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Traditional Corn Tortillas

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Active Time:  40 Minutes
Total Time:  13 Hours 40 Minutes
  Makes 1 dozen
This recipe includes step-by-step instructions for preparing authentic corn tortillas. Once you've learned the techniques explained in the recipe, and use the time-saving tools, you'll find that homemade tortillas are easier than pie to make.
1 pound dried hominy corn kernels (nixtamal)
3 quarts water
1 tablespoon limestone powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (about) water
TO MAKE MASA DOUGH: Combine first 3 ingredients in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat until the kernels are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand overnight.

Drain the cooking liquid from the kernels. Rinse thoroughly. Transfer half the kernels to a food processor. Add half of the salt. Finely grind the kernels to form a smooth dough, adding fresh water 1/4 cup at a time. The dough should be moist, slightly tacky, but should release easily from your hands while working with it. Transfer dough to bowl. Repeat with remaining kernels, salt and water. Using moistened hands, knead the dough until it holds together and is smooth.

TO SHAPE TORTILLAS: Place the griddle atop two burners and heat over medium-high heat until griddle is very hot. Lightly brush griddle with oil to prevent tortillas from sticking.

Line the bottom flat surface of the tortilla press with plastic. Moisten hands slightly. Pinch off a piece of the masa dough. Shape it into the size of a golf ball. Slightly flatten it between the palms of hands. Place the dough atop the plastic slightly more towards the hinge than the handle of the press. Top with a second piece of plastic. Close the press, then open. Peel off the top plastic sheet. If the edges crack when the dough is pressed, the dough is not moist enough. To moisten, knead more water into the dough, 1 teaspoon at a time.

TO COOK TORTILLAS: Invert the tortilla onto hand and peel off the bottom sheet of plastic. Lay the tortilla onto the hot griddle. Cook just until the bottom is set, about 45 seconds. Turn tortilla over and cook 1 minute. Turn again and cook until the tortilla puffs like a ball, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer the tortilla to a basket lined with a clean kitchen towel (the tortilla will deflate.) Serve immediately.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Masa dough can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Cooked tortillas can be made up to 1 week ahead. Enclose in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate.

TEST KITCHEN NOTES: Nixtamal and limestone powder can be found at Latin markets.

Recipe created exclusively for by Rochelle Palermo, Food Editor at

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Makes 1 dozen
Calories: 130
Sodium: 388mg
Fiber: 2g
Carbohydrates, Total: 30g
Protein: 3g
% Cal. from Fat: 7%
Fat. Total: 1g
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