I have tried a variety of experiments to make corn tortillas, but the results have been far from satisfactory

The only masa I can get this corner of the world is imported from Mexico or USA and is chilled or frozen

The masa and water mix goes soft after I let it stand for 30 to 60 minutes

I use a typical tortilla press, but it never gets them really thin, just flat, say match thickness?

The main problem is that using a well seasoned cast iron comal they take longer to cook than I would expect (more than one minute), and tend to dry out too much, and don't like being bent. If I stop cooking them after a minute they taste very uncooked

They taste so so ... the kids will eat them all day made up as Quesadillas

Where am I going wrong?

  • all the recipes I've ever read just say to cook until bubbles form, and usually that takes me well over a minute. To use the tortillas I usually have to warm over a flame or in the microwave to soften.
    – justkt
    Commented Nov 11, 2010 at 14:07
  • I assume this is about Mexican/American-style tortillas; if not, please revise the cuisine tag as appropriate.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Nov 11, 2010 at 16:41
  • 2
    If you're planning on eating them soon after cooking, it's probably good to either put them in a tortilla warmer (like restaurants use on the tables - they close tightly) or cover with a slightly damp towel, so they can't dry out.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 11, 2010 at 18:42
  • @Aaronut thanks for the retag - can you delete a tag from future use?
    – TFD
    Commented Nov 11, 2010 at 21:57
  • You mean prevent a tag from being used in the future, i.e. blacklist it? Only the admins can do that; it's reserved for extreme cases.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Nov 12, 2010 at 1:59

5 Answers 5


They may be too thick. You can try placing several pieces of paper or thin cardboard into your tortilla press to get thinner tortillas. (If you aren't already using plastic or wax paper to press the tortillas, then you'll have to start, so that the paper doesn't stick to the tortilla.) Experiment with several different thicknesses until the cooking is more uniform/faster but they're still thick enough to support the food. (You'll also need to modulate the heat.) Once you find the right thickness you can just leave the extra sheets of paper/cardboard in the press for future pressings.

  • Have tried this, no real change, other than the hinge on my press has bent slightly :-/. Will try again with different masa
    – TFD
    Commented Nov 23, 2010 at 0:45
  • 1
    This has now shattered the casting of the press :-(
    – TFD
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 18:06

Old post but the way I get my corn tortillas thin is putting the ball between plastic wrap and using a glass casserole dish to flatten them it works better than a press I think the tortillas are still a perfect circle and you can see what your doing. I use a smaller size than 9 x13 allthough im sure that size would work just as well its the only thing I use for corn tortillas i haven't used a tortilla press in 20 years and before that just a couple times call me old school but growing up and living in new mexico all my life my grandmas and aunties never had a press in their houses so i learned to mske them with out a press.....flour of course is all hand and rolling pins but that's another subject.i hope this helps you oh! And if you feel they are getting too dry while cooking keep a small spray bottle of water by the stove and give the tortilla a couple of sprays before flipping it over...makes a big difference!!


For masa harina- corn tortillas:

In my experience, the dough should be the consistency of play-do. I often add a touch of oil while kneading the mixture (by hand). Perhaps a half teaspoon of oil. The thickness is more ideal at about a half matchstick thickness. Try using smaller balls of dough to get thinner tortillas. It should be an inch or more away from the edge of the press when you open it. For example, if using a 7 inch diameter press, the tortilla should come out with a 5 inch diameter. Use less dough, press harder.

On the comal, set the heat to nearly it's highest setting and it should take 90 seconds to 2 minutes per side. Immediately place into warming basket or on plate and cover with a towel- they will continue to cook together in there, and create a softer tortilla once you get to the table to eat.

  • I'm guessing the rest / carry-over / steam is a significant part of what was missing.
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 14:13

This question is a very old post, but I'm going to go for it anyway. I assume you mean Masa Harina or Maseca masa. I use Maseca Nixtamasa. This recipe gives me 100 % consistency (with corn tortillas, gorditas, and puffy tacos- same proportions for all 3): 2 Cups masa 1/4 teaspoon salt (whisk well before adding water) 1 1/4 Cups water

Stir together with a serving spoon size spoon. You'll have some "stray" masa at the bottom, under the dough ball, so at that point, start incorporating it with your fingers as you knead the dough a bit. Roll the dough into balls (size varies according to what you're making) and place into a gallon size freezer bag to keep dough from drying out.

I use a press (Tortilladora from Amazon). (I keep mine hanging on the wall, but it's used a lot.) Cut the "zipper" off of a smaller freezer bag (quart, I guess), then cut about an eighth inch off of each side. Open it up and lay one side of the baggie on the press. Put a ball of dough on the plastic, lay the other side of the baggie over it and press a little with the heel of your hand- then press the first time with the press. Open it up to see where your masa is positioned on the press. Center it and really press again (harder). How thin you get the dough depends on how big the ball was. You kinda have to play with it.

My comal is a De Buyer carbon steel crepe pan, set at about 4 1/2 to 5 on a ceramic glass cooktop. (The temp on your range may vary) I press the next tortilla while the previous one is cooking.

Hat tip to Lisa Fain, who has homesicktexan.com blog, for the recipe. It's a beauty!

  • 1
    It's great that you mention where you got the recipe and give credit to the author. That's far more than many people do. Thanks. However, please link to the actual page where you found it. Stack Exchange tends to be strict wrt. referencing requirements. Thus, it's best to comply with what's detailed on that page whenever possible, or at least as much as possible (i.e. include a link). I'm unsure it you're actually quoting something. It doesn't look like it, but I haven't checked. But, it's good to have the link to your actual source (i.e. the actual page, not just site).
    – Makyen
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 22:12

I use plastic to cover my press, I give it 2-3 good hard presses then open and give everything a half turn then press again seems they come out thinner this way, getting just the right masa texture is important too, and the right comale or pan I might try the above suggestion on two pieces of cardboard covered with plastic next time I make, also I do find wax paper not a good choice it sticks the masa for me my question would be do the more expensive hard wood presses make a thinner product than my metal one?

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