Homemade Corn Tortillas Are Easier Than You Think

46 Comments
5 minutes
March 22, 2023
Andi Gleeson

Cook up a stack of warm, fresh homemade corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year since I found out I had a gluten intolerance (or whatever it is in wheat that bothers my digestive system). Since I made the change, I’ve tried not to talk about it too much around here since I didn’t want to turn this into a gluten-free blog. I mention every now and then when you can make substitutions to avoid gluten, but I mostly keep it on the down low except for the occasional whining. I recently told you that there’s no (good) substitution for real bread, and one other thing I thought I missed was flour tortillas.

It’s actually really easy to eat Mexican food without gluten, which is a good thing since it’s my very favorite kind of food. It has been hard to give up big, fat taqueria burritos wrapped in flour tortillas, but if you substitute corn tortillas for flour and avoid dishes with mysterious ingredients like enchilada sauce, you’re in pretty good shape. I find that corn tortillas at restaurants are usually soft and delicious, so why are the grocery store corn tortillas so fragile?

I had grown very tired of trying to eat soft tacos at home, only to have the dry, store-bought corn tortillas crack and fall apart, leaving my taco on my plate (or in my lap).

After having amazingly soft corn tortillas at a small Mexican restaurant recently, I decided I was going to try my hand at making my own. As much as I love convenience, it seemed worth it to make tortillas I could actually enjoy. As it turns out, making corn tortillas at home is SO EASY. I am one of the laziest, weariest cooks you know, so if even I’m willing to make them, you know they must be pretty simple.

Here’s what you need:

  • A bag of instant corn masa (found with the cornmeal and flour)
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Wax paper
  • A tortilla press (or a rolling pin)
  • A skillet or griddle
Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

What do you mean, “What else?” That’s it! I don’t have a recipe because the instructions are right there on the bag of masa. I like to make eight tortillas at a time, so I use a cup of masa, 2/3 cup water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Here’s the method:

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Stir together the ingredients for a minute or two until crumbly.

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Mash the dough into a ball with your hands. (If it’s too wet, add a little masa; if it’s too dry, add a little water. It should feel like fresh playdoh.) Transfer it to a cutting board, and knead it just for about a minute to make sure it is holding together well. Roll it into a smooth ball. (At this point, you should also start heating a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.)

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Cut the ball into eighths.

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Then, roll each wedge into a small ball.

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Place a square of wax paper on the bottom of the tortilla press, and place a ball of dough in the center.

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Lay a second square of wax paper on top of the dough ball, and press the tortilla press closed.

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Open it up, and voila! You have a tortilla!

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Peel the top layer of wax paper off. Then, place the tortilla flat on your hand, and carefully peel the wax paper off the other side. (No my arms aren’t that hairy. I had to get my husband to do this step so I could get the photo…)

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

Place your tortilla in the hot skillet. Depending on the size of your pan, you can cook 2-4 at a time. Cook them on one side for about a minute, until the edges start to curl just a little. Flip them over, and cook them for another minute. Stack the cooked tortillas on a plate, and cover with a towel to keep warm. (Sorry I don’t have a photo of the cooking step because the lighting in my kitchen is too awful.)

Make a stack of warm, fresh corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

It literally took me 15 minutes start to finish to make these gorgeous tortillas. Look how pliable they are! I can even roll and unroll them with no cracking.

Cook up a stack of warm, fresh homemade corn tortillas in only about 15 minutes!

We enjoyed our fresh tortillas as chicken tacos that I will show you tomorrow, and they were sturdy enough to stand up to all the chicken and salsa juices without a single rip. I don’t think I can ever go back to store-bought corn tortillas unless to layer them in a casserole or make chips. Homemade corn tortillas are just too easy, good, and fun to pass up!

If you want to try making these tortillas, I recommend this 6.5″ cast iron tortilla press that I ordered from Amazon. (This is an affiliate link, so if you happen to order this or something else from Amazon after clicking this link, I’ll earn a very small commission on the sale.)

You know what you should fill your tortillas with? These recipes!

