Do I Have to Fry the Tortillas for Enchiladas?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, ‘Do I Have to Fry the Tortillas for Enchiladas?’ and will discuss ways to soften the tortillas without frying.

Do I Have to Fry the Tortillas for Enchiladas?

No, you don’t have to fry the tortillas for enchiladas. Corn tortillas are used in enchiladas, and unless they are prepared fresh, they are rough. To avoid breaking during rolling, the tortillas must be softened by being quickly cooked. To soften without frying, use a comal, steam the food, or coat it with cooking spray and bake in the oven for a few minutes.

What is the best way to cook corn tortillas without causing them to break?

As previously mentioned, historically, a corn tortilla would be fried by dipping it into hot oil in a pan or deep fryer.

The corn tortillas are rapidly cooked in Mexico when the other ingredients are ready to make the enchiladas. Using tongs, I’ll turn them every 8-10 seconds until they crisp up and deepen in color, which should take around 8-10 seconds total. Remember, we’re making them easy to roll, not crunchy like tortilla chips.

To finish the tortillas, you would typically cook a red or green chili sauce on the stovetop and pour it over both sides. Once you’ve coated both sides with the sauce, it’s time to get the show on the road.

There are three advantages to frying an oven without heating the food at all. To begin with, it keeps the tortilla from crumbling as it soaks up the red chili sauce. The taste is then intensified. The caramelization of the tortilla’s sugars causes the proteins to break down.

This enables us to roll the cookies without worrying about them breaking or splitting (something all enchilada makers have likely experienced at some point). However, you should not be concerned about the oil. To begin with, the tortillas aren’t very oil-absorbing, so they don’t take up much oil.

Is there a non-frying way to soften corn tortillas?

using comal

You don’t have to cook them in oil if you don’t want to. They can be warmed in two ways, and that’s what I’d do first. In certain regions of Mexico, a comal might be constructed of clay instead of stone. When I was little, I had a clay one that I adored, but it was lost or broken. Clay pots, on the other hand, are notoriously difficult to come by.

So it’s cast-iron comal time.

Good cookware shops, Mexican markets, and Amazon all have cast iron cookware. They are simple to season (as is the case with all cast iron cookware) and easy to maintain. A comal is a flat, cast-iron disc with a handle. It’s used in Mexican cuisine. Because the edges only rise about 1/8 of an inch and the surface is completely flat, it’s not a skillet. They are about 8 inches in diameter.

Place the comal on a stovetop burner and heat it to 25-50 percent of its maximum setting. As the tortillas cook, rotate, and turn them to ensure they are cooked evenly without burning, place a stack of tortillas on the comal (without oil).

There’s no comal, then? A stack of foil-wrapped cookies may be baked at a medium temperature of around 325° for about 15 minutes.

·         Preparing the tortillas by steaming them

To save the fat and calories of frying or reheating the tortillas, you may steam them instead. To be clear, when I say “popular,” I’m referring to the US in particular since I doubt many Mexicans would engage in such behavior.

Steam adds moisture (i.e. water) to the tortillas by definition, which is a major drawback in my opinion. As a result, they’ll be mushy and gross, and no one wants that. If you must steam, make sure you don’t steam them for an excessive amount of time (more than 5 minutes).

As a result, I’d use a clean cloth towel to cover a stack of tortillas. Alternatively, you may dampen a cloth gently (before placing the tortillas inside) and microwave them for approximately a minute to soften them. To be clear, although this method may work, it is not my preferred method of preparing enchiladas. Instead of deep-frying the tortillas, this method makes enchiladas.

·         Bake after spraying with non-stick cooking spray

This approach beats steaming hands-down. It’s a cross between conventional enchilada-making methods like frying the tortillas and using a comal to heat them. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray before adding the tortillas. Heat in an oven at 325° for 5-8 minutes, spritz with spray oil, turn, and spray the other side.

Although you may allow the tortillas to touch or overlap slightly, don’t stack them on top of each other. When you’re finished, continue by dipping the nachos in the red chili sauce. Renowned Mexican chef Rick Bayless uses a version of this technique as well.

He sprinkles oil on one side of the tortilla, stacks them, and bakes them for 3-4 minutes at 350° on a baking sheet. After that, take each one out and wrap it in a clean cloth towel before filling and rolling it up.

Other FAQs about Tortillas that you may be interested in.

How many calories are in one flour tortilla?

Can you eat flour tortillas without cooking them?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, ‘Do I Have to Fry the Tortillas for Enchiladas?’ and discussed ways to soften the tortillas without frying.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.