Quick Masa Dough Recipe

Masa made from masa harina comes together in a flash and brings an extra note of authenticity to Latin dishes cooked at home. Lauren Rothman

Homemade masa dough might sound intimidating, but doesn't have to be: prepackaged masa harina, the coarse flour ground from hominy that's already been slaked with lime in the traditional manner, makes its preparation a snap. Enriched with lard and lightened with baking powder, the dough makes a flavor-packed base for a variety of dishes, including Mexican tacos, gorditas, and sopes, as well as Salvadoran pupusas.

Why this recipe works:

  • Prepackaged masa harina flour eliminates almost all the work of traditional from-scratch masa.
  • Real lard brings rich, porky flavor to the dough (you can use oil if you prefer).
  • All-purpose flour and baking powder guarantee masa that's light and tender, not tough and dense.

Note: Masa freezes beautifully. After forming gordita, pupusa, or sope shells, place extras on a baking sheet in a single layer for 1 hour, then transfer to a zipper-lock bag or airtight container and store in freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, arrange shells on a plate at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then proceed with recipe.

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Makes: 1 gorditas, pupusas or sopes

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  • 3 1/2 cups masa harina
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine masa harina, flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to incorporate. Drizzle lard evenly over dry ingredients and whisk again util mixture forms pea-sized balls. Scrape dough from whisk. Add water and, using a wooden spoon, mix to thoroughly combine. Scrape dough from spoon and, using your hands, knead dough briefly, just until it comes together in a smooth ball, about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes before proceeding with any recipe.

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