Store flour tortillas you buy at the supermarket for up to one week after opening in their original packaging, but make sure it's sealed tightly. If you store flour tortillas in an airtight container in the refrigerator, they stay fresh about a week as well.
You can warm and store tortillas for the short term in two ways:
- Microwave five stacked tortillas, covered in a moist paper towel, for 30 seconds or until warmed through. Keep the warmed tortillas in the closed microwave until ready to serve.
- Stack the tortillas in groups of five and wrap them in aluminum foil. Heat the tortillas in a 350F oven for 12 minutes and turn the oven off. Keep the tortillas in the oven until ready to serve.
Flour tortillas lose quality if you store them after heating them, so warm them only as needed.
Flour tortillas keep indefinitely in the freezer. However, for best quality, use them within six to eight months of their expiration date.
Homemade tortillas are a whole different ballgame, one that doesn't last very long. Homemade tortillas typically contain lard or vegetable shortening, both of which shorten the best-by date dramatically.
Up to 48 hours after you make them, store homemade tortillas in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you've never made your own flour tortillas at home, there's no better time to learn than now. Homemade flour tortillas have just four ingredients and a clean, fresh flavor you won't find in store-bought tortillas. They only take about 30 minutes to make and require no special skills:
Mix the dry ingredients, 2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons each baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. You can use white or whole wheat flour.
Add 3 tablespoons of lard or vegetable shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add 3/4 cup of warm water, and mix until combined using a spoon.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Separate the dough into eight balls of the same approximate size and set them aside, covered with a moist paper towel, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Press the dough balls somewhat flat and roll them out into 8-inch rounds. You can also use a tortilla press.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan on the stove over medium-high heat for several minutes. Set one tortilla at a time in the pan and cook until you see bubbles form, about 60 seconds. Turn the tortilla and cook another 45 to 60 seconds. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.