How to Make Corn Tortillas
How to Make Corn Tortillas

This recipe for homemade corn tortillas only requires two ingredients and tastes better than anything you can buy at the store. These corn tortillas are also gluten-free and can be used for tacos, quesadillas, and more!

In this recipe

  • What is Masa Harina?
  • Where to buy Masa Harina
  • With a tortilla press
  • Prepare tortillas without a press
  • Tips to keep the dough from sticking
  • How to store corn tortillas
  • Heat the remaining corn tortillas
  • Ways to enjoy your homemade tortillas

Nothing beats homemade tortillas from scratch! The pre-packaged tortillas you get in major American markets don’t even come close to a good, freshly made corn tortilla.

All you need is masa harina cornmeal, water, a tortilla press (you can use a rolling pin, but a tortilla press will help.), and a hot grill surface.

What is Masa Harina?

For the tortillas you need a special cornmeal called masa harina.

Masa harina is cornmeal that has been treated with calcium hydroxide, or “lime,” making it more nutritious and easier to digest by releasing the niacin in corn.

Where to buy Masa Harina

Masa flour is available in Mexican markets or online. Look for masa harina, which contains only corn and lime (calcium hydroxide) for making corn tortillas.

You can make the tortillas entirely by hand, forming a thin pancake with the dough between your palms. But unless you have some experience with this method, you’ll get more consistent results if you use a tortilla press.

What type of tortilla press to use?

These too are available in Mexican markets and are made of either wood or cast iron. They are available online.

The wooden tortilla press pictured was purchased at a local Mexican market in town. You can also roll out the masa with a rolling pin, two pieces of cling film between each piece or in a plastic freezer bag.


Watch How to Make Corn Tortillas

How to make corn tortillas without a tortilla press

While we love our tortilla press, you may not want to buy one just to make tortillas. You can use a large skillet, flat-bottomed glass casserole dish, cutting board, or even a large, heavy book to flatten the batter. Just be sure to place the ball of dough between the plastic wraps to prevent sticking.

You can also make homemade corn tortillas using a rolling pin. Still, place the ball of dough between 2 pieces of thick plastic wrap (we recommend using a plastic freezer bag cut into 2 squares). Then roll out to desired thickness.

We don’t mind the uneven edges as they give it that extra homemade feel. But if you want perfect circles, you can use a 5 inch cookie cutter to shape your tortillas.

Tips to keep the dough from sticking

We recommend slitting a plastic freezer bag at the seams to press your tortillas, but you can also use parchment or waxed paper for the same effect.

You might be tempted to dust your surface with flour, but don’t do it. This will only make your tortillas dry and stiff.

How to store corn tortillas

You cannot freeze the prepared masa dough, but you can store it in the refrigerator for a few days. Then pinch off pieces of dough to make fresh corn tortillas whenever you want.

If you love fresh corn tortillas like we do, you can also make a double batch and freeze the cooked tortillas. Cool them completely and store between sheets of wax paper in a zip-top freezer bag. Thaw and reheat in a pan or microwave whenever you like.

How to reheat leftover corn tortillas

There are so many ways to reheat your cooked corn tortillas. You can wrap the whole stack in aluminum foil and heat in a preheated oven at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your stack.

You can also reheat them in the microwave. Cover your plate with just a paper towel or a slightly damp kitchen towel. This will make the tortillas softer and more pliable.

You can also reheat them in a lightly oiled skillet, such as a cast iron skillet.

Regardless of how you reheat your tortillas, the trick is to heat them without drying them out.

Ways to enjoy your homemade corn tortillas

  • Easy Fish Tacos
  • Breakfast tacos with chorizo ​​and eggs
  • Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos
  • Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa
  • Green chile enchiladas

More easy Mexican recipes to try at home!

  • How to make the best guacamole
  • Pico de Gallo (Fresh Salsa)
  • Homemade tortilla chips
  • Mexican street corn nachos
  • Seven layer bean dip

From the editors of Simply Recipes

How to make corn tortillas

preparation time
20 minutes

cooking time
15 minutes

total time
35 minutes

up to 8 servings

to 18 tortillas

This recipe may take a little practice to get right, especially since there are different brands of masa harina. And even the ambient humidity can make a difference in how much water you need to add. The ratio is a guide. If after several minutes of kneading the dough is still too wet, you can add a little more masa harina to the mixture until you have the right consistency that is both not dry and not too sticky.


  • 2 cups Masa Harina (like maseca in the white, yellow, and green bag; make sure it’s for tortillas and not tamales)

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups very warm water


Make the masa dough

  1. Mix masa flour with very warm water:

    To make 16 to 18 tortillas, start by adding 2 cups of masa flour to a large bowl.

    Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of very warm water to the masa flour (per the package directions, some brands may require different amounts of water).

    Mix and let sit for about 5 minutes.

  2. Knead the dough:

    Start working the masa with your hands to make the dough. Work the dough for a few minutes.

    Press the dough with your fingers and palms as if you were kneading bread dough.

    The dough will be a little gritty at first, but should smooth out as you knead it.

    If at any point during the tortilla making process the dough seems too dry or too wet, add a little more water or masa to the dough.

  3. Shape dough balls:

    Pinch off a piece of masa dough and rub it between your hands to shape it into a ball the size of a plum or a slightly larger golf ball.

    Form about 16 to 18 balls from the dough.

Squeeze the tortillas

  1. Prepare the press with two plastic sheets:

    From a plastic freezer bag, cut two pieces of plastic to the shape of the top of the tortilla press.

  2. Place the ball of dough between the plastic sheets and press:

    Open the tortilla press and place a piece of plastic on top of the press. Place the masa ball in the center.

    Place another piece of plastic over the masa ball.

    Gently close the press and press down until the dough has spread to about 4-5 inches in diameter.

Cook the tortillas

  1. Heat a griddle or large pan on high:

    A well-seasoned cast-iron griddle or large cast-iron skillet works well for this.

  2. Remove the raw tortilla from the plastic:

    Working one at a time, holding one tortilla, carefully remove the plastic on each side.

  3. Place the tortilla on the hot pan:

    With the tortilla half resting on your hand and half hanging down, gently place the tortilla on the pan. While the tortilla is cooking, start pressing the next tortilla.

  4. Fry the tortilla on one side, then turn:

    Fry the tortilla in the hot pan for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. The tortilla should be lightly toasted and small air pockets will form.

  5. Cover and keep tortillas warm:

    Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer lined with tea towels or paper towels, or wrap them in a tea towel to keep them warm.

    Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat.

nutritional information (per serving)
103 calories
1g Fat
22g carbohydrates
2g protein
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