How to Make Homemade Corn Tortillas / Cómo Hacer Tortillas de Maíz en Casa

I remember long ago (23 years!) a lady was asking me about my country, our culture and our food. When we started talking about food recipes, she asked me how could she make “Tortillas de Harina” (wheat flour tortillas). She couldn’t believe it when I told her that I didn’t know how to make them. She was really surprised! She said: “but you are Mexican!”, and then I said: “yes, but wheat flour tortillas are more common in Northern México, but most people in central and south Mexico consume mainly corn tortillas”. We use wheat flour tortillas occasionally to make “quesadillas” or traditional “burritos”, but these are not an everyday meal. Later on I learned how to make my own wheat flour tortillas too.
Corn tortillas have been around for a long, long time, and can be made of white, yellow or blue corn kernels. They are not just our daily tortilla, they are a meal by themselves.

To prepare corn tortillas you can use “masa harina” which is easily available in Latin grocery stores nowadays. For this recipe I will use masa harina because I know that many of you would not have access to fresh corn masa. I prefer the real thing (fresh corn masa) since the results will be greatly different, the tortillas will be less dry than those from masa harina. If you have access to fresh corn masa please do make your tortillas with it instead of the dry stuff. Tortillas made with "Maseca" will never taste like the ones made using corn masa made from Nixtamal.

Check this post if you want to know how to make your own masa at home. Enjoy it!

These are some of the types of tortillas sold in Mexico. Top left with the oval shape is used for "flautas", then the white taco tortilla top right. Yellow corn tortilla bottom left and regular everyday use white corn tortilla bottom right. Tortillas used for tacos are commonly smaller.


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1-¼ cups of warm water (this may vary depending on air humidity and other wheatear conditions).
  • 2 pieces of round plastic cut out from a bag. (freezer bags are ideal for this purpose).



1. Use a wooden bowl to combine the masa harina and water. Mix well until the water is absorbed evenly and the dough forms a ball.


NOTES:We are looking for a soft dough consistency; it should not stick to your hands. If it does, add a little more of masa harina. If it looks dry, breakable or crumbly, add more water. Cover with a moist towel to prevent the dough from drying.

2. Preheat a griddle or heavy skillet on medium flame. This has to be ready when you start pressing the tortillas.

3. Using a tortilla press or a heavy dish, (pie dish as I do), place a ball of the dough about 1 ½ inch in diameter between the two plastic pieces and press to form a 6 inch round tortilla.

This picture is just to give you an idea of the size of the dough used for one tortilla. This is an extra large egg.


This is your typical tortilla press, there are some wooden presses too.


4. Press the small ball of dough firmly with your fingers to form a patty between the pieces of plastic.

You do not have to have a tortilla press to make your tortillas, you could use a heavy skillet or a heavy dish instead and press them.

5. Open the tortilla press or remove the heavy dish if using to press the tortillas, peel the top plastic off. If the press tortilla has an uneven edge, then the dough is too dry and you will need to add a little water and mix the well.

Somehow when using the tortilla press my tortillas come out very thin. Some people in the South of Mexico eat thicker tortillas and some grandmas still make them by hand.


6. Lift the plastic with the pressed tortilla, place the dough in your hand closer to your fingers and carefully peel the plastic off the dough. If the dough doesn’t come out so easily then the dough could be a little to wet. Add some more masa harina to the dough mix again until it becomes easy to handle.


7. Place the tortilla on the griddle and cook for 45 seconds. The edge will begin to dry out. Turn over and continue to cook for 1 minute until brown patches form.


8. Turn over again and cook for another 15 seconds. The cooking time is about 2 minute’s total. Cook until the tortilla begins to puff. Tap lightly with your fingertips to allow even puffing. Wrap with a napkin or clean towel, and serve.



  1. Que belleza de toritllas Mely! Se me antojan ahoritita mismo. Ahi tengo la tortillera, nomas me falta la maseca...

  2. Hola Silvia,

    Si, se antojan sobre todo recien hechas con un poquito de mantequilla untada, Hhhhmmmm!


  3. Qué buenas las tortillas... me encantan... Y se hacen muy fácilmente. ¿No llevan sal?. Gracias por la explicación.

    1. Carlos, no le ponemos sal a la masa para hacer tortillas. Le ponemos sal (al menos yo lo hago) cuando es para hacer algún antojito mexicano como sopes, migadas, picadas, bocoles, etc. Saludos!

  4. hey Mellie,
    its me Linda, Muchacha's mother-in-law.

