When it came to learning how to make corn tortillas it was something that I had to do a few times in order to get an easy process with consistent results. And now that my process and results are quite consistent, making tortillas is as easy as throwing together a salad. Plus, I love making them and eating them! Being able to take a warm tortilla right off the griddle and slather it with butter is a culinary delight, not to mention the tacos and enchiladas (listed below) that are even better with homemade tortillas.
About a year ago, I posted my recipe for Red Chile Corn Tortillas. In that post, I briefly explained how you could change the recipe and process for regular corn tortillas. But that probably led to some confusion. So I have separated to two recipes. Below is my process and recipe for every day, good old, corn tortillas. If you want to change them or spice them up a bit, check the red chile corn tortilla or add about 1/2 teaspoon of a chile spice blend. Flavored tortillas are a real treat for tacos!
Here are some dishes that are best with homemade tortillas.
How to Make Corn Tortillas
By: MJ of MJ’s Kitchen
Makes 8 – 10 six inch tortillas or 5 – 6 eight inch tortillas (For more, see Kitchen Notes below)
Prep and Cook time: less than 45 minutes
6 – 8 inch tortilla press
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
¾ cup warm water
- Mix together the dry ingredients – masa harina, baking powder, and salt.
- Slowly add ½ cup of the water to the masa while you work the dough with your hands. Continue 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 water at a time until you get a smooth, but not sticky, consistency.
- Create 1.5 – 2″ diameter balls of dough for 6″ or 8″ press, respectively. Roll in your hands until smooth. Set on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel.
- Start heating one side of the griddle over a medium heat. Heat the other side over a medium-low heat.
- Cut two pieces of plastic wrap the width of the press, then cut or fold into a square. Place one of the squares on the bottom of the press.
- Place one of the balls of dough in the center of the press and cover with the other piece of plastic. With your hand, flatten a little bit, and straighten the plastic wrap if needed.
- Close the press and press, but not too hard. Open the press and turn the tortilla with plastic 90° and press again.
- Remove the top piece of plastic. Flip the tortilla over onto your palm and carefully remove the other piece of plastic.
- Flip the tortilla onto the hotter part of the griddle. Let cook for about 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.
- 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.
- Continue until all of the tortillas are cooked.
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, not sticky or wet. If it’s too wet, just sprinkle in some more masa. Too dry, add a little bit more water (about 1 Tbsp at a time).
Browning the tortillas – Cooking the tortillas until the edges start to brown on the tortilla start to have browned spots, is a personal preference IMO. For enchiladas I do cook the tortillas longer until they start to brown. However, so soft tacos I remove the tortillas from the griddle before they start to brown. The softer tortilla yields a better taco IMO.
To make a double batch, increase the masa to 2 cups, the liquid to 1 ½ cups (starting with 1 cup and add as you need it), baking powder to 1 tsp., and the salt to ½ teaspoon.
More Kitchen Notes
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.
Salt – Many corn tortillas recipes omit the salt all together. I’ve tried that and didn’t enjoy the flavor as much. Salt can reduce the amount of “puffing” during the cooking process, but even that can be affected by the brand of masa.
I hope you give making your own corn tortillas a try. It’s not as hard as you might imagine and the results are well worth it.