Make Corn Tortillas (Oil-Free) with 3 Simple Ingredients

4th of July is over and you know what that means.

It’s CORN time!

Well, for me, since I’m still in COVID lockdown…


(I’ll eventually venture out and buy some sweet ears of fresh corn. After all, summer isn’t summer without eating corn-on-the-cob dripping with salt and butter at least once!)

Anyhoo, last year when I was exploring some new plant-based recipes, I realized I love corn tortillas. So I bought a cast-iron tortilla press

…and promptly left town for the summer.

And I never got around to learning how to make homemade corn tortillas from scratch.

Do you ever do that? Buy cooking tools and not use them right away?

(I bought the Uno Casa cast-iron tortilla press which is currently unavailable. But the Cook & Home cast-iron tortilla press gets great reviews. And IMUSA aluminum tortilla press is Amazon’s #1 best-seller tortilla press.)

Tortilla Making ~ A new pandemic skill

Well, when COVID hit in March, that was my “new skill” goal. Learn how to make homemade tortillas with my tortilla press.

And I did.

Not only did I learn how to make corn tortillas from scratch but I learned how to make them puff when cooking. Because “puffing” (which means they’re cooking with steam from the inside-out) turns “okay” corn tortillas into “oh, my gosh, yum!”

So here is my super simple (oil-free) 3-ingredient recipe.


And ~ if you don’t have a tortilla press, don’t let that stop you!

Just put the doughball between 2 sheets of plastic on the counter and press with a thick hard-covered book. You can even put the plastic-protected ball of dough between 2 hard-backed books on a chair ~ and sit on it. That’ll press your ball flat!

Now, without further ado…

corn tortillas in a basket, several rolled like flats

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Easy, 3-ingredient oil-free corn tortillas you can use for tacos, enchiladas, or to enjoy "as is" with your meal.
Prep Time10 mins
Active Time30 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: easy, homemade corn tortillas, oil-free, plant-based, vegan


  • Mixing bowl
  • Plastic bag (Ziplock or sandwich type)
  • Measuring cups & spoon
  • Spatula or tongs
  • Damp towel
  • Tortilla press
  • Skillet or griddle (preferably cast iron)


  • 1 cup masa harina (not corn meal)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water (very warm)


  • Mix masa harina and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of very warm water.
  • Mix until dough comes together.
    dough in bowl for making corn tortillas
  • Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes (until soft but not sticky).
    soft dough in bowl for making corn tortillas
  • Cover dough with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. This allows the dough to "absorb" the warm water.
  • Once the dough has rested, preheat your skillet (or griddle). Turn on medium-high heat (6-7 on gas stove) for 10 minutes.
  • While the skillet is heating, roll dough into small balls (size and number depends on how large you want your tortillas; I usually make 12 walnut-size balls for small tortillas).
    corn flour dough rolled into balls for making corn tortillas
  • Once rolled, cover balls with damp towel to keep moisture in.
  • Cut the sides of a plastic sandwich bag to place over your open tortilla press.
    corn flour dough ball between 2 sheets of plastic on a tortilla press
  • Place ball between plastic on tortilla press and close the press to flatten the dough. Carefully peel away the plastic.
    corn flour dough flattened into tortilla with tortilla press
  • Put flattened dough into hot skillet for 40 seconds.
  • Turn over and cook for 90 seconds.
  • Turn over, tap tortilla with a spatula and watch it puff!
    puffy corn tortilla, cooking from inside out while making homemade corn tortillas
  • Cook for final 20 seconds, then remove from heat.
  • Place into tortilla warmer.



Masa harina is not the same as corn meal. It’s finer ~ with a texture like flour.
To increase success with “puffing,” make sure your skillet is HOT. I sometimes preheat at 7-8 and then turn the temperature down to 6-7 when cooking.
Moisture in the dough helps them steam ~ so be sure to keep them covered with a damp towel as much as possible.
If you like your corn tortillas softer and less brown, cook them between 60-90 seconds on the 2nd side.
You don’t have to cook all your doughballs at once. You can store balls in a baggy in the fridge for a day or two. They’ll be ready to pop in the skillet for fresh on-demand corn tortillas. 

Some Final tortilla-making Thoughts…

Now you know how to make home-made oil-free corn tortillas from scratch with my super-simple 3-ingredient “secret” recipe ~ with and without a tortilla press!

I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them.

Until I tried making them myself, I didn’t know how easy they were!

But, to be honest, it took me a couple tries to get them right.

I had to stop diving in with both hands when I mixed the dough. (The one-handed technique works great!)

And I had to figure out what “sticky” meant. After 2 or 3 batches, I got it.

So, if you don’t get it right the first time, try, try again!

To your gardening health!

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