Making homemade corn tortillas is a simple recipe that has only 2-ingredients, masa, and water. You will be amazed at how much better a warm homemade corn tortilla is compared to store-bought. Fresh off of the stove, I find it difficult not to eat the entire batch myself. But used as a component for tacos, enchiladas, or tostadas, the homemade corn tortillas are even better.
Corn tortillas are a type of unleavened flatbread originating in Mexico and Guatemala. The tortillas are made from a type of corn flour called masa or masa harina. This is different from regular corn flour, as it is made from corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkaline solution. Soaking the dried corn kernels in alkaline creates a chemical process known as ‘nixtamalization’. Nixtamalization transforms corn into hominy. You create masa or masa harina by grinding hominy into a paste, dehydrating it, and grinding it into flour.
Corn tortillas are best eaten fresh, or at least the same day as they are cooked. You can store them in the refrigerator for approximately 1-week. Simply warm them in a skillet for a few seconds on each side prior to eating them, no one wants to eat a cold tortilla.
Can You Make Corn Tortillas Using Hominy?
Since masa harina is made from hominy, can you make corn tortillas from canned hominy? Yes, you can make corn tortillas using hominy, but the moisture level is tricky to get right. You want the tortilla dough to be not too dry and not too moist.
To make the corn tortillas, simply drain and rinse the hominy, reserving some of the liquid. Add it to a food processor and puree the hominy until it’s smooth and is just able to form balls. If it is too dry, add only a teaspoon of liquid at a time to reach a nice consistency.
When forming tortilla dough, you press golf ball-sized pieces between two sheets of wax paper, or a large Ziploc bag that’s been cut in half.
If the dough sticks to the plastic, it is too wet. Add a little masa to dry it out.
If the dough cracks or crumbles when you press it, it’s too dry. Add a teaspoon or the reserved hominy liquid at a time until you reach a good consistency.
How to Make Corn Tortillas Using Masa Harina
The ratio of masa to water is 2-cups masa to 1 ½-cups of water. I start by adding 1 ¼ cups of water to determine how wet the dough is. You want the tortilla dough to be soft but not sticky.
Add additional water, 1-teaspoon at a time until the dough is the right texture.
With clean hands, pinch a piece of dough and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball. The dough should not stick to your hands or fall apart. As you cook the tortillas, keep the dough covered with a damp cloth to prevent the dough from drying out.
A golf ball piece of the dough creates a corn tortilla the size right for street tacos. Place the ball of dough between two pieces of plastic and press it into an approximately 4-inch disk. A tortilla press is the best tool; however, the bottom of a saucepan or skillet will work as well, but it is difficult to master. A tortilla press is an inexpensive kitchen tool and available online, mine was about $10.
Traditionally, corn tortillas are cooked on the stovetop in a comal. A comal is a flat, heavy-bottomed skillet, usually made of cast-iron. A regular cast-iron skillet or non-stick skillet will work just fine. I have a large cast-iron pizza stone that I use as a comal and allows me to cook 4 or 5 corn tortillas at a time.
You want the comal or skillet preheated before you start. Not too hot, and not too cool. Medium to medium-high heat is about right, depending on your stove and the thickness of your skillet. You want to cook the corn tortilla in a dry skillet for only 30-seconds per side. Turning the tortilla 3-times (each side is cooked for 60-seconds)
How to Store and Reheat Corn Tortillas
Once the tortillas have completely cooled, they can be stored in a zip-closed plastic baggy. Store them in a refrigerator for about a week.
You can reheat corn tortillas in either a microwave or skillet.
For a skillet, preheat the skillet to medium-high heat and cook the corn tortillas for 15-20 seconds per side, repeating if necessary.
To reheat them in a microwave, wrap a few in a damp paper towel and microwave for approximately 30-45 seconds. Wrap them in a dry paper towel or a tortilla warmer until ready to eat.
Here is my recipe for Homemade Corn Tortillas
Homemade Corn Tortillas
- Tortilla Press
- 2 Cups Masa Harina
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
Mix the Dough
- Add masa to a large bowl, and add 1-cup of water, mix to combine.
- Check the texture of the dough, you want it to be soft, not crumbly, and not sticky.
- If too dry, add 1-teaspoon of water at a time, mix thoroughly until the dough has a good texture.
Form the Tortillas
- With clean hands, pinch a piece of dough and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball. The dough should not stick to your hands or fall apart
- As you cook the tortillas, keep the dough covered with a damp cloth to prevent the dough from drying out.
- Place the ball of dough between two pieces of plastic and press it into an approximately 4-inch disk.
Cook the Tortillas
- Heat the comal or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the tortilla and cook for 30-seconds, flip, and cook for 30-seconds. Repeat and cook both sides twice.
- Place the finished tortilla into a tortilla warmer or onto a plate and cover with a clean dry cloth or paper towel.