Making your own homemade corn tortillas is much easier than you think! And I promise they taste so much better than store bought. Only 3 simple ingredients – Masa Harina (corn flour), salt, and water.
Homemade tortillas can be used for enchiladas, tacos, tostadas (by frying the tortillas), or cutting into triangles and frying to make chips. Serve with red chicken mole for authentic chicken mole tacos!
What is Masa Harina?
Masa Harina translates to “dough flour” in English. It is a gluten-free flour commonly used to make homemade tortillas and tamales. It is different from regular corn flour because the corn is soaked in lime water before being finely ground for flour. You can find Masa Harina at most grocery stores in the ethnic or Hispanic foods aisle.
I strongly recommend using the Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour. I have found generic brands end up more grainy and lumpy.
How to make corn tortillas from scratch
Making the Masa Dough
Make the dough. Whisk together the corn flour and salt and stir in the water. You’ll then knead the dough while gradually adding more water until the dough pulls away from the bowl but is still moist.
Rest. Cover and let the dough rest for just 30 minutes. This is an important step because it gives the flour a chance to hydrate so the dough will stay moist when you’re working with it.
Form into balls. Using clean hands, pinch off a bit of dough and form into a ball. Regular sized corn tortillas need about 1.5 ounces of dough. This is a little more than a medium cookie scoop, and about the size of a golf ball. You can eyeball it, or use a kitchen scale for complete accuracy.
Press the Tortillas
Press. Next, time to press the tortillas! Heat the comal and place a sheet of plastic on the bottom of the tortilla press. Then you’ll add a dough ball and another sheet of plastic. Press down gently until it has spread into a 4-5 inch diameter tortilla. Pro tip: Cut a plastic freezer bag in half for the plastic. It’s thicker than plastic wrap and will be much easier to peel from the dough. If you don’t have a comal and don’t want to invest in one, use a flat griddle or a nonstick or cast iron skillet.
Cook. Now time to cook them! Remove the raw tortilla from the plastic and add to the heated comal. You should hear a little sizzle. You can add 2-3 tortillas at a time and cook for 2 minutes before flipping and cooking for another minute or so. The top will start to puff up then flip over one last time to cook for a final minute. Keep the cooked corn tortillas warm inside of a clean dish towel or tortilla warmer and repeat with the remaining dough balls.
How to reheat corn tortillas
The microwave can cause the tortillas to dry out and crack, so I recommend reheating in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side. Or you can place over a gas burner and use metal tongs to flip so they get slightly browned on each side.
Reheat tortillas one at a time and transfer to a tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel until ready to eat.
- If you accidentally add too much water and your dough is too sticky, you can just knead in a little extra corn flour.
- You can use a medium cookie scoop to get evenly sized balls of masa dough.
- Don’t forget to keep the cooked corn tortillas in a warmer or towel until ready to serve. This helps keep them soft and prevents them from drying out.
Storage, Reheating, and Freezing
Leftover dough – If you don’t need that many tortillas, simply cook what you need and store the remaining dough in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Storage – The cooked tortillas are best enjoyed fresh but can be stored once cooled completely in a Ziploc bag for up to 1 week.
Reheating – Reheat in a non-stick skillet over medium or (carefully) on a gas burner. Do not reheat in the microwave as this will dry out the corn tortillas.
Freezing – Allow tortillas to cool completely, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Are corn tortillas gluten-free, vegan, and keto?
These homemade corn tortillas are gluten-free and vegan. The flour used is naturally gluten-free, and unlike some store-bought tortillas, no lard is used so they are vegan as well.
While corn tortillas are gluten-free and lower in carbs than flour tortillas, they are not considered keto.
Ways to use homemade corn tortillas
Corn tortillas are a delicious stand alone snack, warmed up and spread with butter. Sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat. Or:
- Fry them for Chicken Tacos.
- Bake them for Oven Baked Tostadas.
- Roll them into Homemade Taquitos.
- Cut them into triangles and make Air Fryer Tortilla Chips.
- Stuff with Carnitas or Chile Verde.
- Tortilla press or a rolling pin
- Comal, large nonstick skillet or a well seasoned cast iron griddle
- 2 sheets of plastic to press out the tortillas (cut from a plastic freezer bag for best results)
- 2 cups Instant corn masa flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2– 2 ½ cups of warm water
Make the masa dough
- Whisk the instant corn flour and salt together in a large bowl then pour 1 ½ cups of warm water into the flour and stir to combine.
- Add ¼ cup more of water at a time and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still moist.
- Form the masa into a ball, cover and let the masa rest for 30 minutes
- Form the dough into balls that are around 1.5 ounces each.
Press the Tortillas
- Open the tortilla press and place one sheet of plastic on the bottom of the press then place a masa ball in the center and place another piece of plastic on top. Close the tortilla press, pressing down gently until the dough has spread into a diameter of about 4-5 inches. If you don't have a tortilla press, use a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet.
- Heat the comal to medium heat. (If you don't have a comal, use a nonstick or cast iron skillet or a flat griddle).
- Remove the raw tortilla from the plastic and place it on the skillet. The tortilla should sizzle. Add 2-3 tortillas to the skillet at one time.
- Cook for 2 minutes, then flip it over and cook for another minute and a half or until the top starts to puff up. Flip it over again and let it cook for another minute.
- Remove the tortillas from the skillet and set aside. Keep warm inside of a towel or a tortilla warmer.
- Repeat with the remaining dough balls and serve immediately.
- If you don’t need that many tortillas, simply make what you need and store the remaining dough in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- The cooked tortillas are best enjoyed fresh but can be stored once cooled completely in a Ziploc bag for up to 1 week.
- Reheat on the stovetop for best results.
- Cooked and cooled tortillas can be frozen for up to 6 months. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then place in freezer bags. Thaw before reheating.