We know Mexican food is more than just tortillas, but we’re also not complaining if tortillas are the star of the menu. Due to the versatility and ease of tortillas, learning how to make them from scratch is basically the same as learning how to make a solid base for many Mexican dishes.
Of course, we can’t forget hot, crispy chips to dip in refreshing salsa or creamy guacamole for even more happy bellies. Take your Mexican food dinner up a notch with an assortment of shredded cheese, savory meats, and chopped toppings like cilantro and onions for a full-on feast that’s great to make (and even better to eat).
For Californians, tortilla, chips, and dips don’t need an introduction. We can drive from San Diego to Tijuana in roughly 30 minutes, so the influence and presence of Mexican food in California is not surprising. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest tortilla recipes, and what we can do with those homemade tortillas.
3-ingredient Corn Tortilla Recipe:
With their slightly chewy texture and crispy edges, fresh homemade corn tortillas will turn your average taco night from good to great. — Once Upon A Chef
Servings: 15 tortillas | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes
2 cups masa harina (usually found in the Latin section of most large supermarkets)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups warm water
In a medium bowl, combine the masa harina and salt.
Add 1-1/2 cups of warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until all water is absorbed.
Start working mixture using hands, adding up to ½ cup more water, a few tablespoons at a time. Your goal is to add enough water so the mixture starts to form a cohesive dough. If it starts to stick to your hands, add a pinch or two more masa harina. The texture you’re aiming for is soft but not sticky (similar to Play-Doh or sugar cookie dough).
Divide dough into golf ball-sized chunks (about 1-1/2 ounces each for about 15 pieces).
Roll each piece between your palms to form smooth balls. (This will make tortillas that are 5 to 6 inches in diameter.) Cover dough balls with clean, damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.
Flatten each dough ball into a tortilla then carefully transfer it, either with your fingers or using the bottom half of the plastic bag, to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Arrange them so they are in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Lay a second piece of parchment paper down to cover the first layer of tortillas and continue to arrange them this way until you’ve flattened all the dough balls. To keep the flattened tortillas from drying out as you work, lay a damp kitchen towel over the uncovered flattened tortillas. (Alternatively, you can skip this step and just cook the tortillas as you press them.)
Heat a medium griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high high heat. When it’s hot, place 1 to 2 tortillas (depending on how large your skillet is) into the dry skillet and cook for 60 to 90 seconds. Flip the tortilla(s) with a spatula and cook for an additional 60 to 90 seconds or until they’re a nice golden color and you see some cracks on the surface. (You can use your fingers to turn the tortillas over, but be really careful not to burn yourself!) The tortillas may form some air pockets as they cook – don’t worry, they will deflate as they cool.
Once done cooking, transfer the cooked tortillas to a plate and wrap them with a kitchen towel until the remaining tortillas are cooked and ready to serve. Wrapping them with the towel is an important step because it allows the hot tortillas to continue to steam, which softens their texture.
You can also use a tortilla press for this recipe. Check the recipe out here for that option.
Flour Tortilla Recipe:
How can flour, salt, fat, and water – just four ingredients – bring so much joy? Because homemade tortillas hot off the griddle are fresh and made with love. It’s that simple. — Simply Recipes
Servings: 8 tortillas | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Rest: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 65 Minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, vegetable shortening, or vegetable oil, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
Mix the dough (by hand or in a stand mixer) until blended.
Roughly form the tortillas by sprinkling a large plate or small baking sheet with flour to roll the dough into a cylinder about 6-8 inches long. Cut it into four equal pieces and cut each piece in half, to make eight pieces that are all about the same size.
Roll the pieces into balls and flatten them into disks (just getting the basic shape in place before they rest then get the final roll).
Place them on the plate, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Roll the tortillas on a lightly floured work surface until the tortilla is about 7-inches in diameter.
Cook the tortillas by heating a cast iron pan, griddle, or another skillet over medium heat until hot. Line a plate with a clean dishtowel or napkin.
Place one tortilla on the hot pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Air bubbles will appear on the surface and they should have light brown spots on the bottom. Adjust the heat – you may need to lower it – so the tortillas cook gently without burning.
Turn them over and cook for another 20 to 30 seconds on the other side. The tortilla should look puffed up and opaque. If the tortilla needs a little longer, flip for a third time and cook and additional 10 or 12 seconds.
Once done cooking, transfer the cooked tortillas to a plate and wrap them with a kitchen towel until the remaining tortillas are cooked and ready to serve. Wrapping them with the towel is an important step because it allows the hot tortillas to continue to steam, which softens their texture
4-step Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips:
Now you’ve made the perfect tortilla. You will be happy to learn that making chips at home is easier than you think! You only need four ingredients: tortillas, oil, salt and lime juice. Check out this recipe for a super easy, super tasty tortilla chip!
Servings: 4-6 cups of chips | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 12 Minutes | Total Time: 27 Minutes
15 yellow corn tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for greasing baking sheet
1 tablespoon lime juice
Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Brush two large baking sheets with olive oil or use cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of lime juice together. Brush oil on one tortilla, making sure to cover the entire surface. Stack another tortilla on top and brush on oil mixture. Continue until you get have about 7 or 8 tortillas in a stack. Cut tortillas in half. Cut each half into small triangles. Set aside. Brush oil on remaining tortillas and cut into triangles.
Arrange tortilla pieces on baking sheet in a single layer. They can be lined right next to each other as they’ll shrink once baked. Sprinkle salt all over tortilla pieces.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chips are golden.
Related: HOW TO MAKE BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS
Dips, Toppings, & More:
We can’t have tortillas and chips without a list of different fillings, sauces, and dips to eat with these.
We’ve all been guilty of eating “just one or two chips” as an appetizer while we wait for our main course. Soon, those two chips turn into the whole bowl. The great thing is, now you don’t have to wait to go to a restaurant to eat the entire bowl.