Frying corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are popular in Mexican cuisine, and with good reason. Not only are they versitile and a good way to use corn, but are so delicious when prepared the right way. In this post, I’ll discuss how to fry corn tortillas so they are soft, pliable, and cooked through, and give insight into why this is the best way to do it.

Why you should fry corn tortillas

If you’ve ever had a corn tortilla straight out of the package, you may have been underwhelmed. Fortunately, frying improves corn tortillas in several ways.

Enhances the taste

Like I said, raw tortillas aren’t it. Somehow, frying them does improve the taste. It takes a bland, flat taste to a corny delight. I didn’t think frying them could make such a difference, but it definitely does.

Keeps them from getting soggy

Corn tortillas, especially the small ones, typically end up covered with some sort of sauce. Because of this, there is potential for them to get soggy. Frying the tortillas before covering in sauce provides a layer of protection, ensuring the texture is as appetizing as possible.

Helps them hold their shape

Tortillas fresh out of the package are frail. If you attempt to roll them, it’s likely they will rip in the process. If they don’t, they will probably just flip back to their starting flat position, which is pretty useless. Frying the tortillas allows them to bend with ease, as well as stay in the correct position.

How to fry corn tortillas

For all the benefits that come with it, frying corn tortillas is actually quite simple.

1. Heat ~1/2 c. oil in a skillet over medium (5). I typically use peanut oil, since that is my go-to frying oil, but canola is another popular choice.

2. Add tortillas one at a time, cooking for 15-20 seconds on each side. The longer you cook them, the crispier they get. Overcooking will be evident if you see any color on the edges. On the other hand, not frying them enough will result in a raw, oil-coated tortilla, which is probably worse than the uncooked tortilla you started with. The goal is to fry them just enough to make them pliable without getting crispy.

3. Remove from oil, and let rest on plate lined with paper towel. Just like with pan-fried plantains, this is the best way to absorb excess oil once they are done being fried.

When to use fried corn tortillas

There are so many ways to use fried tortillas. Some dishes that come to mind include enchiladas, breakfast tacos, and fish tacos. These are mostly Mexican dishes, but there are so many possibilities. Basically, anytime you want to eat a soft, flavorful tortilla, a fried corn tortilla is a safe bet.

One response to “Frying corn tortillas”

  1. Edward Avatar

    I completely agree that enciladas are much better with fried tortillas. I understand that many are concerned about the fat in them. If they are fried at the correct temperature and then drained they are fine. However, not fried, but fresh off the comal tortillas are ok; but, commercial or fresh tortillas that are more than an hour old do not work.
    Also, I have found that restaurants seem to push the raw because it saves a step in processing.

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