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Chile-Flavored Corn Tortillas (Tortillas de Maiz con Adobo)

Yield: about 16 tortillas

These reddish tortillas have an earthy flavor that I like with vegetable and breakfast tacos, where they contrast with the filling. Don’t use them for a dried-chile or adobo-flavored filling because it would be too much of the same thing.


For the adobo

  • 1 oz. guajillo or ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, toasted, and soaked in cold water for 20 minutes to soften
  • 1/2 cup beer, fresh orange juice, or water
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 peppercorns
  • Sugar


For the tortillas

  • 2 cups instant corn masa flour or masa harina; more as needed
  • 1/2  tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water; more as needed


Make the adobo

  • Combine the chiles, beer, garlic, vinegar, salt, cumin, peppercorns, and a pinch of sugar in a blender. Purée until smooth. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 5 days.

Make the tortillas

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the water and 1/3 cup adobo,  and then add to the flour mixture. Mix with a silicone spatula to form a uniform dough that can be kneaded by hand, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be moist, but firm enough to form into a ball; a small piece of dough squeezed between your fingers should stay together and not crumble. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the dough by kneading in water (up to 1/2 cup added 1 Tbs. at a time) or flour. The dough will dry as it sits, so cover it with a piece of plastic wrap as you work.
  • Heat a griddle, comal, or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes.
  • Trim the top and sides off a plastic zip-top bag and place it in a tortilla press, fitting the folded end of the bag against the hinge of the press. Alternatively, use two pieces of parchment.
  • Pinch off about 1 oz. of dough and form it into a scant 11/2-inch ball. Place the ball of dough in the center of the press between the sheets of plastic, and firmly press down on the handle. If the tortilla is uneven, rotate it in the press 180 degrees and press again. Then remove the tortilla from the press, leaving the plastic behind and finish rolling it by hand until the tortilla is 5-1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Transfer the tortilla to the griddle by first letting a dangling edge touch the griddle and then slowly pulling your hand back as you lay the tortilla down. (This will take a little practice, but this method ensures that the tortillas lie flat while cooking.)
  • Cook until the edges lift slightly from the griddle, about 15 seconds. Flip by lifting the edge with a spatula and then grabbing it with your fingers to turn it over. Cook until a few light brown spots appear on the underside, about 45 seconds.
  • Flip the tortilla again. Cook until it inflates slightly (this doesn’t always happen) and light brown spots appear on the second side, about 30 seconds. Transfer the tortilla to a cloth-lined tortilla basket to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining dough.


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