Tortillas: Make Corn Tortillas at Home

Yes, you can buy them already made at the store, but there are few things that can’t compare to the nurturing and filling sensation of homemade corn tortillas.

And the great thing is, we can buy the premade corn tortilla flour of extraordinary quality in the US these days, so you don’t have to nixtamalize the corn kernels (dry in the sun, cook and soak in hot water with lime, peel and grind to a paste) through a process of more that 36 hours to make your own fresh corn tortilla dough. Here is how you make them.

Corn Tortillas

Recipe Yield

10 to 12 tortillas

Cooking time

25 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.80 from 5 votes


  • 2 cups corn tortilla flour such as MASECA
  • 1 3/4 cup water or enough to achieve a play dough consistency dough! varies with climate
  • Pinch of salt optional

To Prepare

  • Set a comal or ungreased dry skillet over medium heat, for at least 5 to 8 minutes, until thoroughly heated. (If your pan isn’t hot enough, the tortillas will stick.)

To make masa or dough:

  • Mix together the flour, salt, and water in a large mixing bowl and knead the masa in a circular motion. Do so for a couple minutes, until the dough feels smooth and has no lumps. If it feels too dry, add a bit more water. Masa dries out fast, so if you leave it unattended, cover it with a clean moist kitchen towel or cloth.

To make the tortillas:

  • Cut out 2 plastic circles from a thin plastic bag, like ones you get at grocery stores. (Don’t use plastic wrap.) Roll a piece of the masa in your palm into a ball about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Place one plastic circle on the bottom of the tortilla press and place the masa ball on top. Place the other plastic circle on top of the ball and press down the press to make a flat disk, jiggling the press a little as you get to the bottom (this makes a rounder tortilla). Open the press and check the tortilla for dryness and, if needed, add water to the remaining masa (the masa should be as soft and smooth as Play-Doh). Take the top plastic off, lift the bottom plastic with the tortilla in one hand and peel the tortilla from the plastic with the other hand.
  • Alternatively, you can place a ball between plastic sheets or parchment paper and roll the tortillas out with a rolling pin. They should be about 5″ in diameter and about 1/8″ thick.
  • Place the tortilla on the hot comal or skillet. Let it cook for at least 30 seconds (resist the urge to touch or adjust it). As soon as it can be flipped without sticking to the comal – it should be opaque on the side that it was cooking on. Flip with a spatula and cook for about a minute, until opaque and starting to freckle on the other side. If it is opaque but it has white-ish areas, you need to leave it a bit more, until those white-ish shadows become freckled with brown spots. Turn over once more, and now, after a couple seconds, tortilla should puff up like pita bread, if not all over tortilla, at least in an area of it. Let the tortilla cook still, for about 10 seconds, so that it cooks in between the area that puffed up.
  • If eaten that same day, tortillas may be kept wrapped in a clean kitchen towel or cloth. If not, wrap in a kitchen towel, inside a closed plastic bag and place in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 3 days, afterwards they will turn too hard. Reheat in hot comal for 30 seconds or so on each side before eating. They can also be frozen and kept for months.


55comments inTortillas: Make Corn Tortillas at Home

  1. Kieran

    Apr 10

    I have been struggling for years to make corn tortillas. Maybe my comal isn’t hot enough. I’m going to try again following your directions.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 12

      Good luck Kieran, it is really a matter of practice, but I am sure you will nail it soon 😉

  2. Carlos Perez

    Mar 24

    Pati When did you publish this recipe? It’s for my school project and I love your cooking videos.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 24

      Wow Carlos, this one was one of my first posts! I’d say it was maybe in 2009 🙂

      1. Carlos Perez

        Mar 25

        Thanks my sister Carla and I love you and your Mexican table.

  3. Mary

    Jan 17

    I don’t have a tortilla press. After sandwiching my dough ball between the two squares of a cut-apart plastic freezer bag, I place it on my (perfectly flat) polypropylene cutting board, and press it down with my clear glass pie plate. That way, I can see if it’s the right size and thickness right through the pie plate. I’ve got a friend who’s in medical school, and he uses his hardcover Physicians Desk Reference and a hardcover surgical textbook! LOL!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 23

      Haha, love the creativity here, gracias Mary!

  4. Denise B.

    Jun 08

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. These are so easy and delicious! So much better than store bought.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 12

      Glad you liked them Denise 🙂

  5. Jim

    Aug 22


    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 23


  6. Mary Ann Bergantine

    Jul 24

    Thanks for the recipe and tips on how to make corn tortillas at home. I do not have a tortilla press but I do have a Norwegian krumkake pan. That pan is for making round Norwegian cookies that get rolled into little cones. I thought it might work for a tortilla press as well and I am pleased to let you know it worked! This pan is 5″ across so it makes nice little tortillas. It was good to make “double duty” with that specialty piece of cookware. Of course,the best part was our tasty taco dinner! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 26

      Wow Mary Ann! Just googled this pan and yes, it looks so much like a tortilla press, wonderful idea! Glad to read that taco night was a success 😉

  7. Joanne

    Jul 12

    Wooops – just saw – 10 to 12!

