What first comes to mind, when considering the wondrous tortilla, is a taco. Or maybe a quesadilla, taquito, fajita — you get the idea. From the casual trip to Chipotle to the glorious experience of eating a giant, fresh California burrito, a tortilla brings it all together.
A good tortilla has to be soft but not too cake-like or fragile, since it also has to be strong enough to hold a healthy serving of meat, beans, vegetables, and more. But we also think that a worthy tortilla should be good enough to fill with just about anything and create an enjoyable meal. If you’re lazy or in a hurry and just want a snack, melting some cheese onto a tortilla and rolling it up is always a great idea … as long as the tortilla is good.
We went shopping for tortillas and came back with a wide variety to find a brand that we could trust with many future meals. We decided to get only flour tortillas, to maintain the integrity of the taste test; it would be difficult to judge one brand’s yellow corn tortilla against another brand’s white flour tortilla. After tearing off many pieces of flat, floury goodness back to back, we discovered some winners.
The team tried many tortillas in not a lot of time. If we were to have only tried Old El Paso, and maybe enjoyed the tortillas stuffed with steak, beans, and cheese, we would have thought it was just fine. But since we tasted it in direct, immediate contrast with so many other brands, it was a little easier to find something to critique. These flour tortillas are, unfortunately, not our favorite. Maybe we just got a batch that was going a little stale, but they had barely any detectable flavor and tasted vaguely off.
They also had a dry, patchy texture, and some thought that the edges (or “crusts” … if there even is such a thing on a tortilla), were rubbery. All in all, had we been faced with no alternatives, Old El Paso likely would have landed much better. But it’s a tough race out here, and someone has to come in last place.
There is a time and a place to eat an average, unexceptional tortilla. There is also, of course, nothing particularly right about that. Many people eat them all the time without complaint when they order Mexican fast food. That being said, we think you can do better. This Harris Teeter brand of tortilla is very basic and not that great. It’s lacking in structural integrity just the tiniest bit, easily tearing when bent and breaking open when overfilled. It also does not have much flavor.
Where we would hope to find some buttery, starchy undertones, this essentially tasted like flour and water. We can’t be overly snobbish, however, because it’s an acceptable and commonly used brand that goes over well. If you just want a tortilla that tastes like how you remember a normal American store-bought tortilla tasting, this is it. Besides, if you gently warm your tortillas, no matter how mass-produced, they end up seeming a little more gourmet and authentic.
The 365 by Whole Foods Market tortillas were not particularly exciting to look at, nor particularly exciting to eat. We agreed that these are not bad, but not what we’re looking for. Though they don’t rank very high on this list, if you want something to take a back seat to the toppings that you will inevitably overload a tortilla with, these tortillas are a fine foundation.
There’s a bit more home-baked flavor and thick, chewy texture in these tortillas. Slight chewiness is key to that pliable shape and mouthfeel, but this veers into the dreaded rubbery zone — and we thought it was a little too thick. Whole Foods Market’s flour tortillas tasted almost more like a flatbread than a tortilla, but usually, the store’s products are pretty safely top-tier. On that note, some popular Whole Foods prepared items make excellent tortilla fillings.
Ortega tortillas have an open secret: they’re made with cauliflower. Now, we love sneaking vegetables undetected into our food for a little nutrient boost, but just how undetectable would the cauliflower be here? They’re nearly there. The texture is basically the same, but there’s a touch of earthiness that can only be stemming from vegetables.
These Ortega tortillas would be nice for shredded chicken quesadillas, among other things. With the top and bottom of a quesadilla getting fried to a flaky golden brown in butter or canola oil, that slight hint of cauliflower flavor would evaporate. Fried or straight out of the plastic sleeve, however, we think that if you slipped these into your dinner menu instead of “regular” tortillas, it’s likely that no one would notice.
And if you’re into plant-based recipes that incorporate cauliflower in ingenious ways, we have some good news for you. Use these tortillas when preparing grilled cauliflower fajitas to double up on your cauliflower intake.
These were the first tortillas that we tried and mostly thought, “huh, these are nice.” They also happen to be, most probably, the most recognizable tortilla brand. It is yet another standard option. Yet though we are still standing in standard tortilla territory, these had a little extra flair that put them ahead of the previous entries. Overall, Mission’s tortillas are both quite basic and quite good.
The texture is more substantial, but not dense or overly chewy. As far as flavor, there wasn’t much to note. We can’t say for sure that every single product from the Mission brand is going to be fantastic, but each is likely to be perfectly fine. This brand has a lot more tortilla spin-offs than others, which is great for a wide array of meals. Street Tacos tortillas are tiny but can make a mighty fine snack; Sweet Hawaiian tortillas are nice for unconventional usages, like peanut butter and jelly roll-ups or homemade choco-tacos; and flavored options like Sundried Tomato Basil wraps are great for Italian-style handheld meals. Mission also offers tortillas specifically structured for making burritos.
Would these tortillas be an example of extreme great taste? Well, they were much better than anticipated, that’s for sure. To backtrack, the offerings from Ole Xtreme Wellness are a range of high-fiber, low-carb tortillas that obviously differ in taste and nutritional value from the norm. That being said, we thought that their high-fiber tortillas were actually a fairly tasty alternative. They had no strange, off-center flavor, though they definitely lacked some of the richness (an odd term to use when describing tortillas, but it’s all relative) of the other brands.
The texture was the biggest difference: Ole Xtreme Wellness tortillas were more bready. While 365 by Whole Foods Market Tortillas slightly resembled flatbreads, these go even further toward that end of the spectrum. They probably would not fool anyone used to regular tortillas, but at the same time, there won’t be a huge sacrifice for those looking for a healthier option.
Guerrero makes a classic tortilla and does it right. It’s fairly authentic, but wouldn’t pass as home-baked, as it’s not the fluffiest, and it’s not always able to hold all toppings. Yet, these tortillas have more flavor than many of the others we tasted. Each is distinctly buttery, but never greasy or rich. Believe it or not, there is a cap on how fancy a tortilla should be; height and fluffiness are all well and good for pancakes on the menu at the latest cool brunch spot, but tortillas are meant to be subtle. And these are good, subtle tortillas.
There is a slight flakiness that makes a big difference in the overall quality of Guerrero tortillas, creating a more layered texture and flavor that the team definitely appreciated. It’s an option we would go back to without complaint. The tortillas get even better when you lightly warm them up, but if you don’t have the time or inclination for that, it’s not necessary.
5. La Banderita
Sometimes, you want a tortilla that’s content to be just a support system for whatever goes inside it — meats, cheeses, vegetables, and guacamole are usually the reasons for buying tortillas in the first place. But if you want a tortilla that you can really taste even under the massive responsibility of toppings, then La Banderita tortillas are for you.
This tortilla is very fluffy, so it appears thicker and heftier than it tastes. Instead, the bouncy layers of light, tender dough practically melt in your mouth. There is a hint of sweetness. Some of the team thought that this tortilla was a little too full of itself, and slightly cake-like, which took it out of real tortilla territory. It’s a factor, but for a tortilla that you can basically eat by itself, La Banderita is a great pick. There are a few different sizes, but most of the brand’s flour tortillas seem to follow the same format.
There are many gluten-free alternatives to a regular loaf of bread these days, which is a wonderful thing. The movement has made its way over to tortillas, and when Siete is orchestrating it, alternative tortillas are delicious tortillas. But just to warn you, these tortillas might be a little hard to find. They won’t be hanging out with the others near the bread section. Siete’s tortillas are frozen, which one might think means that they have that freezer-burnt staleness. Not true. When you gently thaw them, then warm them up, these tortillas taste surprisingly fresh.
Siete’s Almond Flour tortillas are substantial, and can break apart a little easier than regular tortillas, but overall, they are a delicious alternative. Siete also offers Cassava Flour and Chickpea Flour tortillas if you’re emboldened to try other types, but these are even harder to find on store shelves than the Almond Flour. If you live gluten free but never want to be tortilla-free, go for Siete.
Tortilla fun fact time! Did you know that authentic tortillas are rarely, if ever, flour tortillas? Corn tortillas are typically much more authentic, especially for tacos. However, as flour wraps for tacos go, La Tortilla Factory delivers something deeply authentic. It strikes a great balance between all the necessary tortilla elements — strong enough to hold everything together, bending without breaking, tender, buttery, and then there’s that crucial slight chew.
Also, perhaps most importantly, the flavor is one for the purists. There are no hints of preservatives that throw the overall flavor off-kilter, and nothing in particular jumped out at us. And, honestly, that’s how a tortilla should be — a little homespun and simplistic, but in just the right way. We would definitely buy La Tortilla Factory products again, and feel confident that the other tortilla sizes and spin-offs are going to be just as worthy of praise.
Finding a really excellent authentic flour tortilla can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. As evidenced throughout this list, there are plenty of solid and even quite delicious flour tortillas that are, nonetheless, not very akin to what you would find proudly featured in a home-cooked Mexican meal. Mi Rancho, then, is a silver bullet.
The brand delivers lovely, flavorful, and spot-on products that rise high above the typical tortilla. Each wrap feels like it was made by hand, slightly imperfectly, and tossed on top of an ever-growing pile in someone’s kitchen. The tortillas are nicely balanced, with subtle flavor and impeccable texture. Hints of preservatives or additives making the food taste artificial? Not here. Just delicious, simple, easy-to-eat tortillas that go with anything and everything. We trust Mi Rancho with more than just tortillas, too; its salsas and chips are also delightful. We’re so happy to have discovered this brand.
These are wonderful tortillas. Maria and Ricardo teamed up to create something that tastes like a real treat, even though tortillas are all about simplicity. Be careful or you’ll miss these, since they are found in the frozen section, like Siete and La Tortilla Factory. Once we warmed them up, we found our new favorite tortillas.
Everything about these is top-notch. They are flaky and buttery, but not sweet. There’s actually an intriguing tangy flavor that the other tortillas could only wish to have. We don’t know how, but there are layers of flavor in these tortillas. And it’s not just the taste: The texture is perfectly pillowy, light and delicate, but sturdy enough for all relevant tortilla purposes. For the best combination of taste, texture, and authenticity, choose these. We were completely blown away by how much we loved Maria & Ricardo’s, and would definitely buy these again.