Switch things up with fresh, rustic, and beautiful blue corn tortillas in 30 minutes or less. All that's needed is 2 ingredients and a little water for the perfect base to serve on your next taco night.
Store-bought tortillas are no match for homemade!
If blue corn tortillas or chips have ever caught your eye before, you're going to want to stick around! With a taste, texture, and color that is truly out of this world, you really should try making a batch.
What are blue corn tortillas?
Blue corn tortillas are essentially the same as white or yellow corn tortillas — just made with a different type of corn!
With the availability of so many different corn species, each one brings a unique taste, color, and texture to the table.
To speed up the process, you can use a special type of corn flour called masa harina azul instead of the white or yellow varieties you might be familiar with.
If you live near a tortillería or Latin market, you can typically purchase fresh dough (masa), or even try grinding your own if you're up to it!
Why are they blue?
These tortillas are blue in color because they're made with different varietals of blue corn (more on this in the key ingredient section).
Blue corn contains anthocyanins, which are a natural pigment found in many different foods, giving them red, purple, or blue hues (think blueberries, blackberries, currants, or grapes).
History of blue corn
As briefly mentioned above, there are different types of blue corn grown in Mexico (Mushito, Cónico, Chalqueño, etc).
It's been grown for centuries here and is said to come from the central part of the country all the way up into the Southern States.
While not as popular as white or yellow varieties in the mainstream, don't sleep on blue corn because it comes with some health benefits the latter two just can't compete with.
We love using blue masa harina instead of white or yellow because the color really pops and we prefer the flavor!
Here are some ideas for recipes you can easily try this blue corn flour in:
Another thing we appreciate about blue corn tortillas (and all other colors) is that they are naturally vegan and gluten-free.
🍲 Key Ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card
Blue masa harina
Once we learned more about masa harina and how to use it, our cooking experience became way more enjoyable!
What is it?
Masa harina is a type of instant corn flour that has gone through the process of nixtamalization. In other words, the corn is soaked in a special alkaline solution before being made into flour.
This process increases the nutritional quality of the corn, allowing our bodies to absorb important vitamins like niacin (B3) and calcium.
Not only do blue corn tortillas look absolutely stunning, but they have the most impressive taste profile. With a sweeter, nuttier flavor than white corn tortillas, they also have a more rustic texture that makes delicious tacos, quesadillas, and more.
Masa harina is an easy choice for all dietary preferences because of its naturally gluten-free properties. As we previously touched on, masa is high in B-vitamins (especially niacin) and calcium.
What sets blue corn apart from yellow or white is anthocyanins. These substances belong to a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, which help our bodies repair and stay healthy.
Where to buy?
Although we sometimes use the brand Maseca (because it's the most readily available), we've more recently been on the hunt for a better brand. If you know of any smaller, local companies in Mexico, please let us know!
If you live outside Mexico, blue masa harina can typically be found at Latin markets or the ethnic aisles of large grocery stores. If you still can't find it, try ordering masa harina online.
Note: depending on the brand you use, the overall texture, consistency, and water needed may differ.
If you have questions about this blue corn tortilla recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: whisk the blue masa harina and salt together in a mixing bowl, then add in the hot water. Note: mix it with a spatula or utensil first so you don't burn yourself!
Step 2: when it's cool enough to handle, knead the dough with your hands until a ball is formed that's sticky enough to stay together, but not coming off on your hands too much.
Step 3: if the dough appears crumbly, add little bits of water at a time until you reach the right consistency (somewhat like playdough). Similarly, if it becomes too sticky, add more masa harina.
Step 4: break off pieces of the dough and form small balls (about 40 grams each). Roll each one between your palms until smooth, then onto the press they go.
Step 5: cut a zip lock bag into 2 pieces that will fit into the press. Open the press and place a ball of dough in the center on a piece of plastic. Place the other plastic piece on top and close the press down to form thin tortillas.
Note: if you don't have a tortilla press, place your ball of dough between the same plastic pieces on your counter and use the bottom of a baking dish or plate to flatten the tortilla. You can also use a rolling pin (lots of options!).
Step 6: cook the tortillas on a hot cast-iron skillet or comal for about 10 seconds on the first side, then 40-50 seconds on the next side, then flip it back to the first side until the tortilla puffs up.
Note: if the tortilla doesn't puff up, add a little more water to your dough and let them cook a little longer.
