillas can go bad like any other food made of dough, but you can prolong their shelf life for months when storing them correctly. However, not every tortilla type will last the same, and it largely depends on the flour used to make them and added preservatives.
The positive side is that this product rarely causes adverse side effects, and you can even find recipes containing dry and hard tortillas. It is a pretty indestructible product!