This week’s recipe is a quick and easy one but also one that I often make. Homemade corn tortillas are a lot tastier than the ones you’ll buy at a store and do not require much effort. They can be used for numerous Mexican dishes but are also a great snack on their own. You’re probably wondering why I am posting this recipe a day before Thanksgiving. Since I gave you my smoked turkey recipe last week, I thought I’d give you something that would be useful with those delicious Thanksgiving leftovers. These tortillas are perfect for anything like turkey tacos, taquitos, or enchiladas. Let’s dive in and learn how to make them!
Corn tortillas do not require many ingredients to make – just three to be exact (although one is super important). They are as follows:
- Masa Harina
- Warm Water
Can you guess which ingredient is the important one? If you guessed Masa Harina then you’d be correct. Masa Harina is a type of corn flour where the corn kernels are cooked and soaked in calcium hydroxide (a lime solution). The kernels are then dried and ground into a flour that is used for tortillas. Allrecipes has a good post explaining this if you are interested in learning more. If you cannot find Masa Harina at your local grocery store, there are many options on Amazon. Here is the brand that I use.
Making the dough
It is very simple to make the dough. All that you need to do is mix the masa harina, salt, and warm water together (full recipe below). Once the mixture has started to come together, form a big ball with it with your hands. You can knead the ball for a little until the correct texture is made – it should be firm and not too wet or dry. If your mixture is too wet, add some more masa harina. If it’s too dry, add a little more water. I almost never need to add more masa harina or water so you should be good if you stick with this recipe. Once done, put the ball in a bowl, cover with a paper towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Making the tortillas
Now that the corn tortilla dough has rested, it’s time to start forming the tortillas. First step is to break the ball into equal portions (the number of tortillas that you are making). This recipe makes 12 tortillas so I would be splitting it into 12 balls about the size of a golf ball. Then you will want to, one by one, flatten these balls into tortillas. You can use a rolling pin, a dish, or my recommendation: a tortilla press. I typically put some parchment paper between the tortilla ball and the tortilla press (top and bottom) to prevent any sticking. Just press down and boom you have an uncooked tortilla.
Cooking the tortillas
Cooking the tortillas is a very easy task. Heat a cast iron, large pan, or griddle over medium heat. Add one or two tortillas (depending on the size of your cast iron – do not overcrowd) and cook for 20-30 seconds. Flip and cook the other side. I’ll be honest, I don’t really time them at this point but instead keep an eye on them and wait for them to have nice char marks on both sides. Once done, I like to put them all in a tortilla warmer or you could wrap them in a clean towel to keep them warm.
So many uses
I’m not going to lie – I love these corn tortillas. Super simple to make and very versatile, you can really skip buying the pre-made tortillas that you find in a grocery store the next time you’re having Mexican food. Bonus use with any leftovers: you can cut them into mini triangles and fry them up for some homemade nacho chips. So come this Friday when you’re wondering what to do with all your Thanksgiving leftovers, make some tortillas and enjoy those turkey tacos!
- 2 cups Masa Harina
- 1 1/2 cups Warm Water
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Combine the masa harina and salt in a large bowl. Add warm water and mix together with a spoon or spatula. Once the dough has started to form, begin mixing with your hands to form a ball. Knead the ball for a little. The dough ball should be firm but not too wet or too dry.
- Put the dough ball back in the bowl and cover with a paper towel. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Break the dough ball into 12 even sized balls that are about the size of a golf ball. One by one, flatten each ball into the shape of a tortilla using a tortilla press (with parchment paper on top and below the dough to prevent sticking). Alternatively, you could use a dish or a rolling pin if you do not have a tortilla press.
- Heat a cast iron, large pan, or griddle over medium heat. Add one or two tortillas at a time making sure not to overcrowd. Cook for about 20-30 seconds and flip. Continue to cook until there are char marks on both sides – keep an eye on them as it does not take too long. Flip as many times as needed until you are satisfied with the char marks on both sides.
- Add the cooked tortillas to a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean towel. Serve immediately. Enjoy!