If you’ve ever eaten a taco on a warm, freshly made tortilla, you know exactly why you might want your own tortilla press. Fresh tortillas are pliable, fragrant, and dramatically better tasting than ones made by the masses and packaged to sell at the grocery store.
"Fresh tortillas hold food so much better. They’re typically thicker and more fluffy, almost like a fresh flatbread versus something packaged,” says Jocelyn Ramirez, owner of the Los Angeles-based catering business Todo Verde and author of the cookbook "La Vida Verde."
There are benefits beyond flavor, too: Pressing your own tortillas lets you decide how thick or thin you want them to be. Ramirez prefers a thicker tortilla that won't fall apart. When you’ve got your own press, you can also experiment with flour tortillas for burritos and a variety of homemade flatbreads, such as chapati or roti.
In order to find the best tortilla presses, we tested the top-rated options, churning out both flour and corn tortillas, and then rated each model on ease of use, performance, versatility, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Here are the winners.
Central Coast Woodworks Hardwood Tortilla Press
Works for flour and corn tortillas
Easy to use
Traditional wood material
Bulky for storage
Flour tortillas needed help from rolling pin
This handsome tortilla press makes quite a statement aesthetically, and in addition to being highly rated by experts and consumers, it stood up to our testing and earned itself the best overall spot on our list. Available in 8- and 10-inch versions, as well as solid red oak instead of the pictured walnut and red oak striped design, this press comes from a shop based in Santa Maria, California, and is treated with food-grade mineral oils and beeswax.
In testing, we found that the long arm in this tortilla press provided the ideal leverage to press perfect round tortillas of even thickness easily. We particularly liked the size because it made small and medium tortillas as well as slightly bigger tortillas for enchiladas. While testing, we made extra batches of dough, just so we could press more tortillas with this press. It was so simple and easy to use. Even after pressing dozens of tortillas, we wanted to keep going, because it felt that effortless.
The press worked well for grain-free flours like cassava and almond and for corn, but what thrilled us the most was that the press produced thin, evenly flattened whole wheat roti/chappatis. We were also able to shape pita breads with this press. It did a better job than other tortilla presses when used with all-purpose flour for flour tortillas. However, the resulting tortillas were quite thick and still needed to be rolled out with a rolling pin to get them thinner.
Cleaning the press is easy. Simply wipe it down with a cloth and store it. We didn’t feel that it needed to be seasoned during testing, but with regular use, it might need seasoning more often. It is large in size, so you'll want to consider your storage options before purchasing. It is a beautifully made piece, though, so storing it on the counter, if you make tortillas frequently, is also an option.
Size: 8 inches | Material: Red oak and walnut wood | Seasoned: Treated with beeswax and mineral oil
When it comes to material, wooden tortilla presses are more traditional, because in rural areas of Mexico, it was easier to make a wooden press than one out of cast iron, Ramirez says.
Fox Run Tortilla Press
Easy to clean
Works well for tacos
Doesn’t work for large or flour tortillas
Most tortilla presses are made from cast iron, but there are quite a few cast aluminum versions out there, and this material has its own advantages. For one thing, presses made from cast aluminum like this one are less expensive than the alternatives.
When she first launched her catering business in Los Angeles, Ramirez bought several cast aluminum presses to save money. They're still plenty heavy to help you get the job done, but not so difficult to move around your kitchen. There's just one caveat: “They don’t always press as evenly as cast iron, so your tortillas might be a little lopsided,” Ramirez says. This model has an attractive polished finish and compact design, making it easier to stash away when not in use.
The Fox Run tortilla press feels light and is portable because of its weight, which helped when we made tacos for a large group of people. People easily carried it from one workstation to the other. The cleanup was also easy, and a quick wash by hand was all it needed. The light weight did not work in its favor when we tried make flour tortillas or larger tortillas. When we pressed hard, the tortillas either turned out lopsided or broke in the process.
Size: 6.25 inches | Material: Cast aluminum | Seasoned: No
Victoria 6.5-inch Cast Iron Tortilla Press
Great for tacos
Easy to store
Doesn't require much strength to use
Makes only small and medium tortillas
This press is a bit smaller than some tortilla presses out there, but that can work in your favor if what you desire are the smaller corn tortillas traditionally used in Mexico for tacos. It comes seasoned with flax oil, making it ready to use and easy to clean. While it is generally low maintenance, we found that each time we cleaned the press with water, it needed to be dried carefully and re-seasoned.
