Fajitas, quesadillas, burritos, chimichangas, and of course, tacos would not be complete without tortillas! Whether you prefer flour or corn, this signature ingredient is a staple in Mexican cuisine. However, if you happen to buy these light, soft and doughy bread products in bulk without enough mouths to feed, can you freeze soft taco shells?
Whether store-bought or homemade, soft taco shells are a product that bodes brilliantly in the freezer! This applies to both corn tortillas and flour tortillas. Simply layer the tortillas in between pieces of wax paper and place the stack in a freezer-safe ziplock bag.
Remove as much air as possible, seal, and label. This will extend their shelf life from about a week to four months! However, in order to retain the original flavor and texture, you must thaw them in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. NEVER use the microwave unless the tortillas are a part of a precooked dish.
- Corn & Flour Tortillas — Soft And Hard Shells
- How To Properly Freeze Soft Taco Shells
- How To Defrost Soft Taco Shells
- Freezing Mexican Cuisine With Soft Taco Shells
- Final Thoughts
Corn & Flour Tortillas — Soft And Hard Shells
Mission Foods has been the go-to brand for tortillas for over 70 years! They strive to create authentic Mexican food staples and aim to “help you explore the endless possibilities for tortillas and tortilla chips.”
Their goal from their humble beginnings was to ensure that everyone had access to this versatile food source. Best of all, soft tortillas are designed to be frozen for later use! In fact, you can keep this bread product in the freezer for up to four months.
This is substantially longer than the recommended 2 to 4 days at room temperature and the week for refrigeration. Better yet, the freezing process is quite simple.
However, it is important to note that if you choose to fry these shells or you purchase hard shells at the grocery store, they will not fare well in the freezer. This is due to the higher oil content, which will cause them to become soggy when introduced to cold temperatures.
If you have leftovers of the crunchy version on this food, consider crumbling them up and using them as a topping for a casserole or breading for fried food!
How To Properly Freeze Soft Taco Shells
Step 1: Freeze Before It Expires
First and foremost, in order to get the most out of this bread product, you must freeze the unused tortillas before their “Best By” date. Thus, it is advised that you portion out what you intend to use and what you believe will be left over upon purchase. While you can freeze extras, it is best to be proactive to achieve optimal freshness.
Moreover, if you make your tortillas from scratch, you can freeze them immediately after baking. However, it is extremely important that you give homemade tortillas ample time to cool before continuing with the following cold storage steps.
Step 2: Layer The Soft Taco Shells
Second, take the tortillas out of the original packaging. Place a layer of wax paper or freezer paper down and then lay the first tortilla on top. Apply a second layer of wax paper and continue the process until you have sandwiched each tortilla in between two pieces of wax paper.
This step is crucial for ensuring that the tortillas do not stick together during the freezing process and to allow for easy access when you want to extract just a few shells from the package.
Step 3: Package And Freeze The Soft Taco Shells
Next, take your stack of soft taco shells and slide them into a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Remove as much of the air as possible and seal the container. Lastly, fold over any excess plastic and wrap the package in a tight layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
This will help to block our moisture and light, ensuring that your soft taco shells stay fresh while in storage!
Then, label the package with the date and place the ziplock on an empty freezer shelf. This will allow for better air flow, and therefore, a more rapid freeze. Finally, make sure that the shells are stored at a consistent zero degrees Fahrenheit.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This method of storage is also recommended for the refrigerator as well. While you can keep the tortillas in the original packaging, you will run the risk of moisture and condensation forming in the bag. This will create the perfect environment for mold to grow. Thus, limit the oxygen and moisture by storing them in a freezer safe ziplock bag.
How To Defrost Soft Taco Shells
This is actually the most important step in the entire process. Mission Foods states that “it is very important that you let them thaw in the refrigerator for a day or two before using them. […] Flour and corn tortillas should never be defrosted in the microwave.” By not heeding this advice, you will drastically change the flavor, and most notably, the texture of this product.
Additionally, once you have defrosted the soft taco shells, it is best to not freeze them again. Regular changes in temperature can lead to changes in consistency. Thus, only pull out what you need. Moreover, make sure to consume the tortillas within three to four days after thawing.
Finally, always look for signs of spoilage before eating any product in the freezer. Mold is one of the biggest worries with products like tortillas. This inspect the soft taco shells for changes in color, texture or smell. If the flavor seems off, it is also best to err on the side of caution.
Lastly, while you can consume products that have incurred freezer burn, this is a quality that is highly undesirable in breads. Essentially, there is moisture loss where this occurs. Thankfully, this can be prevented by following the packaging steps mentioned above.
Freezing Mexican Cuisine With Soft Taco Shells
While it is best to assemble your tacos and fajitas on the day you intend to serve them, dishes like enchiladas and burritos are much more convenient to have on hand when they are already prepared. Thankfully, just like most casserole-style dishes, these recipes fare fantastically in the freezer and can last for up to three months!
The best practice for freezing enchiladas is to completely assemble the dish and then cook it as if you were going to serve it. However, do not apply last-minute toppings like sour cream, cilantro, onions, jalapeños or avocado. These are best applied on the day you actually intend to serve the dish.
In addition, make sure that this is done in a freezer-safe Pyrex container or an aluminum container. This will allow you to easily transfer this to the freezer and then back to the oven to reheat on a later date. Once you remove the dish from the oven, allow it to cool completely.
However, it is imperative that you only keep it at room temperature for two hours or less. Longer than this time frame will bring the threat of dangerous bacteria starting to form within the dish. If two hours is not enough, transfer the enchiladas to the fridge.
Next, cover the container with heavy-duty aluminum foil and then snap on the lid. Label and freeze!
Finally, when reheating, it is best to place the frozen enchiladas in the fridge overnight and then cook them the next day. This will ensure that all of the ingredients regain a moisture balance. It will also prevent the exterior portions of the dish from cooking faster than the interior.
For burritos, it is important to cook all of the ingredients prior to assembly. Then, take your soft taco shells and construct your burritos. In addition, make sure to keep sauces in a separate container to prevent the meal from getting soggy. Next, lay down wax paper on a metal baking sheet.
Place your burritos on the baking sheet, leaving space between each one. This will allow them to freeze much more quickly, diminishing the instance of large ice crystals that can cause extreme changes in texture. Freeze them overnight.
The next day, tightly wrap the burritos in aluminum foil. Then, transfer the frozen product to a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal.
Then, label the bag with the original date of freezing. Alternatively, you can also place the frozen burritos in a freezer-safe container and apply a tight layer of aluminum foil under the lid.
Finally, to defrost, remove the food from all wrapping and reheat in the microwave or in a skillet for a quick meal! However, for the best results, leave the burrito wrapped in foil and bake it in the oven. This will guarantee a crispy outside and a deliciously moist and cheesy inside!
Freezing tortillas is a spectacular way to limit food waste and to always have this key ingredient on hand. The best way to conserve soft tortilla shells is to freeze what you think you won’t use upon purchase. This is highly recommended when buying in bulk from stores like Costco and Sam’s or when cooking for large groups.
Lastly, for those who are on a gluten-free diet, freezing is a fantastic choice for gluten-free tortillas as well! Just like gluten-free bread, this is a drier product, thus it will not last quite as long as the wheat and corn varieties. Aim to use frozen gluten-free tortillas within a month of freezing. Otherwise, the same packaging, storing, and thawing instructions will apply!
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I worked in the accounting field. I am also a Certified Food Handler. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking.