The Easy Way To Make Your Store-Bought Tortillas Taste Homemade

Taco Tuesday is always a night worth celebrating. And while you can certainly support a local business and order takeout, sometimes it's fun to set up a build-your-own taco bar with all the fixings. Some might argue the taco stuffing is the most important part, but the tortilla plays just as big of a role. And store-bought tortillas don't exactly have the best reputation.

If it's too much work to break out the tortilla press (or to buy one in the first place), you don't have to settle for sub-par tortillas. Store-bought tortillas just need a little bit of love. And as long as you have fresh water and skillet, you can take them to a new level. 

The next time you buy some tortillas at the store, simply dip them in water and place them in a hot skillet. Then, watch them steam and toast up for the perfect homemade tortilla flavor.

Perfect tortillas are one easy step away

Tortillas have to be pliable enough to fold around the taco's toppings adequately. And one easy way to do this is to use water and heat. By dipping a tortilla in water prior to placing it on a hot skillet, steam is created instantly once it hits the heat's surface. According to culinary consultant J. Kenji López-Alt (via Serious Eats), that hot steam will make the tortilla nice and pliable, so it can hold every last taco topping your heart desires. 

But don't remove the tortilla as soon as that steam evaporates — the heat from the skillet will help give parts of the tortilla a nice, golden-brown crisp. Once it's charred to your desired level, flip it over and allow it to do the same on the other side.

Grilling or charring a tortilla is a game-changer when it comes to the tortilla's flavor. You can also add a splash of lime juice to the tortilla while it cooks, giving it a hint of lime flavor.

When to use flour or corn tortillas

The process for improving store-bought tortillas remains the same regardless of which type you use. But corn and flour tortillas taste different and have different purposes. Of course, it's not illegal to make tacos with flour tortillas, but you'll typically want to stick with corn tortillas for this traditional Mexican dish. (The exception is if you're loading the taco with a ton of heavy ingredients, in which case a flour tortilla will hold up better.) 

Corn tortillas are also ideal for taquitos and tostadas. Quesadillas are usually made with corn tortillas, too, though in the United States, flour tortillas aren't unusual.

Flour tortillas work well for making fajitas, as this dish comes with plenty of meat, vegetables, and sauce. (Corn tortillas might not support so many ingredients.) The same rule holds for burritos, which are often loaded with rice, beans, meat, and cheese. Flautas are similar to taquitos but are typically a bit larger and are made with flour tortillas.