Taking a bite of corn tortilla after cooking
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4.5 from 2 votes

Corn Tortillas Made From Popcorn Kernels

I made a batch of corn tortillas from popcorn kernels last week and was surprised how good they were!   You'll need some Calcium Hydroxide for the masa dough process but you can find that easily these days. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time12 hrs
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 16
Calories: 77kcal
Author: Mexican Please


  • 2 cups popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon Calcium Hydroxide (or Cal Mexicana)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water (to grind the masa)
  • Masa Harina (optional, to dry the masa)


  • Rinse 2 cups of popcorn kernels in cold water.  Remove any stones or struggling kernels.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of calcium hydroxide to 2 quarts of water in a non-reactive pot (I used stainless steel).  Combine well.  Add the popcorn kernels to this mixture. 
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  When the skins of the kernels slip off easily and the insides are partially cooked then it's had enough cooking time.  (Don't worry about cooking the kernels all the way through -- I usually take them off the heat when the outsides are cooked but the centers are still starchy.)
  • Remove from heat, cover, and let sit overnight at room temperature.
  • The next day (or at least 6-8 hours later) drain the corn and massage it with your hands under running cold water. This will remove the skins from the kernels.  Change the standing water a couple times until it runs clear. 
  • Drain the corn and add it to a food processor. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and approximately 1/2 cup of water. Combine well. (I used a smaller food processor for this batch and combined it in batches.)  It will need a few minutes to thoroughly combine -- you might need to wipe down the sides and add splashes of water if it's not combining well.  
  • If you want to make tortillas then first gauge how wet your masa dough is. If it sticks to your hands you can add some Masa Harina to dry it out.  I added a few tablespoons to this batch until I was able to handle it without any sticking.
  • Separate the dough into golfball sized rounds, this will make the tortillas approximately 4 inches across. Flatten the dough balls using a casserole dish or tortilla press.  Be sure to line each side of the dough ball with plastic or Ziploc pieces.  The tortillas should peel off the Ziploc easily; if not then you might need to dry out the masa dough a little more.
  • Heat a skillet or comal to medium heat.  Add a tortilla and flip after 10 seconds. Then cook each side for 1-2 minutes or until light brown spots are forming on the underside.  Alternatively, you can skip the quick flip and just cook each side for 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.


It's best to use a non-reactive pot when using Calcium Hydroxide.
You'll also see Calcium Hydroxide referred to as Cal Mexicana or Pickling Lime. 
Sometimes it can take some fiddling to get the heat right on the stove. If the tortillas are forming black spots quickly then dial down the heat.  Ideally, each side takes about a minute to form light brown spots on the underside.   For my stove that is a tad over medium heat.


Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg