How to Make Nixtamal

I’ve been meaning to post some instructions on making your own vegetarian and vegan tamales from scratch for quite awhile, so I’m just going to get started and do it in pieces since otherwise it would be way too long of a post. Does that meet with your approval? Great! Let’s get started.

First things first: the reason you might want to make your own nixtamal is so that you can go through the process of making your own tamales from scratch, which means making your own masa from the base ingredients. You can use Maseca if you want to skip this step, its makes for good tamales. But if you are like me, you just have to try doing things the hard way, at least once just to appreciate the work involved in the making of our meals. Soon I hope to put up the rest of the steps to complete the tamal making process, like the sauces, fillings, and maybe some wrapping techniques, but for now, we start with nixtamal.

Click here to read on.

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14 Responses to How to Make Nixtamal

  1. LoveGalo says:

    loooooooooooks good man……

    Thank for sharing

  2. Linda says:

    Only once did I learn and make the nixtamal for Pozole….it was a lot of work.

    Very well worth it if you have the time and patience!

  3. Noemi says:

    This is so cool! I can’t wait to try it.

  4. Mooncrazy says:

    You brat! I’m already to make tamales and that’s the end of the recipe? To be continued? Oh the humanity.

  5. EL CHAVO! says:

    Haha! No really, I have the rest coming soon! But thought I’d put this part out there just to the ball rolling. Aun hay mas!

  6. Lorena says:

    We tried to make it from scratch once but it ended up being more suited for cob construction if you catch my drift

  7. sallitrot says:

    Thanks for the fantastic instructions! I have been looking for å mill that will do a good enough grind for tortillas. I have a similar mill, Corona Mill, it works for tamale dough but not for tortillas. The grind is just not smooth enough. Have you tried the motorized Nixtamatic mill made in Mexico. I spoke to one who had the mill but he did not really know what was a fine enough grind. He did he have much experience making or eating good quality tortillas. The one mill that works well is the GrainMaker. It is made in Montana but it is very expensive. I have used it with hand power but I will be buying the motor soon. It is big in size and required work to clean. This makes using every 3rd day a shore. Since I cannot eat wheat corn tortillas are very important to me. What is your experience in grinding the nixtamal to fine Mexican quality.

  8. bill carsten says:

    Very interesting and will be a great help with my project. I live in Vietnam and getting Mexican food is impossable. There is one guy making tortilla’s here and there not very good. I’m wanting to start making corn and flour tortilla’s here. I have just the other day got my hands on the cal and will make my first bach tomorrow. I was in Saigon yesterday looking for some of the machines I will be needing to make the tortilla’s. I’ve found a grinder that has stone wheels, not sure about the grit of the stone’s. Do you know or is this a trial and errer. I may buy and corn tortilla making machine from Calif once I get this Nixtamal process down. There are 90 million people here and ofcouse the expas to sell to. Got any more information that might help me. When you coming out with the rest of the recipe’s.

  9. bill carsten says:

    not sure if my coment went thru. Don’t know what moderation means

  10. Velia says:

    I’m so inspired to make this. I was wondering, what can I use to substitute the mill grinder–could I use a blender?

  11. EL CHAVO! says:

    I don’t think that would work very well, you probably would need some sort of grain mill. Or maybe a food processor. I bought mine cheap at $20 in a grocery store, but it isn’t great either, you have to pass the maiz/masa 2 or 3 times to make it smooth. Haven’t been able to find a suitable mill that can do the job in one pass. Good Luck!

  12. Steph says:

    I like watching people making things for themselves. I am no different. I have always wanted to make my own nixtamal and since Juanita’s is downsizing their 29 oz can of hominy to 25 oz. I have decided to plant my own corn. (Which I did) Where I am at it is not like Los Angeles. I wish I could buy in bulk. I am looking online for options. Any ideas? : ) …I think a food processor might do well for grinding in small small batches…possibly.

  13. Putts says:

    Thank you so much! I bought 150 lbs of corn to make tortillas and then everyone said it wouldn’t work with my Corona mill, grinding wet would just make a mess. I haven’t tried it yet but you have given me hope!

  14. Christina says:

    I love your site, thoughtful blog posts, and the entertaining (yet useful) narratives for your recipes! I followed this one pretty closely but had to look at a couple other sites to figure out the water part, but ended up going with your 5 tsp of cal anyway (which was funny b/c 5 teaspoons is really specific but I am pretty sure there’s no mention of how much to dilute it???) I know converting cups to quarts is annoying but once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy! (A quart is “un quart” or un cuatro or one-quarter or one fourth of a gallon).
    one gallon= 16 cups
    one quart = 4 cups
    one pint = 2 cups
    Now that I am writing it I see they are kind of forgettable numbers. I can a lot so it’s engraved now, but hope this helps. (I sometimes mason jars to measure.) Thanks ESPECIALLY for your post on vegan tamales. I did it with potato strips, rajas, and sweet corn and it was addictive. And I live in Tucson, BTW. Making my second batch today. 😛

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