    I love your recipe directions and the photos to match. you should write and publish a cookbook.

    love ya

  5. Thanks Linda,
    I hope you can stop by often.
    Love ya back! :)

  6. Gracias por apuntar esta receta, especialmente por las descripciones acompanadas por las fotos.

  7. Mely,
    esa manera de hacer tortillas es genial!


  8. Ya sabes Tlaz, el ingenio mexicano de hacer las cosas con lo que tenga uno a la mano.


  9. Voy a seguir tus tips para las tortillas! yo no les ponìa agua caliente!


  10. Hola Lupita,

    Luego me platicas si viste un cambio en las tortillas cocinadas asi.


  11. Thanks for this really fantastic tutorial!

  12. Se me hace agua la boca Mely!

    My story is opposite of yours. I know how to make flour tortillas because I'm from Sonora so this will be my first time trying corn.

    Hopefully it will be as easy as you make it look here. Great blog! I'll be back for more.

  13. Hola Monica,

    It is really easier that making flour tortillas for the first time. I love flour tortillas but when I make them it is hard to stop eating them! :)

    Please do come back to let us know how did your corn tortillas turn up.


  14. Hola ...por fin he visto como se hacen las tortitas MEXICANAS ... me gustan tus recetas, saludos MARIMI

  15. I love corn tortillas so much and now that I live in New England, I don't have access to the fresh corn tortillas that I would get in Texas and the packaged ones that I find here all have a list of ingredients that I cannot even pronounce. I must make some of these soon. Gracias!

  16. yum! I'm in australia and could only find masa lista, but I made these last night, and they were great!! :)

  17. I made these last night and they were very good! However, I cannot seem to get them to puff up-any suggestions? I have an electric griddle so I can set the temperature and tried at both 350 and 500 degrees, but couldn't get them to puff at either temperature. I cooked them for the amount of time you suggested. Thank you for this recipe!

  18. Use a spatula or a folded paper towel and press the tortilla a little in the last step of cooking.
    This will help you to get the tortilla to puff.


  19. Es verda en el centro y sur de Mexico no comemos tortillas de harina solo para quesadillas.. I'm from Michoacan and we have different types (colors) of maiz therefore our tortillas vary from place to place..

  20. Es verda en el centro y sur de Mexico no comemos tortillas de harina solo para quesadillas.. I'm from Michoacan and we have different types (colors) of maiz therefore our tortillas vary from place to place..

  21. Es verda en el centro y sur de Mexico no comemos tortillas de harina solo para quesadillas.. I'm from Michoacan and we have different types (colors) of maiz therefore our tortillas vary from place to place..

    1. Hola Cecci,

      Que bueno que concidimos en eso. Saludos donde quiere que te encuentres y gracias por tu comentario.


    2. A little late, but....are tortillas made with any other types of corn? I love blue corn, and I'd like to try making tortillas from them, but I also know there's other corn types that just don't make it up to the US.

    3. Yes, we do have a great variety of corn, and blue is very common in central Mexico.
      Just check this link to see a picture of some of the types or corn farmers grow.

      Thank you for visiting.

  22. Thanks for the recipe - I'm excited to try it. Is there a way to use fresh lime instead of powdered?

    Thanks Scott

  23. Mely, siempre envío tu entrada de cómo hacer tortillas a la gente que me escribe, y que no tiene prensa para hacer las tortillas, para que vean el truco! Muy bueno!

    Por cierto, Carlos Dube te preguntó si se le pone sal a la masa...


    1. Gracias por enviar a la gente al blog Nora.



  24. Replies
    1. Hello Bhavin

      Yes, but flour tortillas are more like chapati.

  25. Hi, I love your website! Or should I say my boyfriend loves it! He is from Michoacan and lately he keeps asking where I got my recipes ( after 7 years it's about time). I have also started trying to make tortillas but no success. ( good thing the food is good enough to hide the tortilla) My problem is they never puff up so they are too heavy. I put required water and they still seems dry so I add water a little at a time so they don't get too sticky. Last night I made sopes and he joked " how come these are so great but the tortillas never come out?" please help!

    1. Hello Lisa,

      Please send me an email, you can get my email in the contact section.

      Happy Cooking!


  26. Off the subject--- but curious.... does authentic Mexican cooking use yellow cheese as we see above the Rio Grande? <I realize that like in the US, there are many different types of "authentic" Mexican cooking. ... not all of us have a diet as they do in New England. Cheers from Kentucky

    1. The cooking is different from every region, some have more exotics ingredients. And about yellow cheese, yes! we do use it, for sandwiches with ham, mayo and mustard. We have been done that for decades, also macaroni and cheese. :)

      Happy cooking!

