Cook up a stack of warm, fresh homemade 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)
- Wax paper
- A tortilla press (or a rolling pin)
- A skillet or griddle
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:
Stir together the ingredients for a minute or two until crumbly.
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.)
Cut the ball into eighths.
Then, roll each wedge into a small ball.
Place a square of wax paper on the bottom of the tortilla press, and place a ball of dough in the center.
Lay a second square of wax paper on top of the dough ball, and press the tortilla press closed.
Open it up, and voila! You have a tortilla!
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…)
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.)
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.
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!
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 says
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.
For store bought ones you just need to heat them up and they won’t be dry and crack.
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.