Tortillas are just so darn useful. Tacos have always held a special place in my heart and stomach, but there are so many more uses for tortillas than just Mexican food. I know I’m not the only one out there who makes breakfast wraps and burritos! I love to take boring leftovers and re-purpose them as quesadillas (Once, we had 2 pounds of Korean BBQ Beef leftover from a party. I re-purposed that into some pretty weird popovers and some pretty good quesadillas).
And then there’s taquitos. Crispy outside, creamy inside, full of whatever flavor you want. A perfect match for the corn tortilla. I guarantee you that I won’t be able to have this blog for too much longer without a taquito recipe appearing.
So why make your own tortillas when you can buy a bag of 100 at the grocery store for $3? Well, just try out homemade tortillas and I think you will realize why! Unlike the store bought corn tortillas, fresh tortillas bend and fold around your food without splitting and cracking. Homemade tortillas have a whopping three ingredients in them. The packaged versions aren’t awful, but definitely have some extra chemicals and preservatives in them. Making tortillas is also super simple!
The three simple ingredients you’ll need to homemade tortillas are corn flour (also called masa or masa harina), water, and salt. I bought my corn flour in a 5lb bag at the grocery store on the international foods aisle. I’ve also seen it at the Hispanic food market in town (but it is more expensive there).
The traditional tools used for making tortillas are a tortilla press and warmer. However, these are also simple to improvise. The tortillas press evenly flattens the dough ball into the tortillas shape. The warmer keeps tortillas warm and soft until they are eaten. A heavy skillet can sub in for a tortillas press and any container with a lid that flat tortillas will fit in can be a tortillas warmer.
First, mix your dough. I’ve included measurements below for five tortillas. Your bag of masa will probably have measurements and directions for making different amounts of tortillas. There’s no special procedure for mixing the dough, just dump your ingredients in the bowl and stir it up!
Next, roll the dough into balls. Your dough may be a little crumbly, but the balls should stay together. These balls DO NOT need to be perfect – they are only going to get flattened, after all.
Once your dough balls are done get out your tortilla press. Put a piece of plastic wrap over each side of the open press, and then put a dough ball right in the middle of the bottom plate of the press. Fold the top over and use the lever to firmly press the plates together. It just takes a second or two of pressing. When you lift the lever and top plate you’ll see that the dough ball is now flattened. If you’re a perfectionist, like me, you can shift the tortilla 90 degrees or 180 degrees and press again to help get a perfectly circular shape. You’ll see, though, that it will be pretty darn close to perfect the first time.
If you don’t have a frying pan, try just using your counter top and a large skillet. Place the a dough ball in between two pieces of plastic wrap, set the bottom of the skillet on top of the dough ball, and press down firmly with you palm flat on the inside of the skillet. You should still end up with a pretty round, flat, tortilla!
After your dough balls are pressed, heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When it’s warm, lay a tortilla in the pan. After 60 seconds, flip it.
Let the tortilla cook another minute, and then take it out of the pan and put it in your tortilla warmer while you cook the other tortillas.
These tortillas are best used fresh. If you have leftovers, or want to make them in advance, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use the tortillas, just microwave them for a few seconds. The heat will make them pliable again.
These tortillas will work for any baked dishes, like enchiladas or taquitos. Just to be clear, you still have to cook them in the skillet first, even if you are going to bake them!
Once you have some experience, you can expedite the tortilla making process by creating a sort of “assembly line”. While one tortillas is in the pan you can be rolling and pressing another dough ball. Personally, I always like to roll all of the dough balls before I move forward, just so I can make sure they are all uniformly sized.
How To: Make GF Corn TortillasIngredients
- 3/4c corn flour/masa
- 1/3c + 3 Tbs water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Roll dough into 5 equally sized balls
- Press each ball with a tortilla press (or use your counter top and heavy frying pan) to flatten the dough balls.
- Cook each tortilla in a skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side.
- Keep your cooked tortillas in a tortilla warmer until all are cooked, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.