Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade Flour Tortillas

On my continued quest to stretch our budget and make as much from scratch as possible, thereby saving money and eliminating artificial ingredients, I've turned to making our own flour tortillas. I've already posted a few recipes with them featured in meals, but I've yet to post the recipe to make the tortillas themselves. There are a number of recipes already on the web, so mine is probably not a unique recipe, although I'm posting it. What I'm offering more rather, are tips on how to make the best ones.

For instance, I've tried fat-free versions, and they just didn't have the same flavor, and they burned on the pan, to the point where we could taste burn, not flavor. Also, remove as much loose flour as possible from each tortilla before dry-frying it, as well as brushing away flour from the center of the griddle between each tortilla. The loose flour will continue to cook and burn onto the tortillas. I've not seen this mentioned in any of the recipes I found and figured out how to resolve this out eventually on my own. So, after you roll out the tortillas and have them in a stack, take a pastry or basting brush and lightly brush off the flour from the tortillas while it's in your open hand. When you are ready to flip the tortilla, brush it again, and while the tortilla is on your spatula, brush any remaining loose flour away from the center of the griddle. I hope this makes sense. I usually end up with a floury stove, but it's easily cleaned up. Also, the recipes I've seen call for a very hot griddle, but again, I've had burned tortillas with that. So, I've lowered my heat and cooked them for a few seconds longer with great results.

There is nothing like a homemade tortilla. They are fluffy, and especially wonderful, while they're still warm from the griddle. The ones from the store now seem flat and less flavorful. It takes about a half-hour or so to make them, and I end up with between twelve and 20 tortillas, depending on how big I make my initial balls, so it's very cost-effective too. You can try them with my Breakfast Burritos, if you like.

Homemade Flour Tortillas


3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. shortening
1 and 1/4 cups warm water


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and blend it well with a pastry cutter or fork. Add the water and stir well. Knead the dough for three to five minutes on a lightly floured surface. Take a clump of dough, roughly the size a little larger than a golf ball, and roll it into a ball. Place each ball back in the bowl, and let them all rest for fifteen minutes. Sprinkle a little flour on a cutting board and roll out each ball into the shape of a tortilla. You'll want to get it as thin as possible because they fluff up when cooked. Place in a stack, slightly staggered to facilitate easy picking up. Sometimes the bottom ones will stick, so staggering them kind of prevents this. Heat a griddle, with no oil, to just past medium heat. My stove dial goes up to 10, so I set my dial to 6. Make sure the griddle is hot before adding any tortillas. Pick up a tortilla off the stack and brush away the loose flour, from rolling it out, with a pastry brush. Put on the center of the griddle and cook until the bottom has a few brown speckles on it. Pick up the tortilla with a large pancake spatula and brush away any flour from the center of the griddle. Flip the tortilla back on the griddle, upside down. You will see air bubbles form, and that's a good thing. Check the bottom, and if it's speckled brown, it's done. Each tortilla takes about a minute or so to cook completely, so it's a fairly fast process. Remove the tortilla from the griddle, being sure to brush it free from flour and the center of the griddle as well. Eating loose flour on a tortilla doesn't taste good. Cook all the tortillas this way, and you're done! Makes about a dozen or so tortillas. Feeds five hungry vegans.


  1. Home made tortillas are wonderful things ! I live in a heavy Hispanic populated area and I often see these tortilla press tools in the grocery stores with the measuring cups and so on. I keep contemplating buying one because every time I have made tortillas I get upset that they do not roll out perfectly round ( it's a weird sort of perfection thing ) , and if I had a press I could make them pretty. I have come across several recipes for making tortillas with soaked flour, so making tortillas again is on my future to do list. I think the parts that bubble and brown are really pretty for some odd reason.

