Homemade Nixtamal Tortilla Recipe

Brian T of @neverenoughdirt is a valued member of our DB Insiders club, and he recently posted about using his Mineral B to make these homemade Cherokee White Eagle Corn Tortillas. We thought they ...

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Homemade Nixtamal Tortilla Recipe
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Brian T of @neverenoughdirt is a valued member of our DB Insiders club, and he recently posted about using his Mineral B to make these homemade Cherokee White Eagle Corn Tortillas. We thought they looked unique and absolutely delicious, and luckily Brian was willing to share the recipe with us! So here is your sign to treat yourself with one of our various crepe/tortilla pans, and then treat yourself to a Taco Tuesday with these amazing homemade tortillas! Check out this recipe and others on his blog

Makes about 12 x 5-inch tortillas


  •  1.5 cup dried dent corn (about two 6-inch ears of ‘Cherokee White Eagle’ corn)
  • 1 tablespoon pickling lime (also known as calcium hydroxide)
  • water
  • salt



Making the Nixtamal masa:

  1. Fill an 8 quart enameled or stainless steel (non reactive) pot a little more than half way with water, add 1 tablespoon of pickling lime, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add corn and let boil for about a minute before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the corn to steep overnight (12 hours.) The alkaline solution will soften the hard outer hull (pericarp) and give it a membrane like characteristic. While the solution is safe to handle, do note that it is caustic to some degree. Handle with care until you know your tolerances.
  4. Next day, drain and rinse corn in a colander. At this point the membrane, tip cap, and germ can be removed from the kernel. This is done by rubbing hands against the corn and removing individually. This is necessary for recipes that call for a very smooth masa; like tamale. For our tortilla, a little bit of grit gives it great texture. It therefore will not be necessary to remove everything entirely.
  5. The next step is milling the nixtamal into nixtamal masa. Feed the masa/food mill a little bit at a time (less than a handful) and mill at the finest setting. Adding a tablespoon of water during the milling can help. Experiment with adding some water here and there to find what works best. A food processor is an alternative. Work in small batches and experiment with adding water.
  6. Once all the nixtamal has been milled, add a couple of pinches of salt and knead the loose nixtamal. Add a little water at a time until it comes together into a large ball. When the dough is too dry, it will not stay together. When it is too wet, your hand will be sticky with nixtamal. An ideal ball of nixtamal masa will not leave your hands wet like you just washed them.


Making the tortillas

  1. Allow the masa to rest for about 15 minutes. 5-inch tortillas are easiest to work with. Shape a ball about the size of an extra large meat ball. Place one sheet of wax paper over a medium cutting board. Place the dough ball in the center of the wax paper. Then lay (on center) a sheet of wax paper on top. Using another cutting board, place it center over the dough ball and press straight down.
  2. When the desired thickness is reached, set aside the top cutting board. Slowly peel away the top off the wax paper sandwich. Then gently place the wax paper back on top of the tortilla. Grab the bottom wax paper, flip it over and gently peel the wax paper away. 
  3. Transfer the tortilla onto a heated pan. Carbon steel pans work best. Cook until one side is slightly toasted before flipping it over and cooking the other side.
  4. Finished tortillas are great as snacks, quesadilla, tacos, and even fried up as chips.



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