  8. Joanne

    Jul 12

    How many tortillas should you get from this recipe? Thanks

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 12

      Between 10 and 12 Joanne, enjoy!

  9. Ann

    Jul 08

    Hello Pati,
    The corn tortillas fell apart,please advise what i did wrong,the ones from the super market is much better.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 18

      Hmmm, it sounds like the dough was too dry. I hope you give them another go, Ann.

  10. Marquita

    Dec 01

    Hola Pati,
    I live in Thailand and there are no Mexican restaurants around. I’m dying for some tortillas.
    I found a 100% corn flour. Will that work in your recipe?

    1. Pati

      Dec 17

      Marquita, make sure that it is corn flour that is for tortillas (masa harina), because it has gone through a process called nixtamalization. It should say in the ingredients. Good luck!

  11. Dennis Long

    Oct 21

    A little trick if you don’t want to purchase a tortilla press. Put the Masa between two sheets of plastic on your countertop, and then use a round glass casserole with a flat bottom. Just gently use your body weight, and watch through the casserole bottom for the correct size. Much easier than a rolling pin, and a more consistent thickness.

    1. Pati

      Oct 22

      Thanks for sharing, Dennis.

  12. Rob

    Oct 16

    Hi Pati- Wondering how hot the camal should be when you say the camal should be “hot”. I cook over 17,000 BTU gas burners and they get very hot. Too hot I think. When i checked the temp with an infrared gun the camal was it was a little over 600 degrees farenheit.

    1. Pati

      Oct 30

      Oh it should me over medium low heat, Rob. 600 degrees is definitely too hot!

  13. Nina

    Nov 17

    Hi Pati,
    I’m on my second batch of tortilla-practice. My second batch puffed better, but the second size (after the crust is formed, had all thin cracks all over. They still puffed, tried adding a bit more water, but still cracked. Does the masa need to rest and absorb water for a while before making the tortillas?

    Thanks much….I enjoy your approach to your cuisine…it’s so accessible.
    all the best,

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      ​It sounds like the dough is a bit dry. You can make it next time with a bit more lard or shortening and water, that should do!

  14. Corbu JohNy

    Apr 19

    How i can make corn tortillas more maleable? I mean, i want to make them larger than usual (about 11 inch) for rolling burritos, but dosnt seem to have same elasticity like flour tortillas. I dont want to use If i add some vegetable oil or lard will it be ok? Thanks

    1. Pati

      Apr 27

      Hola!! ​It just has to do with adding enough water to make masa very soft and eating them either fresh or well re heated :)​

  15. Judy

    Mar 16

    Just got my press and Maseca delivered yesterday. My first try at the tortilla was not pretty but after that it improved. Tortillas for supper again tonight! Thank you Pati for your recipes and your show!

    1. Pati

      Mar 16

      Yay, Judy! Soon you will be eating tortillas all day like me haha

  16. Loraine

    Jan 30

    Tom, you probably just need a little more water. Just not enough to make the dough stick to the plastic bags. If it sticks, then you need to add more Maseca, or corn flour.

    Be sure to mix it well, with your hand and fingers. Warm water might help it mix better.

    Could it be you are using tamale corn flower? Or fresh masa that could be coarser?

  17. Tom D

    Jan 06

    Hello Pati, love your site. My daughters boyfriend is from Mexico and showed me how to make tortillas from masa while in town. His were perfectly round (hand pressed) with no cracks. I’m now on my 3rd try and although the tortilla are tasty, they look pretty ugly-cracked, falling apart. I’m gonna try this again and make the dough moister next time but I’m not sure how much wetter I can make them. When I mix the masa it all seems smooth, like play dough but when I go to roll a small ball, they get that cracked look (the ball has cracks). Is there something I’m missing? Also, he added a bit of oil to his along with salt. I notice you don’t use any oil? Let me know what you think because I want to get these right.

    1. Pati

      Jan 30

      Hi Tom, I don’t use any oil. However, when I have the masa ready, I cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth so that they won’t dry as I make them. Maybe that helps??

  18. Loraine

    Oct 16

    Neil, have you tried making tortillas again since you wrote this? Did they come out okay?

    Sometimes the tortillas don’t poof up and they are okay. You can tell if tortillas are too dry because the dough cracks. Conversely, you can tell if they are too moist because it really sticks to the plastic bags.

    I know many women go through and make the masa into balls before they start making the tortillas, maybe they are letting it rest a bit. I don’t do that.

    When I cook them I lay the tortilla on the hot comal, or skillet. When the tortilla is no longer sticking, after a few seconds, I think you can turn them. Or maybe it’s better to wait, like Pati says. Then you flip it, leave it awhile, then one more flip. Probably it will poof up. Sometimes you can smoosh it with your spatula to get it to poof. If it wasn’t cooked enough, you can flip it back over, let it cook a little more, then flip it and try again to get it to poof. It probably won’t, but it might. They might not be as good if it gets to that, but usually they are still edible.

