January 5, 2019

Emergency Food: How to Make Corn Tortillas

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Mr. Apt Prepper and I were talking out our emergency food supply which contains a lot of beans and rice.  For variety, we thought we should try making homemade tortillas.

Howtomakecorntortillas_ingredientsThe instructions came from the corn masa flour package.

How to make corn tortillas:

1 cup corn masa flour

2/3 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

Other equipment used:

  • Large bowl
  • Zip-lock freezer bag
  • Tortilla press (you can make them without one, this just makes it easier)
  • Flat cast iron skillet – coat with oil or butter

1.  In a large bowl, add water to the corn masa flour.  Mix for two minutes until you can shape a ball.  Add water by the tablespoon if the mixture feels too dry.  I ended up adding about three tablespoons as I kept kneading the dough.

Howtomakecorntortillas_dough2.  Once you can make a smooth ball out of the dough, you can start shaping your tortillas.  Separate the dough into eight small balls.


3.  Lay a piece of plastic such as a cut up Zip-lock freezer bag against both sides of the tortilla press.  The plastic will keep the dough from sticking to the press.


4.  Place the dough ball on one side of the plastic and flatten the press.   Heat the cast iron skillet on medium heat.


5.  Carefully pry the dough off and place on the hot skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.  You will notice the dough start to brown and puff slightly.  If you undercook it, the tortilla will taste like raw dough.  I should know, I tried one too soon.


6.  Keep cooking until all the tortillas are done.  Serve warm.


These tortillas came out way too small to make tacos but were tasty by themselves.  They are more flavorful and more filling than store bought tortillas.  This makes about eight corn tortillas.

Next time I will double or triple the recipe to make bigger tortillas.

I decided to see if I could make tortilla chips out of these, since they were too small for tacos.  I cut up the tortillas into four and fried them in hot oil.  I fried them for about three to four minutes until slightly brown, then added salt to taste.  Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Howtomakecorntortillas_chipsThe chips made from homemade tortilla chips were very tasty and filling.

It was a bit time-consuming to make corn tortillas yourself, but I like knowing I can make them in case I run out and don’t want to run to the store.   This skill will also help to add variety to survival foods.


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10 Comments on Emergency Food: How to Make Corn Tortillas

    • Hi KarenLynn, Yes, I should’ve mentioned they are gluten free. Thanks for the comment!

  1. You can also make tortilla chips in the oven, I’ll ask the wife for the recipe when I get a chance and post it if you are interested. They are way better home made and don’t contain most of the chemicals that store bought ones do.

    • Hi Pierce – Great idea, making them in the oven. Yes please share. The fried ones are great but the oven would avoid the oiliness. Thanks!

  2. Recipe for chips:
    -Cut tortillas to desired size and shapes
    -Place pieces onto a cookie sheet without them touching, you could also use a muffin sheet to make “dippers”
    -Preheat oven to 350 degrees bake 5-7 minutes
    Results may vary, but ours were delicious! 🙂

  3. Wondering what state you live in as here in CA most Mexican places make tacos out of 4″ tortillas. They are not done American style as in a fried and folded tortilla they are fried soft and left flat and after you put whatever on them you want then you fold them and eat them. There are many places that do fold them when they fry them but they are usually catering to the American palette not the Mexican palette. Oh and if you want to try them Walmart sells a flour tortilla mix that is quite good and its also an add water kind of thing, the recipe makes about 8 larger tortillas. And lastly a great plastic to use on your tortilla press is the heavy cellophane your florist wraps around the flowers..stop in and ask to buy a couple of sheets, they wash off nicely too. Happy Eating!

    • Hi Stephanie, We’re in Houston, and yes, Tex Mex is sure different from Cali-Mex cuisine. They do make soft tacos as well but the tortillas are 6″ not 4″. Thanks for the tip about the florist wrap. I’ll be sure to try them.

  4. I would add some spices to the emergency food. Like we know that beans with brown sugar are pretty good. In India some people eat rice with milk and sugar, tastes pretty good when there’s no cereal. I like to add some cinnamon too. I’m just mentioning spices because eating the same thing every day gets boring. I like those cans or jars of mild salsa and I mix some of that into the beans and a can or jar of diced tomatoes, if there’s no fresh. That’s a meal you could dip your chips in 🙂
    Corn tortillas can be baked in the oven, they are not as satisfying as the fried ones. Add cheese and bake on 350, until texture you like. The kids like to make these. I like to drizzle a few drops of oil on both sides of the tortilla before I bake it, makes it more crispy. But the kids like tham plain.

    • Hi Alice, These are all great suggestions! I really like the salsa idea- I currently don’t have any in storage, but they would really add some variety. I’m going to pick up some Pace Picante Salsa, they do have a good shelf life. Thanks for the comment!

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