Heavy cast iron lid makes pressing easier. Can also make pizza crust. Well-engineered, surfaces are perfectly flat.
Heavier than average tortilla presses. On the expensive side. Top plate and handle can break.
No need for a separate press and grill. Creates a generous supply of raw tortillas as a cold press. Can also make thin pancakes.
Not recommended for corn tortillas, only flour. Does not completely cook tortillas, just par-bakes. Surfaces get extremely hot.
Basic design makes authentic tortillas that are thin and crisp. Cast aluminum construction is durable and easy to clean. Falls on the lower end of the price spectrum.
There's a learning curve to using it, which makes it a bit more difficult to produce precise results. The handle has been known to break, but customer service is attentive when issues arise.
Lightweight compared to cast iron models. Compact and easy to store. Can be used to make pita bread and mini-pizzas.
6-inch tortillas may be too small for some users. Requires considerable pressure for best results. Aluminum not dishwasher safe.
High-quality cast iron provides additional pressing power. Built to last for years, even with commercial use. Consistent results, especially with wax paper or plastic wrap.
Some users disappointed with its smaller dimensions. Cast iron can be too heavy and challenging to maintain. Better for high volume users, not casual cooks.
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With the increase in popularity of Mexican cuisine, many home chefs now want to add tortilla making to their repertoire. Whether you’re looking to cook authentic Mexican cuisine, or you’re a DIY chef who wants to know every ingredient in your food, a tortilla maker can be a fun and healthy addition to the kitchen. Making good tortillas takes a combination of the right recipe, skill, and a decent tortilla maker.
Tortilla makers, sometimes called tortilla presses, can be made of anything from wood to cast iron, and are intended only for corn tortillas. Knowing which type and style are right for you will take some research, but you’ve come to the right place.
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We’ve put together a shopping guide to let you know what your options are and what features might be most important to you. When you’re ready to buy, be sure to check out our top five picks for the best tortilla maker to give you a good starting place.
The weight of cast iron makes it a natural choice for a tortilla maker, as the cast iron does a lot of the pressing work for you. However, that same weight can make this type of tortilla maker cumbersome to move around, and cast iron needs to be seasoned and cared for correctly. When properly maintained, cast iron can last for decades, making it a good investment.
Tortilla presses are meant to make corn tortillas. Flour tortillas, or any tortilla that contains gluten, must be rolled to properly break down the gluten.
Aluminum tortilla makers are easier to care for than cast iron, but they don’t have the advantage of weight. Aluminum is quite light, and takes extra work to press the dough. Be sure you get one with a sturdy handle, because you’ll have to put a lot of pressure on it to get a thin tortilla.
Many people like the look and feel of a wooden tortilla press, and they are still commonly used in Mexico. These presses have a larger footprint than a cast iron or aluminum model. Durability can be an issue with wood tortilla makers which can warp, split, or crack after a few uses. They come in all kinds of woods, but for a truly superior tortilla maker, you want a hardwood, like mesquite or oak.
To maintain a wooden tortilla press, you occasionally need to sand the interior. You also should periodically rub down the exterior with a wood-block oil.
These tortilla makers are inexpensive but that’s really all we can say about them. They don’t have the weight or durability to make a good tortilla press. Most of the time, using a rolling pin would be more effective.
An electric tortilla maker does it all — press and cook. Many can also make pita, Focaccia, gyros, and other flatbreads. They can be stored on end, making them more compact than other types of tortilla makers. If you want an all-in-one tortilla maker, an electric model is the way to go. Because they aren’t made only to make tortillas, they aren’t always as good at making a flat tortilla as other types of presses.
Cast iron tortilla makers that are pre-seasoned will come at a slightly higher price. However, you can season your own with cooking oil.
Tortilla makers can make corn tortillas anywhere from six to twelve inches in diameter. If you primarily make tacos, a six-inch tortilla maker will probably do. However, if you want to make burritos or something larger, an eight-inch model or larger might work best.
There are few tortilla makers that can do ten- to twelve-inch tortillas. Models of this size intended for home use are electric tortilla makers. The tortilla makers of this size that aren’t electric are large steel presses that weigh well over twenty pounds. They aren’t practical as a home cooking device.
