Hot Pink Corn Tortillas
Not much can compare to a handmade corn tortilla and I have created these vibrant pink tortillas especially for Valentine’s Day. Naturally dyed with organic beets, they’re both beautiful and tasty enough to enjoy year-round.
WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE
No Fake Ingredients: Made with chef-grade masa harina (corn masa), beets, water, and a sprinkle of salt, these hot pink corn tortillas require only a handful of simple ingredients and no preservatives.
Nutritious: Using beets to color these tortillas color rosa not only provides a beautiful pop of color, but also adds essential nutrients such as fiber, iron, and vitamin C.
Gluten-Free and Vegan: These beet tortillas are naturally gluten-free and vegan.
Versatile: Try your hand at other colorful corn tortillas with natural vegetable dyes. Check out the tips section below for some ideas.
Fun and Kid-Friendly: The intense pink color in these tortillas is absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day, whether you’re celebrating with your sweetie, gals, or pals. It’s also a fun experiment and recipe to make with kids!
Masa harina: An instantly-binding corn flour made from nixtamalized corn; the dough made from masa harina is used to make tortillas, tamales, gorditas, and other corn-based recipes.
Red beets: Known for their earthy flavor and aroma, red beets add a pop of color to these corn tortillas. They’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients including folate, manganese, and copper.
Salt: Salt helps balance the acidity from the nixtamalization process.
Hot water: The amount of water varies depending on the recipe.
Stacking and wrapping tortillas in a clean tea towel or in a tortilla warmer helps keep them warm, soft and pliable.
TOOLS, SUPPLIES, AND EQUIPMENT
Kitchen scale or 2-tablespoon ice cream scooper
Comal, nonstick skillet, pan, or griddle
Gallon zip top plastic bag cut into circles or square to fit your tortilla press
Tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel
HOW TO MAKE PINK CORN TORTILLAS
Making corn tortillas from scratch requires practice and patience. It will take a few tries to learn how wet the dough should be, how to press the tortillas (they shouldn’t be too thick or thin), and how quickly they will cook. Here’s a basic overview of the recipe instructions (full details in recipe below) and how to transform your dough into a vibrant pink using beets:
Step 1: Prepare Beet Juice. Place the beet in a small saucepan with enough water to completely cover the beet. Cover and cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and once cool enough to handle, remove skin using a potato peeler or knife. Blend two cups of hot water with half of the beet. Strain the mixture and set aside.
Step 2: Mix Dough. Using a large mixing bowl, add masa harina and salt. Gradually add the beet mixture and mix by hand until the dough is similar to Play-Doh in texture – not too wet or dry.
Step 3: Make and Press Dough Balls. Portion out and roll out dough balls that are equal in size using a scale, cookie scooper, or simply by eyeballing them. Then, one at a time, place dough balls between two pieces of plastic on a tortilla press and gently press tortillas until they measure 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Again, these shouldn’t be too thin or thick.
Step 4: Cook Tortillas. Heat comal or skillet over medium-high heat and once hot, gently peel tortilla from plastic and place on the comal or skillet. Cook for about 45 seconds or once the edges of the tortillas look dry, then flip and cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer tortillas to a tortilla warmer or wrap in a clean kitchen towel.
Masa balls should be uniform in size and pressed to the same thickness all around.
Which tortilla press is best for making corn tortillas? It’s a matter of preference! There are a number of tortilla presses on the market. The most popular ones are made out of wood, metal, aluminum.
One of the most challenging steps in making tortillas is carefully peeling back the plastic used to line the top and bottom of the press. The tortilla should remain in tact. If it sticks, this may be a sign that the dough is too wet, which would require more corn flour or that you’re pressing them too thinly.
HOW TO SERVE AND STORE
Enjoy tortillas right off the comal or stack them in a tortilla warmer to keep them warm. Reheat on a hot comal or skillet for about 15 seconds on each side. Fresh corn tortillas are best consumed immediately or at least the same day because they contain no preservatives that give store-bought tortillas their shelf life.
TIPS, TRICKS, AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Make colorful corn tortillas using golden beets or soaked guajillo chiles for orange; for green tortillas, use a fresh nopal (cactus paddle), spinach, kale, cilantro, epazote, or other leafy vegetables.
Make white corn tortillas by eliminating the cooked beet used in this recipe.
A tortilla warmer is not a necessary tool but a great one to have for keeping your homemade tortillas nice and toasty. If you don’t have one, you can also wrap your freshly made tortillas in a clean kitchen towel – just make sure it doesn’t smell like heavily fragrant laundry detergent or softener because this will infuse into the tortillas.