We made tortillas and pressed empanadas and poori dough. We found the Victoria cast iron press to be quite versatile, and it delivered on gluten-free flours with equal aplomb. Its slightly more compact size made it easy to store in the kitchen, which only meant that we used it more often for all kinds of pressing matters of the dough kind. You don't have to press too hard or long to achieve thin, rolled-out tortillas and rotis. The design of the handle distributes the weight evenly across the plate. The flat tab on the edge of the top plate helped lift up the press easily after pressing the dough down.
Size: 6.5 inches | Material: Cast iron | Seasoned: Yes
"You don't need to press too hard. The press uses light touch to press out the dough."
Best for Corn Tortillas
ARC USA 8-Inch Cast Iron Tortilla Press
Easy to use
Works for both small and large tortillas
Many tortilla presses are made with cast iron—and for good reason. Ramirez thinks cast iron is the best bet for most home cooks, as “the heaviness does a lot of work for you.” This model has a slightly bigger plate than many other models, allowing you to make a bigger tortilla for when your cravings lean more burrito than taco.
We found the handle to be one of the best features of this press. It is strong and has heft. That made it easy to press down tortillas of various sizes. You can control the size and thickness of the tortillas and other flatbreads by controlling how hard you press down on the handle,
The press was pre-seasoned when it arrived, and unless water was used on it, it stayed seasoned. But each time we cleaned it with water, it needed to be dried completely and then re-seasoned. For corn tortillas, we found that using a plastic sheet (cut out from a plastic bag) worked best and released the tortilla from the press without much trouble. The press worked equally well for making grain- and gluten-free tortillas. We also used it to roll pita breads and flour tortillas. Pita breads with a well-rested dough turned out nice and even, but the flour tortillas were slightly lopsided.
Size: 8.1 inches | Material: Cast iron | Seasoned: Yes
"The press is heavy enough that I didn't have to press too hard. A gentle force was enough to shape the tortilla."
Best for Flour Tortillas
Eleganceinlife 7.3-Inch Cast Iron Tortilla Press
Easy to press
Works with all flours
Produces even thickness
One of the only models to produce near-perfect flour tortillas
Makes only small and medium tortillas
Doughs made from corn are typically softer and easier to press than those made from flour. This 7-inch press is a good choice if you’re making primarily flour tortillas, because its cast-iron handle is especially heavy. The design is well balanced, which helps you get the even thickness that can be hard to achieve, especially with flour dough.
Alternative flours can be even stiffer, but this press is up to that job, as well. Those who make low-carb or paleo-compliant tortillas from flours like coconut, almond, cassava, and more will find this model to be the right tool for the job.
In our testing, we could press small and medium tortillas with this press. We worked with a well-rested all-purpose-flour dough to make the flour tortillas. We were able to press the dough into really thin flour tortillas. The press also worked for making tortillas from cassava flour. It was easy to clean if any dough got on it. For flour tortillas, we didn’t have to use a parchment paper or plastic sheet to prevent the tortillas from sticking. The flour tortillas never stuck to the press.
Size: 7.3 inches | Material: Cast iron | Seasoned: No, but has a nonstick coating
Verve Culture Tortilla Press
Easy to clean
Produces tortillas easily
Light pressure required to press
Worked well with all flours
Paint can chip
If what you want is great style in addition to utility, this eye-catching, fire-engine-red design may be the right choice for you. Made from heavy cast iron, this press makes it easy to flatten out your tortillas. This set also includes a decorative napkin for keeping fresh tortillas warm until serving as well as a booklet full of helpful tips and recipes.
The Verve Culture Tortilla Press was easy to work with and looked cute on the counter. The bright color was very pleasing and became a point of conversation, as well. We were able to make small and large tortillas with equal ease, and you don't have to do anything extra to make the tortillas bigger except use more dough. We used light pressure for both small and large tortillas. The tortillas were of even thickness and had no tears. The press worked with equal ease for all-purpose flour, grain-free tortillas, and whole-wheat rotis.
The powder-coated finish wipes clean, but we did notice the color chipping near the hinges and where the tortilla press was coming together for pressing. The main part of the press where the food was on the surface did not show signs of chipping during the testing, however.
Size: 6.5 inches | Material: Cast iron | Seasoned: No
Central Coast Woodworks Hardwood Tortilla Press is our best overall winner, because it performed exceptionally in testing with both corn and flour tortillas and is extremely easy to use. It's also an aesthetically pleasing, well-designed tool. For a budget option, go with the Fox Run Tortilla Press. This cast aluminum tortilla press is lightweight and portable, and it surprised us with how well it makes tortillas for tacos.
