Homemade Corn Tortillas

These are fun to make. Being Mexican and all it is my duty to know how to make good homemade tortillas. In fact, it is more important to perfect these than my homemade pasta. Anyway, there is no comparison to homemade corn tortillas. Corn tortillas are perfect for tacos de pollo, al pastor, or carnitas. Sorry I don’t include those recipes here but they will come in time.

Here is the straight up corn tortillas. Only thing is, you need a nearby Mexican store, which shouldn’t be so hard in Southern California to buy masa (corn maize), a tortilla press, and a “comal” (hot plate). The best tortilla presses and “comals” can be found in Mexico but an authentic Mexican store here should have them. You can check the internet to buy the tortilla press, too. Otherwise, get ready to get your hand’s dirty and press them by hand.

Oh yes, these tortillas must be eaten warm and with warm people.

Ingredients and Materials needed:

The masa and authentic tortilla press is shown above
  • Tortilla Press, but can be done by hand
  • Comal (hot plate-cast iron), but a flat non-stick pan or hot hot grill can work too
  • “Masa sin preparada” (corn maize not prepared for tamales)
  • 1 trimmed large plastic ziploc bag to fit the tortilla press

1. Cut a ziploc bag into the shape of the tortilla press. I would cut off the top and both sides so you are left with a folded plastic sheet.

2. Line the tortilla press with the plastic wrap on both sides. Set it up in a way so that the plastic sandwiches the masa when you press it. The plastic prevents the masa from sticking to the tortilla press and makes it easy to remove the tortilla.

3. Take a large chunk of the masa and work the dough so that it becomes more sticky and easy to form a ball. Then take a small piece from the large chunk and roll it into a small ball.

4. Turn on the heat on the comal or non-stick pan.

5. Place the masa in the center of the plastic wrap. Press the tortilla using the tortilla press.

6. Remove the tortilla carefully, peeling it off slowly from the plastic wrap.

7. The tricky part. After peeling the tortilla, handle it carefully in your palm. Have some of the tortilla off your palm so you can lay it down on the comal, hot plate, or grill. Lay your hand palm side up and get as close as you can get to the hot comal or pan. Don’t try to be a hero and lower your hand too much because it is easy to burn yourself. Lower the tortilla onto the pan. The reason for this meticulousness is so that no air bubbles form as they will not cook the tortilla evenly. The goal is to lay the tortilla flat on the griddle. Whatever way you can do it, repeat your method.

8. Cook them briefly on one side. Once they can be moved, flip them. Flip them about twice until both sides are only slightly browned. Eat warm with salsa, soup, stew, or make a quesadilla or taco. For storage, place them in a tortilla warmer made of Styrofoam or just simply cloth. If you don’t have those on hand put them in a tightly folded clean dish towel and in the oven (200 F) to keep them warm.

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