Picture this- it’s Taco Tuesday and you decide to host a party. All of your closest friends and family members are there and you all are having a good time. As these things tend to go, you show up an hour late to the dinner table.
Oh no! Your tortillas are cold. You have only two options now; make new tortillas, or heat the ones you made in the microwave. The latter is faster but it is going to ruin the quality of your meal.
If only you knew how to keep tortillas warm for a party…Well, boy we do have some good news for you. We are going to show you a multitude of easy-to-follow methods of keeping your delicious tortillas warm and saving all your taco parties.
Why You Need To Keep Tortillas Warm For A Long Time?
There are many reasons why you may not be able to consume your tortilla while they’re fresh out of the stove. For starters, the issue we already covered is- time seems to fly at parties and you can’t estimate when the guests are about to eat.
But it isn’t even the duration that’s the main issue sometimes. Depending on the location of your party, these delicious treats can go cold in minutes. This will be especially true in colder areas of the world, or if you are planning to enjoy them outside.
Also, there are plenty of dishes that require a lot of time to prepare, and if you accidentally prepare your tortillas first and want to serve everything at the dinner table at once, applying a method to keep them warm would be a lifesaver.
Many of you may be thinking to yourselves, “ok, so you’ve let the tortillas sit around for a while and they’ve gone cold, what’s the big deal?” We can give you not one, but three reasons why you need to avoid this nightmare scenario at all costs.
First and foremost, your food will not taste the same. It doesn’t matter if you make the best filling in the world, nobody likes cold tacos. The only tacos that are meant to be enjoyed cold are Choco tacos! Oh, and they use waffles cones and not tortillas.
Another reason why you can’t have a cold tortilla is the texture. It’s not just the taste that will take a hit, but a cold tortilla gets hard. This makes it harder to fold or work with in any way. The hard and brittle texture is a massive downgrade from the soft and chewy majesty of a warm tortilla.
Lastly, and this one is for health enthusiasts; cold food is harder to digest than hot food. Colder foods tend to shock your digestive system and force your guts to work much harder. This is certainly not good for your body.
Types Of Tortillas Warmer
So, you’ve decided to not let your tortillas go cold. That’s great news! Now, you have to go about it. If you are someone who does not want to try any inventive life hacks and get a utensil, that does the job for you, a tortilla warmer might be the tool for you.
There’s just one catch. There are many different kinds of tortilla warmers. Which one is best suited for you to have the best result? Let’s find out.
Cloth tortilla warmers are the weapon of choice for most tortilla enjoyers. There are 4 reasons for this.
Firstly, it is the lightest material you can find for a tortilla warmer. Secondly, it is really easy to store, just fold it up and put it in the cupboard. Thirdly, it is microwave-safe. Lastly, it is the easiest to clean, just chuck it in the dishwasher.
Oh, did we mention? It does a really good job keeping your tacos nice and warm. Cloth is one of the most cost-efficient insulators on the planet.
If you think a cloth warmer is too flimsy or won’t do a good enough job, the ceramic one is a perfect option for you. The thick insulating material is sure to keep your tortillas piping hot for a while.
On top of that, this too is microwave and dishwasher safe. Just make sure to keep it in the top rack in the dishwasher.
You have to give terracotta credit for being one of the best-looking materials on the planet. I mean, any product made of terracotta just looks phenomenal. Other than that, it is a great insulator and is microwave safe.
The only issue is- it is not dishwasher safe; you cannot put this in a dishwasher. It will not survive.
Handwoven or fabric tortilla warmers are the cheapest form of the tortilla warmer. Although, they work very well. We suggest making one yourself, rather than purchasing one. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to do that in a bit.
What kitchen appliance doesn’t come in plastic form? Ignoring the damage, it does to our planet, plastic is really nifty. A plastic tortilla warmer is a great option, as it checks all the boxes.
It’s light, low cost, microwave and dishwasher safe. While it isn’t as easy to store as the cloth ones- you’ll still find space for it in your cabinet.
There is an important note here- make sure the tortilla maker explicitly says ‘microwave-safe’ as all plastics are not.
If you are looking for a hardcore tortilla warmer, then this is the answer for you. You will not find anything more effective and durable than a stoneware tortilla warmer. It is hardened ceramic.
If portability and easy maintenance are not a factor for you, this is without a question your ideal choice. It retains heat better than all the other options and takes in a lot more damage without breaking.
7 Different Ways To Keep Keep Tortillas Warm For A Party
Now that you know the difference between each type of tortilla warmer, we can start discussing all the methods in finer detail.
1. Use A Tortilla Warmer
Let’s start with the simplest one. We already covered this when discussing the various types, but it does not get easier than just stuffing your tortillas in a bag, and leaving them be.
