How to make homemade corn tortillas

Photo by Amber Engle

Making your own corn tortillas is fun and easy. With just three basic ingredients, a tortilla press, and a hot skillet, you’ll be on your way to having gluten-free, delicious, soft corn tortillas in less than an hour. You can use them for enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, nachos, and more.

How to make tortillas

Here comes the fun part. Although it is easy to do, you will need to be patient if this is your first time making homemade tortillas. There are times where the dough will feel dry or soggy. All you have to do is add more water or add more masa. As you make more homemade corn tortillas, you will quickly learn and enjoy the tortilla-making process.

Ingredients

2 cups of Masa Harina (not regular cornmeal or corn flour)

½ teaspoon of salt

1 ½ to 2 cups of warm water

Important: Masa harina is different from regular corn flour or cornmeal. In order to create masa harina, the corn goes through a process called nixtamalization, which involves soaking it in an alkaline solution (usually lime). This changes the structure of the grain which enables it to form a dough. It also adds calcium and makes the nutrients in the grain easier to absorb.

Making the tortillas

  1. In a large bowl, mix the 2 cups of Masa Harina with ½ teaspoon of salt
  2. Add 1 cup warm water and stir well
  3. Add the remaining water slowly, stirring  regularly, until it forms a dough
  4. Knead the dough using your hands
  5. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes
  6. Portion the dough into 16-18 chunks, then roll and smoothen each into a ball using your hands
  7. Flatten each dough ball into a disk 4-5 inches in diameter using tortilla press (like this one). Placing the ball between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper will prevent it from sticking

Don’t let the lack of a tortilla press stop you. You can use a rolling pin or any flat-bottomed dish to flatten your tortillas, but a tortilla press will make your tortilla-making more efficient.

Cooking the tortillas

  1. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat
  2. Remove the plastic or wax paper from the tortillas and cook them one by one, 30 to 60 seconds per side.  The tortilla is cooked when it’s lightly toasted, with little bubbles.
  3. Place in a tortilla warmer lined with paper towels to keep them warm

Storing tortillas

Tortillas are best eaten right after cooking but can also be stored in a plastic bag or container in the fridge.

Reheating tortillas

You can use a microwave to reheat the tortillas but to get the best out of leftover tortillas, warm them in a non-stick skillet for 15-30 seconds each side or until they become a bit crispy.

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