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Chef John's Corn Tortillas

Rated as 4.92 out of 5 Stars

"Here's my technique for making excellent corn tortillas every time! It takes some practice to master, but even the lousiest homemade corn tortilla is better than those cardboard store-bought ones. Make sure to let the dough rest so that it puffs up nicely while cooking."
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1 h 15 m servings 42
Original recipe yields 10 servings (10 tortillas)


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  1. Add masa harina to a large bowl. Sprinkle in salt and add hot tap water. Stir mixture with your fingers until dough starts to pull together.
  2. Knead for a few minutes to smooth it out until texture resembles modeling clay or putty. Add more water if dough is too dry and more flour if too wet.
  3. Place a damp towel and over the dough to keep it from drying out. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Cut a zip-top bag into 2 rounds the same size as your tortilla press. Place 1 round on the bottom of the press.
  5. Place a clean kitchen towel over a pie dish for holding the cooked tortillas later.
  6. Pull off a little piece of the dough, enough to roll into a 1 1/2-inch or 1-ounce ball. Remove the top round of plastic, place dough ball in the center of the bottom round, and press down lightly. Cover dough with the top piece of plastic.
  7. Fold the tortilla press over, apply pressure to the lever arm until tortilla flattens to your desired thinness.
  8. Peel off the top piece of plastic. Line up the index finger of your dominant hand with the edge of the tortilla; flip it over into your other hand. Carefully peel off the plastic.
  9. Gently slide tortilla, palm-up, into a hot, dry pan over medium- to medium-high heat. Cook first side for 30 to 45 seconds. Turn over and cook second side for 1 minute. Flip and press once or twice with a spatula until tortilla puffs up slightly. Cook for 30 seconds more. Flip one last time and cook for 5 to 10 seconds.
  10. Quickly transfer tortilla to the pie dish and fold the towel over to wrap it up. Repeat pressing and cooking the rest of the tortilla dough, stacking and wrapping as you go.
  11. Leave the stack of tortillas wrapped until soft and supple, at least 15 minutes.


  • Chef's Notes:
  • You can also make the plastic rounds out of plastic wrap.
  • If you don't have a tortilla press, use a flat-bottomed pot or pan. You can also place the dough between 2 cookbooks stacked on a chair and sit on top of the books.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 42 calories; 0.4 8.7 1.1 0 97 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 21
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I followed this recipe and video exactly and the tortillas were the best I've ever made. So helpful - thank you!

We love Chef John's videos. He adds a bit of fun to cooking and his tips are spot on! The tortillas turned out great - so much better than the packaged ones.

We have made many different tacos with this recipe. We’ve used yellow masa so far but just got white to try next!

Excellent instruction! I rarely watch the videos, but don't skip this one. I've made flour tortillas for decades, but corn tortillas aren't easy. This method works!

These tortillas were perfect and homemade is far better than store bought! The texture and taste is just like the homemade corn tortillas I get from a small local Mexican restaurant where the mo...

It takes me right back to my childhood in Miami eating hot, fresh tortillas, slathered in butter with some cinnamon. If you want to press out more at a time and only have one skillet for cooking...

Super easy..and the video really helped out. Turned out great for little tacos & they do taste better homemade

These were totally delicious! I made a 5x batch and froze a few stacks. I didn't have a tortilla press but pressing down with 2 big cookbooks worked just as well.

Great recipe! Tortillas turned out beautiful! I cut the water a tiny bit and added the juice from one lime.