Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The 5 Best Ways to Reheat a Tortilla, Ranked

There’s still hope for your leftover tacos

Photo: Omar Gallaga

5. Microwave

Real talk, just make a sandwich instead. Nuking is the worst way to revive the spirit of store-bought or leftover tortillas. Half-assed efforts like wrapping multiple corn tortillas in a moist paper towel still result in mealy, desiccated discs. Remember in Hellraiser when Pinhead arrives, saying, “We’ll tear your soul apart!” That’s what microwaves do to tortillas.

4. Grill

You may be a whiz at perfectly charred ribs or using mesquite chips to give chorizo some smoky flavoring in your fancy gas grill, but tortillas are tougher on the big stage. It’s easy to burn them while getting distracted with meat-cooking duties, and unless you’re a neat freak, they’re going to get gritty-ass grill mess all over. If you don’t have a side burner, choose a different battle.

3. Ovens and toaster ovens

A worthy method, but it’s all about timing: If the toaster oven is set too high, any time savings are negated by the burnt, too-crispy result. (Or just look on the bright side: surprise tostadas!) If you’re worried about overcooking, wrap them in aluminum foil first.

2. Fry it back to life

As long as your LDL cholesterol is in check, indulge in some deep-fried goodness by dunking those corn tortillas into some hot vegetable oil until they’re firm and golden brown. This is a good gateway drug to puffy tacos made from raw corn tortillas — a whole taco genre unto itself.

1. Abuela’s 100-year-old comal

For the genuine hot-tortilla experience, nothing beats a round cast-iron comal over a gas range to get it exactly right. The tortilla will be cooked evenly in almost no time once the comal is fiery hot (they come out even better if you’re cooking from raw flour or masa, not reheating, as Abuelita would expect you to do). For the ultimate old-school move, ditch the comal and cook the tortilla directly on the gas burners. Just keep some tongs handy so you don’t end up with dedos quemados on the menu.

Tech culture writer and podcaster, now freelancing in Texas. Bylines: Washington Post, WSJ, CNN, NPR, Texas Monthly. Here for all your wordy needs.

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