What is Masa Harina?

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I can hear you asking right now, what is Masa Harina?

Well, Masa Harina is the main ingredient in corn tortilla and tamale. 

Masa Harina is Spanish for Flour Dough. It’s a gluten-free flour made from finely ground corn or maize. Despite this, it actually widely differs from cornflour and cornmeal.

It’s prepared by soaking corn in lime water. This infuses niacin and calcium, making it easier to digest. This also gives it a distinctive flavour.

The corn, after being soaked in lime water, is rinsed several times to remove any residue. It’s tried and then ground into flour. All you have to do is add water and you are ready to use it.

rolled out tortillas

How to Make Masa Harina at Home?

You might struggle to buy Masa Harina premade in the UK.

When you can’t buy Masa Harina UK supermarket, no worries, just make it at home!

Let’s look at how to make this flour at home:

  1. Cook dry corn kernel in a solution of water and lime for a few minutes to hours.
  2. They should be left to soak in the solution for approximately eight hours.
  3. The skin from the kernels will remove automatically.
  4. Discard the solution and wash the corn.
  5. Make sure all skin is removed.
  6. The next step is to dry the corn in a dehydrator tray. Set the temperature to 100 degrees and dry the corn for up to six hours
  7. Once the corn is fully dried, ground it into a fine powder. Use a high powered blender for grinding it.

You now have your very own organic Masa Harina UK. Store it in an airtight container. It can last for up to 6 months!

How to Use Masa Harina?

Now that you have bought Masa Harina or made it at home, the next thing you must be wondering is how to use it.

Well, luckily for you we have thought of that too!

Simply follow these steps to make the best use of your Masa Harina:

  1. In a bowl, add 2 cups of Masa Harina
    Add half teaspoon salt
  2. Pour in 1.5 cups of warm water
  3. Knead the dough and put it aside for a about 30 minutes.
  4. Grab a golf ball size piece of the dough
  5. Roll it either using a rolling pin or by using a tortilla press. You basically want to flatten it as much as you can.
  6. Once flat, Cook it for 1 to 2 minutes on medium to high heat from both sides

Boom! You have got yourself good old homemade tortillas that will taste better than any store-bought tortilla could!

masa dough rolled

Masa Vs Masa Harina

As you head to the market to buy masa harina, if you are a first-time buyer, you might be confused by seeing that both  are available for sale.

Masa is a dough made from mixing Masa Harina with water.

Masa Harina is a flour whilst Masa is the dough.

Masa Harina is available in different types. The most common one is white which is made from dried white corn.

It’s widely available in most grocery stores. You can also try yellow Masa Harina. It’s made from dried yellow corn.

There will be a slight difference in flavor between the two varieties. The white one is a bit sweeter. Both can be used in making tamales, tortilla, thick soup, and even drinks such as atole.

You might also find blue Masa Harina in the UK. Don’t worry, it’s safe to use! The blue comes from the blue corn that the flour is made from. 

Nutritional Value Of Masa Harina

The nutrients present in Masa Harina are different from what’s present in whole corn.

When the corn is soaked in lime water, the chemical composition changes it. Hence, it experiences a boost in nutritional value in certain areas.

One cup of corn contains 132 calories, whereas one cup of Masa Harina contains up to 416 calories. It’s worth noting that most people will eat much less than one cup of Masa Harina in a meal because one cup can make up to 9 tortillas depending on the size.

Masa Harina is rich in fiber, protein, carbs, and fat than whole corn. Here is the nutritional value of one cup:

  • 87 grams of carbs
  • 3 grams of fibre
  • 4 grams of fat
  • 11 grams of protein
  • 155 mg of calcium
  • 5 mg of Zinc
  • 54 mg of Iron
  • 238μg of Folate
masa harina tortillas

Health Benefits of Masa Harina

Once you buy Masa Harina and use it at home in some of the recipes you have been waiting to try, here are some of the benefits of this flour you will start to experience:

It’s Gluten-Free

It’s naturally gluten-free flour. This means it is less likely to mess up your digestion system and give you stomach pain.

If you are trying to eliminate gluten from your diet, you can start incorporating Masa Harin into your diet.

Reduce Constipation

Whole-grain foods help in digestion because they are rich in fibre. Since Masa is a whole grain flour, it is also rich in fibre.

Fibre helps reduce constipation by travelling through your intestinal tract and absorb water.

It Keeps You Full

If you are on a diet, including Masa Harina won’t just supply nutrition, it will keep you feel for a long time.

It can also help you reduce your snacking habit. As you incorporate more masa in your food, you will have the upper hand on shedding those extra pounds!

Source of Iron

Iron supports the production of red and white blood cells and boosts the immune system.

One cup of corn contains 2.8 mg of iron. If you make this flour a regular part of your diet, it will help you boost your iron levels naturally.

cooked masa harina tortillas

FAQs About Masa Harina

How Long Can You Store Masa Harina?

The masa dough can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flour, however, can last between 9 to 12 months when stored in a cool and dark place.

Is Masa Harina and Corn Flour The Same?

No. Masa Harina is flour made from corn kernels soaked in lime. Corn flour, on the other hand, is made from untreated corn kernels. Both have different uses.

Can You Use Masa Instead Of Flour?

Masa Harina is basically flour which is used for making tamales, tortillas, and other Mexican dishes. Traditional flour, on the other hand, is made from dried masa. Hence, you can readily use masa instead of flour.

Summing Up

After learning about this flour, you must be wondering where to buy Masa Harina UK from? It’s widely available at grocery stores. Make this food a staple in your kitchen to enjoy its benefits.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!