Beginners Guide: How to Use a Tortilla Press for the First Time?

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Nothing beats the flavor and crunch of a homemade tortilla. For anyone who loves making these tasty meals at home, getting a tortilla press makes for a worthwhile and affordable investment. This is a quick kitchen tool to use, doesn’t make as much mess, and creates the ideal tortillas every single time.

Now, the great thing about a tortilla presses is that it gives the dough its ideal thickness. This makes it much easier to cook perfectly on every side and less likely for the whole dough to fall apart or crack. This is a kitchen tool that is extra easy to store and needs barely any upkeep. 

So, now that you got your own presser, it’s time to figure out how to use it. For those who’ve never tried this cooking tool, it can be really tricky to get the hang of it at first. That’s exactly why we’ve decided to make this step by step guide. We will show you exactly what it takes to make the perfect tortillas every single time you use a tortilla press. 

Step 1: Time to Make the Dough

No matter how good of a tortilla press you’ve bought, it all comes down to one important thing, and that is the dough. The type of dough you need to make a tortilla is called “masa” and is a typical dough choice. You have two options:

beginners guide how to use a tortilla press for the first time

  • Buy pre-made dough
  • Make your own

Pre-Made Dough

Every local market or Mexican food stores sell pre-made and packaged tortilla dough. For the ultimate flavor, look for the one made from ground corn, instead of cornflour.  While both of them are tasty, the ground corn gives the dough its rich texture, and it’s much closer to the traditional taste. 

Follow the instructions on the package for kneading the dough. Knead it into a big circle and divide it into equal portions. Later, form those portions into smaller circles, not bigger than 7 inches.

Homemade Dough

If you want to make your own tortillas, you will need:

  • 3/4 cups of hot water
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • Half a tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil

Start by mixing the salt, flour, oil, and baking powder in a big bowl. Then, slowly pour in hot water and mix. It’s better to add a little bit of water at a time, then to pour it in at once. Knead for about 15 minutes or until the dough is nice and smooth. 

If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, if it separates, adds a bit of water. The perfect dough consistency should be smooth and soft, like a pillow. When the dough is soft enough, let it rest for a couple of minutes. Then, divide it into eight equal portions and shape them into small circles, around 7 inches. 

Step 2: Prepare the Tortilla Press

Now that we have the dough ready to use, it’s time to prepare the tortilla press. You will need some waxed or parchment paper to get your press-ready – whatever suits you best. Some cooks prefer to use plastic bags for this method, but in general, the waxed paper makes for a great pick. 

What you need to do is cut two pieces of the waxed paper, just long enough to cover each side of the base plate. Then, place the paper on the bottom base first. When the paper is neatly placed, add one of the dough circles you’ve just made and cover it up with the second piece of paper.  

Step 3: Time to Use the Presser

The preparation process is complete, and it’s now time to press the dough. This is the second most important part of the process. You need to use plenty of force to get just the right tortilla shape. To start, simply grab the top part of the tortilla presser and lower the plate onto the dough. Press it very firmly and use the handle to add more pressure to get the desired shape. 

Step 4: Flip the Dough

When you are done with the first press, lift the top plate open. The first press gives the tortilla a nice and even shape. It’s now more extended than it was before. 

What you should do is grab the two paper sheets with the tortilla between them, and flip it. Now the bottom part of the tortilla should be facing up. Keep the paper sheets intact; don’t remove them. 

Step 5: Use the Presser Again

Use the presser for a second time to extend the dough even more. This will make it thinner and crispier when cooked. When you are done with the presser, open the tortilla press once more.

Step 6: Remove the Waxed Paper

Your tortilla has finally achieved the desired shape and thickness. If you want your tortilla to remain intact, you have to do this step very slowly and carefully. What you need to do is gently peel the waxed paper off the tortilla dough. 

Start with the top paper first, then place the tortilla dough onto your hand and flip it to expose the paper stuck to the bottom of the dough. Then, repeat the same process and peel off the second piece of paper. 

That’s it! Now your dough is ready to be cooked. Also, remember not to throw away the paper just yet, you can re-use it for the next tortilla ball. When you are finished pressing all of the dough balls, feel free to cook them.


A tortilla press makes for an excellent addition to your kitchen tools, especially for anyone who loves tortillas. Figuring out how to use it is a piece of cake, all you have to do is follow just a couple of simple steps, and you will have a perfectly flattened tortilla in seconds ready to be cooked. 

Remember, this tool is a multi-purpose gadget. You can use it on any dough that needs flattening. You can make your favorite dumplings, pizzas, or pita bread the same way as you flatten your tortilla. Let us know if you found this guide helpful in the comments below. 

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