Corn vs. Flour Tortillas: Which One Should You Choose?

The Basics of Corn and Flour Tortillas

When it comes to tortillas, you’ve got two main types: corn and flour. Corn tortillas are made from masa harina (corn flour) and water, giving them a distinct, slightly grainy texture and a rich corn flavor. They’re usually smaller and have a yellowish color. Corn tortillas are a staple in Mexican cuisine and are often used for tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas.

Corn Tortillas
Food & Wine // Zubin Schroff

Flour tortillas, on the other hand, are made from wheat flour, water, fat (like lard or vegetable oil), and a bit of salt. They’re softer and more pliable, making them great for burritos, quesadillas, and wraps. Flour tortillas are generally larger and have a neutral taste, which lets the flavors of your fillings shine.

Taste and Texture Differences

The taste and texture are the main differences between these two types of tortillas. Corn tortillas have a robust, earthy flavor that pairs well with bold, spicy fillings. Their texture is slightly chewy, and they can be a bit more delicate, which is why they’re often doubled up in tacos to prevent them from falling apart.

Flour tortillas are milder in flavor, which makes them versatile for a variety of dishes. Their texture is soft and flexible, perfect for rolling up without breaking. They’re also generally thicker than corn tortillas, providing a heartier base for heavier fillings.

Nutritional Differences and Uses

When it comes to nutrition, corn tortillas have fewer calories and are usually lower in fat compared to flour tortillas. They’re also gluten-free, making them a good option for those with gluten sensitivities. Corn tortillas are rich in fiber, magnesium, and some vitamins, making them a healthier choice for those looking to add more whole grains to their diet.

Tex-Mex Flour Tortillas
Food & Wine // Greg Dupree

Flour tortillas tend to be higher in calories and fat because of the added oil or lard. However, they provide a good source of protein and iron. For those not concerned with calories or fat content, flour tortillas are a tasty and satisfying option.

So, which one should you choose? It really depends on what you’re making and your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a traditional Mexican flavor and a slightly healthier option, go for corn tortillas. They’re perfect for tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas. If you need something that’s more flexible and can hold heavier fillings, flour tortillas are the way to go. They’re ideal for burritos, quesadillas, and wraps.