How to Make Corn Tortillas Over a Campfire

We have all been there. You plan the perfect camping menu and cook all of your food over the campfire, except for the tortillas. It can be a lot to drag all the ingredients and equipment with you, but if you are car camping it is so worth the extra work and space.

Traditionally, tortillas were cooked over a fire. So, they are still a great addition to any camp menu. Though there are many pre-made corn tortillas on the market today, nothing beats campfire tacos in a corn tortilla cooked over an open fire.

Making corn tortillas is a great camping activity you can enjoy with family and friends.

Rolling out the corn tortillas

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If you need to cook for a lot of people or if you are a bit of a perfectionist, you may want to consider bringing along a tortilla press. With a tortilla press, you can quickly and uniformly press out tortillas in a matter of seconds.

In Mexico, you will commonly find tortilladoras, tortilla presses, being used to roll out this mouthwatering flatbread. And there is a good reason for that. If the pros think they are useful, they probably are.

The easiest way to roll out and shape corn tortillas is to use a tortilla press. The flat surface and solid structure will turn out perfectly flat, round-shaped tortillas and you don’t have to worry about all the work that goes into rolling them out by hand! You can find one on sites like Uno Casa.

But if you are caught in a pinch without a tortilla press, no need to worry. You can always bring a rolling pin, a wooden cutting board, and some wax paper to roll them out by hand.


Using a tortilla press:

  • Separate your dough into balls. (A ball the size of a golf ball, should weigh about 1.5 ounces and roll out into a 6-inch tortilla.)
  • Put parchment paper on the bottom section of the press.
  • Place one dough ball on the paper and cover it with another piece of parchment paper
  • Lower the top piece of the press onto the ball and slow press the lever down to provide more force.
  • Lift the upper piece of the press and gently remove your tortilla

Using a rolling pin:

  • Separate your dough into balls. (A ball the size of a golf ball, should weigh about 1.5 ounces and roll out into a 6-inch tortilla.)
  • Place the dough between a couple of pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap that has been sprinkled with masa harina.
  • Press on the dough to flatten it then use a rolling pin to get it to the perfect shape and thickness.

Tip: A cutting board an be used to speed things up and lessen the amount of paper or plastic wrap you need to use. Completely cover the cutting board in wax paper or plastic wrap and then use the cutting board as your base. Place another piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on top of the dough ball and roll it out as normal.

Cook to perfection

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Once the tortillas are perfectly pressed, it is time to cook it. You can either use an aluminum skillet pan or a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillet is preferred for better texture. Here are simple, easy-to-follow steps on how to cook your corn tortilla.

  • Warm the skillet pan to medium-high heat
  • Toss in a pressed corn tortilla
  • Flip every 15-30 seconds

The flip time will rely on the thickness of the tortilla. The usual thickness is ⅛ inch. Once the tortilla smells toasty, it is time to flip it. It is also advisable to do the flipping once. Flipping affects the texture of the tortilla.
A perfectly cooked tortilla will give you that toasty smell with few darkened spots. Soft tortillas are best for tacos, quesadillas, and Migas.

Tips and Tricks

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Take note that corn tortilla is best consumed right after cooking, while it is still warm. The temperature helps the tortilla holds itself together, preventing it from cracking or falling apart. It is the reason most restaurants serve tacos, burritos, or tortillas in aluminum foil that keeps them warm.

If you find that your tortillas are falling apart, cracking when making taquitos, or that they are sticking together, we have put together a helpful list detailing ways to fix these issues.

Because corn tortillas are gluten-free, they are bound by a minimal amount of fat. If the tortillas are cold, the fat can’t bind it together and causes it to crack or fall apart. Also if the tortilla is not warm enough, it is best to reheat it before consuming it.

Here are some handy tips to steer away from these problems:

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  • If the plan is to consume the corn tortillas within the day, storing it at room temperature is fine. After cooking or heating a corn tortilla, place it on a towel and cover it. This step is necessary to maintain the warm temperature and the consistency of the tortilla.
  •  If there are leftovers and will be consumed on the following days, it is recommended that the tortillas should be refrigerated.
  • When reheating corn tortillas, use aluminum foil. Do it in bundles of 5 – 7 packs. Doing so will ensure that the corn tortilla in the middle will be as warm as those on the outside.
  •  Keep the corn tortilla moist enough to keep it from cracking. The easiest way to put moisture back is to steam it until it’s flexible enough and not break under taco fillings weight. It can be reheated using steam from boiling water or inside a microwave oven.
  • When steaming using a microwave oven, wrap a stack of the corn tortilla. Cover a pile of corn tortillas with a damp towel, then cover in a flexible wrap or put in a resealable microwave-safe plastic bag. Keep the bag open for air to circulate.

Give yourself the Mexican chef experience from around your next campfire. You will end up with a fantastic meal and some awesome bragging rights!

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