Homemade Tortillas

While we couldn't exist without commercial tortillas—some brands are quite good, and we don't always have time to get out the tortilla press—the homemade variety is really quite better, with more flavor and a toothsome texture. Start by making our Corn Tortillas, then use the following techniques to prepare them for a variety of dishes.

Corn Tortillas

Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Cook 1 raw 5½" tortilla at a time, turning once, until blistered and charred in spots, 1½-2 minutes per side. As tortillas are cooked, wrap in a clean dish towel to keep warm. See a recipe for Corn Tortillas »James Baigrie

Tortilla Chips

Quarter 10 cooked corn tortillas. Working in batches, deep-fry wedges in 350 degree oil, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, 2½-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season generously with salt while still hot and slightly moist. See a recipe for Sour Cream Nachos »James Baigrie

Puffy Taco Shells

For each shell, deep-fry 1 raw 4¼" tortilla disk in 350 degree oil, using tongs to keep it submerged and to fold in half so edges are about 2" apart. Fry until it holds its shape; stir in oil until blistered, about 3 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. See a recipe for Puffy Chicken Tacos »James Baigrie

Crispy Taco Shells

Warm a dry cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. For each shell, cook 1 raw 5½" tortilla, turning often, until leathery, 2-3 minutes per side. Deep-fry in 350 degree oil, shaping with tongs to fold in half so edges are about 2" apart, until crisp, 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. See a recipe for Potato Tacos »James Baigrie