top of page

Nixtamal (How to make fresh masa for tortillas)

Makes 1 dozen tortillas

How to Nixtamalize Corn for Tortillas, Tamales, Posole and More

Nixtamal is dry corn that has been treated with calcium hydroxide through boiling and soaking, the nixtamalized corn becomes softer and super flavorful, after this step the corn is now called nixtamal, and when ground it’s called masa, the masa or dough has nice binding properties making fantastic corn tortillas or tamales. and when made fresh, it's superb in flavor

, aroma, and texture.

You can also store the nixtamal in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days for later use.


3 cups of field corn, heirloom blue bolita corn

1 ½ tsp of chef grade calcium hydroxide

2.5 quarts clean water and additional water for rinsing Instructions


Combine the water and calcium hydroxide in a large non-reactive pot (stainless steel). The water should be a couple of inches higher than the level of the corn. Cover and bring to a boil, once the water is boiling without reducing add the dry corn, then let simmer for about 45 minutes, depending on the corn kernel size. I leave the lid off, the boiling period is over when you can easily break apart a corn kernel with your thumbnail and less than half of the inside is opaque or powdery looking. Do not drain. Leave the corn to soak in the liquid for 8-12 hours or overnight.

Strain out the liquid and rinse the corn with fresh water, letting some of the corn pericarp (skin) wash away, rub gently but don't wash off all the soft exterior of the kernels.

The nixtamalized corn is now ready to grind into masa and make tortillas, tamales and many other delicious masa dishes made from scratch to enjoy.

Culture and flavor!

Chef Martin Lopez


bottom of page