How to Make Red Chile Corn Tortillas

How to make red chile corn tortillas #tortillas |

After years of frustration trying to find corn tortillas that don’t fall apart when steamed or dipped in sauce, I started making my own.  I tried several methods that worked o.k., but it wasn’t until I tried the method that I found in one of my favorite cookbooks Gran Cocina Latina, that I was able to consistently turn out great tortillas.  I usually make regular corn tortillas, but it’s fun changing them up a bit and making flavored tortillas like these red chile corn tortillas.  The method and the recipes are basically the same. The only difference is that you substitute some of the water with red chile sauce.  The outcome is a beautiful red tortilla with a red chile flavor and a little spiciness in every bite.

My homemade tortillas work great with beans, as soft taco shells, and in enchiladas.  How they don’t fry up very well for chips, but the whole tortillas do bake nicely for tostadas.  To bake preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the tortillas on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Turn 3- 4 times until crispy.


How to make red chile corn tortillas #tortillas #red #chile #corn @mjskitchen


How to Make Red Chile Corn Tortillas

This recipe and process is similar to making regular corn tortillas. The main difference is that some of the water has been substituted with red chile sauce.

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Makes 8 – 10  six inch tortillas (using a 6″ press)*
Prep and Cook time: less than 45 minutes


Tortilla press
Plastic wrap
Plate and damp paper towel
Tortilla warmer with paper towel
1 two burner griddle or 2 single burner griddles


1 cup Masa Harina*
¼ tsp. salt*
½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup red chile sauce*
½ cup hot water*


Warning:  If your red chile sauce is HOT, it might be a good idea to use gloves when mixing and kneading the dough. The capsaicin from the red chile can be absorbed into the skin while kneading the dough and cause your hands to burn.

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients – masa harina, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Mix together the wet ingredients – water and red chile sauce
  3. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the liquid to the masa while you work the dough with your hands*. Consistency for tortilla dough for masa | mjskitchen.comContinue to work the dough for at least 2 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough. If the dough seems too dry, add 1 tablespoon of liquid at a time until you get a smooth, but not sticky, consistency.
  4. Create eight or more 1.5″ diameter balls of dough*. Roll in your hands until smooth. Set on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. (If you have an 8″ press, roll out 2″ diameter balls.)
  5. Heat one side of the griddle over a medium heat. Heat the other side over a medium-low heat.
  6. Cut two pieces of plastic wrap the width of the press, then cut or fold them into squares. Place one of the pieces of plastic wrap on the bottom of the press.
  7. Place one of the balls of dough on the press and cover with the other piece of plastic. With your hand, flatten a little bit, and straighten the plastic wrap if needed.
  8. Close the press and press one of the dough balls about half way. Open the press and turn the tortilla with plastic 90° and press again.
  9. Remove the top piece of plastic. Flip the tortilla over onto your palm and carefully remove the other piece of plastic.  How to make cor tortillas |
  10. Flip the tortilla onto the hotter part of the griddle. Let cook for 30 seconds, then flip. Cook for 1 -2 minutes then flip again. The tortilla should start to puff up. If it doesn’t, tap the center gently with the spatula. Once puffed (it doesn’t have to puff much) and the edges stating to turn up or brown a bit, flip onto cooler side of the griddle for another 60 seconds.
  11. Place a paper towel in a tortilla warmer.  As the tortillas finish cooking, transfer to the tortilla warmer and cover.  The tortillas will continue to steam and soften.
  12. Continue until all of the tortillas are cooked.

*See Kitchen Notes for more information and for how to double the batch.



How to make red chile corn tortillas #tortillas #red #chile #corn @mjskitchen


Kitchen Notes

Kneading the dough – For those who don’t like to use their hands to mix, use a spatula to initially combine the wet and dry ingredients. However, at some point you’re going to have to jump in there and use your hands.  That’s the only way you’ll be able to really get a feel for the dough.  Always go for smooth and not sticky or wet.  If it’s too wet, just sprinkle in some more masa.

Tortilla Size – With corn tortillas I usually get 8 tortillas, but with the red chile tortillas, I get 10 tortillas.  The tortillas do start out being about 6″ in diameter, but shrink to around 5″ while cooking.  If you want larger tortillas, buy an 8″ press. Make the dough balls about 2″ in diameter for the larger press.

Doubling the Batch – To make a double batch, increase the masa to 2 cups, the liquid to 1 ½ cups (3/4 cups water and 3/4 cups red chile) and the salt to ½ teaspoon.

Masa Harina – There are several brands of Masa Harina, and different brands yield a little difference in texture and color.  For tortillas for soft tacos, I use Bob’s Red Mill.  It is a finer masa than most other brands, yielding a softer, more moist tortilla.  For enchiladas or tostadas, I use a less expensive brands like Meseca or Quakers.

Red Chile Tortillas – Because of the thickness of the red chile, a little more liquid is needed. I usually end up using the full cup.  You’ll probably be able to get 8 – 10 tortillas from this size batch.

Red Chile Sauce  – The red chile you use can be made from pods or made from powder.

Water – The water you use should be hot water.

Salt – Many tortillas recipes omit the salt all together.  I’ve tried that and didn’t enjoy the flavor as much.  It didn’t seem to affect the cooking process so the salt is really for taste.


Below are some recipes that work great with these tortillas.

Chicken Tacos with Green Chile Corn Relish

Grilled Portabello Tacos with Red Chile Yogurt Sauce

Calabacitas Enchiladas

Black Bean and Shiitake Enchiladas

New Mexico Red Chile Enchiladas


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39 Responses to “How to Make Red Chile Corn Tortillas”

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook April 28, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

    I’m saving this recipe. I am SO fascinated by the homemade corn tortillas and they have chile in them? Wow they are very special ones for sure (to impress anyone!). I haven’t been here (or any blogs) much, and first thing I noticed is your new (or newer) picture of beautiful MJ. I LOVE your smile – made ME smile. 🙂 You haven’t changed at all since you were young (in your about page). I’m going to browse your site a little longer to see what you’ve been cooking. 🙂

    • mj April 30, 2016 at 11:41 am #

      Thanks so very much Nami!!! Oh, you’re so sweet…I’ve change a lot since I was young, but yes, the smile is still there. I get it from my mother. 🙂 Hope you are still enjoying your awesome new kitchen!!!

  2. April J Harris April 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    I’ve never made tortillas from scratch, MJ, but your recipe really does make me want to give it a try! Your Red Chile Corn Tortillas look delicious – and your step by step instructions make them look very do-able.

    • mj April 24, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

      Thanks so much April!

  3. Adina April 24, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    I’ve never made my own tortillas, such a shame. Yours look so good, but I cannot buy masa harina around here… Is there a good substitute?

    • mj April 24, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

      I’ve never tried using it, but I’ve read that you can use a fine ground yellow cornmeal, but you’ll probably need to add about 1/2 tsp. to one cup of cornmeal. Thanks Adina! Hope you’ve ha a wonderful weekend.

  4. Debra Eliotseats April 23, 2016 at 7:36 am #

    I love the color. I have not forayed into tortilla making but you might want to check out the cookbook Tacos by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman. (I reviewed it here: They have some really delicious sounding tortilla recipes in it too.

    I guess I need to find a tortilla press! 🙂 Thanks, M.J.

    • mj April 23, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      I saw that! Loved the deviled egg tacos and the book looks like a real keeper! Thanks Debra for linking to it.

  5. Raymund April 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    Even the tortillas are infused with chillies! Nice one, I love it

    • mj April 23, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      🙂 Thanks Raymund!

  6. Tamara April 21, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    I’m so glad to see this post MJ! I’ve not had stellar experiences when making my own corn tortillas, and usually look for the freshest local tortillas… I’d always prefer making my own. I’m anxious to give your recipe a try, and I love the addition of red chile sauce!

    • mj April 23, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      Thanks Tamara! Considering how far I have to drive to find freshly made tortillas, I might as well just make them at home. 🙂

  7. Anna @ shenANNAgans April 20, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Home made tortillas… LOVE!!! A goal this year is to make my own bread, pizza base and now tortilla, wouldn’t have thought to make them fancy with red chilli tho. Cant wait to try. 🙂

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks Anna! Oh you really need to make your own bread! There is nothing Better!

  8. Liz April 20, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    We don’t have many good options for tortillas around here—and I’ve thought often that I need to make my own. Adding to my foodie bucket list 🙂

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks Liz! They are actually quite easy to make. Hope you give them a try.

  9. swathi April 19, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

    I can eat this spicy chile corn tortillas with some mild curry. Love it this post MJ.

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks Swathi!

