Corn vs. Flour Tortilla: What’s the Distinction?

Ceaselessly featured in Mexican dishes, tortillas are a terrific fundamental ingredient to think about.

Nonetheless, you could ponder whether corn or flour tortillas make the more healthy alternative.

This text explores the variations between corn and flour tortillas that will help you resolve.

Tortillas are a skinny flatbread, normally comprised of both corn or wheat flour. Their reputation in the US has surged, as has the variety of health-focused choices.

They’re thought of a staple in Mexican delicacies. Traditionally, corn tortillas have been handed down from the Aztecs, whereas flour tortillas have been first made after Spaniards launched wheat to Mexico (1, 2).

There’s some variation as to how each varieties are made.


Historically, corn tortillas start with a course of known as nixtamalization. It includes cooking corn, also referred to as maize, in an alkaline resolution of calcium hydroxide, or limewater.

Corn kernels are then stone-ground to create a masa, or corn dough. That is formed, flattened into skinny disks, and baked to create tortillas (1).

Most corn tortillas in shops have been made by way of an industrial method to nixtamalization, which makes use of a mill (1, 3).

Whereas conventional tortillas are comprised of 100% corn, mass-produced variations could also be comprised of dehydrated corn flour, or masa harina, with some wheat flour blended into it (1, 3).

Nixtamalization is a vital step that helps improve the dietary profile of the corn tortilla. It was historically utilized in Mayan and Aztec cultures (1, 2).

Immediately, manufacturing practices have tailored this course of for larger-scale operations involving dry and recent masa flours (1, 4).

Then again, flour tortillas are sometimes made from a dough of refined wheat flour, water, shortening or lard, salt, baking soda, and different substances to assist develop the gluten. This yields a softer and sturdier texture (1).

Whereas they’re normally made with refined wheat flour, extra nutritious whole-wheat varieties can be found (5).

Dietary profiles

Given their distinct substances, corn and flour tortillas have totally different dietary profiles.

Right here’s a dietary comparability of 1 giant corn tortilla (44 grams) and one medium flour tortilla (45 grams) (6, 7):

Corn tortillas are a great supply of fiber and magnesium. Fiber is essential for digestion and coronary heart well being, whereas magnesium performs very important roles in your mind, coronary heart, and muscle tissue (8, 9).

Research present that many individuals in the US don’t get sufficient of those essential vitamins (10, 11).

Corn tortillas are additionally thought of an entire grain and decrease in carbs, energy, and fats than flour tortillas (6, 7).

Flour tortillas are likely to pack extra fats as a result of they’re normally made with lard or shortening.

Nonetheless, they supply extra iron, which your physique must correctly provide your muscle tissue and different tissues with oxygen (7, 12).

Abstract Corn tortillas have been made by the Aztecs and contain an essential course of often known as nixtamalization. Nutritionally, they ship much less sodium, carbs, fats, and energy than flour tortillas.

Corn tortillas are likely to outshine flour tortillas because the more healthy choice.

Entire grains

Corn flour is taken into account a cereal grain. Which means every corn tortilla comprised of 100% corn delivers 100% complete grains (13).

Entire grains present extra fiber, which is helpful in your coronary heart and digestive well being (13).

It’s value noting that whole-wheat tortillas additionally provide some complete grains, however the precise quantity depends upon the mix used within the product (13).


Flour tortillas are comprised of wheat, which incorporates gluten⁠ — a collective time period referring to many forms of proteins present in sure grains like wheat, barley, and rye (14, 15).

In case you have a wheat allergy, celiac illness, or gluten intolerance or sensitivity, you shouldn’t eat gluten or flour tortillas. Usually, in case you have any of those circumstances, 100% corn tortillas are the best choice, as they’re gluten-free.

Celiac illness is an autoimmune response to gluten, inflicting injury to your digestive tract. Thus, folks with celiac illness mustn’t eat flour tortillas and stick solely to 100% corn tortillas (16).

If gluten is a priority for you, remember the fact that it is best to nonetheless learn the ingredient listing, as some mass-produced corn tortillas might have wheat flour blended into them (3, 14).

Portion management

Corn tortillas are normally smaller in diameter, with a typical tortilla measuring in at about 6 inches (15 cm). Flour tortillas are typically bigger, normally between 8–10 inches (20–25 cm). Which means corn tortillas have built-in portion management.

In the event you frequent genuine taco outlets, be conscious that one taco is commonly made with a double layer of corn tortillas. This helps make the taco sturdier and extra filling however will increase the calorie, carb, and fats content material.

Flour tortillas are sturdier, which is why they’re normally used for dishes like burritos, which have extra fillings. In case your dish requires a flour tortilla, go for a whole-wheat selection. This may pack an additional little bit of vitamins like fiber and essential minerals.

Abstract Corn tortillas are a more healthy different to flour tortillas. They supply extra complete grains and have built-in portion management, as they’re sometimes smaller than flour tortillas. They’re additionally gluten-free and thus appropriate for individuals who can not tolerate gluten.

In the event you’re searching for the more healthy choice, corn tortillas outshine their flour different.

Corn tortillas ship fiber, complete grains, and different vitamins whereas being decrease in fats and energy than flour tortillas.

100% corn tortillas are additionally secure for these with celiac illness or gluten intolerance.

Nonetheless, you could need to select flour tortillas for heavier fillings, as they are typically sturdier.

Whichever you choose, you’ll want to prime your tortilla with loads of veggies and beans to make it a really nutritious meal.

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