homemade corn tortillas

Corn Tortillas

Corn Tortillas

Tortillas de Maiz

Recipe Yield

12 tortillas

Cooking time

25 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.5 from 8 votes


  • 2 cups corn tortilla flour
  • Pinch kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups water or enough for a Play Doh consistency may vary with climate

To Prepare

  • Set a comal, griddle or ungreased dry skillet over medium heat for at least 8 to 10 minutes, until very hot.
  • Meanwhile, cut 2 circles about the size of the tortilla press plates out of thin plastic bags, such as produce bags from the grocery store.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the corn tortilla flour, salt and the water and knead in a circular motion. It should feel smooth and without lumps, like Play Doh. Though, it shouldn’t be too wet or sticky. If it doesn’t feel smooth and feels coarse when you attempt to make the masa balls, 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, one by one, make dough balls of about 1 1/2-inch 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 clamp down the press to make a flat disk. As you clamp down the press, jiggle it a little as you are getting to the bottom, this makes for a rounder tortilla. It should be about 5-inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch in height.
  • If the edges of the tortilla seem cracked and jagged, the dough needs a bit more water. Once you have a tortilla with smoother edges, you are set. (Alternatively, you can place a ball of dough between two plastic pieces and roll the tortillas out with a rolling pin).
  • Open the press, 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. I peel it with my right hand, as I am right handed. Lay it on the griddle, skillet or comal softly, but swiftly.
  • Once the tortilla is on the hot surface, don’t touch it for the next 30 seconds! Even if it didn’t lay completely straight, resist the temptation to fiddle with it. Let it cook until it can be flipped without sticking to the comal, just like pancakes, or until a spatula can easily lift it. Another sign that it is ready to be flipped, is it becomes opaque on the side that it was cooking on.
  • Turn over, and cook for a minute, until opaque and starting to get brown freckles on the side that is now on the hot surface. If it is opaque but it has white-ish areas, you need to leave it a bit longer until it becomes freckled with brown spots.
  • Turn over once more, and now after 10 to 15 seconds, the tortilla should puff up like pita bread, if not all over tortilla, at least in an area of it. If it is not puffing, gently tease it by poking with your finger softly in an area of the tortilla around the center. Once it puffs, let the tortilla cook for another 15 to 20 seconds, so that it cooks internally in the puffed up area. That is the difference between ok tortillas, and to die for, malleable, fully cooked, soft tortillas.
  • Transfer each cooked tortilla to a clean kitchen towel or a cloth-lined tortillero.
  • If eaten that same day, tortillas may be kept wrapped in a clean kitchen towel or cloth. If not, wrap in a kitchen towel, place inside a closed plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 3 days, afterwards they will turn too hard. Reheat on hot comal for 30 seconds or so on each side before eating. They can also be frozen and kept for months.


44comments inCorn Tortillas

  1. Tony Valenzuela

    Dec 10

    I am going to attempt to make corn tortillas but am unsure if I’m supposed to buy corn flour or instant corn flour (or if there’s a difference). Would much appreciate knowing which kind to get. Thanks!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 11

      Go for the regular corn tortilla flour Tony, have fun!

  2. Roberto Di Martino

    Nov 10

    Why does the flour tortilla have lard yet the corn one doesn’t? I make made a flour tortilla with a little white flour (3 to 1) usually add a tiny bit of oil either in the dough or in the pan, but the lard idea in the dough sounds great. Will lard also work in a corn tortilla mix please?
    Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 11

      The corn tortilla flour is treated already and they add some lime that gives the necessary moisture. Flour tortillas are made with lard to make them malleable, otherwise they will come out crispy and crack easily. I know some recipes that add lard to corn tortillas; if you do it, don’t add to much, probably 3/4 of a tablespoon tops 😉

      1. Roberto Di Martino

        Nov 12

        Many thanks Pati, that’s really interesting. One thing I enjoy is trying new things. I’ll try a little lard in the corn and see. One thing I have always done as I saw it many years ago , which maybe I don’t need to, is to brush the tortilla vey lightly with a little water then turn over, which for me always seems to keep them moist and not crack. But I will try the lard and see if I can leave out that step. Thank you Pati, I love your recipes, great ingredients and simple, always the best! I’ll let you know how I go!

  3. Mary Allison

    Oct 15

    Gracias por todo, Pati!

  4. Barbara Pittman

    Aug 11

    My dough started out too wet, even after kneading for extra time. I added about 1/4 cup more flour to get the right consistency, and then it worked like magic. It is very satisfying to see the tortillas rise on that last flip, and the taste and texture is so much better than store-bought tortillas.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 12

      Yay Barbara, good job! Once you make your own tortillas, you never want to go back to store bought, right?

  5. Steven C

    Jul 11


    Thanks great recipe and YouTube, also from Australia, my go to for tortilla’s, makes the store bought ones taste like rubbish. For Kim, Essential Ingredient “Minsa Yellow Corn Masa Flour”.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 12

      Hi Steven, so happy you decided to give home-made tortillas a chance 😉

  6. Kim

    Apr 07

    Hi pati, I live in Australia and I love your show. What is corn tortilla flour? Could I use polenta finely ground or semolina?

    I don’t have a tortilla press could I roll them out the old fashioned way?
    I’ve made your flour tortillas and my can’proved them, thought I would try corn, but having issues due to the above. Help me please 💖

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 07

      Hi Kim, thanks all the way to Australia for tuning in! Corn tortilla flour is corn flour that has been treated with some calcium “lime” to release the niacin in the corn. I’ve heard of people making polenta tortillas but I have never tried. Of course you can roll your tortillas with a rolling pin or by hand, it makes it even more fun. Good luck!

