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Holy Grail of Corn Tortillas

Soft, Resilient, and Flexible

Finally, a corn tortilla that doesn’t fall apart!  This Holy Grail of Corn Tortilla recipe is the end all, be all of corn tortillas.  They are soft, flavorful, and hold their composure when loaded with meat, vegetables, and seafood.

There are two piles of Holy Grail of Corn tortillas on a cutting board with salt flakes and sliced limes
Stack of Holy Grail of Corn Tortillas with lime and salt

What Makes These Holy Grail Tortillas Different From Other Corn Tortilla Recipes?

There is one simple ingredient that does the trick, xanthan gum!  If you’re gluten free and do any sort of baking, you’re well aware of this ingredient.  But if you were just browsing Google for the Holy Grail of Corn Tortillas and stumbled upon this page, you are in for a treat! Technically, Xanthan Gum is the byproduct of the Xanthomonas Campestris bacteria ingesting sugar, but for our purposes, it is a natural binding, thickening, and stabilizing agent. It’s also tasteless so it makes our tortillas stick together without getting in the way of their flavor. If you would like to learn more, this link to Healthline.com will fill you in.

I Usually Eat Flour Tortillas… Will I Like These Corn Ones?

I know that some people find themselves in the flour tortilla corner, but I believe that’s because many of us have not had warm, homemade corn tortillas. Corn tortillas that you buy in the store tend to be dry, flaky, and just downright bland. They are difficult to reheat and nearly impossible to wrap anything in because they break apart just by looking at them. These homemade ones are the opposite. They have this beautiful texture and thickness (without being too thick) and add almost a warmth to each bite. Nothing compares to wrapping steak in a warm corn tortilla with a little cilantro and onion. It’s like a little piece of heaven in your mouth. As an added bonus, my wife can eat them too because they are naturally gluten free. Yay for that.

Closeup of 4 corn tortillas with grill spots on the tortillas.
Close up of Holy Grail of Corn Tortillas with Brown Spots

Homemade Tortillas….Sounds a Bit Daunting

With only 3 ingredients (5 if you count water & salt), these come together incredibly easy. And if you have made tortillas before, you’ll find that this dough is actually easier to work with because it is less sticky than normal dough. Mix the ingredients then split into sections. Press down with a rolling pin, tortilla press or even your hand will work in a pinch. That’s it! Let’s get rolling.

Can I Save These/Freeze Them?

You can. The best way to do it is to cook them fresh, so I suggest making the tortilla dough, rolling them out, and then separating them by pieces of parchment paper. You can store them a zip lock bag in the refrigerator up to a week. When you’re ready to eat them, follow the recipe from the Cooking Instructions portion. If you want to freeze them, do the same thing except place them in the freezer. Take them out the night before wanting to serve them and place them in the refrigerator. Continue from Cooking Instructions when you’re ready to eat. If you have leftover tortillas that have already been cooked, store them the same way. When you’re ready to reheat, use a damp a piece of paper towel and wrap around tortillas. Place them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or until they are warmed. Serve immediately.

Two Piles of corn tortillas from a bird's eye view with a green dip
Two Piles of corn tortillas from a bird’s eye view with a green dip

Tips and Tricks for Holy Grail of Corn Tortilla Recipe

  • Not many people have a tortilla press on hand. That’s okay! You can press the tortillas down with the palm of your hand but they will end up slightly thicker. You can also tape down parchment paper and use a rolling pin to get the dough thin. Then use a cookie cutter or plastic lid (like this one here) to get your desired size.
  • Make sure the dry ingredients are mixed well. Xantham Gum tends to be difficult to mix in after it gets wet.
  • If you have never used Xantham Gum, it is relatively inexpensive and can be found in most major grocery stores in the baking section. Our favorite brand is here.
  • One of the ingredients is Yellow Corn Masa. This is also known as Masa Harina or Masa Flour. Masa flour is made up of corn that has gone through a soaking process of lime and water. It is then dried and ground. There is a very simple explanation here. This ingredient can be found in most major grocery stores in the Mexican section. It is also available online here.

Holy Grail of Corn Tortilla

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Stevens Haen Cuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Servings

18

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Yellow Corn Masa

  • 1.5 tsp Xanthan Gum

  • 1.5 tsp Fine Pink Himalayan Salt

  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil

  • 1.5 Cups Water

Directions

  • Masa/Dough Instructions
  • In a medium sized bowl, add the masa, xanthan gum, and sea salt.
  • Mix well so the dry ingredients are uniform.
  • Add the oil first and mix slightly.
  • Next add the water, start with 1-¼ Cups of water and mix. If the mixture is dry and flaky, continue to add water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Mix the dough well by kneading with your hands until the dough forms a ball. As the corn starts to absorb the masa, you will see it become less sticky.
  • Cover the bowl and set aside for 20-30 minutes.
  • Tortilla Press Instructions
  • Form 18 individual balls of dough.
  • Set the balls one at a time between two pieces of parchment and press the dough.
  • Set aside the uncooked tortilla between layers of parchment or wax paper.
  • Roll Out Instructions
  • Lay out a large piece of parchment paper and tape the edges, so that the parchment won’t wrinkle or move.
  • Using a quarter of dough at a time, place on the parchment paper, with another piece on top.
  • Press down, then use a rolling pin to smooth the dough.
  • You want the dough to be uniformly thin, less than 1/16th of an inch.
  • Using a large circular cookie cutter or a round storage container lid with thin edges (large cookie cutter will get you street taco sized tortillas, whereas a container lid will make more of a typical sized tortilla that you’d buy in a grocery store. It’s all a matter of personal preference.), cut the dough into as many tortillas as possible. Roll dough out and repeat until you have used all the dough except one small scrap piece.

    The tortilla cutouts should peel off the parchment with relative ease. If it is tearing frequently, the dough is probably too thin.
  • Cooking Instructions
  • Heat up a large cast iron skillet until it is smoking, then turn it down to medium heat for another minute or two.
  • Use a piece of the scrap dough and place it on the cast iron as a test. The dough should puff up in less than 10 seconds. Then flip, if the pan is too hot, you’ll see burnt bubble holes in the tortilla dough.
  • Once your temperature is dialed in, throw on your first tortilla. Let the tortilla start to rise slightly, and flip. Once flipped it should almost immediately puff out completely. Cook on each side for approximately 15 to 20 seconds, then remove the tortilla to a plate and start again. Keep the finished tortillas covered with a clean towel to keep warm until serving.

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