Andi Gleeson

46 comments

Jocelyn
6 years ago

I also use this method to make papusas I make taco and cheese like filling and then put a round of the tortilla mixture in my hand and flatten it out then a scoop of the filling and wrap the masa around it and cook it in a hot skillet same as you would the tortilla. So yummy. :)

Dahlia Gonzalez
6 years ago

This is so easy I have to try it my grandma Vita used to grind the corn into corn meal and she would wet her hands and the sound of pat-pat-pat she’d make a perfect round tortilla.

Kristi
7 years ago

For store bought ones you just need to heat them up and they won’t be dry and crack.

Marquita
2 years ago

I always wet store-bought tortillas-both flour and corn- and heat them for 30sec to 1min on a hot griddle or skillet. Makes them taste like homemade. Keep them covered in a tea towel or tortilla carrier.

Jean
7 years ago

Thank you for the tips! Worked great

Jean
7 years ago

Thank you for the hints and tips !! Worked❤️

Patti
7 years ago

Now, take that same tortilla & instead of frying it in a pan, heat some oil in a pan, poke some holes in the tortilla & fry it in oil. Best taco you ever had. NON not fattening

Melissa
7 years ago

Hey Andi! I’m wanting to make these tortillas and use them to make enchiladas. Will they hold up in an enchiladas dish? Thank you!

Andi Gleeson
7 years ago

Hi! They should hold up great as long as you are talking about cooking them first. They are nice and sturdy. Thank you for asking!

Steven
7 years ago

as a kid I remember my grandma made the corn tortillas from scratch. She grew the corn for the year, husked it, soaked it, she had a special thing made from stone which she used to mill the corn that turned it into dough. The she made a ball from the dough and she squeezed that ball between her hands then she would start flipping it back and forth from one hand to the other and it would form a flat round crust and she would flip it into the hot cast iron stove top grille and it would come out just perfect. I was right there to take the first soft, warm, delicious melt in your mouth corn tortilla. I always wanted to make them but never have. Now that I found this recipe I have no reason not to. Holy gush— I miss my grandma

Andi Gleeson
7 years ago

That is such a special story. I can’t believe she even grew her own corn. That’s as homemade as you can get! Thank you for sharing your memories, Steven. I hope you enjoy making your own tortillas too!

Gayle
6 years ago

your so nice Stephen, I’m 82 and I sure hope my grandkids think the same of me.

Jason Lemieux
8 years ago

Fantastic. Thank you so much for the wax paper idea. I actually gave up trying to make corn tortillas years ago for the very reason that I couldn’t get a good non-adhesion system working. I’ll try it asap.

Andi Gleeson
8 years ago

Oh yeah, the wax paper is a MUST! I think it’s also important to make sure the dough isn’t too wet. I rushed making them the other night and didn’t measure the water carefully. Since the dough was too wet, I couldn’t peel the tortilla off the wax paper. I added a little more masa, and then it was fine. Thanks, Jason!

Jason Lemieux
8 years ago

Fantastic. Many thanks to you! 

Tracy
8 years ago

I’m making corn tortillas with fresh thyme and cilantro plus onion and garlic powder added into the Masa with a bit bacon fat and of water.

Kissu
8 years ago

What did I do wrong? I can’t get them to roll thin enough without coming apart, and the ones I did were too thick, more like corn pancakes (still good, but not what I wanted). Am I not kneading them enough. I do not have a press (yet!), and I still would like to have these.

Christa
8 years ago

Hi there! I was curious if these froze well?

Andi Gleeson
8 years ago

Hi, Christa! I’m so sorry that I never answered this question! To be honest, I haven’t tried freezing them, so I’m not sure. The next time I make a batch, I can try freezing a few and will let you know how it goes. Thank you!

Court
7 years ago

Has anybody tried freezing them yet?

Andi Gleeson
7 years ago

Hi, Court. I always make just enough for us to eat, but I’ll try to make extra and freeze them next time to let you know how it goes!

Lori4squaremom
8 years ago

My hubby got me a tortilla press for Christmas (I have wanted one for years, and just have never asked until this year), and I have everything to make the tortillas, but I was wondering if you have tried making tortilla chips from the fresh tortillas? I have a daughter that has a sunflower allergy (everything from the actual flower, to the oil and seeds) we are having a REALLY hard time finding tortilla chips that aren’t cooked in a blend that includes sunflower oil. I can get freshly made tortillas at our local Mexican grocery, but now that I have the press I was thinking “I can make my own chips”….but was wondering if you’ve tried that?

