Corn tortillas made with masa harina are stacked on black cloth

How to make corn tortillas

  • Author: Denise
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 tortillas 1x


Stop reading labels or being disappointed with store-bought. Make corn tortillas and enjoy gluten-free, oil-free discs of deliciousness any time you want!



  • 2 cups masa harina (do not substitute corn flour or corn meal)
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of masa harina and ½ tsp. salt.
  2. Stir in 1 cup of water and then using your hands, start kneading and add the rest of the warm water.
  3. Separate the dough into 12-18 pieces, depending on how big you want your tortillas (I made 16 that are about 4 inches across). Form balls that are about the size of a large walnut.
  4. Wrap the tortilla balls in a damp cloth so they don’t dry out.
  5. If you are using a tortilla press, cover the top and bottom with plastic wrap or cut a baggie to fit. My preferred method is to us 2 parchment paper squares. Alternatively, you can use a heavy baking dish or flat-bottomed pan to do the pressing.
  6. Pause before you start pressing to heat a heavy-bottomed skilled over medium high heat.
  7. Take on of the dough balls and place it on the parchment paper on the bottom of the press. Place the second parchment square over the ball and flatten it slightly with your hand to keep it from rolling. Lay the top of the press down and use the level to make the tortilla. Alternatively, place your heavy baking dish or pan over the top and press down.
  8. Remove the tortilla from the press. If you are using the parchment paper, you can pick it up using that and then slide it into the hot pan.
  9. Toast the tortilla for 1-2 minutes on the first side check that it isn’t sticking before flipping it. To do this, gently slide a spatula underneath or use tongs to see if you can pick it up. Flip the tortilla and toast another 1-2 minutes until it starts to form a few brown spots.
  10. Transfer the tortilla to a plate and cover or wrap it in a dry cloth.
  11. Repeat the process until you have a nice stack of fresh, warm tortillas.


  • Cook time depends on the number of tortillas you are making and if you can fit 2 or more in your pan.
  • To freeze tortillas, separate them with parchment paper and place them in a freeze bag. They keep well up to 3 months. Keep them in the fridge for a week.
  • If the dough is too wet, it will stick to the pan. Uncover the other dough balls to help them dry out. If the dough is too dry, it will fall apart or crack when you press it. You can re-knead the dough adding more masa harina or water if necessary.
  • To reheat the tortillas and form taco shells, sprinkle each with a few drops of water and lay them through the rungs of your oven rack in a heated oven. You can also reheat them in the oven wrapped in foil for flat tortillas.
  • Category: Tips & Techniques
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: make corn tortillas