How Many Calories In A Corn Tortilla?

It can be hard to count the calories in any meal. If you try not to count them, sometimes you just end up eating more than what you need, but if you do count them, sometimes you under-eat completely.

This can obviously be problematic, but it is necessary if you want to lose weight.

There are several food groups that are full of calories and one of the ones that provides us with the most is the grains. Wheat, oats, barley, rice, all those good grains that we eat on the regular with one of the most popular in the US being corn.

So, when people replace their lunchtime grain of choice with a corn tortilla to try and reduce the calories they eat, is it worth it?

Just how many calories are in a corn tortilla anyway? Today we are going to find out.

What Is A Corn Tortilla?

A tortilla may be one of the oldest processed and produced foods on earth. It is a simple, soft, very thin, and circular flatbread that is made from hominy maize meal or cornmeal.

Hominy is the whole kernel of the maize that has been treated with alkali to improve their nutrition and begin the process of nixtamalization.

This causes the skin of the corn kernels to peel off of the body, then the kernels are ground into a meal, before it is kneaded into a dough, before being dried and powdered into a flour called Masa Harina.

The Masa Harina is then reconstituted with water to turn it back into a dough, which is then shaped and cooked on both sides until brown spots appear on either side to give us the corn tortilla.

Though the process to make the Masa Harina is quite time-consuming, once it is done it will keep for ages, and you can have tortilla dough ready at a moment’s notice.

Although the recipe was not perfected for quite some time, corn tortillas have been around since cultivation in the Americas began with evidence of corn tortillas dating as far back 10,000 BC, made from maize and dried kernels of corn.

The first true tortillas as we have known them appeared in the archaeological record in about 1500 BC in the Oaxaca region of Mexico, after which it is shown to become the dominant grain based food of the region, being prevalent in both the Aztec and Mayan civilizations.

Even though variations have been made – like the wheat tortilla – the corn tortilla is still the dominant food of these regions and continues to be beloved by the people of Central America, with good reason.

How Many Calories In A Corn Tortilla?

While a corn tortilla may not seem like it has much going on with it, it actually has quite a few calories for its size. A single 24 gram corn tortilla is about 52 calories, which is just under double its weight in calories.

While this is a lot for a food source in general, it isn’t actually that much for a processed grain food.

For example, a slice of white bread that is 25 grams in weight is about 67 calories in total, which is quite a bit more than a corn tortilla.

With this in mind, it should be noted that even though corn tortillas are quite calorific, they are pretty low for most refined grain products.

One thing you will need to consider before buying them as well is how many you actually eat. While a single corn tortilla is only 52 calories, no one only eats a single corn tortilla.

If you sit down with a pile of corn tortillas given lovingly to you by a lovely Mexican family as part of their dinner, and you say you eat only one corn tortilla, then you are one of three things:

a liar, have a vendetta against corn products, or starting drama to incur the wrath of this family’s grandmother – we don’t know why you would do this, but we will keep a photo in your memory.

Now that we’ve cleared up that you are definitely having more than one corn tortilla for dinner, you need to keep an eye on how many you are eating. Having only three corn tortillas is already 156 calories, and that’s just for one part of the meal.

Which Are Better: Corn Tortillas Or Wheat Tortillas?

This is a hotly contested debate, and often it comes down to what you are cooking, as wheat flour tortillas are better for things like burritos, but corn tortillas are better for tacos.

The debate though still continues to rage about little things as well, and you will often find that depending on where you are decides which tortilla is better – for example, most states in Mexico consider the corn tortilla better, but a couple of northern states prefer the flour tortilla.

However, if we stick to the theme of this article, then we can decide this question based upon which is better in terms of calories, corn or flour.

Generally, a flour tortilla is a little heavier than a corn tortilla at 36 grams, so we are going to calculate the calories using this number for both tortillas.

A corn tortilla at 36 grams in weight is 78 calories and a flour tortilla at 36 grams in weight is 100 calories, which means if you want to save yourself some calories, then you should be eating corn tortillas.

Not only that, but nutritionally, they are just better.

They are far more fibrous, have far less sodium, and have fewer carbohydrates as well, meaning that all round they are just better for you than the flour tortilla.


Corn tortillas have quite a high calorie content, but due to their size, they can work quite well as a way to introduce grains and carbs into your diet.

However, you should always watch how many you eat before you start making a diet that requires you to consume them in great numbers.

Jenna Priestly
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