Homemade Corn Tortillas

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Up your taco game with these easy homemade corn tortillas!

Homemade Corn Tortillas

With their slightly chewy texture and crispy edges, fresh homemade corn tortillas will turn your average taco night from good to great. Not only are they super-easy to make — they have only three ingredients, one of which is water — but they’re also a fun DIY cooking project to do with kids.

I use an old-fashioned tortilla press, like this one (affiliate link), to press my corn tortillas. It’s a relatively inexpensive and fun kitchen tool that makes the process quick and easy, but you don’t need one — a glass baking dish or pie plate and a little elbow grease also work nicely.

What You’ll Need To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas

ingredients for tortillas

The primary ingredient in corn tortillas is masa harina. Masa harina, which literally translates to “dough flour,” is a finely ground flour made from corn. The corn has been dried, soaked in a solution that makes it easier to digest, dried again, and ground into flour. It can usually be found in the Latin section of most large supermarkets. (Note that masa harina is not the same as cornmeal or instant polenta, and they are not interchangeable in this recipe.)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make the Dough

In a medium bowl, combine the masa harina and salt.

masa harina and salt

Add 1-1/2 cups of the warm water.

water added into dry ingredients

Stir with a wooden spoon until all of the water is absorbed, then work the mixture with your hands, adding up to 1/2 cup more water, a few tablespoons at a time. Your goal is to add enough water so that the mixture starts to form a cohesive dough. If the dough starts to stick to your hands, add a pinch or two more masa harina. The texture you’re aiming for is soft but not sticky (similar to Play-Doh or sugar cookie dough).

dough ball

Step 2: Roll the Dough Into Balls

Roll the dough into smooth, golf ball-sized balls (about 1-1/2 ounces each). You should have enough dough to divide make about 15 tortillas that are 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Cover the dough balls with a clean, damp kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you work.

dough divided and rolled

Step 3: Press the Tortillas

If you’re using a tortilla press, cut a gallon-size ziplock bag in half along the side and bottom seams. You should be left with two pieces with which to cover each side of the press. Trim each of the two pieces so each piece is just large enough to cover the top and bottom of the press without too much excess plastic. This keeps the dough balls from sticking to the press when you flatten them, and it also makes it easy to transfer the flattened dough to the baking sheet.

tortilla press with ziplock bags

One at a time, place each ball of dough in the center of the press. Close the press and slowly push it down, holding the handle and applying firm pressure. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or the tortillas will be too thin. You may need to make a few test tortillas to get a sense of how much pressure to apply.

tortilla flattened with press

If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use a glass baking dish or pie plate to press the tortillas. Cut a gallon-size ziplock bag in half along the side and bottom seams so that you’re left with two pieces with which to cover each side of the dough. One at a time, place each ball of dough between the plastic sheets and use the baking dish to press the dough into thin, flat circles. It helps to shimmy the dish back and forth as you press.

flattened tortilla using baking dish

After you flatten each dough ball into a tortilla, carefully transfer it to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Arrange them so they are in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lay a second piece of parchment paper down to cover the first layer of tortillas and continue to arrange them this way until you’ve flattened all the dough balls. To keep the flattened tortillas from drying out as you work, lay a damp kitchen towel over the uncovered flattened tortillas. (Alternatively, you can skip this step and just cook the tortillas as you press them.)

uncooked tortillas on baking sheet

Step 4: Cook the Tortillas

Heat a medium griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high high heat. When it’s hot, place 1 to 2 tortillas (depending on how large your skillet is) into the dry skillet and cook for 60 to 90 seconds.tortillas in the skilletUsing a spatula, flip the tortilla(s) and cook for an additional 60 to 90 seconds or until they’re a nice golden color and you see some cracks on the surface. (You can use your fingers to turn the tortillas over, but be really careful not to burn yourself!)

tortillas flipped in skillet

The tortillas may form some air pockets as they cook – don’t worry, they will deflate as they cool. Transfer the cooked tortillas to a plate, and wrap them with a kitchen towel until the remaining tortillas are cooked. Wrapping the tortillas with a towel allows them to steam, which helps soften their texture.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are best eaten right after they’re cooked but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Warm the leftover tortillas briefly in a skillet before using.

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Homemade Corn Tortillas

Up your taco game with these easy homemade corn tortillas!

Servings: 15 tortillas
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups masa harina (usually found in the Latin section of most large supermarkets)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups warm water

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the masa harina and salt. Add 1-1/2 cups of the warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the water is absorbed.
  2. Start working the mixture using your hands, adding up to ½ cup more water, a few tablespoons at a time. Your goal is to add enough water so that the mixture starts to form a cohesive dough. If it starts to stick to your hands, add a pinch or two more masa harina. The texture you’re aiming for is soft but not sticky (similar to Play-Doh or sugar cookie dough).
  3. Divide the dough into golf ball-sized chunks (about 1-1/2 ounces each). You should have enough dough to divide it into about 15 pieces. Roll each piece between your palms to form smooth balls. (This will make tortillas that are 5 to 6 inches in diameter.) Cover the dough balls with a clean, damp kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you work.
  4. If you’re using a tortilla press, cut a gallon-size ziplock bag in half along the side and bottom seams so that you’re left with two pieces with which to cover each side of the press. Then trim each of the two pieces so each piece is just large enough to cover the top and bottom of the press without too much excess plastic. This keeps the dough balls from sticking to the press when you flatten them and makes it easy to transfer the flattened dough to the baking sheet.
  5. One at a time, place each ball of dough in the center of the press. Close the press and slowly push it down, holding the handle and applying firm pressure. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or the tortillas will be too thin. You may need to make a few test tortillas to get a sense of how much pressure to apply.
  6. If you’re using a glass baking dish, cut a gallon-size ziplock bag in half along the side and bottom seams so that you’re left with two pieces with which to cover each side of the dough. One at a time, place each ball of dough between the plastic sheets and use the baking dish to press the dough into thin, flat circles. It helps to shimmy the dish back and forth as you press.
  7. After you flatten each dough ball into a tortilla, carefully transfer it, either with your fingers or using the bottom half of the plastic bag, to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Arrange them so they are in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lay a second piece of parchment paper down to cover the first layer of tortillas and continue to arrange them this way until you’ve flattened all the dough balls. To keep the flattened tortillas from drying out as you work, lay a damp kitchen towel over the uncovered flattened tortillas. (Alternatively, you can skip this step and just cook the tortillas as you press them.)
  8. Heat a medium griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high high heat. When it’s hot, place 1 to 2 tortillas (depending on how large your skillet is) into the dry skillet and cook for 60 to 90 seconds. Using a spatula, flip the tortilla(s) and cook for an additional 60 to 90 seconds or until they’re a nice golden color and you see some cracks on the surface. (You can use your fingers to turn the tortillas over, but be really careful not to burn yourself!) The tortillas may form some air pockets as they cook – don’t worry, they will deflate as they cool.
  9. Transfer the cooked tortillas to a plate and wrap them with a kitchen towel until the remaining tortillas are cooked and ready to serve. Wrapping them with the towel is an important step because it allows the hot tortillas to continue to steam, which softens their texture.
  10. These are best eaten right after they’re cooked, but can be refrigerated, wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, and put in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Warm the leftover tortillas briefly in a skillet before using.
  11. Make-Ahead Instructions: The dough can be prepared and stored, covered, on the counter for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap the dough securely in plastic wrap and place in a resealable bag. Remove the dough from the freezer several hours before you plan to use it, and let it thaw on the counter. The cooked tortillas can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 2 tortillas
  • Calories: 119
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 76 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I have made these twice. I don’t have a tortilla press, so doing the glass baking dish method. First time didn’t work – they kept sticking to the plastic bag. Second time I used parchment paper and had much better luck. I thought it was worth weighing the 1.5 ounce balls out to get tortillas of uniform size. Very easy once you get the hang of it.

    • — Erika on July 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Could these be used for your tortilla soup recipe?

    • — Julie on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yep, definitely!

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • Looking forward to making these with my granddaughters. (I purchased organic masa harina, as most corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.) Expecting delicious results!

    • — Kathy on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I use Maseca often for homemade corn tortillas that I stopped buying them at the store. They are so easy to make and your recipe will be enjoyed by many! Have you tried the Nixtamasa version from Maseca? That one is my favorite and so flavorful!

    • — Christy on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • I can’t say that I’ve ever tried the Nixtamasa version — I’ll have to check it out. Hope you enjoy the tortillas if you make them!

      • — Jenn on June 25, 2020
      • Reply

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