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Need tortillas heated for a party? This informative guide teaches you how to heat corn tortillas for a crowd and gives you great tips to keep them warm. Discover stovetop techniques, oven methods, slow cookers, and even grilling options to cater to different cooking setups. Learn easy-to-follow steps for each method, ensuring pliable and delicious warm tortillas every time.

Raising a large family that loves Mexican food and serving it when friends come over, I have learned tips for how to keep corn tortillas warm that I want to teach you. 

 I have easy-to-follow steps for each method, ensuring pliable and delicious warm tortillas every time. Impress your guests with a spread of warm corn tortillas, using practical tips to maintain their temperature until serving.

basket of corn, corn tortillas, mesa and dough ball

There are a variety of ways to heat fresh tortillas when you are throwing a big party. Browse these 9 easy methods to heat corn tortillas and test a few to find your preferred method.

There are many different methods; however, the best method is the one that works most effortlessly for you!

🇲🇽 Mexican Recipe Ideas: If you are hosting a Cinco de Mayo Party, Mexican Party, or casual Mexican dinner party, get your party started with easy Mexican Appetizers. Next, you will want to be sure and try my Mexican Coleslaw, Nacho Casserole, copycat Taco Bell Red Sauce, and Mexican Caviar recipe. How about using corn tortillas to make taquitos for an easy Mexican appetizer or Crab Pinwheels? Don’t forget to end with some easy Cinco de Mayo Desserts.

How To Heat Corn Tortillas Using An Instant Pot

Steaming tortillas in the Instant Pot is an excellent method when you need to warm a large quantity of tortillas for a party. The steam helps soften the store-bought tortillas and makes them pliable for easy folding or rolling.

It’s an easy method to heat the tortillas if you need to free up your stove and oven to make other dishes for a taco bar dinner party. 

instant pot and stack of tortillas

  1. Pour water into the Instant Pot: Add about 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Insert a steamer basket: Place a steamer basket or a trivet with handles inside the Instant Pot. Make sure it is elevated above the water level.
  3. Stack the tortillas: Stack the corn tortillas on top of each other and place them in the steamer basket. You can separate layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  4. Close and seal the Instant Pot: Place the lid on the Instant Pot, ensuring it is properly sealed.
  5. Set the cooking time: Select the “Steam” function on the Instant Pot and set the cooking time to 2-3 minutes. This quick steaming time is usually sufficient for warming the tortillas.
  6. Start the cooking process: Press the “Start” button to begin the steaming process. The Instant Pot will build pressure and steam the tortillas.
  7. Quick release or natural release: Once the cooking time is complete, you can choose either a quick release or a natural release. A quick release allows you to release the pressure immediately by turning the steam release valve, while a natural release lets the pressure release on its own over time.
  8. Remove the tortillas: Carefully open the Instant Pot once the pressure has been released. Lift out the steamer basket or trivet using oven mitts or tongs.
  9. Serve and enjoy: Serve the warm, steamed tortillas immediately, or keep them covered in the instant pot to maintain their heat until ready to serve.

How To Heat Corn Tortillas On A Gas Stovetop

A popular and efficient way to warm corn tortillas is by heating them on the stovetop. This method allows for direct and speedy heat application, resulting in tortillas that are slightly toasted and pliable. It’s handy for small to medium batches of tortillas.

If you have a crowd to serve, then it’s best to use multiple gas burners on your stovetop. 

stack of corn tortillas and ears of corn
  1. Preheat the burner: Turn on one of the gas burners on your stove to medium heat. It’s best to use a burner with a wide open flame spread to heat multiple tortillas at once.
  2. Place the tortillas on the burner: Lay a corn tortilla directly onto the heated burner grates. You can add multiple tortillas, depending on the size of your burner and how many tortillas you need to heat.
  3. Heat and flip: Allow the tortillas to heat for about 15-30 seconds on one side or until you start to see air pockets forming and the tortilla becomes pliable. Use tongs to flip the tortilla to the other side and continue heating for another 15-30 seconds.
  4. Remove and keep warm: Once heated, transfer the tortillas to a clean damp towel or a tortilla warmer to keep them warm. Fold the towel over the tortillas or close the tortilla warmer to retain their heat.
  5. Repeat the process: Place the next tortilla on the gas burner and continue the heating and flipping process until all the tortillas are warmed.
  6. Serve and enjoy: Serve the warm tortillas immediately or keep them covered to maintain their heat until ready to serve.

