How to Make Authentic Corn Tortilla (Nixtamal) - Cesar Cano - Taco Foundations E3

Welcome to Taco Foundations, Episode 3, featuring Cesar Cano from Houston, Texas. In this episode, Cesar shows the authentic process for making corn tortillas (nixtamal). These are next level.

Recipe (text) & Video Below


  • 400 grams of heirloom corn

  • 4 grams of cal (calcium hydroxide)
  • 3 quarts of water

Directions: The Night Before

  1. Place corn and water in a 1-gallon or larger saucepot.

  2. Place cal in a small mixing bowl and add 4 oz of water.  Mix with a whisk until cal has dissolved in the water.  Set aside.
  3. Bring the corn and water to a boil over high heat.
  4. Once corn is boiling, reduce to a simmer.
  5. Mix cal solution again with whisk as the cal tends to settle at the bottom.
  6. Add cal solution to simmering corn and mix well.
  7. Simmer for 25-40 minutes until corn is al dente.  (Time variance depends on the corn variety you use.)
  8. Corn is ready when kernels rubbed between your fingers “peel” easily.
  9. Turn heat off and allow corn to sit in the saucepot overnight.

Directions: The Day of

  1. Drain corn and place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add enough fresh water to cover and swish corn around with your hand a couple of times.
  3. Drain corn again and you’re ready to grind!
  4. As you grind the kernels, add 1 tsp of water to help ease kernels along the grinder.
  5. Grind masa to desired consistency.  I grind the masa twice.
  6. Adjust consistency of masa, portion, press, cook, and enjoy the century-long tradition.