Corn Tortilla Recipe

Want to make homemade tortillas for your tacos? This corn tortilla recipe is easy to make and tastes so fresh, you’ll be a convert in no time.

Corn tortilla recipe

Tacos are quite the in thing these days, gracing the menus at upscale restaurants and food trucks alike. Alex and I are huge taco lovers (who isn’t, really?), because they’re such an easy way to make a creative, plant based dinner. From our crispy cauliflower tacos to our tacos rancheros, we have dozens of ways to make dinner out of a tortilla. But before you can think about filling, you need a tortilla! Most of our tacos we use storebought tortillas, but we thought we’d try our hand at making a corn tortilla recipe for you too!

Related: 10 Best Vegan & Vegetarian Tacos

How to make this corn tortilla recipe

Though you’ll have to devote a bit of time and practice to the process, this corn tortilla recipe is actually not too hard to make, once you get the hang of it!  We ended up purchasing this tortilla press, and it was incredibly helpful–and fairly inexpensive. However, if you’re not sure you’re ready for the investment, a pie plate works well too.

Why go to the trouble of making this corn tortilla recipe? It’s a good “food project” — a fun activity to try with friends or with kids. Plus they taste great, and you can have the satisfaction of making them with your own two hands! We try to set aside about 30 minutes to make the tortillas from start to finish.

Here’s the basic process for how to make corn tortillas:

  1. Mix up the dough. Mix together the masa harina, salt, water, and olive oil into a dough that resembles the texture of play dough. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet.
  3. Cover your tortilla press with plastic. You’ll need to cover it in plastic so the tortillas don’t stick. Cut apart a plastic bag: you can wash it and reuse it.
  4. Press the dough into 6-inch diameter circles. Make two to three at a time.
  5. Cook the tortillas on the heated skillet. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute until fully cooked and lightly charred, then flip and cook until cooked through. Place the tortillas on a plate and cover with a dish towel, then repeat steps 4 and 5 for the remaining tortillas.
Corn tortilla recipe

Looking for a tortilla press?

Here’s the tortilla press we use: it’s heavy duty and works great! But if you’re not ready to invest, you can use a pie plate too.

How to store homemade tortillas

If you’ve made tortillas but aren’t going to eat them right away, place the still warm tortillas into a plastic bag and seal it. The steam trapped inside will help to keep the tortillas most. You can store them at room temperature and they will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days.

When you’re ready to eat the tortillas in a taco, you’ll need to re-warm them prior to eating. Here’s how to do it: How to Warm Tortillas. You may also want to invest in a tortilla warmer, which helps to keep the tortillas warm after you warm them. Here’s our favorite tortilla warmer!

Looking for taco recipes?

Now that you’ve made this corn tortilla recipe, here are some taco recipes to use it:

This corn tortilla recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Print

Corn Tortilla Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

Want to make homemade tortillas for your tacos? This corn tortilla recipe is easy to make and tastes so fresh, you’ll be a convert in no time.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups yellow masa harina
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • Skillet (cast-iron, if possible)
  • Tortilla press or a pie plate*
  • Plastic bag or wax paper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups masa harina and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and ½ tablespoon olive oil. Knead in a bowl until a dough forms (the consistency of playdough). If the dough seems too crumbly and does not come together, add a bit more water. (As you make tortillas more often, you’ll learn the consistency of the dough.) Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet (cast iron, if possible) over high heat.
  3. Get out a tortilla press. Cut down the sides of a plastic bag, and place it on both sides of the press. Pull off a golf-ball sized piece of the dough. Place the ball in the middle of the tortilla press, place the top over the ball, and squeeze down the handle.
  4. If you do not have a press, place the dough ball in the middle of the plastic bag and fold the other edge over the top. Place a pie plate on top, and press down firmly, using your entire weight over the plate.
  5. The flattened tortilla should be about 6 inches in diameter. Peel the tortilla off of the plastic. Make 2 to 3 in this fashion; then cook them, following the instructions in Step 4. (Don’t worry if you lose one or two when you get started, especially from sticking to the plastic. You can easily remove the tortilla, reshape it into a ball, and try again.)
  6. When the skillet is hot, place a tortilla on the skillet and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fully cooked and a bit charred in places. Using a spatula, flip, then press down on the middle of the tortilla while you cook the second side (this helps the middle to become cooked). Transfer the tortilla to a plate and cover with a dish towel. Repeat for all tortillas. When you run out of flattened tortillas, pull off a few more balls and continue in this fashion (making a few at at time helps to keep the remaining dough hydrated and keeps flattened tortillas from sticking to the work surface).

Notes

Adapted from Bon Appetit *We recommend using a tortilla press, since it makes the process quite easy! Presses are inexpensive on Amazon, or you can also find them at Mexican markets. The cooking technique may take a few tries to get down, so give yourself the benefit of a few failed attempts before you get the hang of it. Many recipes do not call for oil in the dough, but we found adding a bit helped the overall consistency.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Corn tortilla recipe, Tortilla recipe, Homemade tortillas, How to make tortillas

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

13 Comments

  • Reply
    Brooke Guevara
    July 12, 2012 at 12:01 am

    thank you for sharing yet another great and very useful recipe. I have attempted flour tortillas in the past, but I really don’t eat to many flour tortillas just for health purposes. I much prefer corn tortillas, and can’t wait to impress my husband with some amazing vegetarian tacos, completely from scratch!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    July 12, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I’ve been wanting to make these for so long now! Yours look awesome!

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    July 12, 2012 at 7:08 am

    It’s quite hard in the UK to find even corn tortillas that don’t have some flour in them so I really want to make my own so that the celiacs in my life can enjoy them too! I must have a look out for a tortilla press to make the job that bit easier.

  • Reply
    Melinda Neely
    July 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

    That taco spread in Bon Appetit last month has inspired me to buy a tortilla press. The home-made version looks so much better than the store bought one. It’s nice to see your tweaks to their recipe.

  • Reply
    Riley
    July 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I just made corn tortillas as well! They’re so easy, I’ll never buy them again!

  • Reply
    Mrs. L
    July 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try to make my own corn tortillas. Guess this is the perfect excuse to go buy that tortilla press I’ve been eying!

  • Reply
    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings
    July 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi, found your blog via Foodgawker! Your photography and styling are just awesome…and so are your food creations! I think I’ll be spending more time here at your blog!!!

    I do have a copy of that BA issue with the tacos and I was so inspired by it as well!

  • Reply
    marla
    July 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Such a delightful stack of tortillas!

  • Reply
    Helen (ThursdayNightDinner.org)
    July 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I’m making these for this weekend! Fish tacos are my weakness… thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply
    anju
    August 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I love these corn tortilla. reminds me something similar from my region.

    Love your blog too. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    These are perfect and so easy! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Reply
    Patrizia
    November 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I took down this recipe and can’t wait to try it. I love Mexican food and already cook up some recipes. I too prefer to make my own tortillas since in Italy, where I live, I cannot find the corn ones.
    But I also have the problem of not finding Masa Harina; with what can I substitute it ?
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      November 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      We don’t know of many substitutes for masa harina – sorry! We did some research online and didn’t find much (one source said you could grind cornmeal in a food processor, but others didn’t recommend it). Do you think you’d be able to order masa harina online?

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