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Have you ever heard of a tortilla press? It’s a game changer if you’re looking to make tortillas from scratch. If you want to learn how to make homemade tortillas, keep reading for tips, tricks, and even a video of me making grain free tortillas. At the bottom of the post you’ll find three recipes (grain free, flour, and corn flour tortillas).
When you make your tortillas at home, you can decide what type you want. Gluten free? No problem. Paleo? Easy. No matter which recipe you make, you’ll probably notice (like we did) how much better they taste JUST by making them at home.
Click here to jump to the recipes (WARNING: you’ll also skip over the video).
- Flour tortillas
- Cassava tortillas
- Corn tortillas
Tools needed to make homemade tortillas
- Tortilla press (this is the one we’ve used for years, and LOVE)
- Parchment paper (I love these pre-cut sheets)
- Frying pan (we cook exclusively with cast iron and love it)
- Bench scraper (I’ve recently discovered this as a SUPER easy way to get the tortilla dough off the parchment paper without turning it into a mushed mess (especially helpful for grain free tortillas).
What is a Tortilla Press?
A tortilla press is a simple, yet brilliant invention.
Basically, you put a ball of dough between two plates. Then you push a lever to make the plates close, and they flatten the dough.
It saves time and energy…sounds pretty great, right? I’m a big believer of spending as little time as necessary in the kitchen to provide my family with nutritious and delicious food, and the tortilla press is a helpful tool to make that happen.
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How To Make Homemade Tortillas With A Tortilla Press
Here’s a brief description of the tortilla making process.
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl – You want the dough to hold together, not be too sticky, but also not too dry that it doesn’t hold together. Follow the recipes below and you’ll soon get a feel for what the dough should look and feel like.
- Form the dough into small balls – We usually do golf-ball size, and this makes about 6″ diameter tortillas.
- Flatten the balls – Use the tortilla press to flatten the balls (or roll out the dough with a rolling pin). I like using this scraper to get the tortillas off the parchment paper to transfer them to the pan.
- Cook the tortillas – Cook the tortillas on a hot pan, then flip (oil is optional).
Steps three and four can be done in tandem. Flatten, cook, flatten, cook, etc. For more details in the process, scroll to the bottom to the recipes.
Here’s a video showing how EASY it really is.
Here’s a link to the tortilla press pictured in the video. It’s selling out fast right now, don’t miss out on your chance to get it!
Which Tortilla Press?
Now that you’ve realized how GREAT a tortilla press is for making homemade tortillas, you’re probably wondering…which tortilla press you should get.
This is the tortilla press we own. It’s still working well, and I recommend it. However, the metal pin that acts as the hinge for the press has been bent. Maybe because we pressed down too hard? Or maybe because it wasn’t the highest quality to begin with. We’ll never know. Like I said, it still works, even with a slightly bent hinge.
We got our tortilla press about a year and a half ago, and it’s been well used in that time. It’s seen flour, corn, and grain-free tortillas. It doesn’t discriminate. It flattens all of them just the same. Quite nicely, I might add.
One thing I know for sure is that when the time comes for us to upgrade our press, we’d love to invest in a wood tortilla press like this one.
When the time comes for you to start your search, Amazon is a great place to start. They carry a large selection (over 700 results in this Amazon search). The prices and styles vary quite a bit. If you’re looking for a place to start your search, I recommend this one.
Ever since we got a tortilla press, making homemade tortillas is much less of a chore. It’s so easy. I mean…it’s easy enough that my five year old daughter can do the pressing part all on her own! Here’s a picture.
But Can’t I just Use a Rolling Pin?
If you’re making homemade tortillas, you’ll need to flatten the dough in some way.
A rolling pin is an option, especially if you want an arm workout. I did the rolling pin method quite a few times before we invested in a tortilla press.
If you’re a roller and you love it, more power to ya. Me? I like the tortilla press. Here are a couple reasons why.
- Multi tasking is much easier with a tortilla press
- I can hold my kids while using it, if needed
1. Multi-Tasking is Much Easier With the Tortilla Press
I like multi-tasking way too much to use with the rolling pin. Let me explain. When you roll the dough, expect to be rolling for about the same amount of time it takes a tortilla to cook. So you’re going back and forth from the stove to the dough, until all the tortillas are cooked.
When you use the tortilla press, you place the dough ball in the press, close it, and push on the lever. In about one second it’s flat and ready to cook. This leaves some time to work on preparing whatever else you’re eating with your tortillas.
2. One Arm Free With the Tortilla Press
I’ve successfully made tortillas while holding a fussy toddler. Not that I’d recommend it. I don’t remember it being an enjoyable experience. But I did it! And I couldn’t have done that if I was rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Maybe you are more talented than me with the rolling pin, but one handed rolling is HARD!
