How to Make Tortillas in 3 Easy Steps

Prepare your own restaurant-style tortillas and serve them hot off the griddle or in your favorite recipes—we'll show you how in just three steps.

Love the handmade tortillas at your favorite Mexican restaurant? Get that fresh flavor at home by making your own corn tortillas or flour tortillas. The process is the same for flour and corn tortillas—only the ingredients change. It doesn't take long to make your own homemade tortillas either, so it's an easy way to make Mexican dinner night feel even more special. Follow our three-step guide for making your own tortillas at home, and your next taco night will be the tastiest ever.

corn tortilla dough
Blaine Moats

Step 1: Mix the Dough

Corn tortillas start with masa harina, which is corn tortilla flour made from sun-dried corn kernels. You can find it at a Mexican grocer or in the Mexican ingredients aisle of your grocery store. Flour tortillas usually start with all-purpose flour.

For corn tortillas, place 2 cups of masa harina in a medium mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix the masa harina with enough water to make a firm but moist dough that is a nice rolling consistency—kind of like children's modeling clay. Corn tortillas will probably need 1 to 1¾ cups of water. Start on the low end and add more as needed.

For flour tortillas, place 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons of shortening until combined. Gradually add ½ cup warm water, tossing together until the dough can be gathered into a ball.

Test Kitchen Tip: If the dough is dry and crumbly, knead in more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once you're happy with the consistency of the dough, let it rest for about 15 minutes to even out the moisture and make the dough easier to roll.

Rolling out corn tortillas
Blaine Moats

Step 2: Shape the Dough Into Balls

Use your fingers to divide the dough into 12 even portions and roll them into balls.

Place one ball between two pieces of waxed paper that are cut into approximately 7-inch squares. If you have a tortilla press, now is the time to pull it out. Otherwise, a rolling pin works fine.

With the tortilla press or rolling pin, flatten the dough ball into a 6-inch circle between the waxed paper pieces. Repeat this shaping step with the remaining balls.

Test Kitchen Tip: Keep the waxed paper in place until cooking time to keep tortillas from drying out and for easier transport.

Flour Tortillas
Marty Baldwin

Step 3: Cook the Tortillas

Carefully peel off the top sheet of waxed paper and place the tortilla, paper side up, on an ungreased skillet or griddle on medium heat. As the tortilla begins to heat (this should take about 20 seconds), peel off the remaining sheet of waxed paper.

If you're making corn tortillas, cook each one for 2 to 2½ minutes, turning occasionally, until the tortilla is dry and lightly toasted, but still soft. (Note: Corn tortillas do not brown much.)

If you're making flour tortillas, cook each one for 20 to 30 seconds or until puffy, and then turn and cook until the edges curl slightly. If you're using the tortillas immediately, wrap them in foil after taking them off the heat.

Make-Ahead Directions: Tortillas freeze well for up to 1 month. Stack them, separated by two layers of waxed paper, place them in a freezer bag, and freeze. Thaw before using.

Fried Tortilla Chips with assorted salsas

How to Make Tortilla Chips

Once you've made tortillas, it's just another step or two to learn how to make tortilla chips that are crunchy and perfect for scooping up salsa or homemade guacamole. For baked tortilla chips, preheat your oven to 350°F. Then, brush four 7- to 8-inch flour or corn tortillas with olive oil, vegetable oil, or spray with nonstick spray, and season as desired (add salt, chili powder, lime zest, or any other seasoning you want on your chips). Cut each tortilla into wedges. Spread the wedges in a 15x10-inch baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the chips are crispy and light brown. Cool on wire racks.

Baking isn't the only way you can make homemade tortilla chips—you can fry them, too. Start by lining a baking sheet with paper towels, then heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet or pot until the oil is 365°F. Cut eight 7-inch flour or corn tortillas into wedges. Add the wedges to the hot oil in batches, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove the chips from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on the paper towels. If you want, add an extra sprinkle of salt. Then get your favorite salsa recipe ready!

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles