Wonderfully smooth and pliable, this authentic corn tortilla recipe will be your weeknight tacos’ new best friend. The secret? Getting the dough just right. After you try them, you’re never going back to store-bought again.
The Best Corn Tortilla Recipe
Made with white or blue masa, this authentic corn tortilla recipe will take your Mexican food to a whole other level. Super soft and bendy, they’ll be like having your own tortilla factory at home!
Don’t let the idea of making them scare you, though. As long as you get the dough just right, you’ll be rolling, pressing, and flipping them within minutes. If it helps, you can cheat a little and spray the plastic wrap with a bit of cooking spray.
For a pop of color and extra flavor, you can even add hibiscus or spinach to them and freeze the leftovers for later. Used to make your favorite tacos or enchiladas, your meals will now taste like they’re fresh out of a Mexican kitchen. With these tortillas, you’re never getting store-bought ones again.
Looking for flour tortillas instead? Here ya go: Homemade Flour Tortillas!
What You’ll Need
With only 3 ingredients on the list, you don’t really need any substitutes. Besides, there, unfortunately, aren’t any. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Masa harina – White, yellow, or blue masa harina will work.
This authentic corn tortilla recipe can be transformed into equally traditional but much “healthier” versions with only 2 ingredients.
- Add hibiscus. Seep 1/4 cup of dried hibiscus flowers in 1 cup of hot water. Remove the hibiscus and use the water to give your tortillas a fun, floral twist.
- Use spinach. Blend the water with 1-2 cups of baby spinach until you get a smooth mixture. Strain the liquid and use it to bring the dough together. It’ll make your tortillas “healthy” and green.
How to Make Corn Tortillas
All it takes to make this authentic corn tortilla recipe is a simple dough.
- Add the salt. Mix the masa harina and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
- Pour the water. Use one hand to slowly pour in the water while you mix the ingredients with your other one. Knead until a dough forms. It should be smooth to the touch, like Play-Doh. If it’s too sticky, add more masa harina. If it’s too dry, add more water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Spray it with cooking spray if you’re going to let it rest for longer.
- Divide the dough. Use your hands to roll the dough into balls about the size of 2 tablespoons. You should be able to make between 16-18 balls.
- Flatten them. Add a piece of plastic wrap to the bottom half of the tortilla press and place one ball of dough in the center. Cover it with another piece of plastic wrap. Close the press and push down on it to make a thin tortilla. It should be thin like a crepe. Repeat for all the balls of dough. If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can flatten them with a rolling pin in between the plastic wrap.
- Cook them. Preheat a “comal” (Mexican griddle) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add as many tortillas as can fit (without having them touch one another). Cook them for 20-30 seconds or until they puff up slightly. If you don’t have a comal, you can use a regular griddle or a non-stick pan.
- Flip them over. Use your hands or a spatula to carefully flip them over. Cook for another 15-20 seconds. Remove them from the heat. Repeat for all the tortillas. Set them aside and serve warm.
Tips for Success
This authentic corn tortilla recipe is even easier to make with the help of these tips.
- Use a rolling pin. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tortilla press. You can use a rolling pin. They might not come out perfectly round but it won’t affect the flavor.
- Avoid cold water. Using cold water will make your tortillas crack. This is because it doesn’t hydrate the masa harina like hot water does.
- Go easy on the water. You don’t always need to add the full amount of water, so add it in little by little until the dough reaches the perfect consistency.
- Lightly grease the plastic. Sometimes the dough can be a tiny bit too moist and it will stick to the plastic wrap when flattening. Avoid this by lightly spraying the plastic wrap sheets with cooking spray every 3-4 tortillas.
Why Do My Homemade Corn Tortillas Fall Apart?
There are two ways to troubleshoot this issue: one for raw dough and the other one for cooked tortillas.
