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Kitchen Smarts: How to Make Corn Tortillas That Taste Amazing
Three ingredients, super easy, and perfect for taco night.
07-05-2018
America's Test Kitchen

While supermarket tortillas are convenient, they pale in comparison to homemade versions. Luckily, making them is easier than you might think. The ingredient list is short, the dough is forgiving, and you don’t need a tortilla press.

In this video, part of our “Kitchen Smarts” series on our YouTube channel, Cook’s Illustrated test cook Lan Lam demonstrates our technique for making corn tortillas at home. Here are some of the key steps and learnings from our recipe development:

  • There’s no substitute for masa harina: You can’t use cornmeal or another substitute here. Corn tortillas rely on masa harina for their flavor.

  • Mix then rest: Once your dough is the same texture as Play-Doh, cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the masa harina hydrate for five minutes.

  • Plastic is the best lining for a tortilla press: A plastic zipper-lock bag that’s been cut down the seam on both sides will give your tortillas a better release than parchment paper will.

  • Layer just-cooked tortillas between damp dish towels: Between the towels, the tortillas will steam themselves and finish cooking. By the time you’re ready to eat them, they’ll be pliable and still moist.

Watch the Video

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At first it’s easy to under- or overpress the tortillas, but most testers got the hang of it after only a few tries. If you are willing to put up with a bit of a learning curve, our Best Buy—which is considerably less expensive than our overall winner—is a fine choice. It comes preassembled and is easy to store.
 

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What are your favorite tortilla fillings? Let us know in the comments!

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