Thus begins the quest for some homemade masa dough that will hopefully lead to mind-bending corn tortillas, tamales, and maybe even some pupusas. We’re taking some shortcuts here to prove that the process is accessible to anyone willing to give it a try, and so far the results are off the charts. What do you see first? Tamales? Tortillas? The solution to all of life’s problems?!

Homemade Masa Dough [Vegan, Gluten-Free]







  • 2 cups dried field corn
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons calcium hydroxide
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup water (to grind the masa)


  1. Rinse 2 cups of dried field corn in cold water. Remove any stones or struggling kernels.
  2. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of calcium hydroxide to 8 cups of water in a non-reactive pot (ideally stainless steel).
  3.  Combine well. Add the corn to this mixture.
  4. 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 then it's had enough cooking time.
  5. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit overnight at room temperature.
  6. The next day (or at least 6-8 hours later) drain the corn and massage it under running cold water. Use your hands to remove the skins from the kernels. Change the standing water a couple times until it starts to run clear.
  7. Drain the corn and add to a food processor. You'll need 2 teaspoons of salt and approximately 1/2 cup of water for the whole batch. Wipe down the sides of the food processor occasionally. It will need approximately 4-5 minutes to thoroughly combine, you can add splashes of water if it's not combining well.
  8. Use immediately or cover with plastic/foil and store it in the refrigerator.


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.


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Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 76 | Carbs: 8 g | Fat: 1 g | Protein: 1 g | Sodium: 2 mg | Sugar: 2 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.