Homemade tortillas are easy to make and all you need are items from your pantry: salt, all-purpose flour, water, and vegetable oil. This recipe has a total time of 60 minutes, but 45 of those minutes is resting the dough.
Variations in Ingredients
Baking powder is not necessary to make tortillas and is used as a leavening agent to make the batter rise. This makes the tortillas a little thicker and slightly more doughy.
When I tried making tortillas, I added 2 tbsp instead of ¼ cup (4 tbsp) of vegetable oil originally. I was concerned that it would too much fat in the tortilla and wanted it to be healthier. But, the tortillas became stiff and brittle after I removed them from the heat. It became a tortilla chip and made burrito night into nacho night.
The next time around, I used ¼ cup of vegetable oil. It made soft, fluffy, tasty tortillas, so don’t skimp on the fat in this recipe.
Salt gives tortillas flavor and water is necessary to combine all the ingredients to make a dough. When I first created this recipe, it was during the winter, so in the summer, less may be needed. You want just enough water to combine all the ingredients.
Why rest the dough
As mentioned in the beginning, 75% of the time for this recipe is resting the dough. We rest it once after combining all the ingredients and rest it again after we shape it into individual balls.
Resting the dough after making it into a shaggy ball gives time for the flour to absorb the water and make it easier for us to knead later. If you try to knead the dough into a smooth ball in one go, you will be kneading for a longer period than 2-3 minutes. I’m a fan of doing less work for the same result.
Resting the dough again after shaping allows the dough to soften up and make it easy for us to roll out. If we roll immediately after, the dough won’t roll out easily and can get frustrating.
Why are my tortillas hard?
When I was testing out different recipes, I noticed that if I didn’t immediately move the tortillas after they were done cooking into a covered bowl or a Ziploc bag to trap the steam in, the tortillas became harder faster. Tortillas can also be hard if there is not enough fat or if it is cooking for too long or the heat was too high.
Storing/Reheating leftover tortillas
If the temperature and humidity of your home are cool and dry, feel free to leave them out in a Ziploc bag. If not, put it in the fridge. To reheat, put it on a pan and cover on low heat for a bit just to warm and soften it. You can also microwave it for 10-20 seconds with a damp paper towel on top until soft. The paper towel will heat and create steam.
Step 1: Add the vegetable oil to the dry ingredients
Using your hand, combine until no oil remains and all the flour is in small clumps. You should be able to squeeze the dough and it should hold the shape. I have one hand holding onto the bowl and the other doing the work.
Step 2: Add water to make a shaggy dough
Add just enough water to form a shaggy dough. The amount of water needed may be less if the climate is warmer and more humid than New York in the winter. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Knead and Divide
Knead the dough until smooth and divide into 6 pieces, about 76 grams each. Make each piece into a ball and rest for 30 minutes in a covered bowl.
Step 4: Rolling out the dough
Roll out the dough until 8 to 9-inch diameter. A perfect circle takes practice and there’s no better way to do this but to make more tortillas. It’s a little easier to start from the middle, roll up, back to the middle, and roll down. Then rotate the dough 45 degrees and do the same. But any shape will still yield a good tortilla. The dough should be slightly translucent and thin.
Step 5 & 6: Cooking the tortilla
When the pan is hot, put the tortilla on and let it cook for 30 seconds. You should see air bubbles puffing up. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds. There should be tiny light brown spots on the tortilla. Remove from heat and then immediately put into a bowl/plate with a towel on top or in a Ziploc bag.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I love having tortillas on hand to make breakfast burritos, taquitos, and quesadillas.
1 hr 0 mins
1 hr 5 mins
For Step 1
For Step 2
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and vegetable oil (step 1 ingredients) with your hands in a large bowl until no oil remains and the mixture holds its shape when squeezed.
Add the warm water in and mix until it forms a shaggy dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Knead the dough until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, about 76 grams each. Roll each piece into a ball and place it into the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball until 8 to 9 inches in diameter. The dough will be slightly translucent.
Using a cast iron or non-stick skillet, heat the pan until hot on high heat. Lower the heat to medium and place the tortilla into the pan.
Wait 30 seconds for small bubbles to appear onto the surface and flip the tortilla onto the other side for 30 seconds.
Remove the tortilla from the heat onto a plate and cover with a towel or place it into a Ziploc bag to keep the heat in. This keeps the tortillas warm and soft.
Repeat until all the tortillas are made.
・ Calories: 233 kcal
・ Carbohydrates: 32.2 g
・ Protein: 4.3 g
・ Fat: 9.5 g
・ Sodium: 390 mg
・ Fiber: 1.2 g