These days, pretty much any grocery store has a substantial collection of tortillas from every corner of the world, ready and waiting for you to purchase and fill with your favorite ingredients. But when it comes to corn tortillas, there really are many benefits to making your own from scratch, not least of which is how unbelievably quick and easy it is! Let’s jump to my soft corn tortillas recipe.
While flour tortillas are everywhere and can last up to 10 days in the refrigerator, due to the Masa Harina (corn flour) used in corn tortillas, they’re so much tastier when made fresh and enjoyed immediately (or within a couple of days). But although it can feel like a lot of hassle to make your own tortillas, it takes just 15 minutes (plus rest time) and only uses four ingredients (including salt and water!). There’s no excuse not to get your hands dirty and create the best tortillas you’ve ever tasted.
Quick & Easy Corn Tortillas Recipe
- 2 cup Masa Harina
- ⅓ cup Lard or Vegetable Shortening
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1¼ cup Water hot
- Prepare your tortilla-making equipment by laying out a large mixing bowl, cutting knife, cast-iron or nonstick skillet, and tortilla press (I love mine from Uno Casa).
- Mix the masa and salt in the mixing bowl, then add the lard and mix to combine.
- Pour the hot water over to melt the lard, then mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Abandon the spoon and mix with your hands until it forms a really smooth dough.
- Use your hands to press the dough into a rectangle, wrap it in plastic wrap, then leave to rest for 30 minutes. This makes the tortillas softer and more flexible.
- After 30 minutes of rest, set your skillet over medium heat and line your tortilla press (top and bottom) with parchment paper.
- Cut the tortilla dough into16 equal-sized pieces and place them one at a time into the center of the tortilla press.
- Press the lid of the tortilla press down firmly, flattening the dough into a paper-thin circle.
- Carefully peel the first tortilla off the parchment paper and place it onto the hot, dry skillet.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until the tortilla is starting to brown.
- Move the first tortilla to a ‘holding plate’ and cover with a towel to keep it warm while you repeat the pressing and cooking for the rest of the dough.
Do I have to make corn tortillas at home?
Making corn tortillas at home is the absolute best way to enjoy super soft, tasty corn tortillas that store-bought ones simply can’t compete!
The simple reason for this is that the best corn tortillas are made without preservatives. However, the Masa is a highly perishable ingredient once cooked, so corn tortillas without preservatives only last a few days – not long enough for a store to stock efficiently!
While flour tortillas are fine to buy from the store, corn tortillas can often taste “fake” (preservatives) or stale, so you’re far better off making your own.
What’s the difference between flour and corn tortillas?
There are several differences between flour and corn tortillas to be aware of. A notable distinction is that corn tortillas are completely gluten-free and are healthier than flour tortillas. Corn tortillas also have a more rustic and stronger flavor than flour tortillas, whereas flour tortillas are always more flexible. Another important distinction is that flour tortillas (made fresh) can last for 7-10 days in the refrigerator. On the other hand, corn tortillas must be eaten within 2 days as Masa Harina will quickly start deteriorating once cooked.
What is Masa Harina?
Masa Harina is the principal ingredient in corn tortillas. It’s basically a special type of corn flour made from ground corn and lime.
You can usually find Masa Harina in the ethnic or world food aisle of large grocery stores. Sometimes it’ll be found by the other flours in the baking aisle or in the gluten-free section. It’s also widely available online in places like Amazon.
What if I don’t have a tortilla press?
If you don’t own a tortilla press, you can still make delicious homemade corn tortillas; you just need something nice and heavy to squash your dough into the paper-thin circles needed for cooking.
Probably the most helpful tortilla press substitution would be a round cast-iron Dutch oven or casserole dish. Like you would do with a tortilla press, place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, then press the heavy object firmly onto the dough to get it as flat as possible before cooking.
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If you have leftovers from your corn tortilla baking, you can use these to easily make the best tortilla chips you’ve ever tasted! Perfect for dipping or covering with chili to make delicious nachos, you’ll never want to buy chips (or tortillas) from the store again!
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