We updated this article in August 2022 to ensure all products recommended were available and to add more information about each product. Our original top-rated picks remain the same, with the addition of a straw basket tortilla warmer from Threads West.
It’s important to make tacos or burritos with warm, soft tortillas. If you've ever tried using cold, dry tortillas, then you know that they simply won't mold correctly or hold the ingredients inside. That's where a tortilla warmer comes in: They help prevent tortillas from getting cold whether you’re prepping your favorite fish taco recipe for dinner or hosting a taco party with your friends.
To come up with our list of best tortilla warmers, the experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab used their knowledge from years of testing cookware and various kitchen tools to recommend top picks based on material, size and brands that have tested well in the past. We also spoke to Bricia Lopez, co-owner of Guelaguetza Restaurant in Los Angeles, who uses tortilla warmers both at home and at the restaurant and considers a tortilla warmer to be a kitchen essential.
“Tortillas have to stay pliable,” says Lopez. “If you don’t use a tortilla warmer, the tortillas get hard easily and lose their beautiful texture.”
The best tortilla warmers will keep your tortillas warm and moist until it's time to eat them. Tortilla warmers are also versatile enough to keep pancakes, waffles, pita bread, naan and biscuits warm. They can be soft pouches made of cloth or sturdy containers made of plastic or ceramic. Depending on the material, they can be put in the microwave to gently heat tortillas right in the warmer. Plus, since many of them have pretty designs, you can proudly display them on your table or countertop.
Our top picks:
1Best Overall Tortilla Warmer12" Cloth Tortilla Warmer Imusa Read More
2Best Value Tortilla Warmer8.5" Microwavable Tortilla Warmer Dexas Read More
3Best Tortilla Warmer for Parties9.75" Tortilla Pancake Keeper Norpro Read More
4Best Burrito-Sized Tortilla Warmer12" Lift Off Jumbo Server Carlisle Read More
5Best Tortilla Warmer BasketHandwoven Tortilla Basket Set Threads West Read More
Read more below for the pros and cons of each tortilla warmer, along with details on how we chose and tips on what to look for when shopping for a tortilla warmer.
To choose the best tortilla warmers, we looked at material, size, capacity and cleanability. Each tortilla warmer was assessed based on the size of tortilla it can hold, along with its capacity to hold plenty of tortillas for any occasion. We also looked at whether each tortilla warmer required hand-washing or was dishwasher safe (or could be washed in the washing machine, depending on the material). We also consulted an outside expert to help us determine what makes a good tortilla warmer.
✔️ Size: According to Papantoniou, size is the most important thing to consider when shopping for a tortilla warmer. “Consider a size that best suits your favorite tortillas, whether for standard tacos or for burritos,” she says. “Then consider if you’ll most frequently use it for family dinners or for large parties: That will impact the size and depth of the tortilla warmer you should buy.” Deeper tortilla warmers will hold a greater number of tortillas.
✔️ Material: Tortilla warmers are made from a variety of materials including ceramic, plastic, cloth and woven straw. According to Lopez, the material a tortilla warmer is made from will affect the texture of the tortillas. Papantoniou says she prefers ceramic tortilla warmers because of their pretty design, along with the ease of cleanup. Lopez suggests using a woven basket tortilla warmer because it's more breathable. For those who prefer tortillas with a crisper texture, rather than one that's very soft and steamy, a woven basket is a better choice. Lopez advises wrapping the warmed tortillas in a kitchen towel when using a basket; this helps keep condensation from steam at bay. Other materials such as plastic and ceramic can cause the tortillas to get too soft.
✔️ Cleanability: A ceramic or plastic tortilla warmer is easier to clean because you can quickly throw it in the dishwasher. Cloth tortilla warmers often need to be washed in the washing machine or carefully by hand. A woven tortilla warmer typically just needs to be spot-cleaned, especially if it’s used with a kitchen towel.
According to Lopez, a tortilla warmer is 100 percent worth it. A tortilla warmer will keep tortillas warm and pliable for making tacos and burritos, along with serving them on the side with other dishes. “You don’t want to keep reheating tortillas over and over,” says Lopez. Most tortilla warmers won’t take up too much space in the kitchen, but they will make all the difference in keeping tortillas warm if you eat them on a regular basis. And when it's not in use for tortillas, a warmer can be used with other foods, such as pancakes, waffles, biscuits, naan and pita bread.
For tortilla warmers that are safe for use in the microwave, the tortillas can be heated right in the warmer. For others, you will need to heat the tortillas in the microwave separately before placing in the warmer or use your stovetop or oven to heat the tortillas. Lopez prefers heating tortillas in a cast iron pan or on a griddle before transferring them to a warmer. If you’re using them for tacos, she says to brush the tortillas with a tiny bit of oil. Then, heat them in a cast iron pan with a bit more oil until they’re semi-crispy but still soft. Always refer to the user manual to determine the best option for your specific warmer.
If you don’t need your tortillas to stay warm for very long, there are a few other options. You can warm your tortillas and wrap them in a kitchen towel to retain heat. You can also place your towel-wrapped tortillas in a Dutch oven to preserve the heat even more. Papantoniou says she likes to wrap tortillas in aluminum foil if she doesn’t need them to be kept warm for a long time.
Molly Allen is a freelance writer for the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab. A recipe developer, food writer and former bakery owner, she has years of experience in both home and commercial kitchens.
Nicole Papantoniou has run the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab since 2019. She oversees all testing related to kitchen and cooking appliances and gear. Previously, she worked in product development for small kitchen appliances and tools as well as in several test kitchens.
Bricia Lopez is a cookbook author and the co-owner of Guelaguetza, a Los Angeles–based Oaxacan restaurant. Guelaguetza received a James Beard Classics award in 2015 and serves tortillas in palm leaf tortilla warmer baskets in the restaurant. Lopez also uses tortilla warmers often at home and shares recipes on her website Mole and More.