Make Your Own Corn Tortillas

Homemade corn tortillas
Wanwisa Hernandez / Getty Images
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Resting Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 15 tortillas (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
69 Calories
1g Fat
15g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 15 tortillas (12 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 69
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 2g
Calcium 29mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is where it starts. Making your own tortillas is a gateway of sorts, because it gets you hooked on cooking, on making food from scratch.

Another reason it's a gateway is that it's so easy — it's literally water and flour. And yet, once you've done it, there's no undoing it. Quickly you realize you need to raise your taco game across the board. So instead of ground beef with the seasoning packet, now you're braising beef chuck or pork shoulder, with a bay leaf and everything.

The same goes for the beans. No canned bean will ever be good enough for these tortillas. So you're braising the meat, simmering the beans, you're making the tortillas, and before you know it — wham! you're an accomplished home cook. 

And it all starts with these simple corn tortillas.

Not that you'll never buy tortillas again. That's not the case at all. Nor is any of this to say that your homemade tortillas are objectively or even likely to be quote-unquote "better" than store-bought ones. It's more about the fact that you made them yourself. You have options now.

Speaking of options, once you make the dough, you can roll it out with a rolling pin, or use a cast-iron tortilla press, which is much easier and fun to do. Stick with cast iron, though. The cast-aluminum versions are cheaper but they start to warp and your tortillas end up weirdly misshapen.

Finally, a quick word on masa harina. It's a flour made from ordinary field corn (aka maize) that's simmered in an alkaline solution, in a process called nixtamalization, which is what allows the corn meal to stick together and form a ball after water is added to it. Nixtamalization also unlocks certain nutrients in the corn, making it more nourishing than ordinary corn.

The nixtamalized kernels are then dried and ground. Depending on what part of the country you're in, you'll either find it at the supermarket, or you'll have to hit up the mercado. It might also be labeled masa harina de maiz, or corn masa mix.


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups water (hot)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the flour and water in a large bowl and mix to form a dough.

  3. Knead for a minute until smooth and then cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

  4. Roll the dough into small balls between the palms of your hands and press firmly in a tortilla press. It helps to line the press with plastic wrap so the dough doesn't stick. You'll likely adjust the size of the balls as you get the hang of it.

  5. Heat a griddle to medium-high. Once each tortilla is pressed you can warm it on the griddle for about a minute on each side, or maybe a bit longer depending on how light or dark you want them.

  6. At this point they're ready to serve or use for making tacos or whatever.


  • If the dough is thick and grainy, a little more water may be needed.
  • If it sticks to the plastic or your hand, it is too wet and a little more flour may be added.
  • Always keep hands damp with water when handling the dough.

How to Store

  • If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for a few days, or fry them to make tostadas or tortilla chips.