Classic Corn Tortillas Recipe

Just like the age-old debate of which came first, the chicken or the egg, there's another question in food that causes a lot of controversy — whether to serve corn or flour tortillas. Most people have a preference of one over the other, though each are great in their own way. Typically, flour tortillas are reserved for quesadillas or fajitas, but if you want to enjoy an authentic taco, then you really can't go wrong with a corn tortilla.

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn came up with this wonderfully simple and delicious corn tortilla recipe that pairs well with just about everything. "My favorite thing about this recipe is the ingredients. I love things that are made from scratch with simple, clean ingredients," Hahn shares. Sure, you could just buy corn tortillas from the store, but they won't be anywhere near as good as ones made from scratch. "It is hard to compare store bought tortillas with homemade ones," Hahn shares. "They are just so much fresher, lighter and more doughy...I don't make them every time I use corn tortillas but if I have a little extra time, it is definitely worth it."

Gather the ingredients for classic corn tortillas

Before you do anything else, make a list of ingredients and head to the grocery store. You will need masa harina (corn flour), salt, and hot water. Believe it or not, that's all you need to make these delicious corn tortillas.

Make the torilla dough

Take out a large bowl and add the first two ingredients — the salt and the masa harina. Mix them well to combine. Then, add the hot water and use a wooden spoon to combine.

Now, knead the dough with your hands. Continue rolling and kneading until the dough gains more of a play-doh-like consistency, which indicates you can move on to the next step. 

Let the dough rest

Place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with a damp dishtowel. Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes. You can use a timer or just watch the clock if you'd prefer. "When you let the dough rest, you cover it with a wet towel to trap in the moisture, so the dough doesn't dry out," Hahn explains. "You can use hot or cold water; it won't matter."

Roll the dough into balls

Once you finish letting the dough sit, use your hands to shape the dough into 12 to 14 balls. Each should roughly be about the same size as a golf ball. If you want to be precise, you can use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure each ball out, if you have one handy. If the dough feels too dry, simply wet your hands to help soften the dough as you roll.

Press the tortillas

Now that you have formed the dough balls, use a tortilla press to press each one into a 5-inch circle. Just cut a large plastic bag into two full-size, separate pieces. Place one piece of the bag on the bottom of the press, and place the dough on top. Then, place the other piece of plastic on top of the dough. Press down the tortilla press, and when you pull up, you should have a perfect tortilla.

If you don't have a tortilla press, you can just place each piece of dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll each tortilla into a 4 to 5-inch circle.

Cook the tortillas

It's time to get cooking! Grab a medium-sized, non-stick skillet and place it on your stove. Turn the heat to medium-high and place one tortilla in the skillet at a time. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on the first side before flipping over and cooking on the other side. Be sure to cook each side until you see brown spots forming on the surface. Once you do that, wrap the cooked tortillas in a damp dishtowel to keep them nice and soft until you serve them.

Serve your homemade corn tortillas

The best part of the recipe is getting to enjoy these yummy, homemade tortillas. There are plenty of ways to use these tortillas, and Hahn gives a few of her favorite suggestions. "I like to serve these with black beans, fresh tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and salsa," Hahn shares, adding that you can load on your favorite taco protein like pulled pork or ground beef. "You can also cut them into triangles and make your own chips by putting them in a 350 F oven for 5-6 minutes on each side," Hahn adds.

Classic Corn Tortillas Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
With this easy recipe, you can make fresh, delicious corn tortillas right in your own kitchen.
Prep Time
Cook Time
corn tortillas sitting on fabric
Total time: 24 minutes
  • 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups hot water
  1. In a large bowl mix the masa harina with the salt.
  2. Add the hot water and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Then knead the dough with your hands for about a minute, until it feels like play-doh.
  3. Cover bowl with a damp dishtowel and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Now make 12 to 14 dough balls shaping them into the size of a golf ball. (You can use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop if you have one.) If the dough feels dry, wet your hands and it will help soften the dough as you roll.
  5. A tortilla press works best for pressing the tortillas into a 5-inch circle. To use one, cut a large plastic bag into 2 full-size, single pieces. Place one on the bottom plate, place one dough ball on top, then place another plastic piece on top. Now press down the tortilla press and when you pull up, you will have a perfect tortilla. If you don't have a tortilla press, place each dough ball in between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll out to a 4- to 5-inch circle with a rolling pin.
  6. Heat up a non-stick skillet to medium-high and put one tortilla in at a time. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until it has brown spots on the surface. Wrap cooked tortillas in a damp dishtowel to keep them soft until you serve them.
Calories per Serving 69
Total Fat 0.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 0.0 g
Sodium 99.0 mg
Protein 1.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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