How to Use a Comal to Heat Tortillas

Updated on April 2, 2017
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Ms. Venegas experiments with Mexican foods under the watchful critiques of her husband. The recipes need to pass a "when I was a kid" test.

Some Well-Loved Comals

Seasoned comal on the right
Seasoned comal on the right

Instructions for Heating Tortillas

Nothing is worse than raw tortillas. In this house, we like ours browned on the comal. This pan is simple and can be used on an induction burner, an electric stovetop, or a flame burner. It's light weight, which makes it easy to take in and out of storage.

How to Cook a Tortilla on a Comal

  1. The secret to using this pan is to let it heat up before you put the tortilla on. The handle is not for using once it is heated. It is used for putting it away.
  2. Once you have a medium-hot comal, put a tortilla on, and let it brown till you see air begin to bubble between the tortilla layers. Use the tip of your fingers to flip it and wait till the opposite side is also browned.
  3. Now put the tortilla in your covered tortilla warmer or between the folds of a freshly washed kitchen towel.

See how-to cooking pictures for a quick quesadilla sandwich below!

Use this technique for corn or flour.

We own three of these. One for the barbecue, one for the house, and one for the travel trailer.


Add the Tortilla to Your Mexican Dinner

What does the Mexican recipe menu include in our Mexican-American household? Basically, a main dish, rice, and beans.

Spiced hamburger, rice, and beans was a regular menu when I was working full-time. Authentic like at Taco Bell! Spiced hamburger for burritos or tacos is sometimes called picadillo in Mexocan families. We would usually have it in flour tortillas prepared burrito-style.

Because I married into a Mexican family, I learned how to prepare basic tortillas purchased from the market. Tortillas in the mass market are only half done, because the tortilla needs to be browned. Think of tortillas like toast.

A few months after knowing my husband, the comal was introduced into the house. The pan was seasoned and has been used for 35 years. The old pan is on the right in the picture below.

The small one is almost new and has been used only a few times. It was bought to be handy at the outdoor kitchen.

No hassle light weight comal for tortillas
No hassle light weight comal for tortillas

Made of Carbon Steel

The tortilla warmers pictured are made of carbon steel and are light weight. Mine is kept in a vertical slot over the oven for easy access and storage. It worked well on an electric ceramic cook top, and now we use it on the induction cook top.

This pan also works fine on the flame in the RV trailer.

If your family eats tortillas more than once a week, you will enjoy using this Mexican-style comal.

The beauty of owning it is having the seasoned pan to give to your children when cooking is no longer your duty.

Best prices are at Latino markets but this one below is a fair price.

IMUSA USA CAR-52023 Round Large Comal 13.5-Inch, Black
IMUSA USA CAR-52023 Round Large Comal 13.5-Inch, Black

Heating tortillas can be done directly on a stove flame. For heating more than one at a time use the comal. The comal is an inexpensive purchase and can be used for years.


Cooking Time

Prep time: 3 min
Cook time: 1 min
Ready in: 4 min
Yields: Heat as many as you want

Watch the Heating Time

Do not get distracted. If you get called to another room, just yell "heating tortillas" because leaving will likely result in burning.

Heating The Tortilla

Start with a hot comal. Allow the tortillas to heat till bubbles rise. Flip and let light brown develop for extra crunch and flavor.
Start with a hot comal. Allow the tortillas to heat till bubbles rise. Flip and let light brown develop for extra crunch and flavor.

Quick Quesadilla Sandwich

Tortilla on hot comal
Tortilla on hot comal
Flip tortilla and put on filling
Flip tortilla and put on filling
Fold torilla over filling and flip to brown other side. Hot lunch is done.
Fold torilla over filling and flip to brown other side. Hot lunch is done.

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Sherry Venegas

    Stay by Your Comal "Proof of the Tortilla Is in the Heating"

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      • paperfacets profile image

        Sherry Venegas 2 years ago from La Verne, CA

        Pam. Yes, the comal is light weight and more handy than the cast iron pan. You can squeeze more tortillas on it by overlapping and allowing for over hanging on the edges.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

        So crucial to get the tortillas just right.

        Great hub!

      • TonyPayne profile image

        Tony Payne 3 years ago from Southampton, UK

        I think we might have to get one of these, it would probably work well for Pita Bread as well. Tortillas are best when heated properly of course.

      • LNAngel profile image

        Lauren 3 years ago from Florida

        I love tortillas, ideally homemade. This seems like the perfect complement to taco night!

      • esmonaco profile image

        Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

        Sounds great and a lot better than the microwave, which is what I use to them up. Thanks so much for sharing because I had no idead this existed :)

      • Merrci profile image

        Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

        Mexican food always sounds good when nothing else does. You can do so many things with tortillas. The comal sounds like it would make them taste even better. It doesn't look too heavy either. Thanks for telling us about it.

      • Pam Irie profile image

        Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

        I had no idea what these were called, but I'm betting my husband would enjoy using this much better than our old cast iron skillet.