Build Your Own Tortilla Press

So I was thinking about various gadgets that are great to have in your kitchen and came down the list to the tortilla press. I know for many this would be an absolute waste, but we eat a lot of flour tortillas here (almost weekly taco nights) and at about 25 cents a tortilla (I did just find some on sale for 16 cents – the big ones of course), I have to think that there must be a cheaper way!

There are lots of cast iron tortilla presses out there but shipping a 5 pound box over to Germany just gets more and more outrageous in price, so I started to wonder if one could make their own press out of wood. And what do you know? My search came up with this nice little tutorial on Curbly about building your own press. Sweet!

Now one could just go low tech and roll out the tortillas with a rolling pin (sandwiching the tortillas between lightly floured plastic wrap sheets will help prevent sticking) but if you want to be a serious tortilla maker, you need a press.

So it’s not at the top of my list of things for hubby to make…but it seems pretty simple so maybe one of these rainy days he can find some scrap would that will work for this :)


  1. Dean says

    Wouldn’t you want the raised part more towards the middle, so the pressure gets put in the middle instead of the end of the board? I would think that might cause the board to want to slightly bend?

    • Tiffany says

      We never got around to building this but that’s an interesting question. One could think that having the pressure in the middle would be far more effective, though — otherwise you’d have uneven tortillas as well.

      • mark says

        Physics dictates that the press is most efficient (i.e easy-to-use) when pressure is applied to the top plate as far from the hinge side as possible, and as close to the hinge pin of the handle lever as possible. So, leave the raised part exactly where it is. If you’re worried about the top plate flexing, use a thicker board, and/or a stronger wood than the pine in the picture.

        I found your post while searching for wooden tortilla press plans. When I build one, I will be using this basic design, except will be making it out of a hardwood, like oak or maple, which is more resistant to flexing than pine. I’m also considering adding a couple of “stops” to the corners farthest away from the hinge side, to prevent that side from closing more than the hinge side (and making uneven tortillas). This is probably unnecessary, though.

  2. Charlie Sommers says

    Years ago while my kids, now in their forties, were still home we used to make our own flour tortillas on a regular basis. Being something of a cheapskate I would just roll them out on the kitchen table, thoroughly scrubbed of course, with a rolling pin as I was taught to do by a Mexican neighbor.

    My son was home alone one afternoon and decided he wanted a bean burrito. We were almost out of flour so he had to use the last of it for his project. After rolling it out he left it on the table while he took a short bathroom break. When he returned to cook his creation there were cat tracks going through his tortilla. He considered tossing it in the trash but since there was no more flour and he was hungry he tossed it in a cast iron skillet and cooked it figuring the heat would destroy any paw germs.

    I guess he was right because he is still hale and hearty at the age of 45. He also still loves both burritos and cats. :-)

    • Tiffany says

      Too funny! Good to know that the cat didn’t suffer for his transgressions. I thought the cat might have actually started eating it 😉
      We actually have a cat that loves to drink iced tea. But she doesn’t stick her head into the glass (although they are usually very large) but rather dips her paw into the tea, licks it off and then repeats. When you get really thirsty (or hungry) you just let it go. A little dirt it healthy for you 😉

      I’m sure that rolling tortillas out on the table or a bit wood block would be the route I’d go these days. The last thing I need is one more gadget in my kitchen!

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