Tortillero

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Tortillero

A tortillero is a tortilla holder, and many times a cover too, that is meant to hold and insulate tortillas. It helps them stay warm, soft and cozy after they have been heated and while you finish them off along with your meal. In a Mexican home, they are as popular as tortillas themselves, eaten almost everyday and accompany almost every meal. The same applies for restaurants, no matter how humble or fancy.

Tortilleros tend to be stunning in their craftsmanship, design and color. They are usually handmade and can have from the most simple to the most intricate designs. Mexican cooks take great pride in arranging their table to make it colorful and beautiful, and the tortillero is no exception.

Tortilleros are all circular in shape and are made from many materials. There are basically 2 different types. The first is a woven basket, typically made from natural sources such as wood, palm leaves or different plant materials. The woven version can come with or without a lid.

When it doesn’t come with a lid, usually a cloth napkin is placed inside to wrap and hold the tortillas. The cloth napkins can be as beautiful as the tortilleros! Many are hand decorated and sewn like the one above.
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Then…there are those with the lids, which tend to look like cute little hats.
BT_tortillerocloth.jpgThe second type of tortilleros are those made completely out of textiles. They are just as creative and can be decorated as the woven ones, from simple, to very dressed. They always have an opening to place the tortillas inside and can also be placed inside of a woven tortillero.
BT_tortilleromany.jpg
Tortilleros can also serve as open baskets for bread and come in many different forms… Just see how many!

Some people also like to get a thing called a “tortilla warmer”, which acts pretty much like a warming pillow. It can be placed in the microwave and then under the tortillero, to keep the tortillas even warmer…

10 comments on “Tortillero

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  1. Hi, Pati! I just returned from 2 weeks wonderful vacation in Quintano Roo. I bought numerous souvenirs but my favorite is definitely my tortillero. It is beautifully hand woven. I also love the hand carved wooden spoons I found in a market in Puerto Morelos. A few days after we returned home, we had a tamale-making party for our family and friends, using your recipes for guidance. We made a spicy shredded pork shoulder butt filling, a very spicy ground venison filling, and a seafood version of tamales using cornhusks (no masa) filled with shrimp in the shell, fresh grouper, diced zucchini, fresh corn kernels, onion and poblanos. We also made several types of fresh and cooked salsas as condiments. Needless to say, everyone loved the food and the experience of making tamales from scratch. The tequila drinks we made were pretty darned good, too!
    My husband and I love the Yucatan so much that we are contemplating retirement in the Merida area in a couple of years, spending winters there and summers at our home in central Mississippi, right across the Gulf of Mexico. As I stare out the window this morning at the ice and sleet in our yard from yesterday’s major winter storm, I am determined to get back to Mexico within the next few months. I’m brushing up on my Spanish, too, which I have no spoken for over 30 years. Amazing how much of the language came back to me while we were there. Viva Pati y viva Mexico!

    1. Oh thank you so much for your lovely message, Terry! I wish I had seen a photo of your incredible food spread you made for your party, it sounds like such a delicious and fun fiesta! Well, the only thing I can say is I hear you: Merida is one of the nicest cities in the world that one could retire too. And the people are beyond divine.

  2. Hi, Pati! I just returned from 2 weeks wonderful vacation in Quintano Roo. I bought numerous souvenirs but my favorite is definitely my tortillero. It is beautifully hand woven. I also love the hand carved wooden spoons I found in a market in Puerto Morelos. A few days after we returned home, we had a tamale-making party for our family and friends, using your recipes for guidance. We made a spicy shredded pork shoulder butt filling, a very spicy ground venison filling, and a seafood version of tamales using cornhusks (no masa) filled with shrimp in the shell, fresh grouper, diced zucchini, fresh corn kernels, onion and poblanos. We also made several types of fresh and cooked salsas as condiments. Needless to say, everyone loved the food and the experience of making tamales from scratch. The tequila drinks we made were pretty darned good, too!
    My husband and I love the Yucatan so much that we are contemplating retirement in the Merida area in a couple of years, spending winters there and summers at our home in central Mississippi, right across the Gulf of Mexico. As I stare out the window this morning at the ice and sleet in our yard from yesterday’s major winter storm, I am determined to get back to Mexico within the next few months. I’m brushing up on my Spanish, too, which I have no spoken for over 30 years. Amazing how much of the language came back to me while we were there. Viva Pati y viva Mexico!

  3. The tortilleros are beautiful. Thanks for sharing this great piece of Mexican cooking. Do you have any resources where these can be purchased stateside? I’m most interested in the cloth ones, but the baskets are really lovely, too!
    Gracias!

    1. Hola Katrin, I’ve always bought mine in Mexico and do not know where to get them in the US. But, you can use any clean kitchen cloth or cloth napkin as a tortillero!

      1. Gracias, Pati. This means I must make a trip to Mexico at some point! I’ve been using kitchen towels and found they have worked quite well.
        BTW, I came upon your blog while on a recipe search. I recently made your Chilorio and it was delicious! My Mexican boyfriend, who had never heard of it, was thrilled by the outcome as well. Thanks for a great website/blog/recipes!