- Raw dough. If your dough is hard to manage (it falls apart) when you try to roll it into small balls or it cracks when you press it, then it’s too dry. Test this by checking the edges of your pressed raw tortillas. If they’re jagged and crackly, the dough lacks a bit of moisture. Add 1-2 teaspoons of water at a time to fix the dough until it’s smooth and pliable like Play-Doh.
- Cooked tortillas. If they crack when you try and fold them into a taco, they’re undercooked or too thick. You can only correct this if you’re still in the process of cooking your tortillas, so make sure to place them on the comal for another 10-20 seconds or until you can fold them. However, they might just be stale if they’re already several days old.
What To Do With Leftover Dough
Please don’t freeze leftover masa (dough). While you can technically do it, it’s always dry and often has clear signs of freezer burn when thawed.
Fortunately, you can make lots of yummy Mexican appetizers and dishes with the dough leftovers from this authentic corn tortilla recipe. Here’s some inspiration:
- Make sopes. Use leftover or hardened dough to make sopes, a typical Mexican street food that’s like a small well or flattened volcano. They’re deep-fried and then loaded with toppings and fillings.
- Make tlacoyos. These diamond-shaped masa packets are often filled with refried beans, shredded beef, or cheese. They’re also cooked over a comal and have lots of toppings.
- Make huaraches. These are very flattened-out versions of tlacoyos. They’re oval-shaped and are also served with lots of toppings.
- Make gorditas. Press the balls of dough until they’re 1/8″ thick circles and place them on the comal over low heat. Cook them for 4-6 minutes on each side or until they puff up slightly. Remove them from the heat and use a small pairing knife to carefully cut a slit on one side to create a pocket in the center. Fill them with refried beans, scrambled eggs, etc.
How to Serve This Authentic Corn Tortilla Recipe
When it comes to corn tortillas, there are very few ways you can serve them wrong— most of them involving not serving them with Mexican food or using them to make burritos (which require flour tortillas.)
You can dunk these tortillas into soupy, saucy, or stew-like dishes like Pork Pozole Verde, Mexican Chicken Adobo, and Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo). They’re also great for making my Vegetable Enchiladas, Chilaquiles Verdes, and Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos.
How to Store
Just like all tortillas, this authentic corn tortilla recipe needs to be fully cooled before being refrigerated. Spread them out over a clear surface and bring them down to room temperature before stacking them. After that, wrap them with parchment paper. Place a clean kitchen towel around them and then pop them into an airtight bag or container. Refrigerate them for up to a week.
To reheat them, place them on a warm comal over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until soft and pliable. If they’re too stale, you can sprinkle them with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of water and then cover them with a pot’s lid as they heat. This will create steam and help them soften.
My favorite cheat is heating them in the microwave, though. This is perfect for when you’re in a hurry. Sprinkle them with water and heat them in 15-second increments until warm to taste.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes! Stack any cooled leftovers and wrap them in plastic wrap. Then transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze them for up to 6 months. Move them into the fridge a day before you’re ready to serve so they have time to thaw. Place them at room temperature for 1-2 hours before reheating as usual.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes
- 2 cups masa harina
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- Mix the masa harina and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
- Use one hand to slowly pour in the water while you mix with your other one. Knead until a dough forms. It should be smooth to the touch. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Use your hands to roll the dough into balls about the size of 2 tablespoons. You should be able to make between 16-18 balls. Add a piece of plastic wrap to the bottom half of the tortilla press and place one ball of dough in the center. Cover it with another piece of plastic wrap. Close the press and push down on it to make a thin tortilla. Repeat for all the balls of dough.
- Preheat a “comal” (Mexican griddle) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add as many tortillas as can fit (without having them touch one another). Cook them for 20-30 seconds or until they puff up slightly.
- Flip them over and cook for another 15-20 seconds. Remove them from the heat. Repeat for all the tortillas. Set them aside and serve them warm with your favorite meals.
Storage: Store tortillas in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze for up to 6 months. For extra tips for storage and freezing, read the post above!
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 52Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 398mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
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