How Long To Heat Tortillas In A Tortilla Warmer [Without Drying Them]

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Tortillas are a must-have addition for tacos, quesadillas, burritos, wraps, and so much more. Warm tortillas taste especially delicious, and a tortilla warmer can keep them heated for an extended time. But, exactly how long should you heat them in the warmer without them becoming dry?

A good rule of thumb for heating tortillas in a tortilla warmer in the microwave is to add 15 seconds for every four tortillas. So, if you want to heat eight tortillas, they should be heated for 30 seconds. If they're not quite warm enough after the initial cook time, continue to heat in 15-second intervals until they become hot enough. However, microwaving them over 60 seconds can lead to dry, brittle tortillas, so be sure not to overheat! 

If you're using an oven-safe tortilla warmer, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for around 10-15 minutes.

Next, we'll look at how tortilla warmers compare to other heating methods. Plus, we've done the research and found the answers to some common questions that you may have, including how to heat tortillas for a crowd. Keep reading to find out more!

Flour tortilla with fried ground meat, cooked beans, tomatoes, chili sauce and chili peppers. Salad in background, How Long To Heat Tortillas In A Tortilla Warmer [Without Drying Them]

How Does A Tortilla Warmer Compare To Other Heating Methods?

Tortilla Warmer

Tortilla warmers are available in various colors, materials, and sizes. The majority of warmers are constructed for both microwave and oven use. Tortilla warmers are a quick way to heat up a stack of tortillas and to keep them warm throughout your meal.

Most tortilla warmers, especially plastic, are super affordable. Also, most are dishwasher safe and can be used to keep pancakes and other flatbreads warm.

Oven

The oven is the slowest way to warm tortillas. However, it is the best way to heat lots of tortillas for a gettogether and is guaranteed to keep them warm for a long time, especially when the tortillas are wrapped in foil. Multiple foil-wrapped stacks of tortillas can be heated at once on a baking sheet, or use a deep, oven-safe tortilla warmer to fix a lot at one time.

Stovetop

Heating tortillas on the stovetop is an excellent way to nicely brown tortillas on each side, and it doesn't require any cooking oil. Heating only one tortilla at a time, place in a very hot skillet and brown on each side for 1-2 minutes.

For extra tender tortillas, dip each tortilla in water before adding to the skillet or griddle. When the tortilla hits the hot surface, the water will create steam, making them super soft during cooking.

Microwave

Microwaves can warm a small stack of tortillas in 60 seconds or less. All you need is a microwave-safe plate and damp paper towels or pieces of parchment paper. Place damp paper towels or parchment paper squares between each tortilla to prevent sticking; make sure to cover the top of the stack too.

You can also use plastic wrap for the microwave. Simply wrap about 12 tortillas in plastic wrap, microwave for 60 seconds, flip, and heat for an additional 30 seconds.

How Do You Warm Tortillas Without Drying Them Out?

Mexican corn tortillas on wooden background

Luckily, warming tortillas without drying them is easy. The key to having soft tortillas is to keep the moisture locked in during heating. To keep tortillas moist and delicious, try utilizing one of these methods:

  • Damp paper towels: Using damp paper towels between each tortilla keeps them soft and supple when heating in the microwave.
  • Foil: Wrapping tortillas in aluminum foil before placing them in the oven ensures that they stay pliable. Plus, foil retains heat to keep tortillas warmer for longer.
  • Dish towel: Wet a clean dish towel and wring out excess water. Take a stack of tortillas, place them in the towel, and microwave for up to one minute.

How Long Do Tortillas Stay Warm In A Tortilla Warmer?

Red plastic circular tortilla container or warmer

The amount of time that tortillas will stay warm in a tortilla warmer significantly depends on the material. Let's look at the different types of tortilla warmers and see how they compare.

Plastic

Plastic tortilla warmers are inexpensive and microwavable. They will keep tortillas warm for up to 20 minutes.

Click here to see this plastic tortilla warmer on Amazon.

Stoneware

You can use stoneware tortilla warmers in the microwave or oven. They can hold more tortillas than plastic warmers and will keep tortillas warm for one hour.

Click here to see this stoneware tortilla warmer on Amazon.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is very durable and excellent at retaining heat. Use it on the stovetop, grill, or oven to keep tortillas warm for one hour.

Click here to see this cast iron tortilla warmer on Amazon.

Pine Needle

For an authentic Mexican tortilla warmer, try one made from pine needles. Place a towel inside with warm tortillas, and they will stay heated for around 30 minutes.

Click here to see this pine needle tortilla warmer on Amazon.

Fabric

Fabric tortilla warmers can hold about a dozen tortillas and keep them warm for over one hour. In addition, they are microwave safe and machine washable.

Click here to see this fabric tortilla warmer on Amazon.

Terra Cotta

Terra cotta tortilla warmers can be used in the microwave or oven. They will retain heat to keep tortillas warm for up to one hour.

Click here to see this terra cotta tortilla warmer on Amazon.

Can I Put My Tortilla Warmer In The Microwave?

Microwave Oven

Most, but not all, tortilla warmers can be used in the microwave. Plastic, stoneware, fabric, and terra cotta tortilla warmers do fine in the microwave, but ones made from pine needles and cast iron do not. It's important to note that for plastic tortilla warmers, the lid is usually not microwavable. Instead, place the top on the warmer directly after cooking to keep tortillas warm and pliable.

How Do You Heat Tortillas For A Crowd?

Handmade Tortillas on the market for sale

The most efficient way to heat tortillas for a crowd is to use your oven. To do this:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Make multiple stacks of five or fewer tortillas and wrap each tightly in aluminum foil
  3. Place foil-wrapped stacks in the heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes
  4. Turn your oven to the keep warm setting and remove foil packets of tortillas as needed to serve guests

Do You Have To Heat Up Store-Bought Tortillas?

Fresh Corn tortilla's await packaging at a tortilla manufacturing plant

It's unnecessary to heat up store-bought tortillas, especially if you're using them for cold-cut sandwich wraps. However, warmed-up tortillas will significantly improve the overall taste and texture if you're using tortillas for hot meals like tacos and burritos.

To quickly heat prepackaged flour and corn tortillas, use your microwave-safe tortilla warmer or use a plate and damp paper towels. First, place tortillas on a plate and put slightly wet paper towels between each tortilla to prevent sticking and to lock in moisture. Then, microwave for 30 seconds to achieve the ideal warmth and softness. Note that corn tortillas will take slightly longer to heat due to their non-pliable texture.

How Do You Make Tortillas Last Longer?

Tacos ingredients background with flatbread, fresh vegetables and roasted chicken meat on the table. Mexican fast food top view with copy space.

Store-bought tortillas usually last 5-7 days past their best by date. However, you can extend the date by another week if you place them in an airtight container and store them in your fridge; homemade tortillas also benefit from being kept in the refrigerator. Then, when you're ready to eat, reheat by using your preferred heating method and enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Tortilla warmers are a convenient way to heat up a batch of tortillas in a hurry. They come in various materials to suit any cooking need, and they also serve as an attractive serving dish for your dining table. Whether you decide to use a tortilla warmer or another method for heating your tortillas, with our tips and tricks, you can be assured that they will turn out perfectly soft and delicious every time.

Thanks for reading! For more kitchen inspiration, be sure to read:

How To Reduce Sugar In Chocolate Chip Cookies

Should You Peel Sweet Potatoes? 

Leave a Reply