White Vs. Yellow Corn Tortillas: What's The Difference?

You might already know the key differences between flour and corn tortillas, but what about the differences between different types of corn tortillas? Corn tortillas are the all-important base that makes taco night everyone's favorite night of the week, but there are a few different types of corn tortillas out there that are worth getting to know.

All corn tortillas are made with a base called masa harina (via Isabela Eats). Masa harina is a type of cornmeal or corn flour that is made by soaking corn in calcium hydroxide (aka lime). According to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, this process is used to break down many of the chemicals in the corn and release vital nutrients like Iron, Vitamin B3 niacin, and calcium, among others. Central Americans have used this practice for centuries to make tortillas, tamales, and other dishes.

All corn tortillas are made by first putting different types of corn through this nixtamalization process. The flavor and nutrition of those tortillas, though, will be determined by the kind of corn used.

Different tortillas have different nutrition

Masa Harina comes in a variety of different colors that are related to the type of corn it's made from. Isabela Eats notes that white and yellow are some of the most common types available. Is there that much of a difference between these two hues of corn, though?

The most important characteristic for most people is usually flavor, and in that regard, there isn't that much of a notable difference. Kitchn points out that plenty of folks would insist that either white or yellow corn is sweeter than the other, but the color doesn't really determine the flavor or sweetness of the masa harina. Bon App├ętit reports that, most often, yellow corn tortillas will have a stronger corn flavor, but white tortillas tend to have a more earthy, nutty flavor once they've been toasted. Mexican Please also notes that many manufacturers will use a combination of white and yellow corn in their masa harina.

There is a slight difference in nutrition between these two options. According to Masterclass, the color of corn comes from the compound beta-carotene, which is processed by the body into Vitamin A. Yellow corn tortillas also have slightly more lutein, a type of antioxidant (via Food Insight). If you're focused on nutrition, yellow corn tortillas are your best bet. Besides that, it simply comes down to personal preference.