Who said that tacos should only be eaten on Tuesdays? Not us! Especially not when making corn tortillas at home is as easy as 1,2,3. All you need is cornflour (or masa sharing), water, a tortilla press, and a cast-iron skillet!
Once you learn how to make fresh tortillas, you are never going to buy them ever again. They are healthier, taste better than anything you get at your local supermarket, and they are much cheaper to make (and as bonus, corn tortillas are totally gluten-free). You can also make them ahead of the time, pop half-cooked tortillas in a fridge, and reheat them whenever you fancy some Mexican food.
Follow this simple masa tortillas recipe and learn how to make corn tortillas from scratch.
Makes approx. 16 corn tortillas
You can roll and then flatten your corn tortillas entirely by hand. You just need a rolling pin and a bit of strength. But we're not going to lie, it's hard work and time-consuming.
To make the best corn tortillas, we recommend using a tortilla press. It will make your life a whole lot easier. You can turn out corn tortillas much quicker using a tortilla press, while your corn tortillas will also be much flatter and much smoother if you use a press.
It's easy to learn how to make homemade tortillas using a tortilla press.
Now your freshly pressed corn tortillas are ready to be cooked. When your learning how to make tortilla from corn dough, the cooking process is just as important as the flattening stage of the corn tortilla recipe!
All tortillas need to be cooked gently, to keep in the moisture. Dry tortillas are the worst, so we always suggest taking the time to heat your tortillas properly. There are a few ways you can cook your tortillas, but only ever use the microwave as a last resort!
Here are the best ways to cook your corn tortillas:
A stovetop skillet combination is a classic way to cook your corn tortillas. This is how you'll see corn tortillas being cooked up all over Mexico!
You don't need any oil or butter, you just cook the tortilla straight on the skillet. The tortillas need the dry heat, otherwise, they'll start to become crispy if you're using oil.
If you have a griddle or a griddle pan, this works just as well as a cast iron skillet.
Oven baking with tinfoil is another great way to heat your tortillas after you've freshly pressed them. It takes longer than cooking tortillas in a skillet, but the results are always consistent and you can cook lots at once.
Tortilla warmers are the ultimate way to cook and keep your corn tortillas warm. These dedicated cooking devices are often made from ceramic, allowing you to evenly spread heat over the tortillas when they are in the oven.
Tortilla warmers will keep your freshly cooked corn tortillas hot and fresh all the way through Taco Tuesday!
It's quick and easy to cook your corn tortillas in the microwave, but we don't recommend it. It's easy to overcook them, while the finished product won't retain much moisture, or much taste, in comparison to the other methods we've outlined above.
If you have to use the microwave, we recommend using a tortilla warmer.
Now your homemade corn tortillas should be ready to turn into tacos or burritos, but you might still have a few burning questions to ask!
We put together this brief corn tortilla recipe FAQ, to answer the most common questions and queries.
Corn tortillas are seen as much healthier than their flour tortilla counterparts. They are lower in calories, lower in carbohydrates, and of course, they are gluten-free. This 'healthier' composition is down to the simple ingredients used to make corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas have two primary ingredients; masa harina and water. Masa harina is a type of specialized corn flour that has been treated with calcium hydroxide or “lime.” Maize is ground up and then added to a water and lime compound.
Lime might seem like an unusual addition to your corn tortillas, but the truth is, you can't make authentic corn tortillas without it. If you were to use untreated cornflour rather than masa harina, your corn tortillas wouldn't taste nearly as good. Importantly though, if you don't use masa harina, your diy tortillas won't be as healthy or as nutritious as they could be.
The lime is so important because it unlocks the best nutrients and vitamins that are hidden inside the cornflour. It's a process called nationalization, and it's been used in Mexico and Central America for thousands of years (long before the Europeans turned up with their wheat flour!).
Without skill and years of experience, the nixtamalization process is difficult to replicate at home. That's why your corn tortilla recipe needs masa harina, to be both authentic and healthy!
You can buy masa harina from specialized Mexican food stores or purchase it online.
Yes, this corn tortilla recipe is perfect for cooking ahead of time. You can press and cook up large batches, and store them for later.
We recommend pressing the tortillas, then cooking them lightly. Store them in the fridge (or freeze them), then reheat them later. You can reheat them by gently cooking on the stovetop or by baking in the oven for 10 minutes.
Homemade corn tortillas are surprisingly long-lasting. They won't last as long as store-bought tortillas, simply because there are no added preservatives, but if kept in the fridge your corn tortillas will still be very edible up to 10 days later.
When tortillas start to turn, they tend to harden or crisp. You can still use them at this stage for making homemade corn tortilla chips rather than throwing them away.
Yes! Our corn tortilla recipe is perfect for freezing. Press your tortillas, lightly cook them, then store them in a suitable freezer container.
We recommend using a ziplock, freezer bag, to keep in the most taste and flavor. You can freeze corn tortillas for up to 8 months if you have to, although they will start to lose their freshness by this point.
Corn tortillas thaw quickly, just by leaving them on the side. Once they have defrosted, you can reheat them in a pan or in the oven.
Do corn tortillas have gluten? No! Corn is naturally gluten-free, which makes corn tortillas perfect for a gluten-free diet.
When you are purchasing masa harina however, double-check that the product is completely gluten-free. Masa harina might be produced using the same equipment that's used to also produce similar tortilla products, such as flour tortillas, that do have gluten.
Corn tortillas are much healthier than flour tortillas. Corn tortillas have fewer calories, fewer carbs, and due to the cooking process, have many more nutrients than flour tortillas.
When we were answering the question, do tortillas have gluten, we already mentioned how corn tortillas are gluten-free, whereas flour tortillas are not!
Voilà, you have just made your first batch of homemade tortillas! It's time to invite your friends for a long-overdue catch-up and some heartwarming Mexican food. Why not bookmark our naturally gluten free, homemade corn tortilla recipe for later?