Kitchn Love Letters

I Found This Game-Changing Tool for Perfect Tortillas While Working in Restaurants — and Now I Can’t Live Without It

published May 10, 2022
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Five fish stick tacos sit on a  table next to quartered limes in a bowl, salsa, and pepper.
Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Knife skills, time management, food safety do’s and don’ts, and general cooking tips and tricks all come with working as a line cook. So sure, I can tell you the best way to dice an onion, but at the end of the day, that kind of expertise comes with daily practice. What I can easily clue you in on are the tools I’ve been exposed to in restaurants that come in handy at home, too. For instance, when I worked at an upscale Italian eatery, I was introduced to tweezer tongs and spider strainers that can make restaurant-quality pasta achievable at home. Now, working at a Texan restaurant that specializes in tacos, I’ve been shown the importance of a special piece of equipment that is sure to upgrade your taco game. Enter: the Norpro Tortilla Keeper.

You may have spotted tortilla keepers like this served along side steak fajitas while dining out, keeping tortillas warm. However, it wasn’t until working in the kitchen at a taco spot that I realized just how essential this tool truly is for a properly made tortilla.

In the restaurant, we cook flour tortillas in batches of eight on the flat top griddle until they puff up. Then, they get placed straight into the tortilla keeper in a stack with the lid on. The keeper traps hot steam to finish softening the tortillas while keeping them fresh and warm until an order comes in. If they were left out and exposed to air, they would have a dry and stiff texture. In addition, corn tortillas are especially prone to cracking when folded unless safely stored in a tortilla keeper until ready to eat. With the help of this keeper, all of these factors come together to ensure a top notch tortilla. Plus, the built-in, heat-resistant handle on the lightweight lid makes it easy to grab tortillas as needed without getting burned. And better yet, the food-safe material used to make this one won’t break on you like a ceramic tortilla keeper might.

Another game-changing feature is that if you don’t want to spend extra time over the grill or stove, you can warm tortillas in the microwave directly in the keeper. So, I’m certainly adopting this tool for at-home use, too. I’ve gone so many summer nights serving up family and friends blackened grilled fish, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa verde, rice, beans… you name it. The list of taco accouterments goes on (I love setting up an over-the-top spread for everyone to build their own). Thanks to this tortilla keeper, my guests all end up with warm, perfectly soft tortillas. No soggy tacos here!

This tool can also be used for storing and warming pancakes, crepes, pitas, or naan fresh off the skillet. So, in other words, this tortilla keeper is bound to be put to good use in more ways than one. But, if you’re like me, taco night is enough to click “add to cart” and start serving up dinner (or breakfast) like a total pro.