How To Make Corn Tortillas From Scratch

Until a few years ago, I would have told you how much I hated corn tortillas. Those cardboard disks they sell in supermarkets, so bland, tasteless and rubbery were not my bag.

I wondered, to myself, how anyone could pick those during the “corn or flour” debate. Really, corn? What am I missing?

It turns out that homemade corn tortillas, with their seductive softness and slightly sweet flavor (don’t even get me started on the amazing smell) changed my taco-making life.

Like the difference between baloney and Filet Mignon, homemade corn tortillas are an entirely different beast. Once I made my own from scratch, I was shocked – shocked I tell you! – at how much I’d been missing out on.

How is it that no one told me that it only takes a few minutes to throw these together and they are somewhere around a billion times better than the crap in stores? Seriously friends, what the hell?

Like the revelation of discovering how insanely brainless it is to make homemade whipped cream, I’ll never go back to store-bought.  Plus, it’s about 3 cents per tortilla, gluten-free and vegan, making it a perfect choice for a large get together when who knows what kind of food aversion people will have.

Look how accommodating you are, AND you make your own tortillas?!

They’ll never know.

You need a few supplies, but don’t worry, you’ve got this.

  1. Tortillas press. You can buy one online, at Mexican markets or you can fashion your own.  I have this aluminum one, and my Mexican friends tend to prefer this wood one.

(I have also heard that you can use two very heavy books wrapped in plastic wrap or try your hand with a rolling pin and some parchment paper. )

  1. Masa, also called Masa Harina, which most stores sell in the “ethnic foods” aisle, or you can buy online.
  2. Water, salt and a bowl.
  3. Griddle or cast iron skillet.

That’s it. Not too bad, right?

4.47 from 13 votes
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How to Make Corn Tortillas

It turns out that homemade corn tortillas, with their seductive softness and slightly sweet flavor (don’t even get me started on the amazing smell) changed my taco-making life.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 3 servings
Calories 138 kcal
Author Jackie Dodd

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Masa
  • pinch salt
  • ¾ cup water I’ve also used beer, which turns out great as well

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the Masa and the salt, stir to combine.
  2. Add the water and stir to combine. If the dough is too dry to hold together, add additional water. If it is too wet, add more Masa.
  3. Form into balls a bit larger than golf balls.
  4. Prepare a tortillas press by wrapping in plastic wrap or covering with parchment paper. Place one ball in the center.
  5. Press, rotate and press again until thin.
  6. Heat a griddle (or cast iron skillet) to a medium high heat (about 350 for electric griddles).
  7. Cook until slightly brown on the bottom (about 30 seconds to a minute) flip and cook on the other side. Don’t overcook.
  8. Serve warm, impress your friends.

How to make corn tortillas from scratch

About the Author

The Craft Beer Bites CookbookJackie Dodd’s beer-infused recipes earned her a spot as a finalist for Saveur Magazines Best Original Recipes, 2014 as well as crowned winner for Best Beer Coverage in 2015 (yes, craft beer is unprocessed). The Beeroness was also a finalist for Better Homes and Gardens Best Food Blogs, 2015. She has been seen on The Today Show, Lifetime Network, CBS News, as well as interviewed in print publications such as Imbibe, Bite and The San Francisco Chronicle. She also writes for Parade Magazine, Draft Magazine and Whisk Magazine. Jackie is the author of The Craft Beer Cookbook and The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook, and you can connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

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61 Comments
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The Natural Singer
May 14, 2013 10:26 am

I live in Europe and only had access to yellow corn flour which might have accounted for the strange taste. I just added water and followed the directions but the taste was weird as well as the texture.

Kathryn Polster
April 9, 2013 8:33 am

Made these last night! I tried to 1/2 the recipe and I think I could have used more water, AND I forgot the sald, but they were still so good!!! I can’t imagine buying them ever again!

