February 17, 2010 2:25 PM
Tortilla Press
POSTED IN: Kitchen Tools , The Basics
TAGS: cooking , corn , masa , Mexican , prensa , press , tool , Tortilla press , tortillas , utensil
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If you are into the habit, like me, of making your own home made corn tortillas, a tortilla press comes in really handy.

It's true that tortillas can be made in many different ways such as simply flattening round corn masa or dough balls with your hands or rolling out the masa with a rolling pin. However, the tortilla press makes the process be a speedy, consistent, fun and even therapeutic one (it is!). 

Moreover, look at what a pretty tool it is (click here for more information and photo).

Here is what a tortilla press looks like when closed. Sitting on my chair. Mine is cast iron, but you can also find aluminum and wooden ones. I prefer cast iron, but don't mind aluminum as long as it is heavy and sturdy. I find the wooden ones a bit tricky to use.

This is what one looks open, ready for you to use. As you see, there are some pieces of plastic cut in rounds -from produce bags is perfect.

A plastic round is placed in the bottom of the opened press, so you can place a corn dough or masa ball, top with another plastic round and then simply close the press, and press it down.


You can make many more things than tortillas on tortilla presses too, like chalupas (oval shaped corn dough patties) and sopes (thicker than tortillas round corn dough patties with a rim) just to name a few.

What's more, kids love to use tortilla presses and make shapes with the corn masa. Which can actually make some of the speediness of the process achieved with a tortilla press, slow down a bit too. Oh well, there is always a trade-off...


Dear Pati,

Love your blog! This is my first time to leave a comment.

I'm researching "industrial" tortilla presses for a small business opportunity. I hope to make preservative free tortillas from organic flour to be sold in a bakery. Do you have suggestions of what I should look for/stay away from in tortilla presses?

Have you had any experience with the manually operated larger scale tortilla makers? Are there any brands that you suggest? I was looking at a DoughPro 2000 and a DoughXpress but there's a fairly big difference in price.

Would love to have your opinion on this!

Debra | February 22, 2010 4:10 PM

Thank you so much!! Welcome and please come by anytime!
Debra, it is great news that you are making fresh tortillas with no preservatives. Those are so hard to find in the stores. Impossible. I am sure you will have so many people wanting to get them!
We make fresh tortillas at the Institute but we use the manual tortilla press, like the one in the photo. If I were to get a large scale tortilla maker, I would concentrate on getting the simpler, least fussy, easier to operate. Don't know if this helps... But let me know if I can help with any other part of the tortilla making process...
Best of luck on your wonderful and sure to be successful venture! Pati

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Debra | February 22, 2010 6:41 PM

I use a one gallon ziplock freezer bag with the zipped cut off with scissors and slpit down both side seam's. Leave the bottom connected to both sides to act as a hinge. Works great in the tortilla press and I also have used a small cast iron skillet right on the table top to press the masa ball into tortillas right on the table top. My skillet has a Fire/Heat ring on bottom which gives perfect thickness. Plastic is heavy enough to be used many times and even washed and stored for later use.

Arrelpnik | May 7, 2011 7:26 PM

I love your show and I love you. You are hotter than any of your recipes and your smile makes me smile. My friends think I'm a mexican culinary genious. I think it's time I share my secret with them. Your anaise cookies are a hit. Times are tough but now I can make so much for so little. Thank you so much!!! Thank you create!!! Please keep this show.

PS. I would like to see something coastal. I love shrimp!!!

Yours forever, Rob

Rob Kachmer | August 5, 2011 2:23 AM

Hola Rob, I'm thrilled the show has helped transform you into a mexican culinary genius! I hope you and your friends continue to enjoy the recipes and I promise to post something more coastal soon. In the meantime, have you tried the Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Salad with Vanilla and Chile de Arbol Vinaigrette from my website? Here is the link:
I think it might hit the spot!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Rob Kachmer | August 12, 2011 10:37 AM

I just caught your show. Fantastic! Your website, even better. Thank you for the great recipes. I have been searching for a good resource and have tried a few recipes. Needless to say they are simply wonderful. Reminiscent of my abuelas cooking. I am curious. Do you have a good flour tortilla recipe? Mole for enchiladas? I have struggled to find great recipes.

Best of luck and thank you!

Richard Alvarado | September 3, 2011 5:34 PM

Pati, I love your show. I love the food of Northern Mexico! You are the best! Eres muy lindo Pati y tienes corazon de claro.

Kevin Gately | January 29, 2012 1:50 PM

Pati my Mom and I watch you show all the time (when it is on our PBS station). My Mom is on a very low sodium diet so I am learning to make flour tortillas (her favorite). Rolling with a rolling pin takes a lot of energy so I am considering a tortilla press. What I have read is that on the cast iron ones the handles often snap - I thought I remember you saying the cast iron ones were the best. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciate. We love your recipes even if we have to leave out the salt!!!!

lynda | May 30, 2012 9:47 PM

Hola Lynda, I am so happy you and your mom love the show! About the tortilla press, in my opinion, cast iron presses are the best. I've had mine for years and haven't had any issues with it. I hope this helps! If you or your mom ever have any requests, just let me know! :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from lynda | June 1, 2012 11:19 AM