Homemade Corn Tortillas

My husband and I both grew up in Southern California. As a result, Mexican food is as much a comfort food to us as anything else. We love the spicy flavors and the fresh ingredients that are characteristic of well-prepared Mexican fare. And one of the best and the simplest menu item is the freshly made corn tortilla. Oh my!

One of our favorite places to go when we were dating was La Superica’s on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara. There they made the tortillas fresh before your very eyes. While a dinner out was certainly fun, it wasn’t always convenient or economical to get our tortilla fix as often as we wanted to. So, imagine my surprise when I headed over to Fish’s house after class one day to find him making corn tortillas himself!

He decided he would teach himself, so he had bought a bag of Maseca from the grocery store and a tortilla press from the local kitchen supply store and got to work. After some trial and error, he arrived at great tasting tortillas. I can make them, too. But, he is, by far, the better tortilla maker.

At the risk of having my Mexican-American friends laugh at me, I’m going to offer up a tutorial of how we make them at our house. I am positive that connoisseurs will find a fault in our method, but that’s okay. This works.

Homemade Corn Tortillas
a bag of Maseca or instant corn masa flour
salt
warm water
a ziploc bag and a tortilla press
a hot griddle
Masa Flour

Measure out two cups of Maseca and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Tortilla Mix

Stir in up to 2 cups of warm water until a soft dough forms. The bag of corn masa flour calls for less water. But, we’ve found we prefer the texture when more water is added. According to friends in Honduras, you want it to be about the consistency of cookie dough, like this:

Tortilla Dough

Roll the dough into golf ball-sized balls.

Roll Tortilla Dough

Once all the dough is rolled into balls, cover the bowl with a damp paper towel.

Tortilla Dough Balls

Heat a griddle and start pressing your tortillas. We use a cut ziploc bag to line the tortilla press since the dough will stick to the press something fierce. You can also use waxed paper or parchment if you prefer.

Press Tortillas

As you press each ball into a tortilla, lay it on the hot griddle. Cook for about 50 seconds and then flip. Cook another 50 seconds. Remove from griddle and keep tortillas warm by covering them with a cloth towel.

Homemade Corn Tortillas | Life as MOM

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make your own corn tortillas. These are great filled with carnitas or shredded beef or chicken. And they make out of this world enchiladas when filled with roasted chiles and cheese and topped with a green sauce.

For more DIY Inspiration, visit A Soft Place to Land.

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Comments

  1. After many years, I bought another bag of masa….the package directions are not complete (not enough water and rest time not clear)….I will try again with your terrific instructions. A homemade tortilla is so much tastier! And cheaper than $3 a bag.

  2. Just did this last night!!! So yummy- but mine were ugly as I don’t have a press. I just rolled them out.

  3. I got a tortilla press for Christmas and can’t wait to make our own corn tortillas! Do you ever freeze them? If so, how to package them for the freezer? Thanks!

    • @Domestic Nerd, no. We don’t freeze them. I have found that they are really only good the day of making.

    • Karin Martinez says:

      Hello! In Nicaragua (Central America), our tortillas are a little thicker, but we do freeze them after cooking. To thaw, we wet both sides of the tortilla, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave for about a minute. They are good for about 20 minutes, so do it right before meal time. After that, they begin to cool off and toughen up again. It should work for these thinner tortillas as well, I believe.

      Nothing is better than fresh, but this is better than letting good food/effort go to waste. :)

  4. Jessica, do you use an electric griddle? If so what kind? I can never get mine to get hot enough, and so my tortillas don’t puff up with air when i try to make them on there. I’ve been having to make them on a small stovetop pancake griddle which takes forever! Thanks!

  5. I love the good, clear pictures and directions for the corn tortillas. I’ve finally got the hang of making flour tortillas, will definitely have to try these!

  6. I have been wondering and trying to find out for a while if corn tortillas are healthier than whole wheat tortillas. Do you have an idea which it healthier? I have made whole wheat tortillas and they take 4 c of white wheat flour for 10 medium tortillas. That is a lot of carbs. It is surely better than using all-purpose flour, but I don’t know a lot about the nutrition value of corn tortillas. I would love any insight you can share.

    • @Heather,
      I actually figured out my own question. I had a hard time figuring it out from google searches in the past, but figured out a new way to search. Most sites compare white tortillas with corn. Corn tortillas are much lower in calories and carbs. They don’t have as much protein, but we usually add protein to the inside. I have never made these before and will have to give it a try. Is a tortilla press necessary, or just nice to have? Thanks for posting the recipe.

      • A press is very nice to have, but in Honduras I watched a woman press the dough between two pyrex dinner plates.

  7. Do you know if Maseca is GMO or not? I was very inspired to try your tortillas when you talked about them a while back. I looked at the prices for organic masa and the prices are outrageous. I even went looking for a tortilla press which I could not find locally (big latin population here too, weird!) I’m sure they are way better than store bought.

  8. Oh Jessica, I’ve been trying to get my tortillas to not fall apart when frying. Do you ever fry yours for tacos, I remember the post about your hubby frying tortillas for you, but I don’t remember if you were referencing homemade or storebought tortillas. Also yours look good in the post about poblano enchiladas and they folded well around the chilies, unlike mine. I wonder if its because yours are thicker than mine, they hold up better?

    • @NIA, homemade tortillas, at least mine, taste HORRIBLE fried the next day. We only use storebought for that.

      As for the enchiladas, we do make ours fairly thick, even with a press. And I make sure they are hot/warm when I roll them into enchiladas, otherwise they will break.

  9. I have always wanted to make corn tortillas. We have recently made changes in our food, going organic &non gmo. Masa will be hard to find. I will look though.

  10. Can you freeze these for later use? How many does a bag make?

    • Jessica says:

      Nope. These are not make-ahead. They don’t even taste that great the day after. But, they are amazing when made fresh. A bag of masa makes 100s of tortillas. I store the bag in the freezer to extend its shelf life.

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