Jelena
Jelena
January 25, 2013 1:55 pm

I don’t know what I did wrong, but this did not work for me at all. A dough didn’t form. It was to grainy to stick together, and when I tried flattening them they just fell apart

Phreaq
Phreaq
January 25, 2013 6:24 pm
Reply to  Jelena

Just guessing, but you probably needed more water. It took me a few tries before I got the “feel” of the dough, in terms of water mixture, before I was happy with the process and the results.

aw
aw
February 8, 2013 7:08 am
Reply to  Jelena

Sounds like you may have used regular corn meal as opposed to Masa

gethel
gethel
April 19, 2013 1:16 am
Reply to  Jelena

5 stars
Sounds like you may have used cornmeal instead of corn flour aka Masa Harina? Cornmeal won’t work as it is a totally different product than corn flour is? If you did use Masa Harina and had this issue then it sounds like you simply needed a little more water? If you are still interested in making some homemade corn tortillas then I would go to the supermarket and get some Quaker brand Masa Harina (make sure it actually says Masa Harina on the bag) then follow the directions on the bag for making corn tortillas. Between the instructions on the bag and the information presented here you should be successful? Happy Cooking!

Jennifer
Jennifer
October 11, 2012 9:05 pm

Love these. Used to make them often, but forgot about ’em! Thanx for the reminder. I like to add various herbs and/or spices to the flour/salt mixture before I add the water. For example, chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, cumin, coiander, chipotle powder, ancho chili powder, etc. So fantastic. Try any and everything! It’s not a difficult or expensive experiment. And you may just find a new fav. Tacos are excellent. Quesadillas are incredible. Alone – no toppings or sauces – might be my favorite. I also like to add sugar and cinnamon to the salt and masa flour, then the water. Fry in a dry pan (or fry in a little butter or oil) for a fantastic, crunchy, unusual desert. Enjoy as-is, drizzled with honey or homemade jam, or crumble the sweet chips onto the top of your raspberry/greek yogurt parfait! You, your friends, and family will gobble this healthy… Read more »

Sandy
Sandy
October 8, 2012 3:57 pm

About 15 years ago, we lived in central Washington . . . about 2 miles from the grocery/carniceria/taqueria where lots of local Mexican migrant farm workers shopped, ate, hung out on off days, etc. Oh, my goodness, did they make fantastic tortillas! Corn or flour, both house-made. If you ever get to the Yakima Valley, go have lunch at El Ranchito in Zillah. Them’s tortillas! And frijoles, carne asada, etc.
OTOH, I have a bone to pick with your lead-in. Bologna used (150 years ago) to be a homemade food. I mean, it’s just another kind of sausage. And I’ve never eaten filet mignon, but I truly love good bologna.

Jackie
October 10, 2012 11:57 am
Reply to  Sandy

Hey Sandy! I’m actually from Kennewick, not too far from Yakima! I grew up on a farm, and modern day Bologna (as in the stuff you buy in todays market) is a way to make use of unusable “meat.” The butcher my parents used described it as “What we do with the stuff we hose out of the bottom of the slaughter house.” In general, that is what Bologna is made up of: veins, connective tissues, scraps, and organ meat. Not a whole cut of top quality meat like a Filet. Possibly, things where different 150 years ago, and there may be specialty shops where Bologna is made of top choice meats, but not the super market variety.

April Decheine
October 7, 2012 6:19 am

5 stars
I am going to make these today, one question when heating in the pan are you using a little oil?

Sherri
Sherri
October 5, 2012 7:28 am

I’m so excited!! I love to do projects with my grandbabies and what a healthy, fun and tasty project. I can’t wait !

Lalo
Lalo
October 3, 2012 10:13 pm

this is the Mexican stile to make tortillas, the Salvadorian stile they don’t use a press o rolling the just use their hands.

Sophie
October 3, 2012 7:20 am

Wow, I always buy flour tortillas but making my own corn tortillas seems so much better!

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
October 2, 2012 10:42 pm

Amazing! I’ve always wanted to give this a try!