Costa Rican Tortillas

This Costa Rican tortilla recipe is just like grandma makes. Maesca, water and the tortilla press are all you need.

Costa Rican Tortillas Recipe

Ingredients 

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix together the flour, salt, and water, adding the water in bit by bit until dough is formed. This is usually done by hand, but you can use a wooden spoon if preferred. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky. 

Check the dough for consistency, adding extra water if necessary, then work the dough into a series of 1 inch balls. 

Cover your tortilla press with plastic sheets or parchment paper and flatten the balls into discs.  Next, heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Place the tortilla discs in the pan, frying them about 40 seconds per side or until lightly browned.

Remove the tortillas from the pan and serve warm. 

About This Costa Rican Tortilla Recipe

What comes to mind when you think of Latin American cooking? Chances are, fresh tortillas made an appearance in the parade of deliciousness that just ran through your head!

Versatile and tasty, homemade tortillas have been a traditional staple in many a Latin America-based household. Tortillas are so beloved, that there’s even a Spanish word for the process of pressing out the dough between your palms– tortilla! Young women in Costa Rica still learn how to make tortillas with their moms and grandmoms from a very young age.

Like many other Latin Americans, Costa Ricans generally make tortillas with cornflour, water, and a bit of salt. Throughout Costa Rica, there’s a ton of variation when it comes to tortilla size and flavor.

One of my favorite iterations is the tortilla de queso, a delicious creation that incorporates cheese and sour cream into the dough. If you ever happen to visit cities like Cartago or Alajuela, be sure to take advantage of their amazing tortillas con queso!

We also eat tortillas alineadas where a huge (like the size of your head big) tortilla is handmade and cooked, and then topped with shredded Costa Rican cheese and pan-fried until the top is crispy. It’s beyond delicious.

This recipe is for simple corn tortillas, but once you’ve mastered the basics, there are plenty of opportunities to jazz them up!

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Substitutions

You can use one cup of regular flour and one cup of the Maseca corn flour, though the consistency will be a little different. 

You can use milk in place of water. You can use any type of salt (sea salt, Himilayan, etc). Some people add a bit of chicken boullion, (Maggi seasoning) but that’s not very traditional.

Variations

This recipe is delicious with a little shredded cheese (cotija and mozzarella are both great options) either stirred into the dough or served on top! 

Slavadorean pupusas are filled tortillas- using shredded pork, cheese or refried black beans.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your tortillas warm with the topping of your choice. Shredded cheese, sour cream, gallo pinto, and black bean dip are all delicious possibilities!

These tortillas make incredible sides for traditional soups, like sopa azteca and black bean soup, and are usually included in a Costa Rican casado dish. 

In Costa Rica, we have a food called a “gallo”- which is when you put any sort of food in a smaller portion on top of a tortilla. It’s a typical snack food or eaten for breakfast or during the afternoon coffee hour. You can have gallos topped with picadillos, meat dishes, fried cheese and more.

FAQ

How should I reheat my tortillas?

Bring a skillet up to medium heat with a small drizzle of oil. Fry your tortilla for a few seconds, just enough to heat it through. You can also warm them up in the microwave for about 20 seconds. I use these tortillas warmers to warm them in the microwave and it works great.

Can you make corn tortilla dough ahead of time?

Yes! You can prepare the dough ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 3 days before frying. 

What can I use instead of a tortilla press?

So long as it’s sandwiched between parchment or plastic, you can flatten your dough balls with pie pans or textbooks or really anything. The traditional Costa Rican way is to shape the tortillas with your hands, as shown here:  

Printable Recipe

Yield: About 12-14 tortillas

Costa Rican Tortillas

Costa Rican Tortillas

This 4- ingredient Costa Rican tortilla recipe brings a traditional dish to your kitchen! Break out your tortilla press (or a couple of heavy textbooks) and some corn flour, and you'll be on your way to a plate of fresh, warm tortillas. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups corn flour (preferably Maseca)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and water, adding the water in bit by bit until dough is formed. This is usually done by hand, but you can use a wooden spoon if preferred. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky. 
  2. Check the dough for consistency, adding extra water if necessary, then work the dough into a series of 1 inch balls. 
  3. Cover your tortilla press with plastic sheets or parchment paper and flatten the balls into discs. 
  4. Next, heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Place the tortilla discs in the pan, frying them about 40 seconds per side or until golden brown.
  5. Remove the tortillas from the pan and serve warm. 

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

13

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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