5 Easy Steps To Homemade Corn Tortillas

Time to palmear tortillas.


On a recent trip to El Porvenir, Nicaragua, I found myself faced with the daily task of making corn tortillas. I was staying with a local family in the small farming community, and they eat tortillas with every meal. On most days, the sound of my host making tortillas would wake me up and remind me that on a farm, there’s always work to do. If you have a craving for a tortilla, don’t just run out to your local grocery; try this method first!

1. Rinse.

The first step in the tortilla making process is to rinse the white corn kernels and then grind them into a meal in your corn grinder (or a food processor would suffice if your grinder is currently out of commission). Make sure to stretch your arm muscles before this workout!

2. Water.

Then, add a little bit of water to your corn meal so that you can mix it into a smooth dough-like substance. If your tortilla “dough” feels a little too sticky, then add more water (in small amounts) until the consistency is just right.

3. Form.

The third step is to form the “dough” into equally sized portions, which you will flatten into tortillas.

4. Palmear.

The fourth and most fun step is to palmear the tortilla. Place one of the portions on a round piece of wax paper. With your dominant hand, begin to flatten the tortilla. With your other hand, move the wax paper in a circle so that you flatten the tortilla equally.


5. Cook.

The final step is to gently remove the tortilla from the wax paper onto your  hand and then transfer it to a pan on the stove. As the tortilla is cooking, be sure to flatten the tortilla so that it heats all the way through and turns out nice and crispy.  Remove your tortilla from the heat and enjoy with some delicious rice and beans!

Be sure to try this recipe out during your next turn to cook dinner and remember, your tortillas will get rounder with practice. If you are really struggling, make a trip to the beautiful community of El Porvenir for your own private lesson!


Maura Lewandowski

Maura is from Pittsburgh, PA and loved visiting Lisbon. When it comes to traveling, she's a planner. She does research before she arrives at the destination and makes sure she can fit in as much as possible.

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