How many calories are in a 6 inch white corn tortilla?

Tortillas are a staple food in Mexican and Central American cuisine. They are thin, unleavened flatbreads made from corn or wheat flour. Corn tortillas are traditionally made from masa harina, which is a type of corn flour made from dried corn kernels that have been treated with limewater. This process is called nixtamalization and helps make the corn more nutritious and easier to grind into flour.

Corn tortillas have been a part of traditional diets in Mexico and Central America since ancient times. However, with the growing popularity of Mexican food worldwide, tortillas are now commonplace in many cuisines. They can be used for making tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, and many other dishes.

Nutritional Profile of Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are relatively low in calories and contain no fat. A 6 inch corn tortilla weighs approximately 30 grams and contains around 70 calories. The main nutrients found in a 6 inch corn tortilla are:

– Carbohydrates: 15 grams
– Protein: 2 grams
– Fiber: 2 grams
– Calcium: 15 mg (2% DV)
– Iron: 0.7 mg (4% DV)

Corn tortillas contain no cholesterol or saturated fat. They are naturally gluten-free, making them a good option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

The main carbohydrate found in corn tortillas is starch. Starch makes up about 70% of the total carbohydrates. The remaining carbs are fiber, sugars, and a small amount of resistant starch.

Fiber is concentrated in the outer bran layer of the corn kernel. When the corn is nixtamalized and ground into masa harina, most of this bran fiber is retained, giving corn tortillas a decent fiber content.

The protein in corn tortillas comes from the corn itself. Corn contains proteins like zein and glutelin. However, corn is not considered a high-protein food. A 6 inch tortilla contains only about 2 grams of protein.

Calories in Different Types of Tortillas

While traditional corn tortillas are relatively low in calories, some commercial tortilla products can be higher in calories due to differences in ingredients and preparation methods.

Here is a comparison of calories in different types of 6 inch tortillas:

– White corn tortilla – 70 calories
– Yellow corn tortilla – 71 calories
– Flour tortilla – 150 calories
– Wheat tortilla – 130 calories
– Spinach tortilla – 90 calories
– Tomato basil tortilla – 110 calories
– Multigrain tortilla – 120 calories

Flour and wheat tortillas tend to be higher in calories than corn tortillas since they contain more carbohydrates and fat. Flour tortillas are made from wheat flour rather than masa harina.

Specialty tortillas with ingredients like spinach, tomato, and spices also increase the calorie counts slightly. However, they can still be lower in calories than plain flour tortillas.

Factors Affecting Calorie Content

There are a few factors that can alter the calorie content in a 6 inch corn tortilla:


– Traditional: Only masa harina, water, and salt. This will have the lowest calories.

– Preservatives: Some commercial brands add preservatives or dough conditioners which may slightly increase calories.

– Fats: Adding oils or lard will increase calorie and fat content. Many authentic recipes call for a small amount of fat to improve texture.

– Flours: Using flour instead of masa harina adds more carbohydrates and calories.

– Additives: Ingredients like sugar, soy protein, wheat gluten, and stabilizers can raise calorie counts.

Cooking Method

– Pan fried vs baked: Frying adds a small amount of oil, increasing calories slightly.

– Browning: Allowing the tortillas to brown adds flavor through the Maillard reaction but does not alter calories.

– Reheating method: Microwaving vs pan frying leftovers will change calories depending on added fat.

Tortilla Size and Thickness

– Smaller tortillas have fewer calories than large ones.

– Thicker, fluffier tortillas can have more calories than thin ones. But the difference is usually minimal.

– Weight of tortilla: Heavier tortillas indicate more dough, meaning more calories.

Calories in Common Tortilla-Based Dishes

Here are the approximate calories for some common dishes made with 6 inch corn tortillas:


– 1 corn tortilla – 70 calories
– Chicken – 110 calories
– Onions, cilantro – 5 calories
– Salsa – 5-15 calories
– Total: About 200 calories per taco


– 1 large flour tortilla – 300 calories
– 1/2 cup rice – 100 calories
– 1/2 cup beans – 110 calories
– 2 oz chicken – 90 calories
– Salsa, vegetables – 50 calories
– Total: Around 650 calories


– 2 corn tortillas – 140 calories
– 1/4 cup shredded cheese – 110 calories
– 2 Tbsp salsa – 10 calories
– Total: Around 260 calories

Chips and Salsa

– 10 corn chips – 140 calories
– 1/4 cup salsa – 15 calories
– Total: Around 155 calories

As you can see, the tortilla itself contains minimal calories. It’s the fillings and toppings that add most of the calories in tortilla-based dishes.

Nutritional Benefits

Here are some of the key nutritional benefits of corn tortillas:

High in Fiber

A 6-inch corn tortilla provides about 2 grams of dietary fiber. This helps with digestion and gut health. Fiber also helps you feel full.

Low Glycemic Index

Despite being a carb-rich food, corn tortillas actually have a low glycemic index of 46. This means they are digested more slowly, helping prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.


Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free, making them a safe option for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. They are made from just corn, water and salt.

Rich in Antioxidants

Corn contains beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids, anthocyanins, and ferulic acid. These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Contain Beneficial Resistant Starch

Corn naturally contains resistant starch, which escapes digestion and acts as a prebiotic supporting healthy gut bacteria. Reheating tortillas increases resistant starch.

Low in Fat

Corn tortillas contain no fat. Even if cooked with a small amount of oil, they are still very low in fat compared to flour tortillas or oil-fried corn chips.

Naturally Dairy-Free and Vegan

Traditional corn tortillas contain no ingredients derived from animals. This makes them suitable for vegan/vegetarian diets. They have no cholesterol or saturated fat.

Tips for Serving Corn Tortillas

Here are some tips for serving corn tortillas:

– Gently warm tortillas before serving to soften them up. Do not overheat or they become brittle.

– Double up smaller tortillas for more sturdiness in tacos or burritos.

– If reheating pre-made tortillas, use a dry skillet over medium heat. Avoid microwaving.

– Place fillings like meat, cheese, beans towards the center for even distribution of ingredients.

– For tacos, fold in half or into a U-shape to prevent fillings from falling out.

– For burritos, tuck in sides while rolling to encase fillings fully.

– Prevent dryness by wrapping burritos or tacos in foil after assembly.

– Serve corn tortillas with flavorful accompaniments like salsa, guacamole, beans, rice, and vegetables.

– For festivals or parties, keep tortillas warm in a towel-lined basket. Provide guests with assorted toppings for DIY style tacos or nachos.

Healthy Corn Tortilla Recipe

Making fresh corn tortillas at home allows you to control the quality of ingredients. Here is a healthy recipe:


– 2 cups masa harina
– 1 1/4 cups warm water
– 1/4 tsp salt


1. Mix masa harina and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually add in warm water and knead until a soft dough forms. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Divide dough into 16 equal balls. Use a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap to flatten balls into thin tortillas.

3. Cook each tortilla for about 1 minute per side until lightly speckled. Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.

4. Serve tortillas warm alongside desired taco fillings or use in other Mexican dishes. Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days. Reheat in a dry skillet.

Buying Store-Bought Tortillas

When shopping for corn tortillas, look for:

– Stone ground or whole grain masa harina as the first ingredient

– Minimal added sugars or preservatives

– No hydrogenated oils or trans fats

– 100% corn tortillas rather than blended flour/corn varieties

– Organic if possible

Some recommended brands include La Tortillera, Mission, Food For Life, and Maria and Ricardo’s. Check labels and select options with clean ingredients.

Avoid tortillas with “enriched” masa flour, excess added sugars, guar/xanthan gum, soy protein isolate, wheat gluten, and artificial preservatives.

Storing Corn Tortillas

To maximize freshness when storing corn tortillas:

– Leave tortillas uncovered at room temperature up to 3 days. Do not refrigerate uncooked tortillas as this causes staleness through retrogradation.

– For longer storage, keep tortillas in the freezer for 2-3 months in a sealed container or zip top bag. Thaw before serving.

– Once cooked, place any leftover tortillas in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 5 days. Reheat gently before serving.

– Do not store warm tortillas while still moist, as this increases mold growth. Allow to fully cool first.

– For homemade tortillas, store the masa dough in the fridge up to 5 days. It will ferment slightly which adds flavor.

Common Questions

Are corn and flour tortillas equally healthy?

Corn tortillas are generally considered healthier, as they are lower in calories, higher in fiber, and gluten-free. Flour tortillas are made from refined wheat flour and contain more carbohydrates and calories.

Do corn tortillas have wheat?

No, authentic corn tortillas contain no wheat. They are made purely from corn that has been nixtamalized and ground into masa harina. Some blended “corn-wheat” tortillas do contain a mix of both flours. Always check ingredients if wheat is a concern.

Are store-bought corn tortillas healthy?

Basic corn tortillas made only from masa harina, water and salt are healthy. Some commercial brands do add preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients which reduces the nutrition content slightly. Check for unwanted additives.

What is the healthiest tortilla?

Corn tortillas made from just corn, water and salt are the healthiest. Other reasonable options are 100% whole wheat tortillas or sprouted grain tortillas. Flour tortillas and flavored wraps tend to be less healthy.

Can I freeze or reheat corn tortillas?

Yes, corn tortillas can be frozen for 2-3 months and reheated with good results. Reheat in a dry skillet over medium heat until pliable. Microwaving makes them brittle. Allow cooked tortillas to fully cool before freezing.


A 6 inch traditional white corn tortilla contains approximately 70 calories and provides fiber, antioxidants, and resistant starch. Corn tortillas make a healthy alternative to flour tortillas, with a lower impact on blood sugar. When buying corn tortillas, choose options made from just masa harina, water, and salt for the most nutrition. Store fresh tortillas at room temperature or in the freezer to maximize shelf life. With a bit of creativity, corn tortillas can be used to make flavorful yet nutritious Mexican meals and snacks at home.

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