  7. Peng

    Dec 29

    I can’t find masa harina. Can I use a regular corn flour?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 30

      Look for Maseca, or any brand that says masa harina, or flour for making corn tortillas. Try asking your grocer or try online, Peng.

  8. Pete

    Nov 07

    Excellent video of this recipe/ process! Especially the “teasing” part.
    I can’t thank you enough Pati… I’m finally getting the perfect tortillas that I’ve longed for.
    Mucho gracias!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 10

      SO happy to hear this, Pete!

  9. Amy

    Aug 02

    I am just failing at making tortillas. I keep trying but they don’t puff up and it is taking so long for them to get brown freckles that they become over cooked and dried out. Do you have a video? I know this is suppose to be an easy thing so I don’t know why I can’t get it right.

    1. Pati

      Aug 03

      You can do it, Amy! It just takes some practice. Here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT7E1XcGWAc&t=109s

  10. Julie Ann Fox

    Oct 15

    Hi Pati, what brand of tortilla flour do you prefer?

  11. Bob

    Jul 15

    love your shows , Pati ! … they inspire me !! keep them coming !

    1. Pati

      Jul 17

      Thank you, Bob!

  12. Bob

    Jul 11

    freshly made , thick corn tortillas are the best food I have ever tasted

    1. Pati

      Jul 12

      I agree!

  13. Scott M

    Mar 14

    I had grilled some Chicken the other day and wanted to make some type of soft tacos with it.
    I decided to try to make corn tortillas from scratch. I saw your website and have watched your show quite often.
    These are so easy and turned out very good. Thank you for the recipe and I will be trying some more too.

    1. Pati

      Mar 14

      I am so thrilled you liked the recipe, Scott!!

  14. michele west

    Jan 30

    Hi, I make my corn tortillas all the time now. I found out the secret. Mix and cover bowl with towel for one hour. They turn out perfect, dont tear, and peel off the plastic very easy.

    1. Pati

      Feb 01

      Yay! Great tip!

  15. D. Wilson

    Jan 27

    I found this kind of press at an Asian Market.

  16. Lily B

    Aug 04

    Pati! Hi! I love your show, your recipes, everything!! I live in Mexico and I always hear about make corn tortillas and i think “why make corn tortillas? its so difficult!!” but you make the way to prepare them so easy.. i have to try!! from Chihuahua, Lily!

    1. Pati

      Aug 18

      Go for it, Lily!!

  17. Barbara & Stanley Stephenson

    Jul 08

    Dear Patti. Thank you for your shows. We really enjoy watching them and we are looking forward to getting your new cook book. Watching you make some Crullers, which look really good and was wondering where you can get the utensil for making them?
    Thank you ,
    Barbara and Stanley Stephenson

  18. michele larson

    Jul 07

    Patti, Thank you so much. Now I can finally make corn tortillas.I love your show. Your boys are great. Thanks, a grandmother

    1. Pati

      Jul 08

      Thank you!

  19. Barbara & Stanley Stephenson

    May 09

    Dear Pati, we really enjoy your cooking show and your first cook book and do you have
    a new cook book.
    Thank you for your cooking shows,
    Barbara and Stanley Stephenson

    1. Pati

      May 10

      Hi, Barbara and Stanley, thanks so much for watching my show! And Yes, I have a new cookbook that will be coming out in April 2016, but there will be early pre-order in Amazon soon. 🙂

  20. Harold

    May 07

    Where do I get the corn tortilla flour,, I have tried the mex premixed flour, but it dont work, and regular corn flour, it cracks,, have been trying for years to make fresh tortillas,, ::::??? it has to be the right kind of flour,, can you tell me where to get it????

    1. Pati

      May 10

      Harold, you can find it in any Latin grocery store, international store and mainstream stores in their latin or international aisles. Look for Maseca, or any brand that says masa harina, or flour for making corn tortillas. Ask your grocer or try online!

  21. Todd

    May 03

    Pati, I preheat my skillet for about 8 minutes over medium heat. And, yes, I flip my tortillas twice as you direct. I just made some about 5 minutes ago and none of them puffed up. All feel dry when they come off the skillet, although they do soften up in a tortilla warmer. Thanks for replying so quickly! I just read that you and your family are in the DC area. My family and I live in western Loudoun Co.

  22. Todd

    May 03

    Pati, I love your website. Everything I have tried has been amazing – your salsa verde is the bomb! Oh, and thank you for the Rancho Gordo plug. I ordered beans from them and used your recipes for both beans in a pot and refried beans and they were the best I ever had.

    My question about corn tortillas: My tortillas feel firm when I remove them from the skillet and one side always has cracks, almost like dry clay has cracks. Also, they never puff up or get nice brown spots. I make the dough with Maseca and warm water until I get a soft playdough-like texture. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. Thanks!

    1. Pati

      May 03

      Hm… are you flipping your tortillas twice? Is your comal very hot (over medium heat?)? Thanks for your lovely message.

      1. Todd

        May 06

        Discovered my issue. My medium heat setting was not hot enough. Skillet has to be hotter than I thought.

  23. Savannagal

    May 01

    I’m wondering what is the brand of the tortilla press you used on your show. Yours seemed to work very well. I’d like to trying making these at home. Thanks.

  24. isabel

    Apr 18

    Me gusta mucho tu programa, gracias por la receta de taco la pastor y de canasta. voy a intentarlos esta noche espero que me quede bien.

    1. Pati

      Apr 18

      Seguro te quedan bien 🙂

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