Classic Mexican Corn Tortillas Recipe

Prep Time: 35m

Cook Time: 20m

Yield: 16 Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups very warm water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Switch to a wooden spoon, and gradually mix in the water. When the dough gets too thick, start mixing with your hands.
  2. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a clean surface and knead it with the heels of your palms for about 5 minutes. The finished dough should be soft and not sticky. When you press a finger into it, it should not stick. The texture should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and set it aside for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Pluck off a piece of the dough and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball between your palms; repeat with the remaining dough, keeping it covered while you work.
  4. If you have a tortilla press, use it to flatten the balls for the best results. If you don't have one, use a skillet or another heavy dish (like a roasting pan) to press the tortillas flat and round. Working with one piece at a time, place the ball between pieces of parchment paper, then press down using all your body weight. If the tortillas aren't thin enough, use a rolling pin to gently roll them out more. The goal is to have the thinnest tortillas without having them fall apart.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle, or any other cooking vessel that can be safely heated to a high temperature. When your pan is very hot, cook the tortillas one at a time, 30-60 seconds per side, until the dough is dry and has a few brown spots on it.
  6. Keep the cooked tortillas wrapped in a clean kitchen towel while you cook the rest to prevent them from drying out.
  7. Homemade tortillas are best eaten while still warm.

Gather the ingredients for classic corn tortillas

Classic corn tortillas are the backbone of much of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. Tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, chilaquiles, and many other delicious favorites would not be possible without these magical, centuries-old flatbreads.

Sure, you can get pretty decent tortillas in nearly every supermarket or deli in the country, but nothing compares to the flavor of warm, freshly-made tortillas. And while you might not think that making tortillas is in your wheelhouse, this Mexican classic is simple to make at home. 

Making classic corn tortillas requires just one bowl, one pan, and three ingredients: masa harina (a type of corn flour), water, and salt. The trick is to pay close attention to the tortilla dough and master the technique. Don't fret if your first few tortillas don't turn out quite right — it can take a couple of tries before you get the hang of it. Read on for all our corn tortilla tips!

Mix the corn tortilla dough

The main ingredient is masa harina — a fine-textured flour made from nixtamalized corn (corn is that dried, soaked in an alkaline solution, then dehydrated again before being ground). You can get this flour in most supermarkets in the international foods aisle. The other two ingredients are salt and warm water ... which in all likelihood, you already have at home. 

Knead the dough

To start, whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Then, gradually add the water and stir the ingredients with a spoon. When the mixture gets too thick, switch to mixing with your hands.

Rest the dough

When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a clean surface and knead it with the heels of your palms for about 5 minutes. The finished dough should be soft and not sticky; when you press a finger into it, it shouldn't stick. The texture should feel like Play-Doh.

Form the tortillas

To fully hydrate the flour, we recommend setting the dough aside for 15-30 minutes to rest.

Cook the tortillas

Pluck off a piece of the dough and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball between your palms. If you have a tortilla press, go ahead and use it to flatten the balls for the most uniform results. If you don't have one, use a skillet or another heavy dish (like a roasting pan) to press the tortillas into flat rounds. 

Working with one piece at a time, place a ball between pieces of parchment paper, and press down using all your body weight. If the tortillas aren't thin enough, use a rolling pin to gently roll them out more. The goal is to have the thinnest tortillas without having them fall apart.

Classic Mexican Corn Tortillas Recipe
4.6 from 7 ratings
Sure, you can buy corn tortillas at most grocery stores, but there's something about this easy recipe for fresh, classic corn tortillas that can't be beat.
Prep Time
35
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
16
Tortillas
stack of corn tortillas
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups very warm water
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Switch to a wooden spoon, and gradually mix in the water. When the dough gets too thick, start mixing with your hands.
  2. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a clean surface and knead it with the heels of your palms for about 5 minutes. The finished dough should be soft and not sticky. When you press a finger into it, it should not stick. The texture should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and set it aside for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Pluck off a piece of the dough and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball between your palms; repeat with the remaining dough, keeping it covered while you work.
  4. If you have a tortilla press, use it to flatten the balls for the best results. If you don't have one, use a skillet or another heavy dish (like a roasting pan) to press the tortillas flat and round. Working with one piece at a time, place the ball between pieces of parchment paper, then press down using all your body weight. If the tortillas aren't thin enough, use a rolling pin to gently roll them out more. The goal is to have the thinnest tortillas without having them fall apart.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle, or any other cooking vessel that can be safely heated to a high temperature. When your pan is very hot, cook the tortillas one at a time, 30-60 seconds per side, until the dough is dry and has a few brown spots on it.
  6. Keep the cooked tortillas wrapped in a clean kitchen towel while you cook the rest to prevent them from drying out.
  7. Homemade tortillas are best eaten while still warm.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 52
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 0.0 g
Sodium 74.3 mg
Protein 1.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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