I Tried Every Store-Bought Flour Tortilla I Could Find — The Winners Tasted the Best and Closest to Homemade
There have been countless times when I’ve just reclined in the kitchen while warming up a tortilla on the comal (griddle) to make a quesadilla. Impatient and hungry, I’d snack on bits of cheese while the quesadilla melted together. Other times, I’d snack on a cold uncooked tortilla, ripping it to bite-sized pieces, letting it dissipate slowly on my tongue.
For the northern Mexican and, subsequently, border-town American, the tortilla de harina (or flour tortilla) is our literal bread and butter, and daily bread. It’s used for quesadillas, tacos, or burritos; served rolled up on the side of a dish; or folded and ready to scoop up juicy morsels. Tortillas de harina are the versatile flatbread that carries us from breakfast to dinner. Delicious and essential to northern Mexican and border cuisine, a tasty well-made flour tortilla is best from a Mexican market panadería, where they’re made fresh daily.
But outside of the borderlands and Mexican communities scattered all over the country, it can be difficult to find a delicious flour tortilla at your run-of-the-mill grocery store. Sometimes you just need an insider to give you the scoop — I got you.
How I Tested the Flour Tortillas
As I previously mentioned, a good-quality tortilla can usually be found in Mexican markets with in-house bakeries, but these days, local chefs, pop-ups, and online services have made an authentic, delicious flour tortilla much more accessible nationwide. When picking out the best flour tortillas, one must be vigilant about the ingredients and avoid preservatives — these give the tortillas a different texture, and a different (at times soapy) flavor that altogether is not an accurate, or even enjoyable, representation of a good flour tortilla. The ingredients of a delicious flour tortilla must be minimal, and perhaps most importantly, legible. They’re made up of flour, water, salt, and fat, and can range from four to six ingredients.
These reviews are contingent on a set of tests that are typical of how a tortilla de harina is consumed in a Mexican home. They were tried and tested with my partner, Marcel, who is from the bordertown of Mexicali. People from Mexicali, who are neighbors to Sonora, have deep cultural ties to flour tortillas and prefer them in their tacos — suffice to say they are big flour tortilla fans. Over the course of roughly two weeks, we incorporated them into our daily meals, eating them as we would normally and also sitting down for burritos, tacos, and flights of bare tortillas, tortillas with butter, and vegan cheese quesadillas to discuss, nitpick, and enjoy.
The tortillas were warmed up on a blue-steel comal at around medium heat (which is imperative to do — please toast/warm up your tortillas before eating them or cooking with them!) and are made with vegan fats. Sometimes lard is used, sometimes oil is used, and sometimes margarine is used; so it’s quite typical for flour tortillas to be accidentally vegan.
The tortillas were judged on flavor, texture, pliability, resistance, fat-versus-dough ratio, thinness, and thickness. However, it’s important to note that because different kinds of regional flour tortillas exist — thin to thick, fat-forward, dough-forward — we honor their strengths and embrace their differences in this review, hence why you’ll see multiple categories. Here you’ll find the best flour tortillas to purchase from a variety of places. Enjoy!
Best Flour Tortilla for Burritos: Caramelo Avocado Oil Tortillas
With its buoyantly resistant texture and malleable elasticity perfect for tucking and rolling, this Kansas-based thin and chewy Sonoran-style avocado oil, fat-forward, 10-inch tortilla from Caramelo makes a superb wrap for the burrito you dream about. Whether it be border-style thin or SoCal thick, the contents of any burrito are safe within the snug embrace of this four-ingredient, moisture-rich, and luminescent tortilla.
Buy: Caramelo Avocado Oil Tortillas, $9.49 for 8 (10-inch) tortillas at Caramelo
Best Flour Tortilla for Tacos: Yoli Tortilleria Sonoran Style Avocado Oil Flour Tortillas
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, and (like Caramelo) made Sonoran-style, Yoli’s six-inch flour tortillas are slightly doughy yet taut, making for the perfect encasing to envelop the juicy contents of a taco. Flavor-wise, the vegan fat, avocado oil, comes through with delight, and is cut deliciously with the acidity of a fresh salsa or the squeeze of a lime. This tortilla cradles the contents tautly and, at first bite, lushly melts in your mouth.
