Homemade corn tortillas are made with two ingredients- corn masa and water- for the most authentic, pliable, gluten-free tortillas!
How to make soft, pliable corn tortillas
I thought I thought I had sworn off corn tortillas for good. Every store bought brand cracked whenever I folded them, they smelt funky, and they just didn’t taste good. I really thought corn tortillas just weren’t my thing.
When my sister said she was making homemade corn tortillas, I wasn’t thrilled but go off sis. Do your thang. I sat back and watched her form the corn tortillas with corn masa and water, shaping the little gulf ball sized balls, then squishing them between the counter and a pie dish.
She threw the corn tortillas on the cast iron griddle and quickly flipped them. I swiped one off the hot griddle, fresh and hot, and was amazed how flavorful and delicious they are! Homemade corn tortillas are SO different from store bought corn tortillas, so if you have an opinion about store bought corn tortillas, give this recipe a shot. It will blow your mind!
Homemade corn tortilla ingredients
- Masa Harina- Ground corn flour is a common Mexican pantry staple. It can be used for recipes like tortillas, tamales, pupusas, gorditas, sopes, etc. My favorite brand to use is Maseca. It is important to use Mexican cornmeal, which is different than American cornmeal. Mexican masa harina contains nixtamalized corn, which is a traditional Mexican method of cooking the corn with dehydrated lime.
- Water- Use warm water for these corn tortillas because it will absorb quicker and easier. The amount of water will differ depending on the humidity of your location. Luckily, this recipe is very flexible, so you can add more water or more masa harina to get the texture just right!
- OPTIONAL- Fine salt- Salt is not usually added to Authentic corn tortillas, but if you would like to add it, you certainly can. Make sure you use fine sea salt, and mix it in with the masa harina before you add the water.
Mix it with your hands
First, add the masa harina in a mixing bowl. Add the warm water, then mix the mixture with your hands. It will feel soupy at first, but continue mixing until it forms a ball. If the mixture is sticky, add 1 tbsp of masa harina and mix until well combine. Continue to add more masa harina if needed.
The texture should feel sort of like a mixture of kinetic sand and playdough. It’s a bit wet, a little crumbly when it’s pulled apart, and it should not crack when it’s pressed.
You want to mix this with your hands so you can feel the texture of the dough. Before I made this recipe, I had never made homemade corn tortillas before. My first bath was my tester batch, it was a little too watery and the corn tortillas broke easily when I tried to peel them off the press.
My second batch was perfect. I felt that the dough had the right texture, was easy to handle, and was easy to pull off the press without ripping. You will get the hang of it, just get your hands in there!
Get that griddle HOT
You can use a cast iron griddle, regular griddle, or a cast iron pan for this recipe since they all heat evenly and get hot. I usually put my griddle over two burners on my stove and place it over medium-high heat. I allow the griddle to heat for at least 10 minutes before I start to cook the corn tortillas.
Make some chips with the left overs
You can definitly store these corn tortillas for later, but I really enjoy making these fresh, so there are never left overs at my house!
After I use all the corn tortillas for whatever I am using them for, I slice them into quarters, then deep fry them to make corn tortilla chips! I cook them for 2 minutes, remove them from the oil, then toss some salt on them. So good!
You don’t need a tortilla press
I am far from your abuela who can make corn tortillas with a blindfold on, but I am confident in my skills. I am also confident that I don’t have space in my kitchen for a tortilla press, so here is how I make these corn tortillas without one!
First, I lay a piece of parchment paper down on my counter. Make sure it’s about 1’X1′. Grab a glass pie dish or any large, flat bottom dish and cover the bottom with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is large enough to overlap to the inside of the dish, because you want to pull it tight and secure over the bottom of the dish.
Grab a gulf ball sized bit of dough, roll it into a nice ball, then place it on the center of the parchment paper. Place the glass dish, plastic wrap side down, and smoosh the corn tortilla between the dish and the counter. The corn tortilla should be about 4-6″.