Whether you have little kiddos around to hold or you like talking on the phone while cooking, or whatever else. You only need one hand to use the tortilla press! Best invention ever!
DO You have to use parchment paper with a tortilla press?
No matter which method you use, you should use parchment paper or plastic wrap to keep the tortilla dough from sticking (to the counter, the rolling pin, or the tortilla press).
Why does the tortilla keep sticking?
If you’re using parchment paper on your tortilla press, but the dough is still sticking, you’ll need to add more flour. Add a little bit at a time until the dough holds together, and doesn’t stick to your fingers. Over time you’ll learn what this feels like.
If your tortilla is sticking to the pan, make sure you’re adding a little bit of oil before you put it on. We use a cast iron to cook our tortillas, and as long as the pan is hot and there’s a little oil in it, we don’t have a problem with the tortillas sticking to the pan.
I’ve heard from a few people who try to make the Cassava flour (grain free) tortillas below that it takes a LOT more cassava flour than the recipe calls for. And that’s because each brand makes their flour a bit differently. Some are finer, and some are more coarse. It’s best to go by weight when weighing flours.
Three Tortilla Recipes
Flour and corn tortillas are both readily available in any grocery store, but cooking them from scratch will provide a more flavorful and more nutritious tortilla. No preservatives in these tortillas! Extra bonus…you can choose what oil you use. I recommend avoiding the vegetable oils found in most processed foods.
Uses for homemade tortillas:
- Sheet pan steak fajitas
- Sheet pan veggie fajitas with creamy cilantro lime mayo
- Fish tacos with avocado mango salsa
Well, are you hungry yet? Ready to whip up some tortillas? Here are a few basic recipes to get you started. Honestly, my favorite ones right now are the grain-free cassava tortillas. They have a great soft texture and a deliciously mild flavor.
Looking to buy gluten free/grain free tortillas?
Up until a couple months ago, I thought the only way to eat grain free tortillas was to make them from scratch. BUT I just found a brand that makes cassava, almond flour, and coconut flour tortillas. Check out the grain free tortillas on Amazon! They’re delicious.
Recipe 1: Homemade Grain-Free (Cassava Flour) Tortillas [Paleo / Aip]
I’ve been experimenting with grain-free food options in an effort to work through food sensitivities. These tortillas are gluten-free and grain-free. And they taste amazing!
We’ve had great luck with Bob’s Red Mill cassava root flour (different brands have different consistencies, so be sure to either use Bob’s Red Mill & measure 2 cups OR weigh the flour to 4 oz).
- 2 cups cassava flour (about 4 oz using a digital kitchen scale)
- 2 tsp salt, to taste (we LOVE this salt because of the nutritional benefits)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)
- 1/4 cup oil (if using coconut oil, melt it first)
- sprinkle of garlic powder (optional)
Combine ingredients, divide into golf-ball sized balls. Then flatten (roll or press) and cook in a hot pan, flipping to cook both sides.
Note: These tend to stick when you flatten them. If they are sticking to your parchment paper too much, add a spoonful of cassava flour and try again. You can also add a pinch or two of flour to the parchment if you’re having trouble. Also, this tool really helps get the dough off the parchment paper.
Recipe 2: Homemade Flour Tortillas
This was the first kind of tortilla I made from scratch. I really loved being able to control the salt content (have you seen how much sodium is in store bought flour tortillas!?!)
- 3 cups flour (I’ve successfully used whole wheat flour and a gluten free flour blend)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup oil
Combine ingredients, divide into golf-ball sized balls. Then flatten (roll or press) and cook in a hot pan, flipping to cook both sides. If the dough won’t stay flattened (or rolled out) let it rest for 10-20 minutes and try again. The flour might just need to “relax” a bit.
Note: This recipe is really flexible. If the dough is too try, add a little water. If it’s too wet, add more flour. Since we eat a gluten free diet, I haven’t made this recipe in a few years, and I won’t be able to re-test it if you have problems. However, I used this recipe for years before we switched to the grain-free tortillas.
Recipe 3: Homemade Corn Tortillas
This is the recipe found on the bag of masa harina corn flour from Bob’s Red Mill. You can buy this gluten free corn flour on Amazon.
- 2 cups masa harina corn flour (note: corn flour is different than corn starch. Don’t use corn starch for this recipe. Use corn flour (basically just ground up corn). Corn starch is just made of the starchy part of corn and is used as thickeners in gravy, etc.).
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups hot water
Tip: Sometimes I add a pinch of arrowroot powder to this mixture. It seems to help the tortillas stay a little softer for longer.
Mix the salt and the masa harina in a bowl. Pour in hot water. It should not be sticky or dry, but should be “firm and springy”. Cover and let sit for an hour. Then flatten (by rolling or tortilla press) and cook in a hot pan, flipping to cook both sides.