Red chile tortillas

This is a fun break from yeast breads. We prefer corn tortillas, and there is a tortilleria about 65 miles from us where we occasionally buy a couple of bags to stash in the freezer. These are just as good as theirs, and the chiles add a nice color and a spice profile that can be tailored to you.

guajilloStart by making the red chile sauce. Most grocery stores these days carry a good selection of hispanic ingredients. I bought a huge bag of dried guajillo chiles for $5.99 but had a choice of several varieties. Any dried chile will work, of any size. Adjust quantity depending on the heat. Bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before blending. This recipe makes enough for two batches. Use half and freeze the other half for next time, or double or triple the recipe and divide it into 1/2 cup portions to freeze.

scoopingThis makes a slightly crumbly dough. A #40 scoop works well for dividing the dough to make twelve 5-6″ tortillas. Wear rubber gloves if you handle the dough at all. Using the scoop allows you to avoid touching it. This tortilla press is heavy cast iron and makes pressing easy, but you can use a rolling pin. Use the same process for either method – cut a bread bag or ziplock into 2 generously-sized pieces and roll out or press the doughball between the 2 pieces. Carefully peel off the top piece, lay the tortilla face down on your open palm and peel off the bottom piece (which is now on top of the tortilla). Turn your hand over and let the tortilla fall onto the cooking surface. A griddle works great so you can cook several at a time, but a large heavy frying pan works too. Cook for a minute or two on each side and cool on a wire rack.

– Joan, 13 March 2020


Red chile tortillas

  • Servings: Twelve 5 to 6-inch tortillas
  • Print

Red chile sauce

  • 2-3 oz. dried chile peppers, seeded and cut into chunks (I used 1 dried gaujillo)chilesauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canned chile in adobo
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Put all of the sauce ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. Pour everything into a blender and purée. Set aside.


  • 1 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 c. red chile sauce
  • 1/2 c. hot water

Stir together the dry ingredients. Mix the chile sauce with the hot water and pour into the center of the dry ingredients. Stir together with a fork – see the photo above. Dough is crumbly but will stick together if you squeeze it. Divide into twelve pieces. A #40 cookie scoop is the perfect size and keeps you from getting the hot chile on your hands.

Preheat a griddle or heavy frying pan over medium heat.

Place a piece of plastic on the tortilla press and center a doughball. Cover it with the other piece of plastic and pull down the top of the press, engaging the handle. You can vary the thickness a little depending on the amount of pressure you apply, which will make the tortillas a little bigger but also make them harder to handle. Carefully peel off the top plastic. Turn the tortilla onto your open palm and peel off the bottom plastic, which is now on top. Drop the tortilla onto the cooking surface. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, then remove to a cooling rack. Once they’ve cooled they can be stacked. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Tortillas keep for several weeks in the fridge.






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