    One thing we learned to do here, is to separate the tortillas that are remaining after the meal, before you store them. Otherwise they don’t seem to be very edible the next time you want them.

  19. Miriam

    Oct 13

    Unfortunately, most corn in USA is GMO unless it says otherwise. I found a brand at Whole Foods, not sure of the brand, but it was very difficult to find!

  20. Luz Calvo

    Jan 08

    Do you know that Maseca is not organic and made from GMO corn? I would never use it. Instead, I support tortillerias that are using NON-GMO corn or I buy organic masa harina.

    1. Luz Calvo

      Feb 15

      I did more research and Maseca does NOT use corn grown in MX, it uses corn grown in US.

  21. suzanne

    Sep 25

    Between you and Rick Bayless I’ve finally tried making my own tortillas using maseca. They came out pretty good. But I’m wondering how to store the rest of the maseca flour and for how long.

    1. Pati

      Sep 26

      Great, Suzanne! Store the Maseca as you would any other flour, tightly sealed in its bag in a cool, dry place.

  22. Heather

    Aug 27

    Thank you SO much for the plastic bag tip. We were trying EVERYTHING to get our tortillas to not stick to the press…nothing really worked. I appreciate the info and will try it tonight!

    1. Pati

      Aug 28

      Hola Heather, Yes, the plastic should help them not stick.

  23. Marie

    Jan 13

    I was wondering if you had a GF recipe for flour tortillas rather than corn tortillas. Thank you. By the way, the Tres Leches Cake looks wonderful. I must try this recipe soon.

  24. Neil

    Jan 07

    Hi Pati,

    I made corn tortillas for the first time today using your cookbook (not literally, I had a press) — and while they were certainly edible, they didn’t puff. Que horror!

    Do you suppose they were too dry? Also, other sources online have recommended allowing the masa to rest (covered) for 30 or more minutes before rolling into balls. Is this ever necessary — or a myth? Also, another source said to flip them the very first time after only 5 to 10 seconds. Does that make any sense?

    Any insight is appreciated. Otherwise, my family and I have really enjoyed your recipes — especially the honey chipotle ribs! Que sabor!



  25. Christy C

    Oct 16

    Hola Pati,

    I have access to a corn tortilleria that sells masa. I would love to make tortillas from this masa, but do not know what I would need to add or mix in to make my own corn tortillas. Please help! 🙂

    1. Pati

      Oct 17

      You don’t need to add anything to fresh masa! Just roll, press and cook!

  26. Jane Martinez

    Oct 16

    In your recipe for making corn tortillasm you didn’t list salt as one of the ingredients, but you did say in the directions for preparation to mix flour, salt, and water. How much salt should I use to make this recipe? Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Oct 16

      Hola Jane, I’m so happy you are thinking about using my recipe! Just a pinch of salt (it’s opional). 😉

  27. Hannah

    Jun 07

    Hola Pati, love your blog. I especially love that you translate some of the words into Spanish. Do you happen to have a recipe for the nixtamalization of corn? Have you ever made masa like that? Gracias!

    1. Pati

      Jun 07

      Yes! But not yet on the blog…

  28. suzanne garrett

    May 13

    Hola Pati! I got your book in March and my husband and I have really enjoyed it!! We enjoy looking up the classic recipes from previous shows as well as seeing if there are recipes in the book from the current shows. It is a great book and is becoming a classic in our house already!! My comal is well seasoned, but I am not sure if I am ready to try to make my own tortilla’s yet. I have seen it done before, but it seems like it would be something that you “just have to know what you are doing”. I may just have to experiment. Thanks for everything and for making it all so easy!!!

    1. Beverly G

      May 16

      I have made flour tortilla … they are easier than you think. Just try it and if it doesn’t work out make tortilla chip out of them or maybe some tortilla soup.

      1. Pati

        May 19


  29. suz

    Mar 21


    searching for plain old homemade tortilla recipes, i just found this website (and YOU!) today!! yaaaay!!!

    so here’s my question: i wanna make my own homemade corn tortillas… but unless the cornmeal or corn flour says it’s organic and non-GMO… we can pretty much assume that it is GMO.

    i’ve never seen masa (sp??) that qualifies. have you?

    soooo… i’m wanting to make my corn tortillas from organic cornmeal or flour. do you have suggestions on how to do that?

    love love love this website!! i’m late finding it, but i’ll be here a LOT!!! thank you thank you for all this great info!!

    — S 😀

    1. Pati

      Apr 01

      Hi Suz, Delighted you found my site! You are always welcome here and I love receiving comments! I dont think that all corn grown in Mexico is GMO. I go for the Maseca corn dough flour which is what most people in Mexico use, with very good results. I know there is a mushrooming of tortillerias that are making their own masa from scratch with Cacahuazintle corn, have you researched in your area? Best of luck!

    2. Sue Mullan

      Jun 02

      Gold Mine Natural Foods sells organic, non GMO yellow and blue corn masa online. It’s delicious. Just google them. I love Patti’s blog!

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