Corn Tortillas

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This homemade corn tortilla recipe is easy to make with 3 ingredients and yields the most delicious, soft, foldable, and naturally gluten-free corn tortillas.

Corn Tortillas

After learning how to make homemade flour tortillas earlier this month, it’s time to learn how to make their famous (and naturally gluten-free!) counterparts…

…homemade corn tortillas! ♡

These traditional Mexican-style corn tortillas are easy to make with just 3 ingredients, they are naturally gluten-free, and full of the yummiest toasted corn flavors.  But in my opinion, the best thing about fresh homemade corn tortillas is that they are legit-easy to roll and fold!!  No cracking, breaking, or complicated re-warming instructions required here.  These freshly-made corn tortillas are soft and pliable and will fold up beautifully into your favorite tacos or enchiladas.  Or, of course, you can fry any of the leftovers to make tortilla chips, chilaquiles, nachos and more.

So today, I’m sharing my go-to recipe for making classic corn tortillas, plus all of my best tips and shortcuts to make the process a bit easier and more foolproof.  I’ve also included an option below for how to roll out these guys out without a tortilla press, if you do not have one.  But if you plan to make them regularly, a tortilla press is incredibly helpful with corn tortillas and worth the investment.

Alright, well gather up your three ingredients and let’s make some homemade tortillas together!

corn tortillas recipe | 1-minute video

Maseca Masa Harina

Homemade Corn Tortilla Ingredients:

To make homemade tortillas, you will need the following three ingredients (amounts listed in the recipe below):

  • Masa harina: Which translates in Spanish to mean “corn flour,” but please note that masa harina is different than cornmeal and American cornflour (which is just finely-ground corn meal).  Mexican masa harina is made from nixtamalized corn, so if you peek at the ingredient label, it should always include both corn (maíz) and hydrated lime.  Maseca is the most popular brand of Mexican masa harina, available in white, yellow or blue.  Or if you are looking for an organic masa marina, I would recommend Bob’s Red Mill.  It is typically available either in the Latin American section or the flour/baking section of your local grocery store.
  • Hot water: The amount of hot water needed may vary slightly, depending on the brand of masa harina that you use.
  • Fine sea saltTo bring out the delicious corn flavor in our corn tortillas.  If you are using standard table salt, note that you will need to use slightly less.

The following equipment is also recommended:

  • Non-stick skillet, comal or griddle: You will need some sort of non-stick pan to cook the tortillas, so that they do not stick while cooking.  I used a seasoned cast-iron skillet, which worked great.
  • Tortilla press (optional): I’m always hesitant here to recommend single-use kitchen gadgets.  But if you love homemade corn tortillas, a tortilla press is 100% worth the investment.  It is super-simple to use and presses the tortillas quickly and evenly.  That said, if you do not own a tortilla press, you can also just use a flat-bottomed skillet to press your tortillas between two sheets of plastic (my best alternate recommendation).  Or you can use a rolling pin to roll the tortillas out between two sheets of plastic (not quite as easy).
  • Tortilla warmer (optional): Also optional but quite handy for keeping your tortillas soft and warm.  That said, if you do not own a tortilla warmer (I actually don’t), you can just store the cooked tortillas in a bowl wrapped in a clean kitchen towel.
  • Medium (2-tablespoon) cookie scoop (optional): Pro tip!!  A medium (2-tablespoon) cookie scoop is the perfect size to easily measure out the proper amount of dough to make standard (5-6 inch) tortillas.  Highly recommend.  That said, if you do not own a medium cook scoop, you can just use a spoon to eyeball (or weigh) the an approximately 2-tablespoon scoop of dough.

How To Make Corn Tortillas

How To Make Tortillas

How To Use A Tortilla Press

Tortilla Press

How To Make Corn Tortillas:

So here’s the thing about corn tortillas — they are quite easy to make, but it will take a bit of hands-on practice to learn how wet the dough should be, how to press the tortillas, and how quickly they will cook.  So if this is your first time making corn tortillas, have a bit of patience with the process, and I promise that you will learn quickly as you go.  And of course — the end result will be deliciously worth it! ♡  Here is the basic overview of the recipe instructions (full details in the recipe below):