Tip: Be cautious and use tongs or a spatula when handling the tortillas to avoid burning yourself on a gas stove flame.

Oven Method For Heating Corn Tortillas

When preparing a taco night for a large group, using the oven, it’s most efficient to heat a few dozen tortillas at once. This method ensures easy and hassle-free preparation.

ear of white corn on a stack of corn tortillas
  1. Preheat the oven: Set your oven to a low temperature, around 275°F (135°C), to gently warm the tortillas without drying them out.
  2. Stack and wrap the tortillas: Stack the tortillas together and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. This helps to retain moisture and heat during the warming process.
  3. Place in the oven: Transfer the wrapped stack of tortillas to a baking sheet or oven-safe dish and place it in the preheated oven.
  4. Heat the tortillas: Allow the tortillas to warm in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until they are heated through and pliable.
  5. Keep them warm: Once the tortillas are warmed, remove them from the oven and keep them wrapped in the foil until serving. This helps to maintain their warmth and moisture.
  6. Serve and enjoy: When you’re ready to serve, unwrap the tortillas and place them in a tortilla warmer or in a basket with a clean kitchen towel covering them. 

Tip: Please keep in mind that setting the oven temperature too high can cause corn tortillas to become dry and brittle over time. To keep them soft and flexible, keep your oven at a low temperature. Also, keeping them wrapped in foil until it’s time to serve will help keep them warm. 

How To Microwave Corn Tortillas

Microwaving tortillas is the fastest way to heat a large number of corn tortillas at once. This microwave method is pretty much full prof if you are busy and can not keep an eye on the heating process. 

microwave and corn tortillas stacked
  1. Stack the tortillas: Stack several tortillas together, typically 5-6 at a time. You can separate each stack with damp paper towels to prevent them from drying out.
  2. Microwave in batches: Place a stack of tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with another damp paper towel. This helps to create steam and keep the tortillas moist.
  3. Heat in the microwave: Microwave the tortillas on high power for about 20-30 seconds. The exact time may vary depending on the microwave wattage and the desired level of warmth. Keep an eye on them to prevent overheating.
  4. Repeat the process: Remove the warmed tortillas from the microwave and place them in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm. Meanwhile, prepare and microwave the next batch of tortillas until all of them are heated.
  5. Serve and enjoy: Once all the tortillas are warmed, serve them immediately while keeping the remaining tortillas covered to retain their heat.

Tip: Be mindful not to microwave corn tortillas for too long, as they can become rubbery or dry. Also, note microwave ovens vary in heating strength. You might have to adjust the heating time as needed to achieve the desired level of warmth.

Using a Griddle To Heat Tortillas

Using a large griddle is an efficient way to heat multiple corn tortillas simultaneously. The spacious cooking surface allows you to heat a bunch of tortillas simultaneously, saving time and ensuring they are all warm and ready to enjoy. Using a griddle as a dry heat source is a way to avoid using excess oil. 