Step 7: Keep the tortillas wrapped in a tea towel or tortilla warmer while you cook the rest. Serve your blue corn tortillas warm with all the same meals you’d normally serve tortillas with. Happy eating!
If you've never made blue corn tortillas, follow these instructions to keep them warm for serving and fresh while storing.
If you're about to use your corn tortillas for a meal, keep them in a tea towel (or tortilla warmer) as you finish cooking the batch. This traps the steam and makes them soft and pliable.
This blue corn tortilla recipe will last in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container or bag. If you're not going to use the tortillas right away, freeze them or try making tortilla chips!
Homemade corn tortillas will store in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 6-8 months. When you're ready to eat them again, thaw the tortillas overnight in your fridge.
The best way to reheat these vegan tortillas is on a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook them for about 30 seconds per side, and don't forget to wrap them in a towel or warmer!
💭 Pro tips
Here are some tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this blue corn tortilla recipe:
- Wait for a curl. Wait for the tortilla edges to curl slightly before flipping them the first time.
- Make chips. When your tortillas start going stale, it's the perfect time to make chips for chilaquiles.
- Use a baking dish. You don't need a tortilla press for corn tortillas. Any flat plate or baking dish should get the job done (although a press will make life easier).
- Let them steam. Wrapping the tortillas in a towel or warmer creates steam so the whole stack stays soft and pliable (what taco dreams are made of).
🍴 Tasting notes
As simple as blue corn tortillas seem, they are full of flavor and extra fun to make. They're:
If you try these homemade tortillas, please rate the recipe and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Blue Corn Tortillas
- Measuring cups
- Mixing bowl
- Freezer bag
- Tortilla press or rolling pin
- 2 cups blue masa harina ($0.25)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons hot water ($0.01)
- Add the blue masa harina and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk. Then, pour in 1 cup plus another 2-3 tablespoons of water to start with and mix using a spatula.
- When it's cool enough to handle, knead the dough with your hands until you form a ball that's sticky enough to stay together, but not coming off on your hands too much.
- If the dough appears crumbly, add a tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency (somewhat like playdough). If it becomes too sticky, add a little more masa harina. Cover the bowl with a towel.
- Preheat a seasoned cast-iron skillet or comal slowly to medium or medium-high while you roll and press the tortillas. If you are using a regular frying pan, preheat it with no oil.
- Break off pieces of the dough to form small balls (about 40 grams each). Roll each one between your palms until smooth.
- Cut a zip lock bag into 2 pieces that will fit into the press. Open the press and place a ball of dough in the center on a piece of plastic. Place the other plastic piece on top and close the press down to form tortillas about 5 inches in diameter.
- If you don't have a tortilla press, place your ball of dough between the same 2 pieces of plastic on your counter and gently press it down with your fingers.
- Using the bottom of a baking dish or flat plate, press down then roll it out until thin with a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin, continue flattening it as much as possible with the baking dish.
- Gently add a tortilla to the hot pan and cook on the first side for 10 seconds. Flip and cook for another 40-50 seconds, then flip once more and cook until brown spots are forming and the tortilla puffs up, about 40 seconds.
- Remove the tortilla from heat and wrap in a tea towel or tortilla warmer while you cook the rest. Serve warm with all the same meals you’d normally serve other corn tortillas with. Happy eating!
- The cook time and heat will vary slightly depending on the pan and stove you use.
- If the tortilla doesn’t puff, try gently pressing down on it with your spatula or fingers. If it still doesn't puff, add a touch more water to your dough and cook longer.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For some tasty dishes to serve blue corn tortillas with, check out our:
- Tacos al pastor if you want to try a spicy, sweet, and meat-free version of this Mexican street taco.
- Mulitas for a snack food that's filled with plant-based cheese, jackfruit carnitas, guacamole, and spicy salsa.
- Jackfruit carnitas to try the same jackfruit recipe as in the mulitas, but in taco form! You won't believe how tender, flavorful, and "meaty" this fruit can be!
- Quesadillas For extra hearty, tender, and flavor-packed antojitos made with homemade corn tortillas (and now blue corn tortillas!).
Yes, corn tortillas should be vegan if you're making them at home since they only contain corn, water, and salt.
Yes, corn tortillas are suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
If the tortillas are sticking, it likely means you didn't preheat the pan enough. Just wait a few more minutes before starting to cook the next one.
Since there are no gluten bonds to be formed, you don't have to rest the dough as you would in a flour tortilla recipe. The masa harina just needs to be hydrated, so a few minutes of kneading should do the trick.