Tortillas from Scratch Article -
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Homemade Tortillas

Get tips for making corn and flour tortillas hot off the griddle (or comal!).

Corn Flour

Corn tortillas are made with a type of specially treated corn flour called masa harina. You can find dry masa harina at many supermarkets. At specialty stores and Mexican grocers, you may even find fresh masa, which needs to be used right away.

    Making Corn Tortillas

    For corn tortillas, divide the dough into small balls--about the size of a walnut. Keep the dough wrapped in plastic while you work with one piece at a time.

    The best way to bake the tortillas is to use a cast iron griddle--the kind that stretches across two burners of your stove. Two cast iron skillets will work, as well.

    • Heat one burner to medium-high and one to medium. No oil is needed. 
    • If you have a tortilla press, flatten the dough and begin baking. If you're using your hands, flatten masa balls using a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.
    • Flatten the dough in between the sheets of plastic into a round as thin as you can without tearing. Peel it from the plastic and transfer it to the hottest griddle.
    • To lay the tortillas in the pan, your knuckles will be close to the heat source--avoid getting burned by working from left to right, laying the left-hand edge of the tortilla onto the griddle, and gently sweep your hand away--don't jerk it. The edge of the tortilla will stick to the griddle, so as you move your hand, the tortilla will fall into place in the pan.
    • After about a minute on the hot griddle, flip the tortilla over into the cooler skillet.
    • Using tongs--or your fingers, if you're brave and heat-tolerant--gently touch the center of the tortilla until it starts to puff slightly.
    • The tortilla should be done, developing brown spots after 30 seconds to a minute.
    • Wrap the hot tortillas in a clean kitchen towel while you shape and bake the rest of the dough.

    Making Flour Tortillas

    Flour tortillas contain wheat flour rather than corn flour, and include shortening or lard and sometimes a pinch of baking powder. They are usually made larger and thinner because the gluten in the wheat flour allows the dough to be stretched without falling apart, plus the fat in the dough keeps them from cracking and tearing. They can be flattened with a rolling pin. To bake them, follow the process outlined above for corn tortillas.

