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What to do with Maseca (masa harina)?

I have a TON of masa harina (maseca brand) and have no idea what to do with it. I don't have a tortilla press and don't like tamales. Is it worth it to make tortillas even if I don't have a press? What else can I do with the maseca? Corn bread? Polenta? Recipes and ideas will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. You can press tortillas with a heavy skillet. I learned this from a Mexican friend while we were both students in Cracow many years ago during the last days of Communism, and tortilla presses were nowhere to be found, not to mention toilet paper, which was sold on the black market, but he managed to find some masa harina in Switzerland during a break.

    Put a ball of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and press down with the skillet. It's not as easy as a press, if you have to make a hundred tortillas, but if you're just making ten or twenty, it's fine, and fresh tortillas are always better than storebought.

    Masa harina is also nice as a thickener for chili.

    1 Reply
    1. re: David A. Goldfarb

      Amazing idea! I don't have a rolling pin and I have been using wine bottles to roll chapatis and no matter what I do I cannot get my chapati to "bubble up". I think it's because the thickness isn't consistent when I roll it. I will try to press it with my CI skillet!

    2. Make sweet corn cake. Recipe here (it's the second one):

      It's one of my very favorites!

      1. Ever had a BAKED Tamale that you make yourself; filled with shredded rotisserie chicken, black beans, hominy and a can of red or green enchichlada sauce? They're fabulous!!!

        Tortillas with a skillet (or brick or dinner plate) press, as described. Less than 1/8" thick. Make lots and pan fry them in a dry skillet, with chili powder and other spices to make your own tortilla chips.

        Gorditas - patted out disks 1/4" to 3/8" thick and anywhere from 2" to 8" in diameter. With or without diced green chiles and spices in dough. Can be eaten as bread or used as a base for chile or taco fixings.

        1. I make tortillas with a rolling pin - but I only have to feed 2 mouths so usually make 6-8 at a time.

          Or make pupusas. I'm sure you can google some recipes.

          1. I use the bottom of my 12 inch cast iron frying pan. Place ball of dough between two pieces of plastic, a little off center. Lower frying pan at an angle and press.

            1. If you don't like tamales and don't want to make tortillas, your options are limited. You can't use it for corn bread or polenta or grits, or anything you might use cornmeal for, and you won't use it up putting a tablespoon or two into your chili. You should give it to a friend or neighbor who can use it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Zeldog

                right... : / pupusas, sopes, tamales, tortillas, etc. oh yeah and cornbread. just substitute the masa for the sum of the cornmeal + the all purpose four. its the best cornbread ever...

              2. You can use it to make empanadas. This recipe is really good:


                I found that there was more filling than necessary for the amount of dough, so you might want to try making twice the dough recipe with one portion of filling.

                They're a little fiddly to make, but in my experience people really love them. Each time I've brought them to a party they were gone almost before I could have one. Many Russians think they're piroshki, which I suppose they are, sort of.

                1. I moved to a small village in Mexico 9 months ago, I bought several bags of Maseca before I realized it was not flour. I plan on trying it for a cornbread dressing for Christmas since regular cornmeal is not available anywhere near me. Someone mentioned sub-ing the Maseca for both the same amounts of cornmean and flour. I will try that, in the meantime if anyone else has tried makeing cornbread with only Maseca I would really appreciate their input. Thank you, Ron in Xcalak

                  1. Champurrado

                    1/4 cup masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
                    2 cups warm water
                    2 cups whole milk
                    1 disk (3.25 oz)Mexican chocolate, chopped
                    3 oz piloncillo cons, chopped or 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
                    1/8 teaspoon ground anise seeds (I used star anise)

                    In a large saucepan, slowly add masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. Add milk, chocolate, piloncillo, and ground anise seeds.

                    Heat over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. Serve immediately.

                    Makes 4 servings.

                    1. Today's America's Test Kitchen made empanadas using masa harina as a partial substitute for wheat flour to make a heartier flavor than pie dough.

                      What would happen if you tried to make a pie dough using just Maseca? It wouldn't flake?

                      1. - pie-crust (similar to graham cracker crust)
                        - butter cookies (for gluten free, use about 50% maseca and 50% starch (corn/potato/tapioca)
                        - empanadas, gorditas, dumplings (like mini tamales)

                        the Maseca website has a ton of recipes as well...