masa pancakes with chipotle salsa and poached eggs

After buying four and a half pounds of masa harina for a recipe that used, oh, about a cup of it, I completely messed up the recipe I was making. While I learned quite a bit about the chemistry of cooking beans (hint: don’t add tomatoes at the beginning), I have a feeling I won’t be trying that recipe again. Yes, I know it would be much better if I tried that  following-the-directions idea, but the whole thing left me a bad taste in my mouth. Literally.

It also left me with about 4.45 pounds of masa harina. Fortunately, masa is seriously good stuff. It kind of reminds me of Dave’s jokes – intensely corny. Hey, speaking of intensely corny jokes! Anyway, my point is that it’s good, and I was hoping to find something easier than tamales to make with it. (Although I plan on making tamales as well.)

Fortunately, the internet exists, and epicurious had all sorts of fun masa recipes to choose from, like masa pancakes topped with homemade chipotle salsa, poached eggs, and fresh cheese. I thought the recipe had the potential to be complicated, but it’s really just pancakes, sauce, eggs, and some garnish.

The masa pancakes seemed more like pan-fried cornbread than pancakes, and if there’s anything that sounds better than masa pancakes, well, it’s pan-fried cornbread. No, it’s pan-fried cornbread topped with warm chipotle salsa, eggs, and cheese. Only, let’s see, about 4.40 pounds of masa left to use up! I better get to making more pancakes!

One year ago: Orange Berry Muffins
Two years ago: Rice Pudding

Printer Friendly Recipe
Masa Pancakes Topped with Poached Eggs and Chipotle Ranchera Salsa (adapted from Bon Appétit via

Serves 6

The poached egg directions that I’ve included here are pretty much directly from the original recipe, and they are…shall we say, vague (or I might just call them crap if I wasn’t trying to be diplomatic). I would offer my own set of instructions for poaching eggs, but I have lost my egg-poaching mojo lately. Instead, I will direct you here. Or I would just fry the damn eggs using my foolproof method (add a bit of water to the skillet after the eggs start to set and cover the pan; no flipping and you can get away with using less oil!). I’m also curious to try cooking the salsa in a skillet and then poaching the eggs right in the finished salsa.

¾ cup masa harina (corn tortilla mix)
½ cup (2.4 ounces) all purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons corn oil, plus more for cooking the pancakes
12 large eggs + vinegar + salt
Chipotle Ranchera Salsa (recipe follows)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Adjust a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Spread masa harina on a heavy baking sheet and bake until fragrant and golden, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Place a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 200°F.

2. Whisk masa, flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl to blend. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended (the batter will be thick).

3. Lightly coat a griddle or 9-inch nonstick skillet with oil. Heat over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon scant ½ cup batter onto the griddle. Using a spoon, spread the batter to a make 4-inch-diameter pancake. Cook until the bottom is golden, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the second side is golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat to make 6 pancakes total, brushing the griddle with oil as needed.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large skillet of salted vinegary water to a simmer. Working in batches, crack 12 eggs into the skillet. Simmer until the eggs are softly poached, about 3 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water; drain.

5. Divide the pancakes among plates. Top each pancake with salsa and 2 poached eggs and sprinkle with cilantro and cheese. Serve immediately.

Chipotle Ranchera Salsa (adapted from Bon Appétit via

2 tablespoons corn oil
1 onion, chopped course
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the salt, and the chipotle. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes to blend the flavors, stirring occasionally.

2. Puree 1 cup of the salsa in a blender (or blend with an immersion blender). Return to the saucepan and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the salt if necessary. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat.)


  1. Yum! This looks really, really good to me right now.

  2. Sarah R says:

    Oh my! This is going on my meal plan for the week. I think I’ll take the easy way out and fry the eggs!

  3. Sarah R says:

    Oh, and can I just add that I am loving your blog?! So many of the things I end up making for dinner are from this blog–thanks for the wonderful inspiration!!

  4. I think this looks absolutely wonderful. I too have that large bag of masa left over from one itty bitty recipe where I used about a cup. I’ll be trying this. I love poached eggs on everything. Thanks for sending this along.

  5. Oh, yum! This looks so good! I’ve actually been using masa in the place of flour in cornbread recipes and it has worked out so well. I actually like it better! I’m definitely trying this soon!

  6. Wow Bridget. This looks great. If I weren’t so anal about my menu planning, I might make it today for dinner! Maybe next week.

  7. Um. Hell yes, pan-fried cornbread does sound better than masa pancakes. Delicious (I hope you don’t mind if I add a little more sugar to mine).
    Try this next time after a bad joke:
    1: You know, you remind me of corn.
    2: How so?
    1: You’re both not funny.

  8. sounds wonderful! I am loving egg dishes lately.

  9. It’s sort of like huevos rancheros with a thicker base, which sounds delicious. There’s a Colombian cafe back where we used to live that serves Venezuelan corn pancakes. I’ve tried to replicate them with corn meal, and I wonder how different the masa would be. Worth a shot!

  10. Mmm, this looks amazing! I’ve never had masa before, but I love polenta, and poached eggs! I bet you will find a ton of awesome recipes to use the rest of your masa with. This one looks like a hit!

  11. natalie says:

    Oh I will definitely be making these soon. I also have almost an entire bag of neglected masa harina in my cabinet, plus the salsa and eggs in the fridge. I do not endeavor to make tamales and this sounds way easier! Thanks for the idea.

  12. This looks wonderful. I think Michael and I will really like it!

  13. This looks really really delicious! I’ve got tons of masa leftover too. I’ve used it for arepas and the dumplings, but I am totally going to make these.

  14. Aunt Cheri says:

    Good job Briget!!! Now I’m hungry. How long to make and ship those to Sacramento ca.?? I’m pretty sure Ramie would like these as well.

  15. bridget says:

    Cheri! You are so sweet. Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂

  16. This looks delicious.

  17. I made a similar corn cake recipe a couple weeks ago, and loved the idea of mexican ingredients on top of corn cakes.

    The poached egg on top sounds quite fantastic! I keep telling myself I’m going to try to poach eggs one of these days 🙂

  18. My compliments to you! Extraordinary delicate recipes and brilliant photographies. Hope there is more to come! These pancakes look delicious.
    Greetings from Germany