    Jul. 14, 2009 11:00 am
    Very Nice Information. Thanks.
    Jul. 18, 2009 10:57 pm
    Wow, that is a perfect discription.
    Sep. 17, 2009 4:01 am
    Where can you get a tortilla press? How uch do they cost? Can they be used for the whole wheat tortillas also?
    Nov. 1, 2009 10:10 am
    Sugar? I see no sugar in your recipe....did I miss something? Perhaps that was a compliment. Great recipe and instructions. MMMMMM.....good.
    Nov. 16, 2009 1:14 pm
    Why can't you add this to your recipe box or print?
    Nov. 20, 2009 12:07 pm
    Maureen- no do not try and use tortilla press with flour tortillas. My daughter tried and broke my press. I have found all of my presses at local Mexican grocers but you can probably order online if you don't have a local one.
    Jean L. 
    Nov. 25, 2009 10:38 am
    Thanks for the info it is very useful.
    Jan. 13, 2010 3:02 pm
    Simple, no stress, no mess. Thank you. Can't wait to try it.
    Feb. 8, 2010 6:23 am
    The best way to bake or cook the flour tortilla is to allow it to form small bubbles on the 1st side, before turning it over. Then when browned flip it back over to finish cooking 1st side. I recieved this info from a friend who made tortillas since she was a child with her mother.
    Mar. 19, 2010 11:20 pm used to sell an electric combo tortilla press/cooker. It works well for both flour and corn tortillas. I haven't checked recently to see if they still carry it.
    A. J. 
    Apr. 24, 2010 6:24 pm
    I got my press at the local GoodWill store for about $5. If there is a Salvation Army store, Savers, or GoodWill near you, check them out first! All my fun gadgets come from there for a song!
    Apr. 28, 2010 8:37 pm
    I am an indian,and tortilla is just another word for chappatis. If you cant get the hang of rolling your tortillas, just ask any indian to teach you. Chappatis is our staple food and every indian sure knows how to make them!!
    Apr. 29, 2010 12:59 pm
    There is no posting for sending to friends or for printing, etc.
    Apr. 29, 2010 6:13 pm
    I got my press from It was reasonably priced. I haven't used it yet, but site comments advised using plastic wrap with the press as well as with hand rolled.
    May 5, 2010 1:25 am
    why do you have to use 2 skillets?
    May 8, 2010 2:21 pm
    I spent a couple of months in Puerto Vallarta this fall, and brought home a press, but have yet to use it. Thanks for the instructions. Can anyone help in finding a recipe for Volcanes. (not sure of spelling, pronounced "bulcannes", but spelled with a V ). Thanks. Colin
    Jun. 4, 2010 6:11 pm
    If I am making a bunch of pancakes it goes a lot faster to use two skillets or griddles. Don't know why they'd be different temperatures as I'd think one on high would burn them.
    Jun. 9, 2010 9:35 pm
    Hi there! Im an Indian. I just wondered how to make after reading i came to know its just another name for "Makki ki roti"(corn tortillas), sply basic meal of north india, Panjab . Flour tortillas known as simply roti/chapati eaten all over india
    Jun. 19, 2010 6:06 am
    with about 110 cals per tortilla no trans ,load on homemade salsa with fresh tomatoes,,, how healthy can you get?? i havent tried it yet, but i bet cooking up some ground turkey with cuppboard spices,for xtra protein would be awesome!!! ive got a 5lb bag of masa, i think i'll go to the counter and get started!!!! lv on line people that care about each other, thanks for your tips
    Jul. 8, 2010 8:04 pm
    I have tried making corn tortillas with masa lista (I live in Australia and this is all I could find, not sure if the same as masa harina) my tortillas had a grainy texture and I could nit get them very thin without tearing the outsides. Is there a trick to it, and has anyone ever tried a mixture of masa and normal flour to make them more elastic?
    Oct. 30, 2010 5:02 pm
    I would love to add this recipe in my box. Can someone help me??
    Nov. 1, 2010 8:06 am
    esta receta fue muy efisiente para mi GRASIAS Y no ise mucho tiradero en mi cosina
    Nov. 3, 2010 9:26 am
    Thank you for the wonderful information! To add this recipe to your recipebox or to print it, click next to the picture on the blue writing. The recipe will pop up and to the right of it will be a box asking if you want to add to recipebox, print, etc. Hope this helps! Thanks again.
    Nov. 5, 2010 11:37 am
    I use my tortilla press with flour tortillas all the time and it doesn't hurt the press. I have no idea how it could hurt the press. Line the press with wax paper for minimal clean up and the press will save you loads of time. We got ours at the local hispanic grocery store, but if you don't speak Spanish it might take time to get service. The people at the store always assume that neither of us speak Spanish because we're so white and they avoid us! LOL. A few of them recognize my husband and remember that he's safe to talk to :)
    Nov. 7, 2010 5:19 am
    How do I add this to my recipe box? I don't see a link? :) I'm a new member . . .
    Nov. 7, 2010 5:19 am
    Never mind.
    Nov. 7, 2010 10:41 am
    I have seen tortilla presses in normal kitchen supply stores. Hope that helps.
    Nov. 7, 2010 4:33 pm
    Wal-Mart sells a tortilla press for about $20.00.
    Nov. 9, 2010 8:56 am
    I want to make corn tortillas I have the whole corn im a puertorican but lived in california and anything you want to buy that was mixcan was so easy to get now i live in pr and can't fine the things i need can someone tell me how to make corn tortillas please they are hard to fine out here
