How to Make Corn Tortillas

Like most things made at home and eaten while they’re very fresh, a corn tortilla warm off the skillet is a wonderful thing. The corn flavor is more pronounced, and it has a terrific texture — soft and tender in a way that store-bought tortillas, though we love them too, are not. They also come off the skillet a bit more supple, so they can stand up to the rigors of enchilada night without cracking or tearing!

Corn tortillas are very easy to make. We eat a lot of tortillas — they’re welcome at any and all meals — so we like to make a big batch on the weekend and eat them all week. They’re great in all the traditional dishes, like tacos, quesadillas, and huevos rancheros, but we also use them to scoop up stuff like beef stew and green salad. They’re pretty awesome right out of the pan with salty butter and cinnamon sugar, too.

Our tips: Smooshing masa balls is fun stuff — get your kids and friends involved! It could make a great weekend afternoon project that ends in an evening of tacos and margaritas! (Plus piles of fresh tortillas for folks to take home.) And if your tortillas get a little stiff as the week wears on, cut them into quarters and bake them for 10 minutes to make fresh, crunchy tortilla chips.


2 cups Bob’s Red Mill masa harina
1 ½ cups water
½ tsp salt


In a large bowl, combine the masa harina and salt.

Add 1 ¼ cups of water to the masa mixture and stir until it forms a semi-smooth dough ball. Note: If the dough is sticking to your hands, add a small amount of masa harina to the mixture and try kneading it again. Conversely, if it’s not forming a dough, add a little water.

Pinch off a 1-inch portion of the dough and roll into a ball. Place it on a cutting board and flatten it slightly with your hand. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.

Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and cover the top and bottom of a tortilla press with plastic. Note: Plastic wrap will not be thick enough. We used ½ a freezer bag for each side.

Place a ball of masa dough in the center of the tortilla press and press it flat. Note: If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can also use the back of a skillet, bowl, or casserole pan — basically anything with a flat bottom that’s at least 4 inches wide.

Remove the tortilla and immediately put it in the hot cast-iron pan. Cook it for about 30 seconds.

Flip the tortilla with a metal spatula and cook it for another 30 seconds. Remove it to a cooling rack, and repeat the process with the rest of your dough balls.