Corn Tortillas

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Corn TortillasAn especially worthwhile DIY project given that supermarket corn tortillas are chalky and dry. Nothing about the process is difficult. You don’t even need a tortilla press, although if you have one, here’s a chance to use it.

  • Yield: 12 to 16 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hours 30 Minutes


  • 1½ cups masa harina or all-purpose flour, plus flour for
  • dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • tablespoons good quality vegetable oil, olive oil, or
  • softened butter
  • About ½ cup boiling water, or more as needed
How to Make It
  1. In a medium bowl or food processor, mix the masa and salt together. Stir or pulse in the oil. Slowly add 1 cup very hot water (or more as needed) while mixing with a wooden spoon or, after it’s cooled down a bit, your hand, until the dough comes together into a ball (Or slowly stream it in through the feed tube with the food processor running until the dough holds together in a ball.)
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic: 4 to 5 minutes if you’re mixing by hand and about 1 minute if you’re using a food processor. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to a couple hours (or in the fridge for up to a few days; bring it back to room temperature before proceeding).
  3. Divide the dough into twelve 2-inch pieces or sixteen 1½-inch pieces; the larger pieces will yield tortillas about 8 inches across, the smaller ones tortillas about 6 inches across. .
  4. IF YOU’RE ROLLING BY HAND Slightly flatten each piece into a disk on a lightly floured work surface, then cover and let rest for a few minutes. When you’re ready to cook the tortillas, use a heavy rolling pin to roll each disk as thin as possible into a circle at least 8 inches in diameter, stacking them between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper as you work. To save time, you can continue to roll out the dough while the first pieces cook.
  5. IF YOU’RE USING A TORTILLA PRESS Divide the dough into sixteen 1½-inch pieces (you need less dough because it will get thinner with a press). Shape each into a slightly flattened disk and let rest for a few minutes. Put a piece of plastic wrap or parchment on the inside of the press, add the dough, top with another piece of plastic, and close the press. Squeeze the clamp as hard as you can; if you’d like it thinner, rotate the dough and repeat.
  6. Put a large skillet or griddle (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Cook the tortillas one at a time until brown spots begin to appear on the bottom, about a minute; turn and cook the other side for a minute. Wrap the finished tortillas in a towel to keep them warm while you cook the rest. Serve, or cool, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for up to several days or freeze for up to a few months.
  7. FLOUR TORTILLAS There are plenty of halfway decent flour tortillas available at supermarkets these days, but eating a freshly rolled one right out of the skillet is a pleasure reserved for the home cook: Substitute all-purpose flour for the masa harina and ½ cup boiling water for the 1 cup very hot water in Step 1. If you want whole wheat tortillas, substitute whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose.
  8. BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS You get the best flavor using corn tortillas. Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly brush or spray each cooked tortilla on both sides with a good quality vegetable oil. Stack the tortillas and cut them, pielike, into 4 to 8 wedges. Bake on ungreased baking sheets, shaking once or twice, until they just begin to color, 6 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot or at room temperature.
  9. FRIED TORTILLA CHIPS Put at least 1 inch of good quality vegetable oil in a deep pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high; bring to 350°F. Stack the cooked tortillas and cut them, pielike, into 4 to 8 wedges. Fry in the oil as many at once as will fit without crowding, turning if necessary. Total cooking time will be about 2 minutes; the chips should just begin to darken in color but shouldn’t totally brown. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel–lined plates or racks. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot or at room temperature.

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