    Grandma Carol 
    Feb. 19, 2011 5:17 am
    God wants us to all love each other. What a nice way to start a conversation with people from another country. Food, another love for all people! I love this site!
    Feb. 20, 2011 3:18 pm
    can you freeze the tortillas after they are cooked.
    Mar. 9, 2011 3:02 pm
    can I bake the corn tortillas in bowl shaped tortilla makers instead of frying
    May 5, 2011 1:25 am
    @buddysbaby1, Yes you can freeze them. I am mexican and these are a staple in my family. We would make about 20-25 lbs. at a time since we are a big family. After they are made (I am speaking to Flour Tortillas only) We put them in the ziploc gallon bags 1 dozen each and just freeze them. They have to be frozen just after you make them and let them cool, then pack and freeze. Of course, there is nothing better than freshly made tortillas and eating them right off the griddle! Good Luck. P.S. We use white flour to make flour tortillas and this recipe is nothing close to how we make ours but i just am referring to the fact that yes you can freeze them.
    May 17, 2011 11:56 am
    I am trying out my brand new tortilla maker. I did a bunch of research on them and opted for the 10 inch model of Cucina Pro. Its available from a number of websites. I'll let you now how it all comes out.
    Feb. 26, 2012 6:29 am
    This is the first time I have seen this and some people don't use their alrecipe and computer knowlege. Many asked how to print or save. How about going to the actual recipe? I thought perhaps it had been left out, but sure enough, there is was, save, share etcetera.
    Mar. 19, 2012 4:02 pm
    Does anyone have a recipe for low carb tortillas? Have can't find one anywhere.
    Apr. 15, 2012 10:09 am
    Marsha, unless you replace some of the wheat/corn flour with a nut flour (like almond), you are stuck. I don't know how that'd work or taste, but if you have some, try it and let the rest of us know! (IF you see "low carb" on a package, check to see if they're subtracting fiber grams to reach that number. That "trick" only works for Atkins dieters, not diabetics!)
    Jun. 4, 2012 6:28 am
    hey everyone u can go to you-tube search tortilla press you can make your own press i did and it works great better than the stores and cheaper also the store bought only does like 6 or 7 inch shells make your own like i did i increased the size and make 12 and 14 inch dont forget to put plastic clear wrap on top and bottom of your press or the dough will stick to press and brake apart i used a pice of new scrap wood 16inch wide by 16 inch long 2x16x16 a couple small hinges 1x 1x1 for the handle 1 small block make fron scraps to screw down on top of press when you push handle down onto to press dough it costed less than half of what stores cost and is better made you can also use and old wood cutting board if you have a big one laying around and its fun to make with the kids only look me about an hour to make have fun and good luck
    Aug. 7, 2013 3:43 pm
    If you don't have the press, just flattened it with your hand...move the tortilla around as your hand presses from the center to the edges. Doing this in a fast pace will create the circular shape. It's an older way of doing it I guess, at least that's how many of us have done it for quite some time. You will see the shape of your fingers on the flour, don't's just very much a home made tortilla. :-)
    Sep. 28, 2013 6:00 am
    Sorry folks, This is NOT TORTILLAS FROM must boil the whole dried corn kernels, add CAL(slaked lime)rinse the Cal off, rub the loose coverings off the corn, grind the corn into Nixtamal....make the balls of Masa..and press them into flat tortillas...not used masa's not authentic at all...
    Sep. 29, 2013 10:05 am
    I have been told not to use a press for flour tortillas. Its better to roll them by hand with a pin. I remember at a restaurant in downtown L.A. women working there making tortillas by hand and after they had it large enough passing it back and forth from hand to hand like pizza making it larger. I think I have used the press for the corn tortillas. It has been a number of months since I have made them, but either way never had much luck making them either at home or buying the store pre-made corn masa except for one off the shelf bag that I only had to add water. Those came out really well but expensive. I think part of the key to the solution is to use a cast iron skillet or flat pan rather than a teflon coated griddle or pan, but you still need to put a little oil on your cooking serface. What the mexicans use is called a "Comal" but even some of those are teflon coated.
    Jul. 28, 2014 11:25 am
    This has been very interesting. A church friend is here cleansing for me. She was from El Salvadore. She told me of getting a huge bag of corn and the white powder which I figured was lime mineral and how it was cooked and washed and ground. I think she said it was pounded before to crack so she had the kernel. I decided masa harina sounded more reasonable for me. That is how she does it now too. We may get together Wed just to play and make corn and flour tortillas. May make quesadillas, tapas, etc. We can try my press which I haven't used yet. She makes them by hand. We talked about enchiladas too. She makes them differently from what I remember doing. She does the corn tortillas in sauce then fills tortillas before putting in the pan. I am looking forward to my lesson from my friend.
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