Raw beets can be substituted for canned beets or pre-packaged cooked, peeled beets to save time.
Blue, yellow, or red corn masa can also be substituted for white corn masa to obtain colorful tortillas as well.
While white corn tortillas require only masa harina, water, and salt, beetroot corn tortillas obtain their vibrant pink color from cooking and blending a beet with the liquid required in this recipe. The same technique can be used to make a variety of colorful tortillas with natural vegetable dyes.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What type of tortilla press works best for making tortillas? This is really a matter of preference and accessibility. I like using a wooden press when making corn tortillas because even if I go overboard when pressing them, it’s rare that I press them to the point where they’re too thin. Metal and other aluminum tortilla presses also work, but require a bit of practice to ensure you’re not pressing them too much. Tortillas that are too thin are difficult to remove from the plastic.
What if I don’t have a tortilla press? If you don’t have a tortilla press, place each ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Use the bottom of a heavy cast-iron skillet, a baking dish, heavy books, or even a cutting board, to press and flatten the dough ball and create the tortillas.
Do these tortillas taste like beets? No! While my beetroot tortillas get their intense pink color from cooked beets, they don’t take on their strong earthy flavor. A little bit of a cooked beet goes a long way to achieve the desired color, too.
What causes homemade corn tortillas to fall apart? Homemade corn tortillas will become brittle and dry if they are overcooked, and if undercooked, they will be doughy and sticky. To keep your tortillas from falling apart, be sure to cook them until soft and pliable following the directions included in the recipe.
What is the difference between corn and flour tortillas? The main difference between these two types of tortillas is their main ingredient. Corn tortillas are made from ground corn while flour tortillas are made from wheat flour.
What are the benefits of eating corn tortillas? Corn tortillas are considered a whole-grain food. They are a good source of fiber and are also gluten-free.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH PINK CORN TORTILLAS?
- Tacos de Huevos a la Mexicana
- Easy Slow Cooker Frijoles de la Olla
- Classic Sopa de Fideo Recipe
- Slow Cooker Frijoles Charros
- Pozole Verde
LOOKING FOR MORE INSPIRATION?
- Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
- Easy Breakfast Tostadas
- Tacos Dorados with Ground Beef
- Tasty Turkey Picadillo Tostadas
- Breakfast Tostada Bar
Hot Pink Corn Tortillas
- Small saucepan
- Kitchen scale or 2-tablespoon ice cream scooper
- Comal, nonstick skillet, pan, or griddle
- Tortilla press
- Gallon zip top plastic bag cut into circles or square to fit your tortilla press
- Tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel
- 2 cups nixtamalized white corn flour
- 1 small red beet
- 1/2 tsp salt, optional
- Place the beet in a small saucepan with enough water to completely cover the beet. Cover and cook over medium heat until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and once cool enough to handle, remove skin using a potato peeler or knife.
- Blend 2 cups of hot water with the beet. Strain the mixture and set aside.
- Using a large mixing bowl, add corn flour and salt. Slowly add the beet mixture and mix by hand just until the dough is similar to Play-Doh in texture – not too tacky or dry. The masa (dough) should be moist and pliable, but should not stick to your hands. If it’s sticking to your hands, gradually add more corn flour. If it’s too dry, add more of the beet mixture.
- Taste and adjust for salt if desired.
- Cover the dough with a dish towel and wash your hands. Once prepared, use dough immediately or rehydrate with additional liquid before use if it becomes dry.
- Heat comal or skillet over medium-high heat.
- In the meantime, portion out and roll out dough balls that are equal in size using a scale, cookie scooper, or simply by eyeballing them. If using a scale, each dough ball should weigh approximately 30 grams each.
- Then, one at a time, place dough balls between two pieces of plastic – one on a tortilla press, the other over the dough ball, and gently press tortillas until they measure 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Again, these shouldn’t be too thin or thick.
- Gently remove the plastic and cook for about 10 to 15 seconds on one side, then flip and cook for an additional 10 to 15 seconds and flip it again.
- Once the tortilla puffs, transfer it to a tortilla warmer or wrap in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
- Enjoy warm with a sprinkle of salt, or sliced avocado or enjoy with a fresh pot of beans. See “What Pairs Well With Hot Pink Corn Tortillas?” section above for more ideas!
A Note from Lola
Photography + Styling: Cacey McReavy