How We Tested
Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and total taco fanatic. I love making tortillas from scratch, and I used to keep them warm in an aluminum foil packet as they came off the range. A few years ago, I got a cheap plastic tortilla warmer that I thought was a huge upgrade, but after running these tests, I think I’m a tortilla pouch convert!
We knew that a tortilla warmer would work better than wrapping tortillas in a clean kitchen towel–that only holds the temperature for about five minutes–but we wondered if it could rival our go-to method of holding tortillas in aluminum foil. We pre-heated five tortillas and placed them in each warmer, timing how long it took them to reach room temperature. Most of the warmers lost their holding ability at around 25 minutes, while the aluminum foil packet lasted 30 minutes. Two of the warmers lasted as long as an hour!
But it’s not all about time: The quality of the tortilla is equally as important. We monitored the tortillas as they sat in the warmers to see if they became excessively dry or grew soggy over time. The steam from the hot tortillas created condensation in many of the warmers, but the open-air environment kept the tortillas from becoming as water-logged as the ones in the aluminum foil.
Finally, we wanted to know if the warmers could fit 10-inch burrito-sized tortillas, and how many tortillas we could stack in there at once. All of them could fit enough 6-inch tortillas to feed a family of four, and a few of them were large enough to supply a party.
How to Keep Your Tortillas Warm
There are a variety of materials used for tortilla warmers. Ceramic and terra cotta models are usually oven- and microwave-safe, while the plastic and fabric pouches can only be used in the microwave. We awarded bonus points for oven-safe warmers, but we don’t actually recommend heating up your tortillas in the oven. The very best way to heat tortillas is in stacks of five, meaning you’ll have to heat multiple batches if you’re feeding a crowd. Heating tortillas five at a time is no problem in the microwave, but using the oven would be a huge a waste of time!
Our preferred method of heating tortillas is using a cast-iron skillet. Place them on the preheated pan (dry, with no oil) and cook them for 30 seconds on each side. Remove them to your tortilla warmer with tongs and they’ll turn out perfect every time! Alternatively, you can place them in the tortilla warmer (or, wrap them in a damp paper towel) and microwave five at a time in 30-second bursts until they’re warmed through. The least efficient way is using the oven, where you’ll have to wrap stacks of five tortillas in aluminum foil and cook them at 350° F for about 15 minutes.
No matter how you warm them, the tortilla warmer comes in handy to keep them soft and pliable until you’re ready to wrap. You can also use a tortilla warmer to keep flatbreads like pita warm, or you can use them to hold pancakes and waffles after they come off the griddle while you’re cooking brunch. They’re great for camping, so pick up an extra one and toss it in your camping box!