Pick up the glass dish, gently peel off the parchment paper, loosen the plastic wrap off the dish, and peel the corn tortilla from the plastic wrapped glass dish. They are fragile at this point so pu them directly on the stove and cook them!
How to make homemade corn tortillas without a press
- Mix the ingredients. Add the masa harina to the mixing bowl. Add the warm water, then stir to combine using your hands. The dough will begin to form a ball. Knead the dough well so you can truly feel the texture of the dough. If the dough cracks around the edges of the tortilla when it is pressed, add more water. If the tortilla does not easily come away from the press, add a bit more masa harina. Form the dough in a large ball, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare your work surface and heat the griddle.
- Shape the tortillas. Roll a gulf ball sized ball in your hands until it’s smooth. Lay a 12″X12″ piece of parchment paper on your flat work surface. Wrap a pie dish in plastic wrap on the outside of the dish. Place the corn tortilla ball on top of the parchment paper, then gently press it between the plastic-wrapped dish and the parchment paper until it is about 4-6″ big.
- Cook the corn tortillas. Place a griddle on medium high heat. Once the griddle is hot, place the corn tortillas on it, allowing them to cook for 30-60 seconds on each side. Remove them from the griddle and stack them on a plate. When you stack the corn tortillas on a plate, they steam themselves and become super pliable and flexible. Amazing!
How to store and reaheat homemade corn tortillas
You can store homemade corn tortillas in an airtight container or plastic bag (with excess air pressed out) on the counter or the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you would like to reheat and steam the corn tortillas, place 5 on a plate, then lay a damp paper towel on top of them. Place them in the microwave for 15 seconds. Easy, right!?
Why this recipe rocks!
- These corn tortillas are super flavorful. They taste way better than store-bought, and they don’t smell like feet! Yay!
- They are very pliable! These homemade corn tortillas are very, very pliable, they do not crack when they are folded or rolled, which is such a score because there is nothing worse than cracked, broken corn tortillas!
- You can get your hands in it! Yes, you can use a tortilla press, a cookie scooper to shape them, and even a spatula to stir the dough, but my favorite part of this recipe is getting my hands in it! Having your hands in this recipe allows you to understand the texture of the corn tortillas, making it easier and easier to perfect them every time you make them. It’s always a really great way of connecting with the Mexican culture since they make these by hand and usually with no special tools!
Are homemade corn tortillas gluten free?
Since these corn tortillas only use corn flour and water, they do not contain wheat, thus making them naturally gluten free (and vegan!).
Store bought corn tortillas usually contain additives and lard, so make sure you check labels!
Can you freeze homemade corn tortillas
You can freeze these homemade corn tortillas. Allow them to cool completely, then stack them, placing a piece of plastic wrap between each corn tortilla. Once they are frozen, place them in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
2 Ingredient Homemade Corn Tortillas
- large mixing bowl
- Parchment paper
- plastic wrap
- pie dish
- griddle or cast iron pan
- 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp Maseca brand masa harina (corn flour)
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- Mix the ingredients. Combine the masa harina and the warm water in a bowl. Mix the combination with your hands until the dough forms a ball and everything it well combined. If the dough is sticky, add 1/2 tbsp of masa harina until it rolls into a ball without feeling sticky pr getting all over your hands. Shape the dough into a large ball, place it in the bowl, then cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel for ten minutes.
- Shape the corn tortillas. While the dough is resting for ten minutes, heat your griddle over medium heat so it has time to get hot. Place a 12X12" piece of parchment paper on a flat work surface. Wrap the bottom of a glass pie dish with plastic wrap so it overlaps into the dish. Pinch off a gulf-ball-sized piece of dough and place it in the center of the parchment paper. Press the dough between the parchment paper and the bottom plastic-wrapped glass dish until the tortilla is about 4-6" wide. Pick the dish up, gently peel the parchment paper off of the tortilla. Loosen the plastic wrap off of the pie dish and peel off the corn tortilla.
- Cook the tortillas. Place the corn tortilla on the hot griddle and cook for 30-60 seconds on each side. Stack the corn tortillas, they will steam themselves when they are stacked. Mangia!
Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.