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Do you warm up tortillas for wraps?

Whether you’re making a burrito, taco, or fajita wrap, warmed tortillas can take your meal to the next level. Heating tortillas makes them soft, pliable, and easier to roll or fold around fillings. It also brings out more flavor from the corn or flour. So should you warm tortillas before making wraps? Here’s a quick answer:

Yes, it’s recommended to warm up tortillas before making any kind of wrap. Heating tortillas makes them more flexible so they don’t crack or break when wrapping ingredients inside. It also enhances the tortilla’s flavor and makes for an overall better wrap experience.

Now let’s explore this topic in more detail. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of warming tortillas for wraps, different methods for heating them, and some serving suggestions.

Why Warm Up Tortillas for Wraps?

There are a few key reasons why taking the extra step to warm up tortillas before making wraps is recommended:

Enhances Flexibility

Cold tortillas straight from the package can be stiff, rigid, and prone to cracking when folded or rolled around fillings. Warming tortillas makes them soft and pliable, which prevents ripping or breaking as you construct your wrap. The heat activates the gluten in flour tortillas or softens the structure of corn tortillas.

Improves Flavor

Heating unleashes more of the inherent flavor in both corn and flour tortillas. You’ll notice more depth, complexity, and toastiness. The warmth also makes the tortilla taste fresher.

Allows Fillings to Meld Together

When you assemble a warm tortilla with hot fillings like meat, beans, rice, or veggies, it allows the ingredients to meld together more cohesively. Everything marries together into a more unified and appetizing wrap.

Prevents Fillings from Making Tortilla Soggy

Cold tortillas have a higher tendency to become soggy when loaded up with wet ingredients like salsa, sauce, cheese, etc. Warm tortillas hold up better to moist fillings without becoming a mushy mess.

More Authentic Taste and Texture

Heating tortillas gives a more authentic street taco or burrito shop flavor and mouthfeel. Most Mexican restaurants would never serve a cold tortilla with fillings.

Downsides to Heating Tortillas

While warm tortillas make better wraps, there are a couple potential downsides:

Takes Extra Time

It does require an extra step in your wrap prep. Heating tortillas adds about 10-60 seconds per tortilla depending on method.

Can Dry Out Quickly

Once heated, tortillas can stiffen and dry out rather quickly as they cool. You’ll want to assemble your wraps soon after warming.

Need to Work in Small Batches

You likely can’t heat all your tortillas at once, especially if using the stovetop. You’ll be working in small batches to keep the tortillas warm and flexible.

Risk of Burning

It’s easy to burn tortillas if you don’t pay close attention while heating. Keep a close eye to avoid charring or smoking.

Methods for Warming Tortillas

Here are some recommended methods for heating your tortillas:

On the Stovetop

One of the quickest and most direct ways to heat tortillas is in a skillet on the stovetop. Here’s a simple process:

– Heat a dry skillet or griddle over medium heat. Use a heavy pan like cast iron.

– Working in batches, place tortillas in the dry pan and heat for about 10-30 seconds per side.

– Flip occasionally with tongs until slightly puffed with light brown spots.

– Place warmed tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in foil to maintain heat.

In the Oven

You can easily warm batches of tortillas in the oven:

– Preheat oven to 350°F.

– Wrap stack of tortillas in foil and place directly on oven rack.

– Heat for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.

– Wrap warmed stack in a clean towel to keep heated.

On the Grill

For outdoor cooking, throw tortillas right on a hot grill:

– Heat grill to medium-high.

– Place tortilla on grill grates for about 10-15 seconds per side.

– Use tongs to flip and lightly char.

– Wrap grilled tortillas in foil or a towel to maintain warmth.


For a quick single tortilla, the microwave works in a pinch:

– Place tortilla between two damp paper towels.

– Microwave on high for 10-20 seconds, checking frequently.

– Remove once slightly puffed and warm throughout.


A bamboo or metal steamer can evenly heat tortillas:

– Bring water in a pot with steamer insert to a simmer.

– Working in batches, place tortillas in steamer, stacked or single layer.

– Cover and steam for about 1 minute until warm and pliable.

Tortilla Warming Tips

Follow these tips when heating your tortillas to get the best results:

– Don’t overheat – Tortillas can dry out and get crunchy if cooked too long. Heat just until soft and pliable.

– Warm in batches – Only heat a few tortillas at a time to maximize freshness.

– Use a damp towel – Keep warmed tortillas wrapped in a barely damp dish towel or cloth napkin to maintain moisture as they cool.

– Heat both sides – Flip tortillas while heating to warm both sides evenly.

– Preheat serving dishes – Warm any plates, trays, or baskets you’ll be placing the tortillas in to maintain heat.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some options for keeping tortillas warm and pliable as you assemble and serve wraps:

– Wrap in foil or cloth napkin

– Place in a tortilla warmer appliance

– Line a basket or plate with a cloth napkin

– Put in a 200°F oven on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper

– Wrap around a thermos filled with hot rice or beans

– Place inside a cooler with a hot water bottle

– Fold into a to-go burrito wrap inside foil

The key is to maintain consistent, gentle heat while you construct your tacos, fajitas, burritos, and other tortilla-based treats. Now that you know the importance of warming tortillas and the best techniques, you can take your wraps to the next level of flavor and enjoyment. Always heat before wrapping!


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about warming tortillas:

Should you heat flour or corn tortillas?

It’s recommended to warm both flour and corn tortillas before making wraps. The heating makes both kinds more pliable and enhances flavor.

Do you need to warm tortillas for soft tacos?

Yes, warming is still recommended for soft tacos to prevent cracking when folding and loading ingredients. It also allows flavors to mingle better.

Can you heat tortillas in the microwave?

Yes, the microwave can be used to quickly heat a single tortilla. Place between damp paper towels and microwave in 10-20 second intervals.

How do restaurants heat tortillas?

Most restaurants rely on commercial tortilla warmers that use gentle, consistent steam heat. Many also heat tortillas on a hot flat top grill or griddle as needed.

How long do heated tortillas stay warm?

Tortillas will hold heat for 5-10 minutes when properly wrapped in foil or a towel after heating. Serve wraps as soon as possible once tortillas are warm.

Can you reheat tortillas?

It’s best to only heat tortillas once. The more they are reheated, the more dried out and brittle they can become.

Should you heat store-bought versus homemade tortillas differently?

No – follow the same heating methods and times for store-bought and homemade tortillas. The goal is just to warm through without overcooking.

The Importance of Properly Warming Tortillas

As you can see, taking those extra seconds to warm up your tortillas before making tacos, burritos, fajitas, and other wraps is an important step. While it does require a brief time investment on your part, the benefits of enhanced flavor, flexibility, and structural integrity are well worth it. Your wraps will look, taste, and feel better when you build them on a warm, pliable tortilla foundation.


Warming tortillas before making any kind of wrap thoroughly improves the eating experience. Heated tortillas are easier to roll or fold, hold ingredients together better, taste fresher, and simply make wraps more enjoyable overall. While cold tortillas straight from the package will work in a pinch, putting in the small effort to heat them first is recommended whenever possible. For the optimal flavors, textures, and wrap-rolling performance, be sure to warm up your tortillas!