How To Reheat Tacos – The Complete Guide
Tacos are so delicious they deserve to be their own food group. They are a prime example of a type of food that almost forces you to be greedy, encouraging you to either make 5 times more than you will ever be able to eat or order 10 times more from your favorite Mexican food restaurant.
So how should you reheat tacos? Hardshell tacos are best when reheated in the oven, while softshell tacos reheat best on the grill wrapped in aluminum foil. Deconstructing the taco is generally recommended so that the fresh ingredients, such as lettuce and tomato, stay cold and crisp.
Without further ado, here are all the ways to reheat all the tacos. You can read through all of these options and pick the best way to reheat your taco depending on what kind you have in your hands (literally).
Enjoy your tacos my friends!
How To Reheat Homemade Tacos
Because there are so many variations, this article is going to be a complete guide dedicated to the fine art of reheating tacos, presented in a Frequently Asked Questions style format to make it easy for you to find the exact answer to your own personal predicament.
How To Store Your Leftover Tacos for Reheating
The best part about making tacos at home is that you have full control over how the leftovers are stored, which means you can set the stage for the best-case scenario in your taco reheating adventure.
Whether it’s taco night for one, or your entire family, always make your tacos one at a time so that you don’t fix up more than you can eat. This way, you can store all the left-over fixings neatly and freshly in their own separate containers, giving you the power and control to reheat only what needs to be reheated when you’re ready for leftovers.
Just be sure you actually use good, airtight containers when storing your food. I personally use this set from Amazon that I’m totally in love with.
When it comes to salsa and sour cream, if you put some out in a bowl for serving, don’t ever put it back in its original container. Instead, wrap it up separately or put it into a separate Tupperware container and eat within the next day or two. After being exposed to air and other food items, you don’t want to contaminate your original source in the long term.
How to Store and Reheat Hard Taco Shells
Warming up taco shells the first time around can be a struggle, but storing them and heating them a second time requires some serious life hacks.
The first time you heat up your taco shells, you need to help them keep their opening nice and wide while warming. They actually make stainless-steel taco racks that you can use to keep your shells standing inside the oven which is absolutely brilliant.
If you don’t have those, however, you can lay your taco shells on their sides and prop up the top side with a little ball of aluminum foil.
You’ll have plenty of space to stuff your tacos the first time around and you can save the foil balls for the next round of heating.
If you have leftover hard taco shells and you think you’ll be eating them within the next day or two, put the remainder carefully in a Ziploc baggy, layered inside each other like you found them in the original package. You can toss all your aluminum foil balls in the final one if you’d like to keep them together.
You can store the shells in the fridge for a few days and warm them back up in the oven when you’re ready for the Return of the Taco Night.
If you think it’ll be a few weeks before you have tacos again, put the bag of tacos in your freezer. You don’t need to thaw them when you’re ready to eat them, just warm them up in the oven again.
How to Store and Reheat Soft Taco Shells or Flour Tortillas
If you’re making your tacos with flour shells or tortillas, you want to warm them up originally with a little steam. The microwave comes in handy for this.
Place a barely damp paper towel in between each shell you’re heating up to retain the moisture, and then heat for about 30 seconds to get them lovely, warm and soft. If you have a huge pile you may need to heat a little longer.
If you end up with extras at the end of your meal, make sure they are cooled completely and then place them in a Ziploc bag and seal with as much air removed as possible. They’ll keep in your fridge for about a week, but if it’s going to be longer than that you might be better off freezing them for freshness.
To reheat them again, just follow the exact same process as the first time around.
How to Store and Reheat Corn Tortillas
If you’re using corn tortillas for your soft tacos, the lack of gluten means they’ll stiffen up quickly, making them a bit more troublesome to work with. When they’re warm, however, they’re nice and pliable.
The best way to heat up corn tortillas is in a pan or a griddle. Simply warm them up on medium heat for 30 seconds to a minute one each side.
If you’ve got leftovers, wait until they’re completely cool and then seal them in a Ziploc bag. Because of their stiffness, they won’t last as long in the fridge as flour tortillas, so you’ll want to use them within a day or two or put them in the freezer.
When you’re ready to eat them, don’t shy away from dampening the tortilla with water before putting it in the pan to warm it up. It won’t go mushy or gooey, it will just rehydrate the corn a bit, making it more flexible.
How to Store and Reheat Taco Meat
To store any leftover taco meat that you may have, just scoop it into a Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid (I use these from Amazon). It’ll keep safely in your fridge for up to 3 days.
If you’d prefer to freeze it, just try to put it into a freezer-safe container that’s the right size so that there’s about an inch of space, no more, left in the container after your meat is packed in tightly.
Whether it’s going in your fridge or freezer, make sure it is room temperature first.
To reheat it, just put it into a pan over medium heat. If you’re warming from frozen, using a lid will keep the moisture levels near perfect, but if it’s straight from the fridge you might want to add a teaspoon of water or a drizzle of fresh olive oil to keep your meat from drying out.
How To Dissect Your Leftover Tacos for Reheating
If you got a little too excited and filled your plate with too many tacos, stuffed to the brim, you may want to separate out the fillings before trying to reheat your taco in the future.
While it is safe to reheat sour cream carefully, it’s not always ideal. Not to mention lettuce and guacamole, if your taco was of the deluxe variety. Some foods are simply better cold, especially when paired with perfectly warmed taco shells and taco meat.
When you’re ready to eat your leftovers, simply unwrap your taco, and scoop out all the toppings. Keep the fresh produce in one separate pile, including any toppings like sour cream or guacamole that you’d rather remain cold.
Remove the meat and beans, if there are any, and keep them in another separate container for warming.
How to Reheat Premade Hard Tacos in the Microwave
Find a microwave-safe bowl (I like these from Amazon) and put your meat and beans in the bottom. Tip your shell upside down, hanging off the edge of your bowl carefully.
Turn your microwave on for 30 seconds and test to make sure everything is warm enough. If not, put back in for another 10 seconds at a time until you’re happy with the temperature.
You can now refill your tacos, adding the cold ingredients for a meal that is almost just like new.
How to Reheat Premade Hard Tacos in the Oven or Stovetop
Preheat your oven to 350F and place your shells on a baking sheet with baking mats to warm them up so that they get their crisp back. It will only take 10 minutes or so, perhaps a little bit longer if you put them in the oven before it’s completely heated.
You can also warm the shells by placing them in a hot frying pan for 45 seconds to a minute on each side.
You can warm up the meat and beans in a frying pan as well, potentially adding a little bit of oil to freshen up the ingredients and keeping them from sticking to the pan. Warm for about 3 minutes or until you’re happy with the temperature.
When everything is warm, go ahead and add in the cold ingredients and enjoy your taco replay.
How to Reheat Premade Soft Tacos in the Microwave
You have two options for reheating premade soft tacos in the microwave.
Your first option is to empty the filling into a microwave-safe bowl, separating out any fillings that you’d prefer to remain cold, and then covering the bowl with a paper towel. On top of the paper towel you can place your tortilla or soft taco shell. You can warm everything up together this way in only 30 seconds or so.
Your other alternative is to simply warm everything up together. This does mean that your lettuce and sour cream is going to warm up as well, but I promise, there is no danger to that. After a bite or two, it won’t even seem odd anymore.
How to Reheat Premade Soft Tacos in the Oven
Reheating soft tacos in your oven is very easy, but it will take about 10 to 15 minutes, so this is ideal if you have a few errands to manage while you’re getting ready to enjoy your leftovers.
Just preheat your oven to 375F and put in your soft taco wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, straight on the racks in your oven. After 10 minutes, you can use the “toothpick” test to see if the middle of your soft taco is warm by poking a long toothpick into the taco, pulling it out and quickly touching the wood to see if it’s warm at all.
If it’s not warm in the slightest, give your taco another 5 minutes. If it’s steaming, your taco is ready to eat.
How to Reheat a Soft Taco or Burrito on the Grill
A grill like a George Foreman or sandwich press isn’t great for warming up hard taco shells, but it’s ideal for soft tacos and burritos.
Turn it on and warm it up. While it’s warming, make sure your taco or burrito is wrapped nicely in aluminum foil. This will keep your grill clean and make sure all your fillings stay in your taco where they below.
Put your taco on the grill and close the lid on top to heat both sides evenly and get the warmth to soak straight through. It will take around 5 – 8 minutes on high heat to warm thoroughly.
How To Reheat Leftovers from A Fast Food Restaurant
Many of the steps above for homemade tacos apply to tacos order from your favorite fast food or Mexican restaurant, but there are a few specialty items that truly deserve their own reheating instructions. For traditional tacos, you can warm them up just like homemade premade tacos, as outlined above.
How to Reheat a Gordita or Chalupa from Taco Bell
A Gordita from taco bell wraps up traditional taco fillings inside a flatbread style “shell”, giving you a very satisfying, filling taco.
A Chalupa is very similar, only the flatbread shell is deep-fried for bonus taste and goodness. It’s highly unlikely you’ll have leftovers of either of these drive-through favorites, but if you do, the best way to reheat it in a hurry is simply using your microwave.
The flatbread is substantial enough to hold up to the microwave’s tendency to reduce lesser shells to a soggy mess, and they’re meant to be soft, not crispy, so you don’t really need the air-drying effects of an oven or a toaster oven.