  1. Preheat the griddle: Preheat your large griddle over medium heat. Ensure the surface is evenly heated before placing the tortillas.
  2. Stack the tortillas: Stack the corn tortillas together, separating each with a small piece of parchment paper or a clean kitchen towel. This prevents them from sticking together.
  3. Place the tortillas on the griddle: Carefully place a stack of tortillas on the preheated griddle. You can add multiple stacks, leaving some space between them for even heating.
  4. Heat and flip: Allow the tortillas to heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on one side or until they become pliable and slightly toasted. Use tongs to flip them to the other side and continue heating for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Move to a warming area: As each batch of tortillas is ready, transfer them to a clean kitchen towel or a tortilla shell warmer to keep them warm. Fold the towel over or close the tortilla warmer to retain its heat.
  6. Repeat the process: Place the next batch of tortillas on the griddle and repeat the heating and flipping process until all the tortillas are warmed.
  7. Serve and enjoy: Serve the hot tortillas immediately or keep them covered to maintain their heat until ready to serve.

How To Heat Corn Tortillas On The Grill

Grilling tortillas outdoors adds a delicious smoky flavor and slight char to the tortillas, enhancing their taste. It’s an excellent method for heating a large number of tortillas while enjoying outdoor entertaining. 

  1. Preheat the grill: Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Ensure the grill grates are clean and well-oiled to prevent the tortillas from sticking.
  2. Wrap the tortillas: Stack the corn tortillas together and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. This helps to retain heat and prevent them from drying out.
  3. Place on the grill: Place the foil-wrapped stack of tortillas directly on the grill grates. Close the grill lid to create an oven-like environment.
  4. Heat the tortillas: Allow the tortillas to heat for about 5-10 minutes, flipping the foil packet halfway through the cooking time. The exact time may vary based on your grill’s temperature and the desired level of warmth. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
  5. Check for flexibility: Carefully open the foil packet and check if the tortillas are warmed and pliable. If needed, you can return them to the grill for a little longer until they reach the desired texture.
  6. Serve and enjoy: Once the tortillas are warmed, remove them from the grill and serve them immediately. You can keep them covered with a clean kitchen towel or in a tortilla warmer to maintain their heat until ready to serve.

Tip: When using a grill to heat corn tortillas, be cautious not to leave them on the grill for too long, as they can become crispy or burnt.

How to Heat Corn Tortillas In A Slow Cooker

Using a slow cooker to heat corn tortillas is my favorite way to conveniently heat tortillas when serving a crowd. It is the slowest method for heating tortillas; however it is an excellent choice if you have a long-time party planned. The low and steady heat of the crockpot keeps the tortillas warm without drying them out. It also allows you to prepare a large batch of tortillas in advance and keep them ready for serving throughout your gathering.

crock pot and stack of tortillas
  1. Prepare the slow cooker: Plug in your slow cooker and set it to a low or warm setting. This ensures a gentle and consistent heat for the tortillas.
  2. Stack and wrap the tortillas: Stack the corn tortillas together and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. This helps retain moisture and warmth during the heating process.
  3. Place the wrapped tortillas in the slow cooker: Put the foil-wrapped stack of tortillas into the slow cooker. If you have a large number of tortillas, you can divide them into multiple foil packets and place them side by side in the slow cooker.
  4. Heat the tortillas: Cover the slow cooker with the lid and allow the tortillas to heat for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour or until they are warmed through. The exact time may vary depending on your slow cooker’s settings and the number of tortillas.
  5. Serve and enjoy: Once the tortillas are heated, carefully remove them from the slow cooker and serve them immediately. You can keep the remaining tortillas in the foil packets to maintain their warmth until ready to serve.

How To Skillet Heat Corn Tortillas

If you are heating tortillas for a large dinner party, you could set up a hot skillet on each of your stove burners. 

  1. Preheat the skillet: Place a non-stick pan, dry skillet, or cast-iron skillet on the stovetop and preheat it over medium heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes until it’s evenly hot.
  2. Place the tortilla on the skillet: Lay a corn or flour tortilla directly on the heated skillet. Ensure it lies flat and is not folded or wrinkled.
  3. Heat the tortilla: Allow the tortilla to heat for about 15-30 seconds on one side. You will notice it becoming more pliable and slightly toasted. Use tongs or a spatula to flip the tortilla to the other side.
  4. Heat the other side: Cook the tortilla for an additional 15-30 seconds on the other side or until it reaches your desired level of warmth and texture. Be careful not to overcook or burn it.
  5. Remove and serve: Once the tortilla is heated to your preference, carefully remove it from the skillet and place it on a plate or a tortilla warmer. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas.

