These Homemade Tortillas are tender, light and so much more flavorful that the packaged tortillas you buy from the store.
If you’ve never tasted homemade tortillas, you’re in for a treat.
I remember the Mexican ladies in Old Town San Diego cooking them on a huge griddle outside in the courtyard.
Well practiced, they only used their hands to shape the dough, lay them on a huge very hot griddle and flip them. It was mesmerizing watching them work so quickly. And the roasted corn smell in the air was fantastic.
Recently when I was taking a class from Rick Bayless, the absolute King of Mexican cuisine with his many restaurants, he was showing a technique for making tortillas with a tortilla press. It was so much easier and resulted in a more even tortilla. So, I had to go buy one.
I loved making tortillas so much that I ended up making Shrimp Tacos, then Chicken Tacos and finally Pulled Pork Enchiladas. The thing is once you try these recipes with homemade tortillas, well…the taste is so much better.
And the beauty is that there’s only 2 Ingredients!
So let’s make them.
Ingredients for Homemade Tortillas
- Water: The staff of life
- Masa Harina: This mix is sometimes referred to as Instant Masa, probably due to the speed that the dough comes together.
How to Make Homemade Tortillas
There really is a technique to making tortillas, but once you start you’ll find that you’ll really get into a rhythm. You can shape them by hand, but I really think you’ll find the tortilla press super easy to use.
The secret is using plastic liners. I started off using these parchment circles that I ordered whe the press. Bad mistake because each time I made a perfect tortilla, it always stuck to the paper ending up in a ripped tortilla. Not good.
So instead, I took a gallon zip lock bag and cut a 7” circle out making 2 plastic circles. And it worked like magic.
Next, add a clean dish towel to a shallow dish or basket and set aside. This will be a landing place for your tortillas and will keep them warm.
Once you have your plastic liners and your towel lined dish in place, preheat your griddle or your griddle or electric frypan to 375 degrees. You want it to be medium high heat. High enough to cook the tortillas without burning them. Greasing the pan is unnecessary.
Next, add water and the masa into a medium size bowl and mix it (preferably by hand) until it becomes a soft dough.
For the dough to be right, it needs to be very pliable…almost the consistency of Playdough. If it’s too dry at this point, add a few drops of water. If it’s too wet, add a bit more masa.
Next, roll the dough into a ball about the size of a large golf ball.
Then, place a plastic liner on the tortilla press and place the dough on the plastic.
Then place the other plastic liner on the top.
Using the levered handle, firmly press the dough out to about a 5” tortilla.
Holding the tortilla in your hand, carefully pull the plastic off the top. Flip the tortilla over and once again carefully peel the plastic off and lay it on to the griddle.
Let it cook 1 minute. Turn the tortilla over and let it cook another minute. Then once again turn the tortilla over and let it cook for 20-30 seconds.
Add the cooked tortilla to the towel lined dish and cover it with the edges of the towel to keep it warm.
Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
You should have enough dough to make 18 tortillas.
- Griddle or electric frypan
- 2 Cups Masa harina
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- Using a gallon zip lock bag, cut the bag into a 7” circle. When finished you will have two 7” plastic circles.
- Line a shallow dish or basket with a clean towel. (This is where you will place your cooked tortillas to keep them warm).
- Next, preheat your griddle or electric frypan to 375 degrees.
- To make the dough, add water and masa into medium bowl and mix (preferably by hand) 2 minutes until masa forms a soft dough. See notes.
- Form the dough into a large golf ball sized ball (about 1 oz). Place a plastic sheet on a tortilla press. Add the ball of dough and cover with the second sheet of plastic.
- Press the tortilla press firmly to achieve a 5” tortilla.
- Add the plastic covered tortilla to the palm of your hand and carefully pull off the top plastic. Then flip the tortilla over and remove the 2nd sheet of plastic.
- Lay the tortilla on the hot grill and allow it to cook 1 minute. Turn the tortilla over and let it cook 1 more minute. Then flip the tortilla one final time and let it cook about 30 seconds.
- Add the tortilla to your prepared towel covered dish and cover it with the towel edges to keep it warm.
- Repeat process with the rest of the dough.