Tortilla Vs Taco: Can You Spot These Differences?

Tortilla Vs Taco

Both tortillas and tacos are iconic foods in Mexico. However, tortillas vs tacos regularly confuse those who know little about Mexican cuisines, since one of them is the fundamental ingredient to make the other. 

This guide provides readers with valuable and fascinating information about these two tasty foods, including comparisons between them in some primary aspects. So, don’t miss out until the end to figure out which one satisfies your preference better. 

Quick Facts


  • Varieties: corn and flour.
  • Recipe: cook on pan thoroughly for more than 1 minute. 
  • Nutrients: rich in Iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Folate, and Selenium.


  • Varieties: Carne Asada, Shrimp Tacos, Barbacoa, etc. 
  • Recipe: pick shells, choose fillings. 
  • Nutrients: rich in Vitamin K, Fiber, and Zinc.

Related: 30+ popular Mexican dishes

Tortilla Vs Taco: What’s The Difference?

Overall, a taco is usually a tortilla wrapped around fillings. In other words, tortillas are a primary part of tacos, let alone many other yummy Mexican dishes. There are varied ways to prepare and make the filling according to each geographical region. Almost anything can be put inside a tortilla to make a taco. 

Apart from that, there are three noticeable distinctions: 


The two most popular types of tortillas are corn tortillas and flour tortillas. 

While the former is simply made from corn, the latter’s major ingredient is wheat flour. Plus, flour variants are commonly bigger and look whiter compared to fairly yellow corn tortillas. 

Although corn ingredients are more beneficial to health than flour in general, it also boils down to each individual’s taste and style. 

Regarding tacos, there are countless variations across the globe. However, some most common kinds that are worth trying include Carne Asada, Shrimp Tacos, Barbacoa, Tacos de Birria. Refer to this article to know more about all of them.


Admittedly, there are countless recipes to make tacos around the world. However, in order to make one successfully, follow five easy steps below:

  1. Pick the shell: a soft or a hard shell.
  2. Choose protein foods: chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp. 
  3. Add the cheese to the bottom of the shell to ensure the shell won’t get soggy and topping cheese on protein foods.
  4. Put toppings: sour cream, guacamole, beans, etc.
  5. Add salsas and veggies at last. Pico de gallo and diced tomatoes make the shell soggy, and placing the lettuce on top prevents it from getting warm.

As for tortillas, there are slightly different ways to cook two types of them. First off, there are three basic steps to make a typical flour tortilla:

  1. Heat a non-stick pan with medium heat without adding butter or oil.
  2. Put a tortilla in the pan for around 30 seconds until it turns yellow and starts to puff.
  3. Flip it and cook thoroughly for another 30 seconds.

Otherwise, making a corn tortilla is a bit different with three steps:

  1. Heat a non-stick pan with medium/high heat and cook the tortilla for 10 seconds.
  2. Turn it over and cook thoroughly for another 30 seconds.
  3. Flip it again and continue cooking for around 20 seconds.


Advanced nutrition research has exposed plenty of differences between taco and tortilla in terms of nutrients contained. 

Indeed, tacos offer more Vitamin K, Fiber, and  Zinc but get outperformed in Iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Folate, and Selenium levels. Another fact worth noticing is that tortillas have less Saturated Fat. Concerning diets, tacos are preferable for diets requiring low calories, carbs, or glycemic index, whereas a low-fat diet comes better with tortillas. Therefore, considering the demands of each person is necessary when choosing between them. 

What Is The Healthiest Tortilla?

In short, corn tortillas outdo the flour alternative in terms of their nutrients. They are made entirely from corn, thereby delivering whole grains, rich fibers, let alone low-fat content that is good for the heart and digestive system. 

Also, they are free from gluten while flour types are not, making them a top pick for those with celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or gluten sensitivity.

Why Do Street Tacos Have Two Tortillas? 

The simple answer lies in its practical purposes. Corn tortillas are pretty breakable, particularly when holding liquid fillings, then the added layer serves as a protection.

In addition, street tacos usually are overfilled, and some tasty foods inside can fall or drip off from time to time as a result. For that reason, a second layer helps sort that problem out quickly. 

Are Tortillas Healthier Than Bread?

Tortilla and bread are only alike regarding their purpose of holding fillings. But, apart from that, the way they are cooked leads to the main distinction. Indeed, bread is leavened with yeast, containing a higher level of calories and carbs, making it less healthy by comparison. 

What Can Substitute For Tortillas?

There are several alternatives to choose from instead of tortillas, not to mention that some are even healthier in comparison. You can go for whole-wheat pitas that go well with both hot or cold ingredients and contain less fat and calories. 

Besides, spinach wraps made from refined flour are another great option to consider. Lettuces are also an excellent pick that you can easily buy to make traditional taco shells with veggie-dense and low-carb content. Finally, there are other options for you to consider: baked taco shells, butterhead lettuce, purple cabbage, etc.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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