How to Use a Tortilla Press

Como Usar la Prensa Para Hacer Tortillas de Maíz

Nothing beats a homemade corn tortilla. If you have never used a tortilla press (tortilla maker) before they’re simple to use and inexpensive. They are a great addition to your Mexican kitchen.

How to Use a Tortilla Press

Get a Tortilla Press

Time to make some tortillas! Yeah…!

First, You need some dough

Obviously, you are going to need some tortilla dough called masa to make tortillas. The first option, make the dough. You can prepare it using corn flour for tortillas which you should be able to get at almost every supermarket. 

Follow the directions on the package to prepare the dough. The second option, buy the dough. You can buy prepared dough at a local Mexican market. If you are really lucky, you might find masa prepared from ground corn, not corn flour.

If you do have the opportunity to buy ground corn masa buy it. Your tortillas will have a hearty more traditional taste.

Now you have some dough, Let’s get started

Besides the dough and press, you will need 2 squares of waxed paper or plastic to keep your tortillas from sticking to the press.

Most cooks in Mexico cut up plastic grocery bags for the plastic squares although I generally use waxed paper. 

Cut 2 squares of waxed paper just large enough to cover the base plate of the press.

Place 1 square of butcher paper on the base plate. On top of the butcher paper place one ball of dough the size of a golf ball.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 1

Place the other square of butcher paper over the dough.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 2

Lower the top plate onto the dough.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 3

Get a Tortilla Press

Firmly press down on the handle.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 4

The tortilla after the first press.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 5

Grab both sheets of butcher paper with the tortilla in between and flip it over.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 6

Press the tortilla a second time. Notice how the tortilla has extended and is more evenly shaped.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 8

Gently peel the tortilla away from the waxed paper. Your tortilla is now ready to cook.

How to Use a Tortilla Press 9

Get a Tortilla Press

Cooking the Tortillas

heat a comal or griddle to medium-hot. Place a tortilla on it and cook until it starts to lift.

Corn Tortilla on Comal 1

Flip the tortilla until it starts to lightly puff which indicates that it is fully cooked.

Corn Tortilla on Comal 2

The finished product. Keep fresh tortillas warm by wrapping them in a cloth towel or tortilla warmer.

Homemade Corn Tortillas


More Mexican Cooking Techniques

8 comments… add one
  • A tortilla press is very nice to have and homemade tortillas are very tasty. We created a company who sells tortilla presses and give recipes for delicious tortillas. The profit of the presses will be donated to the indigenous people of Mexico, so you help yourself and the Mexican community!

  • Doug

    My Mexican girlfriend taught me to use a quart-sized Ziploc bag, cut open on both sides. The bag bottom acts as a “hinge” that keeps everything from sliding around, and the plastic has just the right weight and slipperiness to use 1 bag for the entire batch.

  • Maria G Serrano

    How do I clean for the first time

  • Tan


  • Tan


  • Well, I am convinced to buy one for my grandma. But I have a dought, do we need to put a lot of pressure on the upper lid to make the dough round?

    • Chris

      You don’t need much pressure at all! Most of these presses are cast iron and the weight does most of the work for you.

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