How To Heat Corn Tortillas In An Airfryer

Heating corn tortillas in an air fryer is a convenient way to warm them up quickly and achieve a crispy texture. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it for a crowd:

air fryer and corn tortilla shells
  1. Preheat your air fryer: Turn on your air fryer and set the temperature to 350°F (175°C). Preheating allows the tortillas to cook evenly and become crispy.
  2. Stack the tortillas: Take a stack of corn tortillas, usually about 10-12 tortillas, and separate them slightly. This will prevent them from sticking together as they warm up.
  3. Place the tortillas in the air fryer: Carefully place the stack of tortillas into the air fryer basket. Make sure they are arranged in a single layer and not overlapping too much.
  4. Heat the tortillas: Close the air fryer and let the tortillas cook for about 3-4 minutes. This time may vary depending on the thickness of the tortillas and the desired level of crispness. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
  5. Flip and cook again (optional): If you prefer your tortillas to be extra crispy, you can remove them from the air fryer after the initial cook time, flip them over, and cook them for another 1-2 minutes. This step is optional but can add more crunch to the tortillas.
  6. Repeat as necessary: If you need to heat more tortillas, repeat the process with additional stacks of tortillas. Make sure not to overload the air fryer basket to ensure proper airflow and even cooking.
  7. Serve and enjoy: Once the tortillas are heated and crispy to your liking, remove them from the air fryer and serve them immediately. They are now ready to be filled with your favorite Mexican ingredients and enjoyed!

Tip: Cooking times may vary depending on your specific air fryer model, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the tortillas during the process to avoid overcooking or burning.

How To Keep Corn Tortillas Warm

After you heat your corn tortillas, you will want to use one of these methods to keep them warm until you are ready to serve them. Nobody likes cold tortillas!

  • Damp towel method: Wrap the heated tortillas in a clean, damp dish towel to maintain their warmth and moisture.
  • Using a crockpot: Keep the tortillas warm in a crockpot set to a low or warm setting by placing them in foil packets inside the crockpot. This method is ideal for serving tortillas warm throughout a gathering or meal.
  • Insulated tortilla pouches: Use insulated tortilla pouches designed to retain heat and keep tortillas warm. These pouches are convenient for maintaining warmth during serving.
  • Using an oven on low heat: After heating the tortillas, place them in a covered oven-safe dish and keep them in the oven at a low temperature to maintain their warmth until serving.
  • Microwave-safe tortilla warmer: Utilize a microwave-safe tortilla warmer, which can be heated in the microwave and then used to keep the tortillas warm until serving.
  • Using a tortilla warmer: Place the heated tortillas in a tortilla warmer, which is designed to retain heat and keep the tortillas warm until serving.

Favorite Tortilla Warmers

Dexas Microwavable Tortilla Warmer: I like that this warmer is made in 🇺🇸 Dallas, TX. This tortilla warmer is unique- it is microwave and dishwasher safe for convenient use and car.e

Coloch 3 Pack Tortilla Warmer Pouch 12” These warmers are so festive. They are insulated and can hold up to 15 tortillas.

12” Jumbo All-in-one Tortilla Warmer/Steamer Designed to freshly STEAM tortillas in seconds and SERVE them soft and warm all meal long. 

Tips and Tricks For Heating Corn Tortillas

​There are many ways to heat corn tortillas. You will need to take into consideration how many people you will be serving and what will be easier if you are cooking a full meal and your stove is full of other dishes you are making.

How do you soften corn tortillas that are dry and stiff? 

