Those warm and soft blue corn tortillas are delicious, healthy, and naturally gluten-free. Their earthy flavor and stunning hue make them a favorite of many. Learn how to make this traditional tortilla blue recipe at home without a tortilla press and use them to pair with your favorite Mexican foods!
Blue corn tortillas are a type of tortilla made with blue corn instead of regular white or yellow corn. The result is a soft tortilla with a blueish color, more nutritious and healthy thanks to the type of corn used.
In Mexico, they have been consumed since Prehispanic times. You can find them as tortillas de maíz azul and are popular in southern and central states such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Tabasco, to name a few.
Homemade blue corn tortillas have an earthy, rich, and nuttier taste than regular yellow corn tortillas. Their deeper flavor profile is perfect to pair with some traditional foods like huitlacoche mushroom or mole sauces.
Blue Corn (Maíz Azul)
The amazing blue hue of these tortillas is due to the type of corn used: Blue corn, known in Spanish as maíz azul.
Many foods, such as this corn, blueberries, blue mushrooms, blue potatoes, etc, contain a polyphenol pigment called anthocyanin; depending on the pH level of the plant, adds a wonderful hue from black to blue. Blue corn has 4 times more anthocyanins than blueberries for example.
Like many other blue foods, blue corn is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Compared to white or yellow corn, it also has less starch, which makes its glycemic index lower.
Some researchers in Mexico have found that blue corn tortillas contain about 20% more protein than the ones made with white corn kernels, making them healthier in many ways.
Blue corn is also known as Tarahumara Maiz Azul, Hopi Maize, Rio Grande Blue, and Yoheme Blue. In Mexico, we can find this type of corn in states like Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Campeche, Jalisco, Puebla, Guerrero, and Michoacan. However, one of the largest producers is the State of Mexico.
Are blue corn tortillas dyed?
Due to the great popularity of this type of grain these days and its low production, some people paint the white masa dough with colorants to simulate a blue tortilla.
However, there are some ways to identify when a tortilla is from blue corn:
- Color: Fake blue tortillas are more intense and uniform in color, while the authentic will look more greyish.
- Taste: This can be tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with the flavor. But, blue corn tortillas have a more earthy, sweeter, and nutty flavor than regular corn tortillas.
But you can also make a quick test to know if the blue corn tortillas served to you are fake or authentic:
Take a tortilla and drizzle some lemon on it. Wait for one minute, the fake tortillas will discolor much faster when the lemon is placed. Whereas, authentic blue tortillas color will take about 10 minutes or more to fade.
- Blue masa harina: There are several brands available online in Latin grocery stores or on Amazon. Look for the label that says: Harina de Maíz Azul. The flour has a grey color and the texture is very fine and soft. Once the blue corn flour is mixed with water, it will change to a deep greyish color.
- Water: Use room temperature water, if you use warm water or hot water the masa will slightly cook and change in texture.
How To Make Blue Corn Tortillas
Heat a cast-iron skillet or a comal over medium heat. Also, prepare a clean kitchen towel to wrap tortillas as you cook them to keep them warm. Finally, cut 2 plastic sheets about 10×10 -inches (25×25 cm) each.
In a medium bowl add blue masa harina and start adding water while mixing with your hands until combined.
Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, adding more water if needed until a non-sticky dough forms.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Form balls of dough and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent dough from drying.
Place one of the balls onto a sheet of plastic. Press it a bit with your fingers to make a patty.
Cover with the other plastic sheet and then place over a heavy baking dish pressing firmly to shape a 6-inch (15cm) round blue tortilla.
Take the tortilla in your hand and gently remove the plastic on each side.
Lay the raw blue tortilla on the skillet and cook for about 40-45 seconds, then flip it up and cook for another 45 seconds.
Turn the tortilla over again and cook for another 15 seconds, until it begins to puff.
Place the blue corn tortilla between a kitchen towel to keep it warm. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough.
Notes & Troubleshooting
How To Eat
But because of the deep taste profile, we recommend the following recipes to pair with tortillas azules:
- Blue corn tacos with zucchini. A vegetarian and healthy recipe made with zucchini, tomatoes, and onions.
- Flor de calabaza quesadillas. A quesadilla recipe made with squash blossoms.
- Pipián mole verde. This flavorful mole is made with a flavorful sauce prepared with pepitas seeds and spices.
How To Store
You can store homemade blue corn tortillas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for months by following these steps:
- Allow the tortillas to cool down covered with a kitchen towel.
- Make sure tortillas aren’t wet as the moisture could possibly spoil them fast.
- Place tortillas on zipper bags in small batches. Vacuum as much air as possible before sealing the bag.
- Or wrap them tightly with cling film.
- Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
How To Reheat
Reheat on a non-stick pan, a comal, or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is smoky hot, place tortillas and heat them up for about 20 seconds per side.
To keep them warm and soft, wrap them in a kitchen towel and place them inside a bag.
Watch The Video
Blue Corn Tortillas
- 1 comal or cast iron griddle
- 2 plastic sheets about 10×10-inch (25×25 cm) each.
- 1 ¼ cup blue corn masa harina
- water (as needed)
- Heat a cast iron skillet or a comal over medium heat. Prepare a clean kitchen towel to wrap tortillas to keep them warm and cut 2 plastic sheets about 10×10-inch (25×25 cm) each.
- In a medium bowl add masa harina and start adding water while mixing with your hands until combined.
- Knead for a minute or two, adding a little more water if needed, until a non-sticky and soft dough forms.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Form balls and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent dough from drying.
- Place one of the balls onto one of the sheets and press it a bit with your fingers to make a patty.
- Cover with the other plastic sheet and then place over a heavy baking dish pressing firmly to shape a 6-inch (15cm) round tortilla.
- Gently remove the plastic on each side of the tortilla, placing it carefully on your hand.
- Lay the raw tortilla on the hot skillet/comal and cook for about 40-45 seconds, then flip it up and cook for another 45 seconds.
- Turn the blue tortilla over again and cook for another 15 seconds, until it begins to puff.
- Place the blue corn tortilla between a kitchen towel to keep it warm. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough.
- If you having trouble laying the tortilla on the skillet for cooking, wet your hands a little bit so it won’t stick to your fingers.
- For perfect blue corn tortillas, you need to find a balance between too much water and too little. This can only be achieved after trying the recipe multiple times as the texture of masa varies depending on how much humidity is in the room.
- A perfect masa (dough) should be moist enough to result in soft tortillas but at the same time, not too wet that you can’t handle it. And not too dry that it will crumble.
- Masa dough will let you know when it needs more or less water, so “listen to her”.
- If the tortilla doesn’t puff while cooking means you need to cook the tortilla a little longer. Also, you can press a little bit with your hands (carefully) or with a spatula to make it puff.
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