  27. How about a trouble shooting section. Tortillas do not puff. Have cracks while cooking, ect. Thanks

    1. Hello Sharon,

      Yes, my sister told me the same thing, about a troubleshooting section or common questions section. I am working on doing some changes, slowly but surely.

      If you have any questions send me an email or doing here on the comments.


  28. I came across your blog today while looking for a source to buy blue corn masa... now I'm thinking I should be looking for a source of blue corn instead. I LOVE your blog and can see it's going to be a great resource for me.

    I also have trouble getting tortillas to puff up (I actually didn't know they should!) and wonder if I'm too conservative with heat. I know when I make pita bread, and want a pocket, I use a really really hot oven. I see I've got some experimentation ahead of me.

    1. Hello Susie Taylor,

      Thank you for stopping by and leave a comment. And regarding the tortillas, they should puff. Yes, time has something to do about it. Regards,

  29. I used to live in Honduras and learned to make flour tortillas from the old women there. I always had trouble with my corn sticking to the plastic though. I learned from another site to unstick the plastic between each press as each tortilla needs to be pressed twice for proper thickness. And yes, pressing on the tortilla helps it to puff up. That puff up is nice if you decide to make chips from them. I like to eat them with my garlic, ginger soup.

    Here in Belize they make the tortillas from corn that is still slightly wet. They grind it themselves and only need a little water when mixing. They're pretty good but I like the ones made with flour better. I tried buying their grind and it turned out disasterous. That was before I knew to peel the plastic off between each pressing for the same tortilla. So a note to everyone, if you press twice the tortilla will stick to your plastic. Open the plastic and release the tortilla between each pressing and you'll have no trouble at all.

    1. Hello Anciano Deacon,

      Thank you for your comment, sometimes when the tortilla stick to the plastic depends of the dough water content. If the dough is to wet, it will stick to the plastic.


  30. Hi, we grew non-GMO yellow corn and I was wondering if I can dry it as use it to make corn tortillas?? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Gretna p.s. if this comment is duplicated, sorry, I don't know where the first one went.

    1. Hello Zeke,

      I had made tortillas using yellow corn, is your conr a dented variety?

  31. Thanks a lot for your great blog! Have you tried freezing the tortillas more or less straight out of the comal? The ones I make (with maseca) seems to be best very fresh. Any good ideas keeping larger batches?

    1. Hello Jonas,

      I used to freeze them fresh made. They last about a month, if you leave them for longer sometimes get really crumbly.

  32. Hi, thanks for posting this. I am planning to make taquitos and will make my own tortilla. Will I still need to cook these in the skillet before making th taquitos or can I wrap the beef in the "raw" tortilla and cook everything at once? A little worried that they will be too crispy before I am ready to use them if I fry them first.

    1. Hello Jen,
      You need to make the tortillas before making the tacos. If you want, you can make empanadas, those use the fresh dough to wrap the fillings and them fry or cook on the skillet. Check the recipe section for empanadas.


    “Se juntan las palmas y aplastan la masa, aplauden las manos, formando tortillas”.

    Al pie del metate,
    su corazón late,
    amasa la masa,
    las penas que pasa.

    Bolitas, testal,
    maíz nacional,
    sus manos aplauden,
    hermanas se funden.

    Torteando, torteando,
    pierde hasta el aliento,
    con amor formando,
    básico alimento.

    El trabajo empeña,
    carbón, fuego, leña,
    fogón que me abraza,
    tortillas de casa.

    Van de mano en mano,
    quererme no es vano,
    mucho las orea,
    cariño desea.

    La braza del alma,
    mi vida desarma,
    sudor es ferviente,
    el comal caliente.

    Ansiosa, con ganas,
    las suelta, resuelta,
    ¡ichúskutas planas!
    y, vuelta que vuelta.

    Cocción prolongada,
    tlaxcallis sagradas,
    quedan bien blanditas,
    blancas, . . . azulitas.

    Algunas, que se inflan,
    humeantes, deseadas,
    después se desinflan,
    acaban delgadas.

    Corazón resiste,
    la pasión te asiste,
    guarda la receta,
    tersa servilleta.

    Pequeña esa manta,
    de reina, de santa
    que, con gran fervor,
    cubre ese calor.

    Tazcal, chiquihuite,
    tortillas, ¡banquete!,
    sus manos yo beso,
    juntas son un rezo.

    Autor: Lic. Gonzalo Ramos Aranda
    México. Distrito Federal, a 1º de abril del 2006.
    Reg. INDAUTOR No. 03-2011-090913353800-14

    1. Gracias Gonzalo Ramos,
      Por tan hermoso poema sobre las tortillas.



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