How To Steam Tortillas?

When it comes to making delicious and authentic Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, or quesadillas, the quality of the tortillas plays a crucial role.

While store-bought tortillas are convenient, they often lack the softness and flexibility that homemade tortillas offer.

One simple technique to enhance the texture and pliability of your tortillas is steaming them before using.

In this article, we will explore the process of steaming tortillas to create soft and foldable wraps that will take your Mexican culinary creations to the next level.

Why Steam Tortillas?

Steaming tortillas is an age-old technique that has been used for centuries in Mexican cuisine. The process of steaming softens the tortillas, making them more pliable and easier to fold. This is especially beneficial when using corn tortillas, as they tend to be less flexible than flour tortillas. Steaming also adds moisture to the tortillas, preventing them from becoming dry and brittle.

Step-by-Step Guide to Steaming Tortillas

To steam tortillas, you will need a few basic kitchen tools:

  • A nonstick pan
  • Tortillas
  • Water

Follow these steps to steam your tortillas:

  1. Turn on the stove with low to medium heat and pour a tablespoon of water into the pan.
  2. Place your tortilla on the hot yet wet tortilla pan and wait until you see water vaporizing.
  3. Flip the tortilla and wait for the water to completely evaporate.
  4. Allow the tortillas to steam for about 1-2 minutes until all the water is gone.
  5. Place the steamed tortillas in a clean kitchen towel or a tortilla warmer to keep them warm and pliable until ready to use.
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Tips for Steaming Tortillas

Here are some tips to help you achieve perfectly steamed tortillas:

  • Make sure not to oversteam the tortillas, as they can become too soft and difficult to handle. Less water will not help your cause and more will make the tortillas taste bad.
  • For added flavor, you can sprinkle a small amount of water or a squeeze of fresh lime juice on the tortillas before steaming.
  • If you prefer a slightly crispy texture, you can lightly pan-fry the tortillas after steaming to achieve a golden brown color.

Benefits of Steamed Tortillas

Steamed tortillas offer several advantages over unsteamed ones:

  • Improved pliability: Steaming makes tortillas more flexible, allowing you to fold them without cracking or breaking.
  • Enhanced flavor: The steaming process adds moisture to the tortillas, making them softer and tastier.
  • Versatility: Steamed tortillas can be used in various Mexican dishes, from tacos and enchiladas to quesadillas and burritos.
  • Authenticity: Steaming is a traditional method used in Mexican cuisine, so using steamed tortillas adds an authentic touch to your dishes.

Steaming tortillas is a simple yet effective technique to elevate the texture and taste of your Mexican dishes. By following a few easy steps, you can transform plain tortillas into soft and foldable wraps that will enhance your culinary creations. Whether you’re making tacos, burritos, or quesadillas, steamed tortillas will add an authentic touch and make your dishes truly memorable.

Can I steam tortillas without a steamer?

Yes, you can steam tortillas without a steamer. Simply place a heatproof plate or a metal colander over a pot of simmering water. Place the tortillas on the plate or colander and cover with a lid. Steam for 1-2 minutes until they are soft and ready to use.

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Why should I steam tortillas?

Steaming tortillas helps to soften them and make them more pliable, which is especially useful when you want to wrap them around fillings for dishes like enchiladas or tacos. Steaming also helps to enhance the flavor and texture of the tortillas.


Steaming tortillas is a simple and effective method to enhance their taste and texture. By following the steps mentioned above, you can achieve soft and pliable tortillas that are perfect for your favorite Mexican dishes.

Steaming helps to retain the moisture and adds a touch of tenderness to the tortillas, making them more enjoyable to eat.

Additionally, steaming tortillas is a healthier alternative to frying as it requires little to no oil. So, whether you’re making tacos, enchiladas, or quesadillas, steaming your tortillas is a great way to elevate your culinary creations and impress your family and friends.

Elodie Westover

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