Homemade Corn Tortillas

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Learn to make soft homemade corn tortillas from scratch! These are made with masa harina flour & are perfect for tacos.

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homemade corn tortillas

You only need 3 ingredients to make corn tortillas from scratch & the great thing is, they couldn’t be easier to prepare & cook! All you need is a mixing bowl, a tortilla press & a frying pan…

To make these classic Mexican tortillas, we’re using authentic masa harina flour which makes our corn tortillas super soft & pliable, with a subtle nutty flavour. They’re perfect for making homemade tacos with and any leftovers can reheated at a later date or fried in oil until crispy!

What You’ll Need

  • Masa Harina Flour – A Mexican flour, made from corn. I used white masa harina flour for my tortillas but yellow or blue will work as well. This is available to buy in some supermarkets but is readily available online.
  • Salt – I like to use table salt in my tortilla dough as I find that it incorporates into the dough easier.
  • Warm Water – Tortilla dough is best made with warm water (around 38°c/100°f). We only need to add enough water, to form a rough dough as we don’t want it to be too sticky!
  • Tortilla Press – This piece of equipment is used to press ball of dough into tortillas that are perfectly circular, with an even thickness. Don’t worry if you haven’t got one though, you could use a heavy skillet or pan instead.
  • Frying Pan – You’ll need a large frying pan to cook your tortillas in.
  • Tortilla Warmer – To keep the tortillas warm after cooking them, they can be stored in a dedicated tortilla warmer or wrapped in a tea towel.

How To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas

The full, printable recipe card for these corn tortillas can be found at the bottom of this post! Here’s a quick rundown of the recipe…

Making The Dough

To make our corn tortilla dough, we mix masa harina flour with salt & enough warm water to form a rough dough. Then we knead the dough by hand, until it is smooth & no longer sticks to your hands. This will take a minium of 5 minutes. The tortilla dough should be the consistency of Play-Doh!

Next, we let the dough rest for 20 minutes then divide into 10 pieces (each weighing around 35 grams) & shape into balls, ready to be pressed. Make sure to leave the dough covered in a damp tea towel, once shaped so that it doesn’t dry out.

Using A Tortilla Press

Using a tortilla press is by far the quickest & easiest way to press the balls of dough into perfectly circular tortillas with an even thickness. Here’s how to use one…

  1. Open up the tortilla press & place a square of baking parchment (or half a plastic freezer bag) on the bottom.
  2. Place a ball of tortilla dough in the middle.
  3. Lay another piece of parchment on top then press the dough down lightly with your fingers.
  4. Close the tortilla press & press down lightly, to flatten the dough.
  5. Open the press up again then turn the tortilla 180 degrees.
  6. Close the press & press again, to flatten the tortilla to an even thickness of roughly 2mm.
  7. Peel the parchment off the tortilla then cook!

Cooking

Before cooking our corn tortillas, we first need to set a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and leave it to heat up for several minutes. This is best done whilst we shape the dough into balls.

To cook the tortillas, we add them (one or two at a time) into the hot pan, cook for 10 seconds then flip over. Then we cook the tortillas for 1 minute on each side, until lightly toasted. You should see the tortillas start to puff up after the final flip – this is a good thing!

Once cooked, we transfer the tortillas to a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a tea towel, to keep warm.

Tips & Tricks For Perfect Corn Tortillas

  • Use authentic masa harina flour for the best flavour & texture.
  • Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes, for softer tortillas.
  • Let the tortilla dough rest before pressing, to allow the flour time to hydrate properly.
  • Use a tortilla press, to make tortillas with an even thickness.
  • Cook the tortillas in a preheated pan. This is key to getting those authentic charred spots!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is masa harina flour?

Masa harina is a type of Mexican flour, made from ground nixtamalized corn (corn that has been soaked & cooked in an alkaline solution). Masa harina flour is available to buy in white, yellow & blue varieties and has a buttery, nutty flavour.

Do I need a tortilla press?

A tortilla press definitely makes it easier to press the dough flat but it can be done without one. Simply use a heavy skillet/pan to press balls of dough into flat discs.

What is the best way to keep tortillas warm?