  1. Mix the dough: First things first — mixing the dough!  Pull out a big mixing bowl and briefly whisk the masa harina and salt together, then gradually stir in 1.5 cups of the hot water until an evenly-mixed dough begins to form. Use your hands to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes in the mixing bowl (or you can knead it on a floured surface) until it’s smooth and forms a cohesive ball.  But pay close attention to the texture — it should feel springy and firm, similar to the texture of Play-Doh.  If the dough feels too wet and is sticking to your hands, add in a few extra tablespoons of flour.  If it feels too dry and crackly, add in an extra tablespoon or two of hot water.
  2. Rest the dough. Cover the bowl with the dough with a damp kitchen towel (or paper towel) and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  3. Portion the dough. Then use a medium cookie scoop (my preference!) or a spoon to scoop a 2-tablespoon ball of dough (35-40 grams, or about the size of a golf ball), then use your hands to roll the ball until it is nice and round.
  4. Press the dough balls. Place the dough ball between two pieces of plastic in the center of a tortilla press. (I use a ziplock bag; see notes below.)  Then gently press the dough ball until it forms a 4- to 5-inch flat tortilla.  At this point, I recommend doing a quick texture-check of the tortilla.  If it peels away easily from the plastic, it’s good to go!  If it’s sticky and does not peel away, your dough is too wet, so I would recommend kneading a bit more flour into the batch of dough before scooping out more dough balls.
  5. Cook the tortilla. When your tortilla is ready to go, heat a non-stick skillet or comal over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is nice and hot, gently peel the tortilla away from the plastic wrap and lay the tortilla flat in the skillet.  Cook the tortilla for about 40-60 seconds per side, flipping it once speckled brown spots begin to appear on the bottom of the tortilla.  The tortillas will likely bubble up while cooking, especially on the second side, which is a good sign!  Once it is cooked, transfer the tortilla to a tortilla warmer or a bowl wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, so that the tortillas do not dry out.
  6. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. I recommend keeping the cycle going by cooking one tortilla while pressing the next dough ball at the same time.  If you notice that the skillet begins to seem too hot as time goes on, just turn down the heat a bit.
  7. Serve. The tortillas will continue to soften a bit more as they sit in a stack in your tortilla warmer (or wrapped in a towel). So I recommend using the tortillas at the bottom of the stack first — they will be the softest.  Serve however you would like and enjoy! :)

Homemade Corn Tortillas Recipe

Homemade Corn Tortillas FAQ:

Are corn tortillas gluten-free and vegan? Yes, this homemade corn tortilla recipe is gluten-free and vegan.  But store-bought corn tortillas occasionally include gluten and/or lard, so be sure to always double-check the label.

How to make white, yellow or blue corn tortillas? Just purchase your desired color of masa harina — either white, yellow or blue.

How to reheat corn tortillas? Definitely do not microwave leftover corn tortillas (they will dry out and likely crack when folded) or try to reheat them in oil (they will get crispy).  To reheat corn tortillas, either heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and then cook each tortilla for 15-30 seconds per side until warmed through.  Or, if you have a gas burner, you can very carefully use tongs to place the tortillas one at a time directly over the flame.  Then as soon as a tortilla start to brown, flip and cook it on the second side until browned, then remove from heat.  (Keep an extremely close eye on the tortillas if cooking over a gas stove so that they do not burn.)  It’s important to always reheat corn tortillas one at a time, and immediately transfer them to a tortilla warmer or wrap in a clean kitchen towel to store until ready to serve.

How to store corn tortillas? I recommend wrapping leftover corn tortillas in plastic wrap, beeswrap, or storing them in a ziplock bag (with the excess air pressed out) in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.  You want to avoid letting the tortillas dry out, so try to minimize excess air being trapped into whichever storage option you choose.

How many carbs in a corn tortilla? If you make 15 tortillas with this recipe, each corn tortilla will have approximately 12.5 grams of carbohydrates.

Corn vs flour tortillas — when to use each? Up to you!  Flour tortillas are sturdier, and thus are traditionally used for burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, Tex-Mex tacos, Tex-Mex enchiladas, etc.  Corn tortillas are traditionally used for Mexican tacos, Mexican enchiladas, flautas, chilaquiles, taquitos, corn tortilla chips, etc.  But that said, nowadays many people use corn and flour tortillas interchangeably, so feel free to use them however you prefer.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas

Sweet Potato Tacos — recipe coming tomorrow!

Ways To Use Corn Tortillas:

Here are a few of my favorite ways to use corn tortillas!

