Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fresh Corn Tortillas

After getting back from Mexico I decided to try my hand at making corn tortillas.  I have purchased many corn tortillas in my life, however, this will be my first attempt at making them.
I went to my local Mexican grocer and picked up a tortilla press along with a bag of instant masa mix.  
I followed the recipe on the back of the package and the next thing I knew, I was cooking up delicious corn tortillas.  Once you make them yourself you will never buy them again because they are fun and easy to make.  They also hold up well in the fridge in a zip top bag and reheat beautifully.

When I was at Marisma’s Fish Taco stand in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico I watched as the young woman carefully rolled and pressed the masa balls between two sheets of plastic wrap and thought… I can do that.  Thinking at the same time, why is she so slow?  I answered that question when I made them myself.  The tortillas are very delicate before they are cooked and that's why she was moving so methodically.  I found myself doing the same when I was the maker, slowly peeling away the plastic in hopes that it wouldn't tear the tortilla before I got it in the pan.

My Very First Corn Tortillas

Mix the masa (2 cups) with water (1 1/2 cups) and salt (1/4 tsp.) in a bowl with a fork until you get a soft dough.
Place the dough on the counter and roll it into a log.
Cut the log into 16 pieces.
Roll them into balls and placed them in the tortilla press lined with plastic on the bottom and top.
Press gently or it may spread out too much and be difficult to peel away the plastic.  If that does happen, just gather up the dough and roll it back into a ball and start again.
Peek to make sure your plastic is straight and that you didn't make it too thin.  At least until you get the feel as to how much pressure to apply.
Peel the top plastic off  the top and place the tortilla in your hand plastic side up and carefully peel it away.
Place the tortilla in a preheated non stick pan on med- high.  Let it cook for 50 second.  Flip and let it cook for another 50 seconds.  Your tortilla is cooked.
I discovered as I was making the tortillas that if you press on the tortillas after the first flip.
They will puff and separate like pita bread leaving a light and airy center.
Serve fresh tortillas with carnitas and guacamole sauce

FRESH CORN TORTILLAS as it reads on the package

Combine 2 cups (loose measure) of masa ¼ tsp. salt and 1 ¼ cup water.  Mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes to form a soft dough.  If dough feels dry, add more water (1 Tbsp. at a time)

Divide dough into 16 equal balls.  Cover with damp cloth to keep dough moist.  Line a tortilla press with two sheets of thick plastic wrap.  Place dough between the plastic and press until tortilla measures between 5 – 6 inches in diameter.  Peel off plastic wrap.

Preheat ungreased griddle or skillet on med-high heat.  Cook tortillas on at a time for 50 seconds.  Turn, then cook the second side for another 50 seconds.  Cover with cloth to keep soft and warm.


  1. Today I bought a cast iron tortilla press and the Maseca corn flour. Thanks for your post because it gave me the confidence to try making my own tortillas. I read that once you eat fresh tortillas, you will never buy grocery store ones again. Your tortillas look perfect!

    1. Thank you Barbara. Yes, there is no comparison, fresh corn tortillas are fantastic. I can't wait to hear how your tortillas turn out.

  2. Aug 15 and I just finished my second batch at by the last one I realized I didn't have the heat up enough.. LOL... They were pretty good, but I couldn't get them to puff up like you did. Do you let the dough rest after you put it together? I let it rest about 15-20 mins... Maybe that is the difference?

    1. Hi Barbara, Great job making your own tortillas! I think the reason you couldn't get them to puff is because your pan wasn't hot enough. You will have to try it again now that you know what temp. your pan needs to be. This is what I did, after the first flip, I took a small flexible spatula and pressed on the tortillas with fairly good pressure all over (make sure you don't make any holes or breaks in the dough). Once you see the slightest bit of puffing keep pressing on and around that area and the air will push the dough apart and puff. Let me know how round two goes :).