Once cooked, tortillas can be kept warm in a dedicated tortilla warmer or they can be wrapped in a tea towel.

How should leftover corn tortillas be stored & reheated?

Leftover tortillas should be stored in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a couple of days at room temperature or 3-4 days, in the fridge. To reheat, cook the tortillas for a minute on each side, in a frying pan set over a medium-low heat.

How will I know when my tortillas are cooked?

You’ll know when your tortillas are cooked because they will be lightly toasted on each side & will have started to puff up.

Equipment Used

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Homemade Corn Tortillas (With Masa Harina)

Learn to make soft homemade corn tortillas from scratch! These are made with masa harina flour & are perfect for tacos.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 10 Tortillas
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Tortilla Press
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Large Frying Pan

Ingredients

  • 150 g Masa Harina Flour (See Notes)
  • ½ tsp Table Salt
  • Warm Water (See Notes)

Instructions

Tortilla Dough

  • Place the masa harina flour & salt into a mixing bowl then whisk to combine.
  • Add 120 grams of water water into the flour then mix with your hands to form a rough dough. If the dough seems dry or won't come together, add in more warm water, a small amount at a time.
  • Knead the dough by hand (keeping it in the bowl), until smooth & no longer sticky. This will take at least 5 minutes. The dough should feel like Play-Doh!
  • Cover the bowl with clingfilm (or a tea towel) then leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Dividing The Dough

  • Whilst the dough is resting, cut out several squares of baking parchment. They need to be slightly larger than the width of your tortilla press.
    You can also use a plastic freezer bag, that has been cut in half, to make 2 sheets.
  • Just before your dough has finished resting, place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat & leave to heat up whilst you shape the dough.
  • Once rested, divide the dough into 10 pieces, each weighing roughly 35 grams then roll into balls & place onto a baking tray, covered with a damp towel.

Pressing

  • Next, open up your tortilla press & lay a square of baking parchment on the bottom. Place a ball of dough in the middle, press it down lightly with your fingers then lay another sheet of parchment on top. Close the tortilla press & press down gently, to flatten.
  • Open up the tortilla press & turn the tortilla dough 180 degrees. Close the press & press again, to flatten the tortilla to an even thickness of roughly 2mm.

Cooking

  • Carefully peel the parchment from the tortilla then place into the hot frying pan. Cook for 10 seconds then flip over with a spatula. Cook for 1 minute on each side, until lightly toasted. You should see the tortilla start to puff up after the final flip.
  • Transfer the cooked tortilla to a tortilla warmer or wrap in a tea towel, to keep warm.
  • Repeat the cooking process with the remaining dough, making sure to let the pan heat back up properly between each tortilla. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you may be able to cook several tortillas at once.

Notes

1. Masa Harina Flour – This is a type of flour, made from dried corn that is traditionally used to make tortillas. I used white masa harina but blue or yellow can be used as well. Keep in mind that the flavours of each flour differ slightly & may need a slightly different amount of water, to hydrate. This is why we start with a smaller amount of water when making the dough.
2. Tortilla Press – Using a tortilla press is by far the easiest & quickest way of pressing the dough to the correct thickness. Tortilla presses are available to buy online! If you haven’t got one, you can use a heavy skillet/pan to press the tortillas instead.
3. Water – Tortilla dough is best made with warm water. Aim for a temperature of around 38°c/100°f. To avoid adding too much water, it’s best to start off why 120 grams then add in more as needed.
4. Frying – It’s important that your frying pan is nice & hot before cooking the tortillas. This is key to getting the lightly charred spots on the tortillas. If the dough starts to brown too much, turn the heat down to medium.
5. Storage – Corn tortillas are best served fresh but any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container & reheated in a frying pan. Leftovers will keep for a day or two.
6. Reheating – To reheat leftover tortillas, heat a frying pan up over a medium-low heat then cook the tortillas for a minute on each side.
If you like, the tortillas can also be shallow fried in oil, until crisp. To do this, place a frying pan over a medium heat, add in a 5mm deep layer of oil then leave to get hot. Cook the tortillas for 30-45 seconds on each side then leave to drain before serving.

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