Learn how to make homemade tortillas! With this easy 5-ingredient recipe, they're soft, pliable, and flavorful - perfect for tacos and enchiladas!
When we lived in Austin, I fell in love with the homemade tortillas at Central Market. They were so fresh that when you bought them, the heat from the just-cooked tortillas would fog up the bag. It took everything I had to resist opening it up and eating one on the spot! I loved every kind of tortillas Central Market sold – flour, corn, and even multigrain – but their mitad & mitad were my favorite by far. Made with corn and wheat flour, they were the best of both worlds, with all the flexibility of flour tortillas and a delicious corn flavor to boot.
Now that we live in Chicago, we don’t get to enjoy Central Market’s “half & half” tortillas as often, so I finally developed my own corn and flour tortilla recipe. Over the last few months, Jack and I have been making them nonstop! They’re flexible and soft, with a chewy texture and rich corn flavor. If you’ve never had homemade tortillas, you have to try this recipe. It’s quick and easy to make, and the homemade tortillas are so much better than most store bought ones. Whip up a batch for Taco Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo, or dinner any night of the week, and take your tacos and enchiladas to a whole new level!
Tortilla Recipe Ingredients
You only need 5 ingredients to make soft, flavorful homemade tortillas:
- Masa harina – Masa harina is a traditional ingredient in tortillas and tamales. Made from corn that’s specially treated with lime, it has a delicious, distinctive corn flavor. You really need masa harina to make this tortilla recipe – regular cornmeal or corn flour will not work in its place.
- All-purpose flour – Mixing wheat flour with the masa harina makes the tortillas soft and pliable.
- Olive oil – I use olive oil because it’s what I keep on hand, but vegetable oil will work here too.
- Very warm water – It brings the dough together.
- Sea salt – It makes the masa harina’s bold flavor pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Tortillas
Ready to learn how to make tortillas? Check out this step-by-step guide first, and then find the full tortilla recipe at the bottom of this post!
First, whisk together the flour and masa harina. Add the oil, and use a spatula to mix until it’s completely incorporated.
Next, add salt water. Dissolve the salt in the hot water and pour ⅔ cup of it over the flour mixture. Mix with a fork to create a clumpy dough. Then, mix in the remaining salt water.
It’s time to knead! Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. It should be a medium-stiff consistency, not soft like bread dough.
After you knead the dough, divide it up and let it rest. Divide the dough into 8 or 12 portions and roll each one into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough rests, get your tortilla press ready! Place a piece of parchment paper on each side so that the press won’t stick to the dough. Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin to roll out the tortillas between 2 pieces of parchment paper.
Finally, press and cook! Place a dough ball on your parchment-lined tortilla press and press down hard to flatten. Place the tortilla into a preheated dry cast iron skillet over medium heat, and cook for 30 to 45 seconds. Flip and cook for 30 to 45 seconds more. Remove it from the pan and wrap it in a kitchen towel to keep warm while you press and cook the remaining dough. That’s it!
Tortilla Recipe Tips
- Choose the size depending on how you want to use them. This recipe makes 12 small tortillas, which are ideal for tacos, or 8 large tortillas, which work great in enchiladas. If you want to use them for tacos, roll the dough into 12 balls before it rests. If you want to make enchiladas, roll it into 8.
- Adjust the heat. You want your cast iron skillet to be nice and hot before you start cooking the tortillas, but once it’s preheated, it won’t stay at a constant temperature. Instead, it will get hotter as you work, so turn down the heat and/or cook the tortillas for a progressively shorter amount of time on each side. I typically start on medium heat and reduce it to low and start with 45 seconds per side and go down to 30.
- Don’t overdo it. Great homemade tortillas are pliable – they can bend into tacos or roll up into enchiladas. Cook them just until brown flecks start to appear around the edges. If you overcook them, they’ll become crisp.
- Wrap them up. This step is essential for making perfect pliable tortillas! When one comes off the heat, immediately wrap it in a kitchen towel. As you add tortillas, the towel will trap the heat and help the tortillas steam and soften.
How to Use Homemade Tortillas
We love to use these homemade tortillas for tacos or enchiladas, depending on how big we make them. Larger homemade tortillas are delicious in my Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas or the Zucchini Verde Vegan Enchiladas on page 157 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
Smaller homemade tortillas are fantastic for making tacos! Use them in any of these recipes:
- Spicy Mango, Black Bean, and Avocado Tacos
- Grilled Corn Tacos
- Vegetarian Tacos with Avocado Sauce
- Vegan Jackfruit Tacos
- Healthy Breakfast Tacos
Homemade tortillas are best on the day they’re made, but if you have any leftovers, they’ll keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months.
More Favorite Mexican-Inspired Recipes
If you love this tortilla recipe, try making one of these Mexican-inspired recipes next:
- Pico de Gallo
- Best Guacamole
- Green Chile Taquitos
- Sheet Pan Nachos
- Healthy Taco Salad
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, more for rolling
- 1 cup masa harina
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons very warm water
- In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour and masa harina and whisk until combined. And the oil and use a spatula to mix until completely incorporated.
- Dissolve the salt in the water and pour ⅔ cup of it over the flour mixture and mix with a fork. The dough will be clumpy. Mix in the remaining water.
- Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. It should be a medium-stiff consistency, not soft like bread dough.
- Divide the dough into 8 or 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet to medium heat.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on each side of a tortilla press and place a dough ball in the center of the bottom circle. Close the top and press down hard to flatten. Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin to roll it out between 2 pieces of parchment paper.
- Place the tortilla onto the dry hot skillet for 30 to 45 seconds. Flip and cook for 30 to 45 seconds more. Don't overcook the tortilla or it will become crisp and less pliable.
- Remove and wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat with remaining dough. The skillet will get hotter as you work, so adjust your heat and timing, if necessary.