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We love a doughy flour tortilla just as much as the next girl. But when it comes to tacos, corn tortillas are no doubt the way to go. (After all, they’re typically smaller and less filling, so you can eat half a dozen of ’em without breaking a sweat.) Whether you’re prepping a batch of chicken tinga for Tuesday’s dinner, frying your own tortilla chips or hosting a carne asada, you’ll want to have this tried-and-taste-tested list of the best corn tortillas in your back pocket before hitting the grocery store.
HOW WE CHOSE THE BEST CORN TORTILLAS
A good corn tortilla should have a toothsome texture and a slightly sweet, corn-like flavor. Some contain lime and a consequent tartness or tang. Fresh from the bag, corn tortillas are dry and brittle. Once warmed, they should be soft, slightly chewy and strong enough to be folded without breaking apart. Most grocery store tortillas are shelf-stable, thanks to added preservatives and stabilizers, but some fresher ones need to be kept in the fridge or freezer to keep from going moldy.
To find the best corn tortillas, we scoured the internet for the most popular brands and varieties. Then, we nabbed as many as we could get our hands on and tasted them all, both plain (after being warmed) and filled with taco-seasoned beef. After choosing our favorites, we ranked them on five factors:
Value: Is the corn tortilla worth what it costs, given the ingredients and taste?
Quality: Is the corn tortilla made with authentic ingredients? Is it full of fillers or preservatives?
Flavor: Is the corn tortilla tasty?
Texture: Is the corn tortilla soft and slightly chewy? Is it excessively dry, flaky or crumbly?
Durability: Does the corn tortilla break when folded, even after heating? Can it accommodate a hot filling?
Since opening in Oakland, California, in 1939 as the sole Mexican grocery store in the area, Mi Rancho remains a 100 percent family-owned business. These tortillas—made from organic corn flour, organic white flour, organic vital wheat gluten, organic pea fiber, cane sugar and 2 percent or less of organic white distilled vinegar, oil, sea salt, baking powder and minor preservatives—ideally need to be brought to room temperature before being heated in a skillet for 30 seconds per side. Once warmed through, they’re delightfully soft and chewy (likely thanks to the wheat) and surprisingly durable (they won’t split when folded, you’d have to tear them). They smell and taste like corn, plus have a slight tang (it reminds us of citrus but could be the vinegar). They’re a bit pricey at $5 for six tortillas but know you’re paying for organic ingredients and an authentic, tried-and-true recipe.
Made almost entirely of organic yellow corn flour and water (plus 2 percent or less of lime, organic vinegar and organic guar gum for flexibility), these tortillas from Maria and Ricardo’s smell super fresh, almost like sweet corn kernels. Vegan and free of both gluten and artificial preservatives, they have a very neutral, corn-y flavor and a texture that’s soft and comforting without being too chewy. Once warmed for 30 seconds per side, they fold well without breaking, but dry pretty quickly. As long as they’re filled with meat or cheese or drenched in sauce or salsa, this won’t be an issue.
Made with white corn flour, some stabilizers and preservatives, these corn tortillas from Chi-Chi’s are just the right size for flautas, tacos, fajitas, tostadas and huevos rancheros. Warm them in an ungreased pan for 10 to 15 seconds per side (or heat them in the oven or microwave) and you’ll get a soft, moderately chewy tortilla with a slightly crisp exterior. It tastes like corn that’s been slightly toasted and holds up pretty well to folding. Think of this pick as an all-corn tortilla for flour tortilla lovers.
Unlike many shelf-stable brands, these vegan tortillas from Food for Life are made from freshly sprouted organic whole kernel corn instead of corn meal or corn flour. (FYI, sprouting unlocks nutrients and enzymes in the corn, resulting in easier-to-digest protein and carbs, as well as more vitamins and minerals.) Once the corn is sprouted, it’s produced into dough and gently pressed into shape. The ingredient list is as clean as can be: organic sprouted corn, filtered water, sea salt and lime. The tortillas smell a bit fresher and more vegetal compared to others on this list, but don’t let that deter you. They taste very corn-y with a touch of earthiness. Once warmed, they’re foldable and chewy, but thin.
These tiny taquería-style tortillas from La Banderita are just right for low-carb dieters, gluten-free eaters and taco enthusiasts alike. Made with whole grain corn, water, minimal preservatives and lime, they only need 30 seconds per side in the microwave or on the stove to turn soft and foldable (although they’re a bit flaky on the outside). Their flavor is neutral, making them versatile enough to take on any topping you desire. Bonus? A small two-tortilla serving contains 2 grams of fiber.
Made from yellow corn flour, water and a few preservatives, these gluten-free, super soft, surprisingly chewy tortillas from Mission contain 2 grams fiber per every two-tortilla serving and can be quickly heated on the stove or in the microwave. They’re so neutral in flavor that they’re borderline bland, but odds are you’re dipping them or filling them with something delicious anyway, so they’ll get the job done. They’re a bit flimsy compared to some corn tortillas on this list, but at $2 for 30 tortillas, that’s a price we’re willing to pay.
The above corn tortillas are our favorites, but there are a few others we tried that are still worth considering. Here they are, in alphabetical order: