Which tortilla press is best?
If tacos are on the menu more often than not, it may be time to consider a tortilla press. These simple machines use leverage and two plates to press balls of corn mixture into perfectly round, flat disks.
A heavy-duty press that is easy to use and creates consistent tortillas is critical, especially if you’re new to tortilla making at home. The Victoria 8-inch Cast Iron Tortilla Press is the best tortilla press to start with.
What to know before you buy a tortilla press
Tortilla makers are available in four materials.
- Wood: Wood is a traditional material that is still widely used in Mexico. They are larger than other tortilla presses, so they are not a good choice if the counter space is limited. Softwoods can split, crack and warp with just a few uses, so if you want a wood press, choose a hardwood such as oak or mesquite.
- Cast iron: A heavy cast iron tortilla press takes much of the work out of the entire process. These do require special care in terms of seasoning, and they can be quite heavy. However, they can also last a lifetime.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is lighter than cast iron, but it does not work quite as well and is not as durable. The amount of pressure required to make the tortillas thin means a sturdy handle is a must.
- Plastic: Plastic is cheap in both price and construction. You’re better off using a rolling pin.
Corn tortillas are typically smaller than flour tortillas, but there are different sizes of presses. Smaller presses — 7 inches or shorter in diameter — are good if you don’t have a lot of storage space and prefer two- or three-bite tacos, but for larger applications like burritos or enchiladas, you’ll need a press that’s 8-10 inches wide.
Traditional corn tortillas are one-eighth of an inch thick, but this may not be possible with a lightweight press. If you want to go even thinner, you’ll need a heavy press (or a lot of elbow grease) to make that happen.
What to look for in a quality tortilla press
Cast iron presses are available in three basic finishes.
- Silver: Silver is sprayed on in an attempt to prevent the outside of the press from rusting. This finish can flake, but it is not sprayed on the tortilla plates inside.
- Powder coating: Powder-coated cast iron is durable and does not flake. It’s also available in multiple colors. Again, the powder coating is on the outside only.
- Unfinished: Traditional presses are finished with a light coating of oil. This does require some upkeep to prevent rust, but it’s classic and offers no risk of flaking or peeling.
Pre-seasoned cast iron plates mean that you can use your tortilla press right out of the box. You may need to re-season over time, but this cuts out a step in the very beginning.
Even if your press is not cast iron, some other materials add weight to the lid. This makes it easier to press perfectly thin tortillas with less effort.
How to make fresh tortillas
- Make your tortilla mixture with masa, a specific corn flour used in tortillas.
- Lay a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the bottom plate.
- Center a ball of dough on the plate and cover with another piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
- Close the maker and press firmly. You can check the thickness if you need to and press again if it’s not as thin as you like.
- Remove the tortilla from the press and cover with a damp towel to keep them moist before cooking.
How much you can expect to spend on a tortilla press
The price of tortilla presses varies depending on the size and the material. Expect to spend $15 to $40.
Tortilla press FAQ
Is an expensive cast iron press better than a cheaper one?
A. Not necessarily. The price difference has more to do with the finish on the outside than the quality of the press. Regardless of the finish, you’ll want a cast iron press that is heavy and well-constructed, with hinges that move smoothly and a handle that helps add pressure.
Do tortilla presses cook the tortilla?
A. Unless you choose an electric maker that presses and cooks in one appliance, you’ll need to cook the tortillas after they are pressed.
- Heat a nonstick skillet or cast iron pan on high.
- Place the tortilla on the pan and cook for 10 seconds.
- Flip and cook for 30 seconds.
- Flip again and cook for another 20 seconds.
What’s the best tortilla press to buy?
Top tortilla press
What you need to know: No pre-seasoning is necessary with this heavy-duty press.
What you’ll love: The heavy lid takes the grunt work of pressing out of the equation. The surfaces are completely flat for perfect tortillas every time.
What you should consider: It’s one of the heaviest options, and it’s more expensive than other presses. But if homemade tortillas are a staple for you, it’s a good investment.
Top tortilla press for the money
What you need to know: The smooth sand-cast plates and the leverage of the handle make perfect tortillas every time.
What you’ll love: It is pre-seasoned with flaxseed oil. This cast iron press has heavy-duty reinforced hinges and extra weight on the sides to make pressing easier. A recipe book is included to help you get started.
What you should consider: This does not make the thinnest tortillas.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is good for home cooks who want smaller tortillas and a press that is not cast iron.
What you’ll love: It’s lightweight and compact for easy storage in small spaces. It makes tortillas up to 6 inches. It presses thin enough to make homemade tortilla chips, too.
What you should consider: The smaller size produces less versatile tortillas. No burritos with this one.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.