I'm in South America at the moment and want to make corn tortillas. I don't have access to masa harina, but I can get polenta, P.A.N, and arepa flour (which I think is basically the same thing as P.A.N?) With the understanding that the taste won't be exactly the same, can I use any one of these, or a combination, to get a decent approximation of a corn tortilla?

  • Er, can you just get whole dent corn kernels? Seems like those should be readily available.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 23:30
  • Because ... as far as I know, you can't make tortillas work with either of those things.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 0:38
  • The taste won't be the same & the texture won't be the same. How much are you willing to give? I hear hominy might be close, but I've never seen/tasted hominy [just cannot get it here in the UK except on Amazon import etc].
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


You cannot make tortillas from arepa flour or from polenta. In both cases, no amount of treatment of the grain will result in the tortilla holding together when you remove it from the press. I did some searching to see if you can nixtamalize the polenta yourself, and then grind it finer, but the answer appears to be no.

So, you have two reasonable workarounds:

  1. If you're in South America, you should be able to find any number of high-starch whole corn kernels, either on the cob or (better) dried. You can nixtamalize and grind these into masa yourself, and it'll be even better than masa harina.
  2. Make wheat flour tortillas instead, or even part-wheat, part-PAN for some cornmeal flavor

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.