Salt & Wind Travel

How To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas

One of the most common refrains you hear when it comes to cooking? That homemade {insert recipe name here} is better than the store-bought version. And, honestly, it’s true for a lot of foods  be it focaccia, madeleine cookies, hummus — but nowhere does it seem to be truer than with homemade tortillas. 

If you’ve eaten freshly made corn tortillas when you’ve traveled to Mexico, then we don’t need to tell you how good a fresh tortilla can taste. And, the reality is they’re actually easy-ish to make at home. Here are our top tips and a full step-by-step recipe to help you make them even if it’s your first try!

How To Make Homemade Tortillas

Fresh Masa Versus Masa Harina Tortillas

If you live near a Latin market and have access to fresh masa (or are game to make your own!), then definitely try to make homemade corn tortillas with it. The result will be a tortilla that’s really pliable, flavorful, and pretty much never dry.

Your other option is to use masa harina and make the dough from scratch as we’re doing in this recipe. Just so we’re on the same page, masa harina is a flour used for making all sorts of Latin American recipes from tamales to tortillas and garnachas. It is made by grinding corn that has been soaked in lime (the mineral not the fruit) — a process known as nixtamalization that also helps make the flour nutritious by adding calcium and upping the naturally occurring amino acids. 

There are various brands of masa harina but our two favorites are Masienda (which we used in our video and to test this recipe) and Bob’s Red Mill because they’re both Non-GMO, organic, and flavorful! 

Tools For Making Corn Tortillas

Professional tortilla makers can shape tortillas by hand and you can certainly do that — either by patting it between your palms or using a rolling pin!

But, until you have a lot of experience with it you’ll likely end up with an uneven and thicker tortilla. It will obviously still be tasty but it might not be as pliable and usable as you’d like. Here are all the tools we recommend you use when you start making homemade tortillas:

Stand Mixer Fitted With Paddle Attachment

The majority of people who make corn tortillas from scratch do it without a stand mixer. However, we have found that, until you have experience at making homemade tortillas, that can result in pockets of dry dough and the dough is often under-mixed. 

Tortilla Press

We like tortillas that are toasted and puffy and to do that you want the tortilla as thin as is manageable. You can form the tortillas by hand, use a rolling pin, or even press on the tortilla dough ball with the bottom of a pan or baking dish but for consistency every time, you can’t beat a tortilla press!

Plastic To Line Press

To make sure the tortillas don’t stick to the press, you’ll want to use some plastic. You can use a resealable plastic bag that you’ve cut the zip-top and two edges off (so it opens like a book with the seam at the back of the press) but we find it easier to work with a clean plastic bag that we’ve cut into rounds (in the pictures below).

Cast Iron Pan Or Comal Or Griddle

You want an even hot cooking surface, which can be a cast iron pan, a comal, or even an electric griddle. 

Spray Bottle

We fill an atomizer or spray bottle with tap water and give one spritz to the tortilla right before it hits the cooking pan because we find that makes the tortilla puff and hydrated! 


We like to use a fish spatula to help flip the tortilla halfway through cooking and to help it puff (see below)!

Making Tortilla Dough
Tortilla Dough Ball

Tips For Making Corn Tortillas For Beginners

Mix The Dough for At Least 5 Minutes 

Just like with so many other doughs (cinnamon rollsfocacciaeclairs), the wetter the dough the better your end product. Of course, you still need to be able to work the dough by hand so it shouldn’t be sticking to your hands and tacky. We find that by kneading the dough by hand or in the stand mixer for a minimum of  5 minutes, you’ll end up with a better mixed, better-hydrated dough.

Use The Dough Immediately

As soon as you make your corn tortilla dough, you want to immediately start making the tortillas! Unlike with flour tortillas where recipes call for the dough to rest, with corn tortillas, you want to keep that mixture (and you don’t have to worry about gluten making it tough), so use it immediately.

Rehydrate The Dough As Needed 

We recommend keeping the bowl of dough covered with a dry kitchen towel while you make the tortillas so the dough doesn’t dry out. Even if it only sits around a few minutes, it may dry out and start to crack. If that happens, you can spritz it with your spray bottle of water, or, if it’s really dry, drizzle in a few tablespoons of water and remix it. 

Make The Dough As Wet As You Can Manage 

You don’t want the dough to be so wet it’s tacky; however, the wetter the dough, the moister the final tortilla will be. 

Press Twice For A Nicely Thin Tortilla 

Most people press their tortillas just once, but we like them very thin so we press, then flip them, and press them again. 

Get The Cooking Surface Super Hot

When you eat a tortilla in Mexico, you’ll often eat a tortilla made from scratch that is cooked on a comal (a clay griddle) which is often over an open flame. The best way to mimic that in your home is to get your cooking surface blazing hot. The best pans to hold up to that kind of heat are a heavy cast iron pan or a comal.

Push On The Tortilla To Help It Puff 

If you have a well-moistened dough, the tortilla should puff a bit. But, if you want to help it along, you can push on the top of the tortilla with a spatula for a few seconds.

Tortilla Being Pressed
Tortilla Dough Pressed
Puffed Cooking Homemade Tortillas
Homemade Corn Tortilla Recipe

Homemade Corn Tortilla Recipe

Making homemade Mexican corn tortillas is one of those things that seems hard but is relatively easy to master. Here are our step-by-steps of how to make this recipe happen!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 16 6-inch tortillas
Calories 61 kcal


  • 2 1/3 cups masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 scant cups hot water (from tap is fine but it's ideally around 90°F)


  • Make The Corn Tortilla Dough: Place the masa harina and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix a few times on low so the salt gets evenly incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and, while the mixer continues to mix, drizzle in all the hot water.
    Let the mixer continue for about 5 minutes or until the dough is uniform, thoroughly hydrated, and it no longer is stuck to the sides of the mixing bowl. 
  • Test The Corn Tortilla Dough: For making tortillas, you want a dough that is just right in terms of moisture. You're going for something that's neither so wet and tacky that it sticks to your hand when you work with it nor so dry that it's crumbly. It should be moist to the touch and easy to work with. You can even try to roll and press a tortilla and, if it easily pulls off the plastic (see above), you're good to go!
  • Form The Corn Tortillas: Line a tortilla press with two pieces of plastic wrap, a ziploc bag, or (my personal preference) with a clean plastic shopping bag cut into rounds the size of the press sides. Pinch off about 1 heaping tablespoon (about 1 ounce) of the dough from the bowl.
    Roll the piece of dough between your palms into a ball. The dough should not stick to your hands and should be very easy to work with at this point FYI. Place the dough ball in the middle of the bottom plate of the tortilla press (that is lined with one of the plastic pieces), press on the dough lightly to flatten it just a tad, then cover with the second round of plastic. Close the tortilla press and press. Open the press, flip the tortilla over and repress so you have an approximately 5 to 6-inch tortilla. Peel off the plastic then immediately cook the tortilla. 
  • Cook The Corn Tortillas: Heat a cast iron pan, comal, or griddle on very high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add one prepared tortilla to the ungreased pan and let it cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds, until slightly charred, slightly puffed, and cooked. Flip and repeat on the second side. The finished tortilla should be toasted but not crispy. 



Serving: 1 tortillaCalories: 61kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 146mgPotassium: 44mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 36IUCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Classic Mexican recipe, homemade tortillas
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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