  10. Sissi April 19, 2016 at 6:32 am #

    They look so gorgeous, dear MJ! Red chile sauce makes wonders, I am sure not only from the aesthetic side 😉
    (What a beautiful photograph! I like it a lot!)

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! Now that you’ve made NM red chile, you now how these could taste. 🙂

  11. Katerina April 19, 2016 at 2:09 am #

    I am keeping this to try MJ! I love tortillas and especially corn ones! Your new photo of you looks lovely with that inviting, wide smile! Pinned!

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

      Thanks Katerina! Glad you like the photo! I needed to update it. 🙂

  12. Amy (Savory Moments) April 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to try making my own tortillas, but I’ve found it intimidating. This is a great post and your tortillas look really lovely!

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

      Oh Amy, they are so much easier than you think. And believe me, you’ll find homemade much better than store bought.

  13. Ramona W April 18, 2016 at 5:08 am #

    I have a tortilla press… use it to make roti.. LOL! I guess I should try my hand at some tortillas now! 🙂 These tortillas look so flavorful… I would just heat them and add some butter… that’s all I need. 🙂

  14. Evelyne CulturEatz April 16, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    I would not expect anything less from you than making your own tortillas….with red chile! Just love them, so beautiful and I bet absolutely the best.

    • mj April 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Evelyne!

  15. Deb|EastofEdenCooking April 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    Excellent tutorial! I don’t take the time to make my own tortillas often enough. Your scrumptious post is an inspiration! Adding red chile sauce is genius.

    • mj April 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

      Thanks so much Deb! Glad you enjoyed the tutorial! I wanted to add more picture, but I have a very hard time cooking and taking pictures at the same time. The camera gets too messy. 🙂

  16. John/Kitchen Riffs April 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I’ve never added chile sauce to my tortillas! Great idea — I’m SO going to do this. 🙂 I often (usually) don’t knead my tortillas quite as much as you do. I usually have a pretty good dough after a couple of minutes, but I should try kneading more to see whether I like that better. I love the flavor of homemade tortillas, but the only downside is they’re thicker than a tortilla factory makes. That’s often a plus, IMO, but in enchiladas I do like a thinner tortilla. Anyway, super recipe — thanks.

    • mj April 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

      GREAT! Adding red chile was one of those “liquid for liquid” ideas, so why not and it worked! On the kneading, I have found that the consistency of tortilla is better fits my tastes with a longer kneading. The Gran Cocina book actually says 5 – 10 minutes, but I have found 5 minutes longer enough. On the enchiladas, since I normally make the restaurant style, flat and one serving at a time on the serving plate, the thicker tortillas work nicely. If I were to make a casserole type batch, then, you’re probably right – thinner is better. Thanks John!

  17. Zsuzsa April 15, 2016 at 11:45 am #

    Hello Peach Lady,

    Could I make these with regular skillets? with just water for our aging digestive tracks?
    BTW your new photo is lovely.

    • mj April 16, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Yes, you could use cast iron or any heavy skillet that has a nice even heat. And I make them with just water all of the time. I explain how in the Kitchen Notes. Thank you for your comments Darlin!

  18. Angie@Angie's Recipes April 15, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    I have never made corn tortillas…I love these with red chile so much! Thanks for sharing, MJ.

    • mj April 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

      Thank you Angie! With all of the grains you work with, I’m surprised you haven’t made tortillas before.

  19. Bam's Kitchen April 15, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    I am in love home made tortillas and not any corn tortillas but red chile ones. Awesome. I know they taste so much better homemade. When I am visiting back in the real world I need to smuggle back in some Masa harina or just stop off at your house for dinner.

    • mj April 16, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

      Oh I knew you’d love these! Sure the boys will love them too. 🙂 And then if you do make it to New Mexico, you are welcome to dinner any time!!!!

  20. Helene D'Souza | Masala Herb April 15, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    Hi MJ, how have you been?
    Glad to be back again and I can see that you have been busy. Just the other day I thought I wished I could make tortillas because what you get here is not worth mentioning. Anyway homemade and fresh corn bflat bread is always comforting and wholesome. Can’t wait to try your red chili corn tortillas!

    • mj April 16, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      Hey Stranger! 🙂 We’re fine over here. Hope you are doing well and it’s nice to see you back. I’m not surprised that you can’t get tortillas there. Can you even get masa harina? Hope so. That’s needed for good tortillas. Thanks for your comments Helene!

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