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Does anyone know the difference between corn tortillas made from masa harina from brands like Maseca and corn tortillas vs made from homemade hominy or store-bought hominy (canned or dried)?

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Masa is made by nixtamalizing dried corn. Hominy is also the result of nixtamalization, but to make hominy one cooks the corn in alkali water further than one would cook it in order to make masa for tortillas; that is; until the kernel is fully hydrated. Hominy is not used to make tortillas.

Nixtamal for tortillas is partially cooked, then left to soak, then ground. Generally speaking, nixtamalizing dried corn, soaking, grinding, then making tortillas is an over-night process.

Masa Harina begins with the same process, but the masa is dehydrated. This is for convenience. So that one simply needs to add water, then proceed to tortilla making. So, rather than hours, one can have tortillas in minutes.

Other than the convenience/process differences, tortillas made from freshly nixtamalized corn simply taste better.

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  • I’ve actually made tamales from ground hominy, with quite good results compared to masa meal. But I guess the hydration would be too high for tortillas.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Feb 17 at 15:34
  • I saw some recipes that use ground hominy then add masa harina to bring the hydration to right level. Commented Feb 17 at 20:14

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