Andi Gleeson
8 years ago

Hi, Lori. I’m so sorry to just now reply! I’m excited that you got a tortilla press. I have made baked chips from store-bought corn tortillas, and I’m sure you could do that with homemade ones too. Here’s my baked corn tortilla chips recipe for it. I’m not a big fryer, so I haven’t tried that, but I think it would work! I’m not sure if you would fry them after cooking them in a skillet or with raw corn. I bet if you search for making your own corn chips, you’ll find better instructions than my guesses :) Enjoy!

Carla (@charliesue)
9 years ago

UNBELIEVABLY simple. Oddly, I’ve only ever made flour tortillas, but I think that my family would love these for Mother’s Day brunch this weekend. THANK YOU for the recipe! They’re going to die of happiness. :)

Andi
9 years ago

I love flour tortillas, but I’ll have to settle for these ;) Thank you, Carla!!

Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
9 years ago

Your tortillas look perfect, Andi! I love your tutorial and tortilla press! So cool! I can’t wait to make some now!

Andi
9 years ago

Thanks, Kelly! Do you guys eat much Mexican food? I hope you like them if you get a chance to make them!

Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
9 years ago

My husband is the biggest fan of Mexican food and could eat it all the time if he could :) I’ve only ever tried making flour tortillas a while ago. I’ve been avoiding a lot gluten for about a year now too but haven’t tried a corn tortilla recipe yet and this sounds perfect!

Andi
9 years ago

Your husband and I could have a contest because I thought I was the biggest fan of Mexican food ;) I hope you get a chance to try making your own tortillas if you eat them often. I know you would love them, Kelly!

anne marie guerrero
9 years ago

Hi there,
How do I print this recipe out?

Thank you.

Anne Marie

Andi
9 years ago

Hi, Anne Marie! I didn’t create a printable recipe for this one because I basically just followed the instructions on the bag of masa. I was more just sharing photos of the process and telling you about it. If you’d still like me create a printable recipe, let me know and I can add it! Thank you :)

Nunya
6 years ago

I would like a printable recipe, please. Also, what if I don’t have the quick masa, just the regular?

Ginny McMeans
9 years ago

What a great post. I have some corn masa and I am making these very soon. I have a feeling they will be my new favorite tortilla. Thanks so much Andi!

Andi
9 years ago

Thank you so much, Ginny!

Maegan @thebakermama
9 years ago

These look perfect! I love homemade tortillas, but have only made flour so these corn tortillas are up next as we eat Mexican food several nights a week. And I’ve got to get one of those tortilla presses. The whole rolling each one out with a rolling pin is just not cutting it. ;)

Andi
9 years ago

Thank you, Maegan! I could eat Mexican every night and never get tired of it. You will LOVE the tortillas press if you make them regularly. I got the smaller one, and it was only about $25. I read that the cast iron ones work way better than aluminum.

Courtney @ NeighborFood
9 years ago

Bahahaa! That gif is perfect. And that is such an annoying problem. These look so much better than store bought!

Andi
9 years ago

Thanks, Courtney! They are way better made fresh!

Heather | girlichef
9 years ago

Homemade tortillas are THE BEST! Yours turned out perfect.

Andi
9 years ago

Thank you, Heather!

Joanne
9 years ago

Hi Andi! Your tortillas look very good! I love that this is an easy recipe to try!

Andi
9 years ago

Thanks, Joanne! I wish I had known how easy they were to make, and I would have started making my own a long time ago!

Kelley
9 years ago

I have ALWAYS wondered why store bought corn tortillas are so flimsy and restaurant ones are so soft and yummy. Always! Now I just have to make them at home! Great recipe Andi!

Andi
9 years ago

You should definitely try making them, Kelley. They are so much better. Thank you!

Annie @Maebells
9 years ago

Andi you have just inspired me! I have wanted to make homemade corn tortillas for a long time but I have never tried. It doesn’t look too hard! And I bet they taste a million times better than store bought!

Andi
9 years ago

Hi, Annie. You should definitely try them. They are so much better than the dry, crumbly store-bought corn tortillas!

Leave a Reply

Your rating

Related Recipes