Cast Iron

Tortillas de Maíz

April 29, 2022
2 Ratings
Photo by Rem Fuller
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 12 tortillas
Author Notes

I was in my early 20s when I finally tasted a real corn tortilla made with fresh corn masa. Before that moment, I thought of corn tortillas as mere delivery vehicles for taco fillings. And then I took a bite of a taco made with a good tortilla and I understood. The tortillas had an almost custardy mouthfeel on the inside with a toasted exterior that contributed to the different textures of a taco. And the flavor of the corn was earthy and nutty and was balanced out by the acidity of the salsa. Imagine you had only ever eaten sliced, white sandwich bread your entire life and then were introduced to a sourdough boule. Find fresh masa and make these tortillas and you will be amazed how much better your food is with the flavor of freshly ground corn in every bite. You can source fresh masa at Mexican grocery stores or at tortillerias (tortilla bakeries). —Rick Martinez

Test Kitchen Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico (‎Clarkson Potter, May 2022).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) fresh yellow, blue, pink, or white fine-grind corn masa for tortillas
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) Morton kosher salt
  • Special Equipment
  • 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag
  • Tortilla press, a smooth-bottomed 10-inch skillet, or glass pie plate
  1. In a large bowl, knead the masa, salt, and ⅓ cup water with your hands until well incorporated and the mixture is soft and pliable but doesn't stick to your hands, for about 4 minutes. If it's still dry or crumbly or sticks to your hands, add a tablespoon or two more water and continue to mix. Cover the bowl with plastic and let the masa sit for 30 minutes to rest.
  2. Cut and remove the zip-top from a 1-gallon freezer bag. Cut two opposite sides of the bag, leaving the bottom intact so that the bag can open and close like a book. If you're using a tortilla press, trim the cut sides of the bag to fit the flat surface of the press.
  3. Divide the dough into 12 portions the size of Ping-Pong balls (about 1/4 cup or 54 grams each). Arrange on a sheet pan and keep covered with a damp kitchen towel while you press and cook the tortillas.
  4. Heat a comal, medium cast-iron skillet, or griddle over medium-high heat (you'lll cook the tortillas one at a time unless you have a large cast-iron skillet or griddle). Place the prepared plastic bag inside the press so that the folded side of the bag is on the hinged side of the press. Working with one dough ball at a time, open the press and bag and place one ball in the center. Fold the bag over and gently press, holding steady, firm pressure for a few seconds, and flatten the dough to a 7-inch round. Open the press and remove the plastic with the dough pressed inside. Peel one side of the bag from the dough. Place the dough on your open palm so it is plastic-side up, and peel off the second side.
  5. Cook the tortillas one at a time (unless you're using a large griddle), flipping it every 30 seconds. You'll flip it two times, cooking each tortilla until it just starts to brown in spots, for about 90 seconds total. Stack and wrap the cooked tortillas in a clean kitchen towel and keep them warm. Repeat with the remaining dough balls and serve warm.
  6. Do ahead: The tortillas can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Reheat in a medium cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat until heated through, for about 60 seconds per side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jen Scinto
    Jen Scinto
  • Smaug
  • F2bobster1
  • Gravelfox
Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

8 Reviews

F2bobster1 January 6, 2023
The 1/3C water called for in this recipe is way, WAY off. you're better off going with the recipe on the masa bag.
F2bobster1 January 6, 2023
Someone responded to another post on the same issue and pointed out the recipe is written for FRESH masa. My mistake!
Jen S. August 12, 2022
There is no way the amount of water in this recipe is correct… I tried using the 1/3rd cup as written and ended up with basically dry masa harina. Based on other recipes I’ve been comparing to it seems like the actual amount of water should be closer to 3-4 cups for this much masa harina…
Smaug August 13, 2022
The recipe is for making tortillas with fresh masa, not dried (masa harina).
F2bobster1 January 6, 2023
I thought the same as Jen S. Thanks!
Smaug May 4, 2022
Someone (possibly Mr. Martinez) in a comment on a comment once recommended a mail order source for fresh masa. I checked their website- sounded like a great source if you could afford them, but I don't remember the name- it wasn't Massa Masa or Mr. Masa Man, but something like that; Google might know. With tortilla presses I've used, I've always found it best to rotate it at least once to get even thickness.
Gravelfox June 17, 2022
Could be masienda
Smaug June 18, 2022
I believe it was.