There was a time when I would lug home a foot-long package of corn tortillas from Costco, storing leftovers in the freezer for months on end. The result were rubberlike corn flakes. So I started making fresh corn tortillas from scratch, without a tortilla press. The result was a wonderfully delicious and aromatic tortilla with taste and texture so superior that there's no going back to the packaged stuff.

The base of corn tortilla is masa harina, which is corn flour derived from corn and lime. This item can typically be found in the flour section or the international section of a grocery store.

The recipe is pretty simple with three ingredients: masa harina, sea salt and water. The difficult part is working without a tortilla press. To flatten my tortillas, I used two sheets of parchment paper and a flat-bottomed glass plate.

If you're curious about making homemade corn tortillas and have not committed to a tortilla press, you may consider this strategy. But after making this recipe three times this summer, I think I'm ready to buy a tortilla press.


2 cups masa harina
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cup very warm
a squeeze of lime juice (optional)

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, sea salt, warm water and lime juice, if using. With your hand, knead the mixture until it is well combined. If the dough is crumbly, add another tablespoon of warm water. The dough should have a nice smooth form.
  2. Cover the bowl with a plastic sheet and allow the dough to rest for half an hour.
  3. Pinch off a chunk of corn dough, and roll it into about one and a half of a golf-sized ball.
  4. Cut two 12-inch parchment paper sheets. Place the rolled corn dough between the parchment sheets and flatten it with a plate, rolling pin or tortilla press. The flattened tortilla should measure roughly 6-inches in diameter.
  5. With a cast iron pan, lightly grease the surface and heat the stove on medium-high. When the pan is evenly heated, place the flattened corn tortilla in the pan. Allow the tortilla to cook for roughly a half minute on each side.
  6. Place the cooked tortilla in a covered cast iron pot to keep warm.
Makes 10-12 six-inch corn tortillas

Try this recipe with savory, mouthwatering carnitas!


chow and chatter said...

great job

Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

I adore homemade tortillas ~ yours look fabulous. They smell so heavenly as they 'bake' on the stovetop, don't they?!

And how BRILLIANT of you to form them between parchment and using a plate as the press. (One less gadget to store!)

I love your blog!

Melissa said...

I love this! Thanks for the inspiration. I'm going to make these. Yum!

Paula said...

Now this is right up my alley. Is it really worth the trouble? Think I will give them a try. I've made homemade flour tortillas but never the corn tortillas. Yum!

Ravenous Couple said...

great improvisation! being in LA, it's fairly easy to get freshly made tortillas, but your recipe looks great if we ever want to try!