However, we understand that a lot of you don’t want one-trick ponies in the kitchen. Truth be told, there is little to no other use for this utensil.
2. Crockpots To The Rescue
Using a crockpot is our favorite method other than using a warmer as it is the most effective by far, and quite easy too. There aren’t many ways that you can top the use of a slow cooker for this purpose.
The simplest way is to chuck the tortillas into your crockpot and just keep it at a low setting. We suggest keeping an eye on the crockpot. Because, if the temperature gets too high, you may need to cook it again. A watched pot never boils so keep your eyes peeled.
3. Keep It In The Oven
In the same vein as keeping in the crockpot, you can keep your tortillas in the oven. This is going to work just fine, but you’ll need to be careful. You need to wrap your tortillas in foil paper beforehand to prevent them from drying out.
After that, you need to find the lowest setting and keep the tortillas there till you’re ready to serve. Again, same advice here, you need to keep an eye on things. Even more so, in fact.
4. Parchment Paper Is A Quick Solution
If you are looking to keep your tortillas warm for a short while longer, this is by far your best option. This is because it is a cheap and easy option. Just put your tortilla in the parchment paper, wrap it tightly, and you’re good to go.
Most fast-food chains wrap tacos and other tortilla-based dishes with similar material for the same reason. It fits the textbook definition of fast.
5. Foil Also Works
Foil is basically the same concept but it’s a little more expensive. You do get a bang for your buck however as it lasts longer. Foil is a better insulator.
6. Damp Dishtowels
Speaking of budget options, you can’t go any cheaper than this. All you need are a towel and hot water. Dampen your towel in the hot water and then wrap the towel around your tortilla bowl.
Alternatively, and more effectively, put them directly on the towel. If you are using this method, make sure the towel isn’t too wet, otherwise, you’ll have to eat a soggy tortilla.
7. Put That Campfire To Use
If you are a camping lover and happen to be in the mood for some Mexican cuisine, then tacos are an excellent handheld option. The issue is they get cold. On the plus side, you have a roaring flame in front of you.
This idea personifies “desperate times call for desperate measures.” All the other ideas are much better as this way you can easily burn your tortillas if you keep them too close to the flame!
How To Make A Fabric Tortilla Warmer? [DIY Method]
As you can see, warmers are the best option. But we get it. Yes, a warmer isn’t that expensive but going to the shop is just going to instigate the shopaholic in you! Or, you just want to put that sewing kit to use. Either way, here’s a guide on how to make a great fabric tortilla warmer.
Step 1: Get Your Materials And Tools
The first step is to have your materials & tools in place. This speeds up the process since you won’t be wasting time looking for things midway.
Let’s start with the tools. You’ll need a sharp pair of scissors. A blunt pair can’t cut through the fabric at all. Get yourself a sewing kit or better- a sewing machine, it makes the process much easier and shorter.
Next, get yourself a pencil and a compass, or a plate. Anything that will help you to draw a circle; you’ll find out why soon.
Also, get a high-quality iron that can produce a fair bit of heat. Lastly, keep some pins handy.
The materials you will need are cotton patterned fabric, cotton lining fabric, and cotton insulation. You can find all of these at your local sewing shop. A perk of this is that you can pick any fabric you want, and you won’t be limited to the options on the market.
Step 2: Draw Out The Shape Of Your Warmer
Remember how we told you to get a pencil and compass this is where they come in handy. Perhaps, the best part of making your warmer is the complete control over each factor. The customizability is simply insane. You already got a taste of it when picking the design.
That’s not all though. The length of the warmer is entirely up to you. If you enjoy larger tortillas, you can make a 13 inch warmer. But, if you prefer smaller ones, make a 10 inch one.
Don’t go overboard when picking the length though. If it is too small, your tortillas won’t fit. If it is too big, you will lose a lot more heat as your tortilla will be spread out on a large surface area. You’ll need to goldilocks it. You’ll be good with any number between the measurements we mentioned.
Once you’ve picked a measurement, just measure out 2 circles with that diameter with a compass, or get a bowl with similar diameter and trace them with a pencil on each of the three pieces of cotton you purchased.
Step 3: Cut It Out
If you didn’t imagine Dave Coulier saying that, you need to go watch ‘Full House’ right now! You back? Great! Now, get that high-quality pair of scissors and cut out the outlines you just drew.
Do this carefully and slowly. It’s not like it will no longer work if the circles aren’t good, it's just it will look quite sloppy.
Step 4: Pin It Up
Next, you need to pin up the three circles firmly together. When stacking the circles on top of each other, put the patterned circle facing down so that you can’t see the patterns anymore. Why are we doing this you ask? Ok, you’ll find out soon.
Make sure it’s snug as it will be tough to do the next step if you can’t get this one right.
