Chatelaine Kitchen

Pantry 101: Corn vs. flour tortillas

These taco-night staples have more differences than you'd think.
Tortillas Pantry 101

They're a taco eatery staple, available in multiple forms — soft, fried, round or wedged. This thin, unleavened flat bread is made from either wheat or corn . . . but aside from this obvious distinction, how are they different?

Corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are traditionally made of masa harina, water and salt. Masa harina is a corn flour that is ground from hominy — corn that has been treated with a lime-water solution. It is gluten-free, but beware, some have wheat flour added to them (so make sure to do a quick label-check first). They can also come in a range of colours: white and yellow are the most common, but you may see blue and red on occasion as well. Corn tortillas have a slight taste of toasted corn and a more crumbly texture due to the lack of gluten. This is why they are typically made using a tortilla press, and not rolled out like flour tortillas.

Why we love them: The corn tortilla is more dense and hearty than its flour counterpart; it's also a very versatile ingredient. In Mexican and Central American cuisine, they are used as a vehicle for tacos, enchiladas and tostadas. Corn tortillas can also be stirred into (or used as an accompaniment for) soups and stews, much like bread.

Flour tortillas

Flour tortillas are made from finely ground wheat or whole-wheat flour, water and salt. The dough is rolled into into a circle using a rolling pin, then pan-fried. Its flavour is neutral, and the texture is slightly chewy.


Why we love them: Wheat-flour tortillas are much easier to make and handle because of the high-gluten content; this means they're flexible and won't rip apart easily, making them ideal for wraps and burritos, layering in lasagna, or cut and baked into chips. They can be purchased in small or large rounds, depending on your needs.

Did you know? If your tortillas start to harden or go stale, simply microwave them, covered in a damp paper towel, for about 30 seconds to make them pliable again.



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