For best results, remove any ingredients that you’d prefer to stay cold, such as sour cream or guacamole, and then wrap your gordita or chalupa in a paper towel. Warm on high in your microwave for 1 minute, and then let it release steam for a minute or so before you bite into it, so you don’t burn your mouth.
How to Reheat a Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell
A Gordita Crunch is a traditional hard shell taco that is wrapped in a Gordita style flatbread, using a layer of refried beans to hold the two shells together. You can warm it up according to the directions for a simple gordita, but the crunch might not be quite as satisfying.
If you want to get the crunch back, you’ll need the help of a toaster oven or your traditional oven. But first, you’ll need to remove all the fillings, including the meat and beans.
Warm-up your oven to 375F, or set your toaster oven to the same temperature. Put in your merged shells for 5 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the outer shell isn’t getting too dark or dry for your taste, and the inside isn’t collapsing.
While your shells are re-crisping, you can warm up the meat and beans either in a frying pan or in your microwave for 30 – 45 seconds.
Once the inner shell is warm and crispy, you can refill your taco.
How to Store and Reheat Homemade Nachos
Nachos can be even trickier to reheat than hard tacos, but it is possible. As with tacos, the best thing you can do is try to separate out some of your toppings before warming up your nachos for the second time.
If you can, it’s a good idea to remove any wet ingredients such as tomatoes, sour cream or guacamole even before you store them in order to protect your chips from getting soggy. It’s also easier to take them off before storing than after being refrigerated. It’s better to add some fresh chopped tomatoes and/or sour cream after reheating to make your nachos like new again.
To warm them up, you’ll get the best results but toasting them in your oven. Preheat your oven to 250F and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Slow and steady is ideal for nachos, so you’ll need a little bit of patience.
Add your leftover nachos to the pan and let them warm in the oven for about 15 minutes. If you want truly spectacular double-baked nachos, after about 12 minutes are up, add a fresh layer of grated cheese and turn up the broiler for the last 3 minutes.
When everything is nice and warm, let your nachos sit to cool for a minute or two and then go ahead and add any cold toppings you wanted to add.
How to Reheat a Bean Burrito from Taco Bell
When you’re ready to chow down on a leftover bean burrito from Taco Bell, the last thing you want is to wait 30 minutes for warmed up perfection to come out of your oven, but the next to last thing you want is a soggy mess coming out of your microwave in 3 minutes.
The best option for reheating a bean burrito from taco bell is to combine the forces of your microwave and your oven or, if you have one, toaster oven.
First, turn your oven on to about 350. It won’t have time to warm up all the way, but it’s good to get it going as quickly as possible. Make sure your burrito is not wrapped in any aluminum foil.
Instead, wrap it in a piece of paper towel. Put it in your microwave for 1 minute, to warm up the insides of your burrito. Unwrap it from the paper towel and put it in your oven.
Depending on how quickly your oven warms up, you might need to leave your burrito in there for up to 10 minutes to get a nice crisp on the outside of your burrito, but at least the insides won’t be cold!
If you have a toaster oven you can pop your half-warmed burrito in there instead. Make sure the heat is somewhere in the 350 range and leave your burrito in for about 2 minutes. Check on it and if it needs a bit more time, flip it over and go for another minute or two.
How to Reheat a Quesadilla from Taco Bell
There are two premium ways to reheat quesadillas from Taco Bell:
- For best results, place your leftover quesadilla on a sandwich press or George Foreman grill and close the lid for about 3 minutes. Depending on the type of quesadilla, you might have a little leakage, but the results will be well worth a bit of clean up
- An alternative that is nearly as good is to use a toaster oven to reheat your quesadilla. Bake it at a temperature of around 350F for 3 minutes to warm it up throughout, and then crank the heat up to the toast setting to let the outside crisp up for a minute or just less.
How to Reheat a Burrito from Chipotle
Chipotle burritos are famous for their size and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you can’t make it through an entire portion in one sitting. You should always ask for your leftover to go, however, because they’re almost as great warmed up the next day.
If you have ingredients inside your burrito that you’d prefer remain cold, you can open up your leftovers, scoop out anything cold ingredients, and then rewrap it for heating.
My favorite way to reheat a burrito from Chipotle is using a toaster oven, if you have one. All you have to do is wrap our burrito in aluminum foil, leaving one edge open to allow moisture and steam to escape. Set your toaster oven to 375F and leave your burrito in there for 10 minutes.
If you don’t have a toaster oven, you can get the same results by using your oven, at the same temperature. The much larger space is going to take longer to warm up your one burrito, so you’ll leave it inside at 375F for closer to 15 minutes. The bigger downside is that it takes longer to warm up your oven in the first place, which is a step you can skip if you’ve got a toaster oven.
If you’ve kept any ingredients out to remain cold, you can add them back in as soon as your main burrito is warmed through and through.