Traditional Corn Tortillas

These traditional Mexican-style homemade corn tortillas are easy to make with just three ingredients. They bring a natural, earthy flavor to Mexican dishes. The freshly-made corn tortillas are soft and pliable and will fold beautifully for homemade tacos or enchiladas.

What is Masa Harina?

Masa harina translates to “dough flour.” It is a flour made from dried corn kernels cooked and soaked in a lime solution to make hominy — this gives corn tortillas their recognizable sour flavor. After soaking, the kernels are rinsed, dried, and ground into a fine powder resembling flour.

Both cornmeal and corn flour are made from milled, dried corn. Where they differ is the degree to which they are ground, with cornmeal being coarsely ground and corn flour being finely ground. Neither are soaked in the lime water solution used to make masa harina, so they don’t produce the same sour flavor.

Homemade corn tortillas on a Mexican-inspired red serving dish with peppers, avocado, tomatoes, and heads of garlic in the background.

Traditional Corn Tortillas

Foodie de Froid
Servings 15 tortillas
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
These traditional Mexican-style homemade corn tortillas are easy to make with just three ingredients. They bring a natural, earthy flavor to your Mexican dishes. The freshly-made corn tortillas are soft and pliable, and fold beautifully for homemade tacos or enchiladas.
5 from 1 vote


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water


  • Add the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Gently squeeze the dough with your fingers until it comes together. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to absorb the water properly. Be patient. ; ) You want Play-doh consistency - smooth and soft, not sticky or crumbly.
    2 cups masa harina, ¾ tsp kosher salt, 1 ½ cups warm water
  • Cut two pieces of parchment into the shape of the surface of the tortilla press.
  • Form the dough balls the size of a large golf ball or 35 - 38 grams each. Cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out as you press and cook the tortillas.
  • Preheat a non-stick heavy skillet to medium-high.
  • Open the tortilla press and lay one piece of parchment on the press. Place the masa ball in the center. Place the second piece of parchment over the dough ball. Gently close the press and press down until the dough has spread to a diameter of six inches. Carefully peel back the parchment from the tortilla.
  • Cook the tortilla on the hot pan for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. The tortilla should be lightly toasted, and little air pockets will form. While the tortilla cooks, start working on pressing the next tortilla.
  • Remove the tortillas to a tortilla warmer lined with a dish towel or paper towels, or wrap them in a dish towel to keep them warm.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container or plastic bag and reheat.

Kitchen Equipment

1 tortilla press
parchment paper


Make the number of tortillas you need by reducing (or increasing) the recipe ingredients equally. 
The consistency of the dough is critical to making corn tortillas.  
Corn flour (masa harina) takes time to absorb water.   As you knead, the dough will become softer and won’t stick. Depending on how much dough you are making, it should take about 5-10 minutes. If, after kneading for a few minutes, the dough still seems dry and crumbly, add 2 Tbsp. Warm water at a time and knead for a few minutes before adding more. Because the corn won’t instantly absorb the water, you must wait a few minutes to see if you need more.  In reverse, if it is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp masa harina until you get the perfect consistency.
You can make corn tortillas without a press using a cutting board and a hard-covered book (for example) to flatten your dough balls.
Course bread
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 55


Serving: 15tortillasCalories: 55kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 118mgPotassium: 40mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 33IUCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Keyword authentic mexican tacos, easy, homemade, masa harina, organic, traditional
Have you made this recipe? We'd love to hear how it was!

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