If your corn tortillas are dry and stiff, before you need to heat them, it is best to dampen them. Moisten each tortilla slightly by sprinkling a little water on both sides. Alternatively, you can lightly damp dish towel and wrap the tortillas in it for a few minutes. This helps to add moisture and make them more flexible.

How do you toast corn tortillas for tacos?

You can easily toast corn tortillas using a special electric tortilla toaster. If you like crispy corn tortillas for tacos or tostadas then this tortilla toaster is an easy way to heat them up.

This Electric Tortilla Toaster would be a great way to heat tortillas if you are serving a Mexican food bar at a party. Guest could instantly heat their tortilla shells at the food bar. 

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How To Heat Corn Tortillas For a Crowd and Keep Them Warm

This is your party guide that teaches you multiple easy ways to heat corn tortillas for a crowd and tips for keeping them warm.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

Oven Method For Heating Corn Tortillas

  • Preheat the oven: Set your oven to a low temperature, around 275°F (135°C), to gently warm the tortillas without drying them out.
  • Stack and wrap the tortillas: Stack the tortillas together and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. This helps to retain moisture and heat during the warming process.
  • Place in the oven: Transfer the wrapped stack of tortillas to a baking sheet or oven-safe dish and place it in the preheated oven.
  • Heat the tortillas: Allow the tortillas to warm in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until they are heated through and pliable.
  • Keep them warm: Once the tortillas are warmed, remove them from the oven and keep them wrapped in the foil until serving. This helps to maintain their warmth and moisture.
  • Serve and enjoy: When you’re ready to serve, unwrap the tortillas and place them in a tortilla warmer or in a basket with a clean kitchen towel covering them.

How To Microwave Corn Tortillas

  • Stack the tortillas: Stack several tortillas together, typically 5-6 at a time. You can separate each stack with damp paper towels to prevent them from drying out.
  • Microwave in batches: Place a stack of tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with another damp paper towel. This helps to create steam and keep the tortillas moist.
  • Heat in the microwave: Microwave the tortillas on high power for about 20-30 seconds. The exact time may vary depending on the microwave wattage and the desired level of warmth. Keep an eye on them to prevent overheating.
  • Repeat the process: Remove the warmed tortillas from the microwave and place them in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm. Meanwhile, prepare and microwave the next batch of tortillas until all of them are heated.
  • Serve and enjoy: Once all the tortillas are warmed, serve them immediately while keeping the remaining tortillas covered to retain their heat.

How To Heat Corn Tortillas Using An Instant Pot

  • Pour water into the Instant Pot: Add about 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert.
  • Insert a steamer basket: Place a steamer basket or a trivet with handles inside the Instant Pot. Make sure it is elevated above the water level.
  • Stack the tortillas: Stack the corn tortillas on top of each other and place them in the steamer basket. You can separate layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  • Close and seal the Instant Pot: Place the lid on the Instant Pot, ensuring it is properly sealed.
  • Set the cooking time: Select the “Steam” function on the Instant Pot and set the cooking time to 2-3 minutes. This quick steaming time is usually sufficient for warming the tortillas.
  • Start the cooking process: Press the “Start” button to begin the steaming process. The Instant Pot will build pressure and steam the tortillas.
  • Quick release or natural release: Once the cooking time is complete, you can choose either a quick release or a natural release. A quick release allows you to release the pressure immediately by turning the steam release valve, while a natural release lets the pressure release on its own over time.
  • Remove the tortillas: Carefully open the Instant Pot once the pressure has been released. Lift out the steamer basket or trivet using oven mitts or tongs.
  • Serve and enjoy: Serve the warm, steamed tortillas immediately, or keep them covered in the instant pot to maintain their heat until ready to serve.

Notes

Be sure to browse all 9 easy methods for heating corn tortillas on Intentional Hospitality. Test a few to find your preferred method.  The best method is the one that works most effortlessly for you! 
 
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Author: Gina Dickson

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