Buy: Yoli Tortilleria Sonoran Style Avocado Oil Flour Tortillas, $56 for 80 (6-inch) tortillas at Yoli
Runner Up: Vista Hermosa Flour Tortillas
Available in select markets and delis local to the tri-state NYC area, California, and produce delivery services like Misfits Market, these six-inch Vista Hermosa flour tortillas are also perfect for tacos. Lightly flaky, soft, and doughy, these Sonoran wheat flour avocado oil tortillas cut with cassava root flour are resistant enough to carry the contents of a taco and keep its shape, while — like Yoli — softly renouncing on your tongue.
Buy: Vista Hermosa Flour Tortillas, $6.79 for 8 (6-inch) tortillas at Instacart
Best Flour Tortilla for Quesadillas: Mejorado Vegan Tortillas
Although Mejorado is made by Los Angeles’ Burritos de La Palma for thin border-style burritos (and it’s easy to see why), these 10-inch tortillas are also splendid for the quesadilla of your dreams. Incredibly soft and malleable, Mejorado boasts a surprising amount of resistance (burritos!), and is the type of flour tortilla I personally grew up with in the Tijuana/ San Diego border. Thick but lightweight, more doughy than fatty, and slightly savory, these tortillas make for perfect quesadillas. When paired with cheese its flavors slightly mute, bringing forth with grace the tang of the cheese melted in the fold, and its toast creating crispy edges — giving you a range in mouthfeel.
Buy: Mejorado Vegan Tortillas, $17 for 10 (10-inch) tortillas at Locale
Best Flour Tortilla for Butter: Border Town Flour Tortillas
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Border Town’s flour tortillas are soft, flour-y, dough-forward, pillowy-thick and made with Sonoran wheat flour. Among the breadiest of tortillas I sampled, these also had the biggest air pockets, were more flaky (who else loves pulling apart the layers of a tortilla?) and extra toasty. Delicious with just about anything — burritos, quesadillas, etc. — they have earned the title of best with butter (a classic and nostalgic pairing) because this is a tortilla so thick and pillowy that it can embrace a pooling slab of yellow butter enclosed in its warm roll with spongy contrast. Order your pack via DM and pick up locally in Brooklyn.
Buy: Border Town Flour Tortillas, $7 for 6 (9-inch) tortillas at Border Town (only available for local pick up in Brooklyn, New York)
Best Raw Flour Tortillas: El Barrio Tortillas
Raw, you read that right. Boston’s Taqueria El Barrio produces packages of raw flour tortillas making for a caramelized, fragrant, soft — and most importantly — fresh result when you slap the disc onto a comal to cook and warm up. Each of the dozen tortillas is separated by squares of white parchment paper (to keep them from sticking together), and puff — not into small pockets, but as one balloon. Doughy, superbly soft, and pillowy, these raw El Barrio Tortillas, made in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are the closest to fresh-made you can get. Enjoy these tortillas for tacos, quesadillas, on their own, or to accompany a dish. And if you live in Boston, consider yourself lucky! Find them locally at a variety of markets in Boston, like Formaggio Kitchen.
Buy: El Barrio Flour Tortillas, $9.95 for 12 (6-inch) tortillas at Pip & Anchor (only available in greater Boston area)
Runner up: TortillaLand Ready-to-Cook Tortillas
The next best thing to these craft-made tortillas — especially if you’re nowhere near a Mexican bakery or restaurant that makes flour tortillas fresh — are TortillaLand Ready-to-Cook Tortillas. Available at Walmart, these five-ingredient and preservative-free raw flour tortillas are the best quality you can get in a national grocery store. Thank me later.
Buy: TortillaLand Ready-to-Cook Tortillas, $4.47 for 18 tortillas at Walmart
Did your favorite make the list? Tell us about it in the comments.