Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to soften corn tortillas without a frying pan

Today's post is a quick and easy how-to that, while most likely not useful to you this week, is a nice thing to file away for the future.

I like to cook with corn tortillas, I think they are supremely yummy and rank higher in the deliciousness department than their floury brethern. Don't get me wrong, flour tortillas most definitely have their place and can be fabulous (especially when handmade and wrapped around pork barbacoa), but corn tortillas? I'm a fan.

Corn tortillas can be a giant pain to work with though -- if you use them straight from the bag, they crack and fall apart. Some people microwave them to soften them, but I think the most traditional way of softening corn tortillas is by frying them in a bit of oil for a few seconds. This way tastes wonderful - a big improvement over just microwaving them - but it makes an absolute mess of your kitchen, and it often causes intense bouts of guilt over the fat content in a 6-inch circle of corn. At least it does in my world.

Enter stage left my method. It still uses oil and has the delicious corn tortilla taste I love, but I think it must be healthier. Without consulting my boyfriend Alton Brown I can't be positive (that old episode about the science of frying bewildered me.) but I'm going to go with it, and say that it feels healthier than sticking a tortilla in a pool of oil.

Simply take corn tortillas and give each one a quick spray with cooking spray, both front and back, and lay on a pan. It's okay to overlap a bit, but don't stack 30 tortillas on a pan or anything like that. Give them some room to breathe, y'all.

(Again, I apologize for the horrid lighting in my kitchen. Making it cuter and and better lit is definitely on my to-do list, but in the meantime please take my word that having a skylight in your kitchen will not replace having real light fixtures... I have only 2 can lights and no task lights and it's really quite ridiculous.)

Stick the tortillas in a 325°F oven. Leave them there for 5-8 minutes, checking to make sure they aren't crisping up. Take out of the oven and use in your favorite recipe!

That's a photo of me showing you how floppy and soft and yummy-smelling these tortillas are.

Now you can enjoy a nice corn tortilla without having grease splatters all over your kitchen!


  1. My thighs thank you darling.....as do my old lady arms and dough belly. I LOVE corn tortillas and I am going with you on this...it feels healthier. BTW, Since when is Alton Brown YOUR boyfriend.....just know he is cheating on you with your cuter, older glorious seester. Muah.

  2. Tried this tonight and it was fantastic -- just right and easy

  3. Just tried this tonight and it worked perfectly! Thanks!

  4. Fantastic. Instead of the spray I rubbed them with olive oil and cooked for about 5 minutes at 165 degrees. Worked perfectly, thanks!

  5. We think alike and I love your idea. I will be trying this when I make my next batch of enchiladas. Many thanks!

  6. Thanks, gonna try the olive oil trick!

  7. That worked GREAT! Thank you so much! My tortillas weren't perfect (a little dry on the edges...so what, I covered them in sauce)...but the BEST part was that they were indestructible! Not one tore, made enchilada rolling easy easy easy.

  8. I did this today and it worked perfectly!

  9. Thanks so much! Worked terrifically, and my family loved the results as.much as frying the tortillas! Won't ever go back.

  10. Worked like a charm! Faster, simpler, less mess and healthier. Thank you!


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