Corn Tortillas: Never Goin’ Back to Packaged


Do to the generosity of a co-worker, I came into a tortilla press. This cinched it – I MUST make tortillas. I have a dirty little secret when it comes to things I know that I’ll need, but also know that it is more expensive in the Coop is that I troll supermarket circulars. For the corn tortillas, I knew I needed masa harina and the only version the Coop sells is Bob’s Red Mill (which is great, but I can’t spend $4 on a small bag). So I went online and looked at all of the supermarkets nearby to see if any of them had a sale on masa harina and our Pioneer Supermarket had a huge bag for $2.50! Counting on that on our weekly budget, we were looking to come in at just $30. However, no matter how hard you plan, sometimes people buy up all the masa harina and your stuck with getting a non-sale version. So we’re over budget, by a $1. We managed to also buy more nopales, the masa harina and a can of chipotle peppers. Even so, this bag of masa will last us a long time and make many delicious tortillas.

Back to the real concern – homemade corn tortillas! I used the recipe right off the back of the masa harina package (we used Maseca – their site actually has some amazing looking recipes) and utilized my trusty stand mixer to do the work. As recommended by a number of blogs, I let the dough sit, covered, for about a half an hour. The actual making of the tortillas was a breeze. It helps if you have two people – one to make the tortillas and one to cook them. Phil and I became a well-oiled tortilla making machine at one point. Served warm with a variety of rice, beans, salsa and other toppings, these were amazing and extremely cost effective.

You can make them without a tortilla press (use a heavy cutting board and a flat dish covered with wax paper and then a rolling pin to thin out the dough), but I highly recommend buying one if you see it for cheap – it makes a world of difference.

Corn Tortillas


2 Cups Maseca Corn Masa mix
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/8 Cup Water (plus a little more on the side)

To Do:

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients in large bowl using your hands or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Continue kneading until a dough ball forms.  If you need to add more water, do so at a teaspoon full at a time.  You want the dough to easy come together, but not be sticky.
  2. Let sit in a covered bowl for about a half hour or so.
  3. Take a piece of dough and form into a golf ball sized ball (make sure you keep the rest of the dough covered).  Place on tortilla press that has both sides covered in wax paper or a heavy ziplock bag.  Press into a tortilla.
  4. Heat up a skillet and cook tortilla for about 30 seconds on each side over medium heat.
  5. Place in a baking dish covered with tinfoil or a dishcloth and keep covered while you make the rest of the tortillas

This is much easier with two people!  One person presses the tortillas and the other can use 2 skillets and keep those babies moving!

23 Comments on “Corn Tortillas: Never Goin’ Back to Packaged”

  1. Julie says:

    How fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  2. P says:

    Pro tip: try not to choose a day of record high temperatures for undertaking this process.

    Seriously, though. These tortillas were so much better than store-bought. And by my rough calculation, we made 20 tortillas with less than $1 of ingredients.

  3. Maija says:

    Hey, you may know this already, but many big stores will give you a rain check if they run out of an item from their sale circulars. It doesn’t help if you are planning to use that ingredient right away in a meal, of course. I recently did this when our local chain had an amazing deal on my favorite cheddar cheese, but of course when i made it there, the shelves were empty. Now, I can return anytime in the next 60 days & get the sale deal (up to 5 2lb blocks of cheese, too!).

  4. Barb says:

    Those sure do look good! I have a tortilla press and I’m ashamed to say….I’ve never used it. I will now. I didn’t know it was so easy to make tortillas.

  5. P says:

    Maija – yes, in fact they did offer me a rain check. The problem was that we were planning on making the tortillas that night and since we only used about 1/4 of the bag, we probably won’t have any need to buy more in the near future. Oh well.

    A good tip in general, though.

  6. Daniel says:

    I’ve never seen a better reason to go over budget.

    Casual Kitchen

  7. Janice says:

    I get my masa harina from the Indian food store — much cheaper than Bob’s and sometimes fresher. It’s not called masa harina, just called corn flour, but its essentially the same.

  8. John-Patrick says:

    These look great! I love la milagro tortillas in Chicago, but because we’re moving soon I think I’m going to follow your lead and make our own. Yum!

  9. tinaspins says:

    Thanks for the tip Janice! I will have to see if I can find some at an Indian grocery, but $3.50 is still pretty cheap.

    Everyone! Start a tortilla revolution! Make em!

  10. limecloud says:

    These look great! I’ve made tortillas before but they always end up hard (not bad but it’s harder to make burittos and such).

    Do you have any tips for keeping them soft?

    • P says:

      Probable the most important thing is to keep the bowl of dough covered while you press and cook the individual tortillas, and then to keep the hot, cooked tortillas covered until serving. In the past, I’ve found that you can soften up (store-bought) corn tortillas by sprinkling them with a little water, wrapping them in foil, and letting them warm in the oven for 10 minutes or so.

      By teh way, the tortillas we made were more taco-size than burrito-size…not sure if larger tortillas are more difficult to keep soft.

  11. tinaspins says:

    These are also supposed to freeze quite well. When you want to use, thaw them and follow Phil’s method above. If they just don’t stay soft, branch out! Make tortilla chips, chilaquiles, tortilla soup…

  12. […] I used to press down the sopes (a kind of thicker tortilla).  I used the same recipe from our corn tortillas, only made less of it, formed a much larger ball and didn’t press down as much so it made a […]

  13. As it happens I just bought a tortilla press to experience just this sort of happiness. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. […] 30 Bucks a Week is a blog by a Brooklyn vegetarian couple about their efforts to eat on $30 a week. There are some cool, adventurous meals here, like white bean salad with peas, leeks, and walnuts, and making your own corn tortillas. […]

  15. […] in New York City, really love their tortillas!  Here is a post about making corn tortillas on 30 Bucks a Week (thanks Tina!) and another on Homesick […]

  16. […] and I pressed out a big batch of fresh tortillas (with a bag of masa harina we found on sale at the local supermarket) and oven roasted corn on the […]

  17. […] pretty little egg dish, mostly with stuff we had around the kitchen already. What we have here is a homemade tortilla, with some black beans and sauteed turnip greens, and topped with an egg, over easy, plus some […]

  18. […] pretty little egg dish, mostly with stuff we had around the kitchen already. What we have here is a homemade tortilla, with some black beans and sauteed turnip greens, and topped with an egg, over easy, plus some […]

  19. David McCurdy says:

    Is the paddle attachment better that the dough hook for this application?

    • tinaspins says:

      You know, we don’t even use a mixer anymore. A fork and hands work very well when dealing with masa harina! Hope this helps.

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