How We Tested
After researching top-rated tortilla presses and interviewing experts on various designs and materials, we tested different models side-by-side with corn and flour tortillas as well as flatbreads and pita. After hours of churning out tortillas for tacos, enchiladas, and more, each one was rated on its ease of use, performance, versatility, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Other Options We Tested
- Brentwood Stainless Steel Nonstick Electric Tortilla Maker: From the looks of it, this Brentwood model has all the markings of a one-stop shop for homemade tortillas, from shaping to cooking. However, in testing, we found that we simply could not press tortillas when the tortilla press was hot. The dough just kept slipping out as soon as the lid was pressed down. We tried doughs made of corn, cassava, all-purpose, and even whole-wheat flour. Each time, the dough just slipped out as soon as she pressed the top down, and when we tried to press harder, the dough turned into a lace structure.
What to Look for in a Tortilla Press
One thing to consider when shopping for a tortilla press is whether you like corn or flour tortillas. Most tortilla presses fall within 6 to 10 inches in diameter, and corn tortillas do better with smaller-diameter presses, while flour tortillas need more area. Do you want something to make you small tortillas for tacos exclusively? Or do you want something larger for burritos?
“You don't need a really heavy tortilla press to make great tortillas—in fact, it's just the opposite," says Andy Wang, chef and co-founder of Knives Sensei. "Look for a press with a lighter top plate so that you have more control over the thickness of the tortilla. The heavier models, like those made of cast iron, give you no control. You can also pick a press based on the size of the tortilla you want to make. Larger plates on the press means you can make larger burrito-size tortillas, as well as smaller ones.”
Material and Ease of Cleaning
Most tortilla presses are made from cast iron or other metal. This construction lends durability to the press and ensures that it will be up to making large batches of tortillas. Most wipe clean easily but must be re-seasoned occasionally. Wooden tortilla presses are also efficient but prone to warping, and they require more care to maintain that stunning look. They can't be submerged in water and must be dried thoroughly. You can also find electric options, which not only flatten the tortillas but cook them, as well. Electric models tend to be more difficult to clean, because they can't be submerged.
If your heart is set on a cast iron tortilla press, you will have an easier time if it comes pre-seasoned. If not, it will require some initial preparation before you can use it. Another design feature to look for is longer handles, which ensure more leverage and control when you press your dough.
“For tortilla making, there is nothing like getting fresh masa," says Marissa Gencarelli, co-founder of Yoli Tortilleria in Kansas City, Missouri. "You can pick it up at your local tortilleria. Typically, 3 pounds would make about 36 tortillas, depending on the size. If you use masa flour, select a good-quality one, such as Bob's Red Mill. The most important thing is to have your masa at room temperature. If it's too cold, it will crumble (plus it signals lack of moisture), and if it's too warm, it can get sticky.”
How do you use a tortilla press?
“Line your press with wax paper or a thin piece of plastic bag. When you make your masa ball, press down with your hands prior to placing it on the press,” says Gencarelli. “Close and press with medium strength. Flip the tortilla, and then press again slightly harder. This guarantees level of thickness and round shape."
How do you season a tortilla press?
This is only an issue with cast iron tortilla presses that are not pre-seasoned. Seasoning cast iron cookware creates a natural nonstick patina layer.
- Remove the oil it may have been coated with at the factory to prevent rust. Wash it in warm, soapy water with a Dobie sponge, and dry it thoroughly. This is important, because any remaining water will create a barrier to the oil in the next step.
- Coat the press with corn oil or shortening thoroughly, making sure you cover the entire surface. A cotton swab dipped in corn oil can reach any tight spaces.
- Place the tortilla press in a preheated 300-degree oven for approximately one hour to allow the oil to bake into the metal.
- Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely. Repeat this process a couple of times for best seasoning.
What else can you make with a tortilla press?
“A tortilla press is surprisingly versatile and not limited to just tortillas," says Wong. "Essentially, you can make any type of flatbread in it, such as pizza crust and pitas. I've sliced them up to make my own tortilla chips. I've also known people to make sausage and hamburger patties with one of these."
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The original author of this roundup, Joy Manning, is a food writer and recipe developer.
Renu Dhar, who updated this roundup, is a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food blogger who is totally nerdy about spice. She enjoys developing recipes that take classical dishes and ingredients and elevate them to meet today’s dietary and socio-economic needs. Renu is a food anthropologist and derives her culinary inspiration from her travels around the world. She personally tested every tortilla press on this roundup.
Carrie Honaker, who also updated this roundup, is a food writer who worked in restaurants throughout college, including Cabo’s Tacos in Tallahassee, where they made tortillas by hand daily. Between her experience as a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has pressed thousands of tortillas. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
Jocelyn Ramirez is the owner of Los Angeles-based catering business Todo Verde and author of the cookbook "La Vida Verde."
Andy Wang is a chef and the co-founder of Knives Sensei.
Marissa Gencarelli is the co-founder of Yoli Tortilleria in Kansas City, Missouri.