Psst! Want to throw a super-awesome Cinco de Mayo party? We’ve got the secret ingredient. Sure, guacamole is key. Margaritas are also pretty important. But to really hit the ball out of the park, we recommend making homemade tortillas. Whether you go with corn or flour, making tortillas from scratch will take your Cinco de Mayo spread to a whole other level.
The first time I tasted a from-scratch flour tortilla, the left side of my brain just about exploded (it’s true! A deliciousness-induced head explosion!). If you’re accustomed to the packaged mass-market flour tortillas found in supermarkets, homemade flour tortillas—warm, puffy, and delightfully tender—may cause a similar reaction in you, not to mention your guests.
The only ingredients needed to make sublime flour tortillas, which in Mexico are mostly eaten in the northern part of the country, are flour, salt, water, vegetable oil, and—wait for it—lard (though vegetable shortening will work in a pinch). While a comal (the traditional round, flat griddle that tortillas are cooked on in Mexico) would be quite a cool thing to have in your kitchen, it’s not crucial for the creation of gorgeous flour tortillas. A cast-iron skillet or regular griddle will suffice.
Get the recipe: Homemade Flour Tortillas
How to eat ‘em: Eat them right off the griddle, or make fajitas, quesadillas, or burritos.
Corn tortillas are the staple of Mexican cooking, so we think it’s well worth investing in a good tortilla press to make them happen. (They’re relatively inexpensive, and they’ll be worth every penny.)
As far as ingredients go, if you have the good luck of living near a tortilleria, we’d recommend purchasing their masa for the most authentic-tasting corn tortillas (masa is basically dried corn kernels that have been cooked in lime and water then dried and ground). Otherwise, it’s fine to go with Maseca brand masa flour.
Again, while we’d certainly welcome a comal in our kitchen, a cast-iron skillet or regular griddle work fine for homemade tortillas. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Get the recipe: Fresh Corn Tortillas
How to eat ‘em: With guacamole, for tacos, and as part of many Mexican dishes