The Homemade Pantry's Corn Tortillas

Jennifer May

Moving from sunny New Mexico to New England, Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry learned very quickly that a good tortilla was hard to find. Embracing her inner DIY spirit she invested in a tortilla press and started pressing her own Corn Tortillas for a taste of the Southwest.

The recipe is simple enough, just masa harina and water mixed, pressed and toasted up in a cast iron pan. Once you make tortillas yourself you might not go back to the bagged version again.

What Worked: Fresh out of the skillet tortillas beat out storebought any day of week.

What Didn't: A tortilla press is kind of a must in this recipe, rolling these guys out by hand is pretty tricky.

Suggested Tweaks: Slice up your leftovers and fry 'em up for chips.

Reprinted with permission from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. Copyright © 2012. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Makes: 12 tortillas

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  • 2 cups masa harina (lime-treated cornmeal, available at Latin grocers and many supermarkets)


  1. Combine the masa harina and 1 1⁄4 cups water in the stand mixer bowl or mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix for 1 minute, or until the dough comes together in a ball. If mixing my hand, mix and knead the dough with your hands in a bowl until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 12 balls, each about 3 inches in diameter. Lay a clean, damp dish towel over the balls of dough while you press the tortillas.

  2. Start the cast-iron skillet or griddle, ungreased, over medium heat on the stove.

  3. Line each side of the tortilla press with half a large freezer bag separated along the seam. Place a ball of dough in the center of the press and close it with all your weight. Open the press and peel the tortilla off the plastic. Transfer the tortilla to the heated griddle and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, or until little spots appear on the surface. Use the spatula to remove the tortilla from the pan. Repeat with the other balls of dough. Serve immediately, or store, covered, in a warm oven or under a warm, damp cloth until ready to serve.

Special equipment

a tortilla press