Homemade corn tortillas from scratch

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July 9, 2017 (Last Updated: May 17, 2018)
completed corn tortillas

One of the most identifying and unique elements of enchiladas (and much of traditional Mexican food) is the corn tortilla. Corn tortillas separate burritos from enchiladas. More importantly, they represent a long tradition of Mexican and South American foods that goes back thousands of years. In our last post, we made crockpot shredded beef. Today, we are going to make our own homemade corn tortillas for our enchiladas. Click here to go straight to the recipe.

homemade corn tortillas pinterest

Masa Harina and homemade corn tortillas

When I started down this recipe path, I wondered if I could just mill some popcorn I already have to make a corn tortilla. I mean, one might think that homemade corn tortillas are made from corn flour. WRONG! Well, sort of wrong. There is a difference corn flour and the flour we use to make corn tortillas. Masa Harina is the flour that we use in this recipe. It is different because the corn is soaked in a lime mixture and then ground to flour. Corn flour is just finely milled corn.

corn tortillas ingredients

Incidentally, the only difference between corn meal and corn flour is how well it is milled. Corn meal has a bit more weight to it and is… well, you know… mealy.

Tortilla press

I am sure this would have been a much easier process with a tortilla press. I, however, decided not to purchase one (although a Victoria 8 inch Cast Iron Tortilla Pressad image can be found on Amazon). Instead, I just used a roller and it worked out well.

corn tortillas unrolled

The end product may not have been quite as perfectly round had I used a tortilla press, but they were still great.

smooshing corn tortillas

Practice makes perfect

I have been making my own flour tortillas for quite some time, so cooking these were not that much different. I will say, however, is that this can require a little bit of practice. If you allow them to cook too long, you can end up with a stiff board that tastes a bit more like a chip than a homemade corn tortilla.


My recommendation would be that practice makes perfect. After a few at the right heat, I was making some great little tortillas for my enchiladas. Look for the brown spots and don’t let them cook too long.

Additionally, I used a cast iron for this and I feel this is the preferential cooking pan. Additionally, I used a thinner metal spatula to handle the tortillas. Like many households, we have a handful of plastic ones. They just seemed too thick and made it difficult to handle these fragile little flowers.


Overall, I really loved making these and pretty proud with how they came out. This recipe will make 12, but I may experiment with size to make them a little bit bigger. I made a great little homemade corn tortilla in much the same fashion that people did thousands of years ago.

completed corn tortillas

Homemade corn tortillas from scratch

  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 tortillas
  • Category: DIY
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Makin your own homemade corn tortillas is both gratifying and makes for an excellent meal. This recipe is simple and really only needs a few ingredients.


  • 1.5 cups masa harina
  • 2 tbsp shortening or lard
  • 1 cup water
  • Flour for kneading
  • Plastic wrap


  1. Add masa harina to large mixing bowl
  2. Add salt
  3. Add Shortening
  4. Mix with hand. While mixing, slowly pour in water and continue to mix until consistent
  5. Lightly flour kneading board
  6. Knead for two minutes
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for half hour
  8. Measure weight of entire mass and divide by 12
  9. Separate dough into 12 equally weighted balls. roll in hands until it looks like a nice, even sphere and set all aside
  10. Heat seasoned cast iron to medium – if using other pan, make sure there is a small amount of oil coating pan
  11. For each of the 12 balls do the following:
  12. Place ball between two sheets of plastic wrap
  13. Use large can (I used a San Marzano 28 oz) to press ball down into something resembling a patty.
  14. Using rolling pin, evenly roll out the patty until it is as thin as you can make it. This was a bit delicate.
  15. How I did it was lightly roll and then twist the plastic wrapped dough 1/8 of a turn and lightly roll again until it was the desired thickness.
  16. Gently pull away from plastic wrap and don’t be afraid to ball it up and start over.
  17. Place on cast iron and cook 1-2 minutes on each side.
  18. There should be light brown marking spotting on the tortilla and it should not be stiff.
  19. While one tortilla is cooking, I started rolling the next.
  20. Gently stack into a large cloth and let cool (or eat)

Keywords: DIY Corn Tortillas

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  • Reply
    Mely Martinez
    July 21, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Thank you for stopping by http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com
    Mely Martinez

  • Reply
    Stacey @ The Sugar Coated Cottage
    July 25, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Hi Ben! I had no idea that making your own tortillas was so straight forward. I’ve heard homemade makes all the difference with tortillas (like most things). Take care.

    • Reply
      July 26, 2017 at 6:08 am

      It is always fun to find out this thing we buy is almost just as easy to make at home, isn’t it.

  • Reply
    Rachel (LittleChefBigAppetite)
    July 26, 2017 at 10:11 am

    These look awesome! I’ve never made my own tortillas, but now I have to try!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Curious to know what masa harina you use. The most common sold around here is Maseca, a commercial product which produces a much less yellow tortilla and a texture I find rather too brittle. So I’ve gone to back to buying ready made tortillas…

    • Reply
      August 11, 2017 at 6:24 am

      We have a Natural Grocers in the area and they have their own brand. I also had some issues with brittleness, but I think for me it was a matter of cook technique. I let them sit on my pan for too long and they gained a crispy feel. Well, then I tried to make them into enchiladas and they fell apart. I adjusted my cook time and they became more manageable.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I’ve been contemplating the purchase of a tortilla press. Don’t know why I’m mulling it over since I own almost every kitchen gadget known to man. Twinkie pan, grilled chili pepper rack, whoopie pans, krumkake maker, canape bread molds, drawers and drawers of chocolate molds… When I finally break down and buy that press, I’m going to try this recipe!

    • Reply
      September 21, 2017 at 11:47 am

      that is the thing… only so much room! And if I use it twice a year, is it really worth the convenience? I always go back to the pineapple corer I once bought. OK, it made it easier to make a pineapple filled cocktail, but how often do I do that? It was shaped just weird enough that it did not fit in the drawer. And sure, I used it, but was it worth the two years of the annoyance of it getting stuck in the drawer when I opened and closed it? No! learning how to properly cut a pineapple was the best solution and ended up being more efficient anyways.

  • Reply
    Jen Sharpin | So Damn Delish
    September 26, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Ben! I LOVE these. I happen to have some masa marina harina laying around. Now I just gotta dust off my tortilla press and get to work! Can’t wait to try this recipe!


  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 9, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Completely worth the effort! I’ve made them with duck fat before, SO good 🙂

    • Reply
      October 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      oooo… duck fat… I love it. Goose and duck season is coming up in our neck of the woods soon. Now, I have a new plan!

  • Reply
    Monica | Nourish & Fete
    October 15, 2017 at 7:18 am

    I love making tortillas from scratch! I do still use store-bought sometimes for convenience, but knowing how much better homemade ones are kind of ruins them a little bit. Love your method and pictures. 🙂

    • Reply
      October 16, 2017 at 5:53 am

      I still use store-bought as well, but these are fun to make and it is always nice to know that if you don’t have em, you can just make em!

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