  • Tacos: Load corn tortillas up with your favorite taco fillings.
  • Tostadas: Toast or fry the corn tortillas then serve them (flat) with your favorite toppings.
  • Enchiladas: Soak corn tortillas in red or green sauce, fill with your favorite enchilada fillings, then roll them up, top with extra sauce, and bake to make enchiladas.
  • Corn tortilla chips: Cut the corn tortillas into triangles, deep fry in oil (or bake), then sprinkle with salt.
  • Chilaquiles: Make corn tortilla chips (above), then cook in your favorite red or green sauce with eggs.
  • Nachos: Make corn tortilla chips (above), then load up with your favorite nacho cheese and toppings.
Print
Corn Tortillas

Homemade Corn Tortillas

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 15 tortillas 1x

Description

This homemade corn tortillas recipe is easy to make with 3 ingredients and yields the most delicious, soft, foldable, and naturally gluten-free tortillas.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Mix the dough: In a large mixing bowl, briefly whisk together masa harina and salt.  Gradually add 1 1/2 cups hot water, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until an evenly-mixed dough begins to form.  Use your hands to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes in the mixing bowl until it is smooth and forms a cohesive ball.  The dough’s texture should feel springy and firm, similar to Play-Doh.  If the dough feels too wet and is sticking to your hands, add in a few extra tablespoons of flour.  If it feels too dry and crackly, add in an extra tablespoon or two of hot water.
  2. Rest the dough. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel (or paper towel) and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Portion the dough. Use a spoon or a medium ice cream scoop to portion the dough into a 2-tablespoon ball (35-40 grams, or about the size of a golf ball), then use your hands to roll the ball until it is nice and round.
  4. Press the dough balls. Place the dough ball between two pieces of plastic in a tortilla press. (I use a ziplock bag; see notes below.)  Then gently press the dough ball until it forms a 4- to 5-inch tortilla.
  5. Cook the tortilla. Heat a non-stick skillet or comal over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is nice and hot, gently peel the tortilla away from the plastic wrap and lay the tortilla flat in the skillet.  Cook the tortilla for about 40-60 seconds per side, flipping it once speckled brown spots begin to appear on the bottom of the tortilla.  The tortillas will likely bubble up while cooking, especially on the second side, which is a good sign!  Once it is cooked, transfer the tortilla to a tortilla warmer or a bowl wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, so that the tortillas do not dry out.
  6. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. I recommend keeping the cycle going by cooking one tortilla while pressing the next dough ball at the same time.  If you notice that the skillet begins to seem too hot, just turn down the heat a bit.
  7. Serve. The tortillas will continue to soften a bit more as they sit in a stack in your tortilla warmer (or wrapped in a towel). So I recommend using the tortillas at the bottom of the stack first — they will be the softest.  Serve however you would like and enjoy! See storage instructions below.


Notes

Ingredient amounts: The amount of hot water needed will vary depending on the brand/type of masa harina that you use.  I also recommend weighing the masa harina if you own a kitchen scale, versus using measuring cups, to be sure that you measure the accurate amount.

Plastic wrap instructions: I just use scissors to trim the top (zipper side) and sides away from a large ziplock freezer bag, so that it fit the size of my tortilla press. Alternately you can use beeswrap instead of a ziplock bag.

Peeling away the tortillas: The tortillas should be dry enough that they do not stick to the plastic when you gently peel it away.  If they do stick, I recommend kneading a bit more flour into your dough before rolling out more dough balls.

Storage instructions: When serving these corn tortillas during your meal, I recommend always, always keeping them wrapped in a kitchen towel or in a tortilla warmer until ready to eat and enjoy, so that they do not dry out.  Corn tortillas are definitely best served within a few hours of being made.  But any leftover tortillas can be wrapped in plastic wrap, beeswrap, or a ziplock bag and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Stand mixer option: If you own a stand mixer, you can use a dough hook to knead the dough on medium-low speed for 3 minutes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 comments on “Corn Tortillas”

  1. Hi, I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I did a quick read through, I noticed on the reheat instructions that you say medium high heat for 15-30 minutes, did you mean to write seconds? Thanks, I love your recipes & share them with friends & family! Linley

  2. Probably you mean 15-30 seconds per side, not minutes, to reheat?

  3. These look amazing!! Thank you!

  4. These are so easy and taste so good. What took me so long to learn to make tortillas? Cut them in triangles and put them in the air fryer for your own homemade chips! I only had a bag of instant corn tamal masa but it doesn’t seem to matter, they came out great. Don’t wait to do these, you will not buy tortillas again.

  5. I’d love to hear a theory (or information, if you’ve tried it) on how well the *uncooked* dough balls might freeze and defrost, if we wanted to cook up the leftovers fresh versus reheating them. Thanks!

  6. The flavor was amazing! But I need some advice; they fell apart when trying to fold them for tacos… help?