How to Make Home-Made Corn Tortillas

Learn how to make delicious vegan, gluten-free home-made corn tortillas with just three ingredients in your own kitchen in no time with this step-by-step guide.

Have you ever wanted to enjoy the amazing experience of freshly made tortillas at home? I highly encourage you to take part in this culinary tradition, as there is nothing that can beat warm, tender, fragrant tortillas, fresh off the griddle. They can be the star of your meal! Just prepare fillings and toppings and let everyone filled their tortillas just the way they like them. I have been making home-crafted tortillas in my kitchen for a few years now. It’s a wonderfully interactive process for your family or friends! We all gather together, make the simple masa dough, create bean and veggie fillings and toppings, press and cook the tortillas, then start popping those fresh tortillas the moment they come out of the pan. Yum!

First up, I wanted to share a little more background on the history of tortillas, which originated in Mexico among the Aztecs in the 16th century, around 10,000 B.C, and have remained popular all over the world, especially in North, Central, and South America. The term “tortilla” comes from the Spanish word “torta,” which translates to cake. This makes sense because tortillas are essentially thin, flat pancakes made from dried and finely ground corn flour. The process of making tortillas first and foremost begins with a specific method of corn cleansing, referred to as nixtamalization. This traditional process was derived from the Indigenous people of the Americas, who shared this knowledge with newcomers on how to prepare corn in order to make tortillas and other traditional dishes. Nixtamalization consists of soaking and cooking the corn in an alkaline solution, such as lime water. Once this has been completed, the Indigenous people would rinse and grind the corn to achieve the desired consistency similar to the corn flour we see in our local grocery stores. The process of nixtamalization was utilized in order to enhance the nutritional content of the corn in order to increase the amount of vitamin B in diets while reducing the naturally occurring toxins in the corn.

In Mesoamerican societies, corn was a symbol of culture, serving as a staple and main source of energy, becoming the foundation for many traditional dishes. “In Mexican culture, corn is in our blood; it nourishes our body, mind, and soul. Corn is present in every meal, providing us with amazing vitamins and minerals, like calcium. But most importantly, for us Mexicans, corn tortillas and corn-based dishes are embedded in our hearts. With the smell of each tortilla thrown on a comal, a hand-made sope, a tlacoyo from a street vendor, or tamales, our souls rejoice with joy. We like to joke that everything tastes better wrapped in a corn tortilla, and I think it is mainly because each bite reminds us of who we are and where we come from,” says Alejandra Graf, plant-based Mexican food expert at Piloncillo&Vainilla | BrownSugar&Vanilla.

I created home-made tortillas for this recipe for Spicy Lentil Tacos.

A tortilla is a healthy addition to your meal, too, according to Registered Dietitian, Krista Linares, who says there are numerous ways to incorporate your favorite foods, such as tortillas, into a healthy eating pattern. Home-made corn tortillas contain whole grains, which is a great source of slow-digesting carbohydrates and fiber. Some wonderful health benefits about home-made corn tortillas is that they are nutrient-packed, as they contain protein and fiber, with no added sugar or fat and low sodium content. Tortillas are made with three simple ingredients: masa harina (corn flour), water, and a dash of salt.

Consistency is key in order to prepare a perfectly made tortilla, so it’s important to add just the right amount of water and heat to ensure that the tortilla is cooked perfectly. The process of tortilla making can either consist of pressing the dough with or without a tortilla press. Back in the day, there were no tortilla presses available, so rolling the dough was all done by hand. You have a few options on the type of masa harina (corn flour) you can use to make your tortillas—yellow or blue. Additionally, cooking the tortilla can either be done by using a skillet, griddle, or on the grill on a hot pizza stone. These tortillas can be used to make delicious tacos filled with a ton of your favorite fillings, such as beans, tofu filling, lentils, cauliflower, fresh chopped veggies, salsa, guacamole, and plant-based sour cream. Once you become an expert at tortilla-making, you won’t want to purchase pre-made tortillas at the grocery store!

To make Home-Made Corn Tortillas, this is what you’ll need:

2 cups masa harina
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups hot water
Mixing bowl
Measuring cup
Spoon
Tortilla press with liners (or rolling pin with plastic wrap)
Cast iron griddle or skillet (even a pizza stone works!)
Clean kitchen towel

Check out my step-by-step guide for making this recipe below.

Step-by-Step Guide for Making Home-Made Corn Tortillas


 

Measure 2 cups of masa harina (choose from either yellow or blue corn flour) and pour it into a large bowl.

Add ½ teaspoon of kosher salt to the bowl.
Add 1 ½ cups of hot water to the bowl.
Mix the ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a large spoon (picture showing blue dough).
Use your hands to knead the dough for a couple of minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky (picture showing yellow dough). Let stand for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into small, ping-pong sized balls. Makes about 15 balls (tortillas).
Press the dough by using plastic wrap and a rolling pin (shown above), or a tortilla press (see below). If you are using this first method, place the ball of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap on a clean counter, and press the tortilla with a rolling pin until the dough is evenly distributed and thin.
If you are using a tortilla press, place it on a clean counter.
Place a liner on the top and bottom of the tortilla press and place the dough in the center of the bottom plate. Press down to flatten the dough. May reuse the liners for the whole batch of dough.
Cook the flattened dough in a large cast iron skillet or griddle for a couple of minutes on each side over medium-high heat until the tortillas look dry and toasted.
Another method I’ve used is to heat pizza stone on a hot grill, and cook the flattened dough for a couple of minutes on each side until the tortillas look dry and toasted.
Wrap the cooked tortillas in a towel or tortilla warmer to keep them warm until ready to serve. This batch makes about 15 (6-inch) tortillas.
I love to use this tortilla recipe for my cauliflower chickpea tacos.

Enjoy delicious freshly made tortillas with your favorite fillings and toppings!

Enjoy some of my favorite plant-based recipes with these freshly-made tortillas:

Vegan Sour Cream
Avocado Crema
Avocado Salsa
Spicy Lentil Tacos
Tofu Mushroom Tacos
Easy Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos
BEST Vegetarian Refried Beans

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