Tortilla makers, especially wooden models, can require a big footprint in your kitchen. They can also be bulky and heavy. You’ll need to really think about how much space you have on your kitchen counter and in your cupboard. Cast iron tortilla makers are somewhat smaller, but are heavy to move. Aluminum models are usually compact and lightweight, but are less effective at making tortillas.
Wooden tortilla makers look impressive, but they tend to take up more space than either cast iron or aluminum models.
Corn tortillas are usually around ⅛ of an inch thick; some tortilla makers can make an even thinner tortilla. Not all models are made equal. Lightweight presses will have a hard time getting the dough thin enough — they’ll require more manual labor from you, if you want thin tortillas.
Cast iron tortilla makers come in three different finishes:
Silver: Classic silver coatings are usually found on the outside of models made in Mexico. The coating is meant to prevent the cast iron from rusting. This silver coating has a crude look, and has been known to flake. The finish does not cover the inside of the plates that touch the dough.
Powder coating: This electrostatically applied finish feels smooth and looks professional. There isn’t any flaking like that found with the silver finish.
Put a barrier between the press and the tortilla dough to prevent sticking. Plastic wrap or a plastic bag works well because you can reuse them until you’re done pressing your batch of tortillas.
Cast iron requires special care and periodic seasoning to prevent rust. Soap should never be used, as it can remove the seasoning from the plates. Aluminum does not require extra care but you’ll still need to have a plastic barrier between the plates and the dough to prevent sticking. Some electric models come with a nonstick surface that’s easy to keep clean. Whatever type you purchase, read and understand all cleaning instructions before the first use.
Some electric models have a light that lets you know the tortilla maker is on and ready to go. Many of these same models have a ready light that indicates with the plates have reached cooking temperature.
In Mexico, a “tortilladora,” or tortilla press, has a basic design that includes a top and base, with an attached handle.
Inexpensive: For less than $20, you can find an aluminum, cast iron, plastic, or wooden tortilla maker. All tortilla makers in this price range make six-inch tortillas. These are all fairly lightweight models, except for the cast iron models.
Mid-range: In the $20 to $35 range are tortilla makers of all makes and sizes, from wooden and electric models to cast iron and aluminum. Tortilla makers in this category can make tortillas anywhere from six to ten inches in diameter. At this price point, they are usually made of high-quality materials. They weigh more and have a larger footprint. Electric tortilla makers start at the higher end of this price range.
To save space in your cupboard, look for a tortilla press with a foldable handle. This makes the press much more compact when not in use.
Corn tortillas are made with corn flour or “masa”.
You’ll need some kind of barrier so the dough doesn’t stick. You can use butcher paper, plastic wrap, or a plastic bag between the plates and the dough.
Be sure the dough is placed in the center of the tortilla maker for the best results.
To prevent tortillas from getting dried out, place them under a towel until you are ready to start cooking.
Q. When it comes to cast iron, is there a difference between the tortilla makers that are expensive and those at the bottom of the price range?
A. In general, there isn’t much difference between an expensive cast iron tortilla maker and one at a lower price range. However, coatings on the outside do make a difference in the longevity of the tortilla maker, and may add a few dollars to the price. The important thing is to find one that has a good, hefty weight. Weight is what makes a cast iron model stand out from other materials.
In the Mexican tradition, a person who makes tortillas passes the dough back and forth between his hands until he’s formed a perfectly round tortilla.
Q. I don’t want to buy a single use kitchen gadget. What kinds of foods can you make with an electric tortilla maker?
A. Electric tortilla makers are versatile, but since their primary purpose is not making tortillas, they may not give you as good of results as a regular tortilla maker. However, if you want to make gyros, crepes, or Focaccia bread, many electric models can serve that purpose. Be sure to check what foods the electric model can make, because some are more versatile than others.
Q. Can you cook tortillas with a tortilla maker?
A. Tortilla makers are presses, rather than cooking devices. They are meant to flatten the dough before cooking. The exception to this rule are electric tortilla makers, which are designed to take on the whole process from pressing to the finished tortilla.