Step 5: Get Sewing
If you don’t have a machine, this is going to be a mountainous task. If you enjoy sewing, this might be fun, but again you really need to be into the hobby. You need to sew those cutouts together.
If you use a sewing machine, you need to be careful to remember to remove the pins as you sew. If you, do it manually, you won’t need the reminder.
Make sure you only sew halfway through, leaving an opening. You won’t be stuffing the tortillas in this hole. Why only halfway through then?
What’s a guide without a little mystery?!
Well, that seemed easy, right? You’ll need to repeat the process for the other circle. After this, you are finally done with this laborious step, if you didn’t use a machine that is.
Step 6: Notch The Edges
Now that you have separate thick circles, you need to notch the edges of both circles with your scissors. What do we mean by a notch? You need to cut out V-shaped segments around the part you left unstitched. Why? We’ll answer this along with the other questions you asked earlier.
Step 7: Turn Things Around
Finally, you’ll be getting some answers. The reason why we put the patterned fabric facing down is that- we have to turn these circles inside out. We left an opening for the same reason.
Simply hold each end of the opening and push to make sure the patterned side is facing outward. This is also why we added the notches, it makes the final product less fluffy.
You might be thinking, “Why did we need to do all of this? Why not just stitch the patterned cotton facing outwards?” Well, this method ensures that there are more layers involved, and therefore makes it more secure and thicker. On top of that, it makes the warmer a better insulator.
Step 8: Press
Now, you need to use that iron to press down the circles. Make sure that it is absolutely flat. If you don’t, the two pieces will be harder to work with. What’s more, they will be fluffy and it will hurt the aesthetics. You will now have two flat circles.
Step 9: Repeat Steps 4 through 7
Repeat the steps you did to make the two separate circles to adjoin the circles into one complete tortilla warmer. Press it to polish up the look.
Step 10: Enjoy Warm Tortillas
Voila! You just made your very own tortilla warmer. You should be proud of yourselves. You just created a utensil that ensures that you will never have to eat a cold tortilla ever again.
How Long Do Tortillas Stay Warm?
Neat! You not only know multiple ways to keep your tortillas warm but you can make your own warmer. But you still might be wondering how long you have before your tortillas go cold. It is impossible to give a standardized time as it depends on a variety of factors.
1. What’s The Room Temperature?
It’s not rocket science. Tortillas will get colder faster if you live in a colder environment. It’s not just the natural climate, but even the AC settings. The difference made by this is monumental.
2. How Many Tortillas?
If you stack more tortillas together, they will stay warmer for a much longer time. Fewer tortillas stay warm for a shorter period.
3. What Is The Surface Area Of The Plate?
The surface area of the plate on which you keep the tortillas is going to make a slight difference to how long your food stays warm. Tortillas spread across a small surface area will get cold faster.
4. Are You Using Any Preventative Measures?
Last but not the least, you need to be accounted for any preventative measures you took. If it was one of the many methods listed in the article, you should see a significant boost. If it was something as simple as leaving a lid on a container, it won’t impact the time too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I Need A Tortilla Warmer?
No. A tortilla warmer only does one job; keep your tortilla warm. Does it do the job well? Yes. However, you have plenty of alternatives. This item is certainly not a must-have.
2. Are Tortilla Warmers Expensive?
The answer to this question is also a no. One-trick ponies tend to be rather cheap. How cheap it will depend on the type of tortilla maker you are going for. A cotton or plastic one should be the cheapest. If those aren’t in your budget either, you can always make your own.
3. Why Don’t I Just Heat The Tortilla Again In The Microwave?
Other than the fact that you will be needlessly using an appliance, this will ruin the taste of your tortilla. Putting anything in the microwave lowers its quality. Just ask Gordon Ramsay!
4. Why Not Heat The Tortilla In A Frying Pan?
This one has a simple answer. Your tortilla will certainly burn before it heats all the way through evenly.
5. Is It Difficult To Make Your Own Tortilla Maker?
Yes. It is a really complicated and long process, and it needs you to know quite a few tools. An important note to make here is that- this is not a child-safe process; if the presence of scissors and pins didn’t make it clear already. Just make sure that- if a child does want to do it, an adult must supervise the entire process.
6. Which Method Works Best?
As we’ve said multiple times, a tortilla maker knocks it out of the park. If you want your tortilla to warm for an insanely long period, your best bet is a stoneware tortilla maker.
There you have it. You now know how to keep tortillas warm for a party like the back of your hand! With these methods, your taco parties are sure to be a hit. What’s more, you also know how to stitch a tortilla warmer, how cool is that?
We hope you found this article helping in your search for enjoying Mexican cuisine the way it's meant to be enjoyed. We wish you luck in your future culinary endeavors and hope you get to enjoy all your food the right way. The way you deserve it.