How to soften corn tortillas for enchiladas?

Introduction: How to Soften Corn Tortillas for Enchiladas

Corn tortillas are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and they serve as a base for many dishes, including enchiladas. However, they can be challenging to work with because they tend to become brittle and break when folded. To avoid this, it’s essential to soften the tortillas before using them for enchiladas. In this article, we’ll explore five different methods to soften corn tortillas for enchiladas, along with some tips to keep in mind.

Method 1: Steam Tortillas in a Microwave

One of the easiest ways to soften corn tortillas is by steaming them in the microwave. Place a damp paper towel over the tortillas and microwave them for 20-30 seconds until they become pliable. The steam generated by the damp paper towel will help to soften the tortillas, making them more flexible and easier to work with.

Method 2: Soften Tortillas in Hot Water

Another method to soften corn tortillas is by dipping them in hot water. Heat a pot of water to a simmer and dip each tortilla in the water for a few seconds, using tongs to remove them. Place them on a plate, and cover them with a towel to keep them warm and moist. This method works well for small batches of tortillas and is a quick way to soften them.

Method 3: Heat Tortillas on a Skillet

If you prefer a more traditional method, you can heat the tortillas on a skillet. Preheat a dry skillet over medium-high heat and place the tortillas on the skillet for 10-15 seconds on each side. Make sure not to overcook them, or they will become too crispy. This method will soften the tortillas and add a bit of char to them, giving them a delicious flavor.

Method 4: Soften Tortillas in a Steamer Basket

Using a steamer basket is another great way to soften corn tortillas. Place the tortillas in the steamer basket, cover them with a lid, and steam them for 1-2 minutes until they become pliable. This method will keep the tortillas moist and soft, making them perfect for enchiladas.

Method 5: Use a Tortilla Warmer

If you plan on making a large batch of enchiladas, a tortilla warmer is an excellent investment. These insulated containers are designed to keep tortillas warm and moist while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Simply place the tortillas in the warmer, and they will stay soft and pliable for up to an hour.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Softening Tortillas

Regardless of the method you choose, there are a few tips to keep in mind when softening corn tortillas. First, make sure to use fresh tortillas, as older ones tend to become brittle and difficult to work with. Second, avoid overcooking the tortillas, or they will become too crispy and not pliable. Finally, keep the tortillas covered with a towel or in a tortilla warmer to prevent them from drying out.

Choosing the Right Corn Tortillas for Enchiladas

The type of corn tortillas you use can also affect how well they soften for enchiladas. Look for tortillas that are made with 100% corn, without any added preservatives or fillers. Freshly made tortillas from a local tortilleria are always a great option, but if you can’t find them, look for high-quality brands in your grocery store.

Conclusion: Perfectly Softened Corn Tortillas for Enchiladas

Softening corn tortillas for enchiladas is an essential step in creating a delicious and authentic Mexican dish. With the methods outlined in this article, you can soften tortillas quickly and easily, making the process of assembling enchiladas much simpler. Remember to keep the tortillas covered and moist to prevent them from breaking, and choose high-quality tortillas for the best results.

Bonus Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas with Softened Tortillas


  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soften the corn tortillas using one of the methods outlined in this article.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent.
  4. Add the shredded chicken to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until heated through.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  6. Spoon the chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll them tightly. Place them seam side down in the baking dish.
  7. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  10. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot. Enjoy!
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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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