3 Ways to Prevent Corn Tortillas From Breaking

Corn tortillas are delicious delicacies that should be added to your meal plan. They are a versatile food that can be used in all sorts of dishes. Unlike flour tortillas, corn tortillas are made out of special corn flour and are a healthier choice. But is it normal for corn tortillas to break?

Corn tortillas are subject to breaking or cracking, they are very soft and can easily tear when you start to roll them. A little breakage or crack shouldn’t be an issue when preparing a saucy dish like enchiladas, but a torn tortilla can be discouraging as it affects the structure of your tacos. 

Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free and they brittle easily especially when they are cold, so it’s best to use them when they have just been freshly made, and if you can’t use them immediately store them in an air-tight plastic bag or container.

Most times they still end up breaking, unless you know some simple tricks to keep your corn tortilla from cracking up. However, this article will give detailed information on how to prevent corn tortillas from breaking.

How To Prevent Corn Tortillas From Breaking

It is no news that corn tortillas break easily. They might not be as tough as flour tortillas but you can still make them work.

A couple of reasons can make corn tortillas crack and then break, and these include age, heat, or lack of moisture. That is why understanding why your corn tortillas break will help prevent any more breakage in the future. So let’s discuss what to do to keep those corn tortillas intact.

1. Keep Them Fresh

When corn tortillas get cold, they become stiffer and more likely to break. Warming them for a while before rolling them will help make them flexible. Tortilla warmer however is a great tool for this purpose not only can they heat your corn tortillas but also keep them warm and fresh for a longer time. 

3 Ways to Prevent Corn Tortillas From Breaking
Image: Envato Elements

These purpose-built dishes are usually made of ceramic, they can also be used as dishes for serving your corn tortillas at the dinner table.

However, there are different ways to heat your tortillas, depending on the dish you want to prepare and what is convenient for you. 

2. Heat or Steam Them 

You can use a dry grill or cast iron to heat your corn tortillas for at least 30 seconds on each side. Do not let it heat longer than that or it will become too crispy. This method is best used for tacos or tostadas. But if you are preparing enchiladas, you can add a little oil to the pan for extra moisture.

You can also soften a tortilla by steaming it until it’s flexible enough for rolling. One of the steaming methods is to put it inside a steamer basket on top of a pot with boiling water in it. Ensure that the bottom of the steamer basket isn’t touching the bubbling water so that the corn tortillas don’t get wet. Leave it to steam for about 30 seconds to one minute.

Another method is microwave steaming. This method is an alternative if you don’t have a steamer basket you can use a microwave to steam the tortillas. 

3. Maintain Moisture

Lack of moisture can always cause your corn tortillas to break. They are very likely to dry out if they are a few days old or have been left out for too long. 

Try to get your tortilla moist before you start rolling them this will help prevent any breakage. The microwave and steaming method mentioned above also helps to increase and lock in moisture. 

3 Ways to Prevent Corn Tortillas From Breaking
Image: Envato Elements

Whatever method you decide to use to add moisture to your tortillas, make sure you closely monitor the tortillas, or else they will become soggy or too crispy. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the best way to heat corn tortillas?

Using dry heat to warm up your tortillas is the most preferable method. Oil and butter may not cook it well as it might turn out to be soggy or too crispy. However, you can use tortilla warmers, microwaves, or ovens which are great tools to heat your corn tortillas. You can also put your tortillas in a cast-iron skillet and warm it on medium heat, for 20 seconds on both sides.

How do you keep corn tortillas from falling apart in enchiladas?

Many things can go wrong when making corn tortillas however you can keep them from falling apart by not frying the corn tortilla with oil as this can make it soggy. Also, try not to overstuff your tortilla with too much enchilada sauce or filling as this overload can make them tear right in the center.

Which is better, corn or flour tortillas?

Although they may slightly look the same, corn tortillas are a better choice because they have a more healthy nutritional value than flour tortillas. However, flour tortillas are more versatile when compared to corn tortillas. They can be used to make tacos, burritos, tostada, and quesadillas while corn tortillas are best for enchiladas, chips, and flautas. Corn tortillas have more fiber and other vital nutrients and they are lower in fat and calories than flour tortillas. 

Do you cook tortillas before making enchiladas?

Leaving your corn tortillas unattended whilst you prepare the rest of the meal can cause them to dry out and break when you attempt to roll them. Make sure your enchiladas are prepared before cooking the corn tortillas. As the tortillas cook a little, remove them and begin to roll them with your enchilada sauce immediately.


Corn tortillas or tortillas in general are the basis of many conventional Mexican dishes but people around the world have come to love them. It can be used to make a variety of dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and much more. 

Corn tortillas are also great for diet plans as they are high in fiber and gluten-free. However, the one issue related to it is that they break easily in the process of wrapping or rolling them mainly when they are cold or stale. 

Several methods have been adopted to prevent this from occurring. And the purpose of these methods is to preheat or warm them and also keep them fresh. For this many have turned to fry them briefly with cooking oil or butter (although this is not the best method) while others use dry heat such as the steaming method, microwave, or oven and tortilla warmers.

Depending on what’s convenient for you, any of these methods mentioned can be used. But ensure that you don’t heat them for too long as you might end up having a ruined tortilla,15-30 seconds on each side is enough to warm them.