  2. I love them. You did such a nice job on those tortillas...Since I am so highly allergic to so many food ingredients, I have to make my own tortillas, bread, & biscuits and after so many years of doing that I could not even imagine spending the money on store bought tortillas, bread & biscuits. Homemade are so much tastier. Actually because of my allergies I have to be very carefull of what I put in my mouth. I bought Earth Balance vegan butter because the store was out of Smart Balance "Light" butter which is Vegan. I didn't read the label on the Earth balance and after suffering from the itch and the rashes for a week, I read the labels on everything I had in my food storage and refrigerator and I found that the Earth balance butter has corn in it and now I am covered in rashes and it is miserable because it itches so much. I had to go to the doctor and I am on a cycle of benedryl until it all goes away.

  3. Thanks for the tips and the recipe! I've never made my own tortillas, but I have some extra time off work in January, and I'm hoping to do lots of things in the kitchen.

    I'm sure the homemade tortillas are leaps better than store bought...I hope to make some soon!

  4. Hi, Di, those tortilla contraptions must be nice. But, for some reason, I like rolling out dough and doing things the old fashioned way. My husband is confounded by this. :-)

    Millie, I sure hope you feel better soon!

    You're welcome, Rose! I'm sure you'll be a whiz at these! I included the tips because there were none for me, and some of my tortillas came out terrible!

  5. Do they turn out well if you use 100% whole wheat flour? Let me know.

    I've never had a homemade tortilla before, can you believe that?! They look so yummy--I'm going to have to give it a try!

  6. Also could I substitute oil or Earth Balance spread for the shortening? Would that work?

  7. Hi - thought this would be the easiest way to get back to you. I had to delete the post because I re-read it and I was reading several articles this morning and posted the wrong one, and I cannot seem to find the track back to the one I intended to post /link . Call it too little sleep and too much fun with geeky info :-)

  8. I've never made my own tortillas. Yours look so good. Now that you have explained everything in such detail, I think I just may have to try out your recipe....very soon! I love that you gave us those tips. My husband will be so excited to know about this recipe! :o) I can't wait to try them!

  9. i really like the tips about the extra flour. this is what i like to read!!!

    haha i like what di wrote. again great tips, i think my husband would like these a lot

  10. Wow good job I applaud you! My mom always used to make tortillas from scratch and I just don't seem to be too good at it. You have to get it yo that perfect consistency which is a pain in the butt. I'll have to they again though. It's been at least a couple years since my last try.

  11. Good questions, Valerie. I'm sure whole wheat flour would work. You see them in stores. I'm going to play around with flavors and different flours, and I'll post them if they turn out well. As far as alternatives to shortening, I would try Earth Balance before oil, since I've seen margarine in bread recipes, but not so much oil. Good luck and let me know how they turn out!

    Thanks for clearing up the confusion, Di. :-)

    Oh, thanks, Michelle (LLV). I try to be as specific as possible and cover anything I think might lead to questions. That's a bother for me - when I read a recipe and it leaves me with questions.

    Michelle (DD), you're welcome! I thought I would be as detailed as possible, so people could avoid the pitfalls that I had. I'm sure Stomper will love these.

    Carissa, give it a try again! I certainly don't try to get the perfect consistency. I'm not even sure what that is. I just roll the balls, that's all. Easy stuff. Try againj!

  12. I only made tortillas once, but in a way they are very similar to other flats breads around the world, we have something similar to tortilla in my village in Italy.

    The best tortilla i had were made by my Mexican cousin Alejandro, he uses a tortilla press, and the iron plates we have in my village are very similar!

    I tried them in a pan, but it wasn't easy ;-)

    ciao and Happy Holidays!


  13. Excellent- I just got a tortilla press! :)

  14. I need to get a tortilla press asap! Now that you made them I want to try too! I am thinking about trying a gluten free tortilla's, but I ahven't found any so maybe I will make them, I love tortilla's so much!!! Anyone made gluten free?

  15. Hi, Alessandra - I think that's an interesting observation about tortillas and flat breads around the world. Wouldn't it be great if we could do a taste test of all world's breads? :-)

    VegSpinz, Congrats! Hope to see some yummy recipes!

    Brandi, I guess I do, too! :-) I never think of getting myself anything to make my cooking easier. I haven't made gluten-free, but I know there are rice flour versions - I've seen them.

  16. I've been looking for a tortilla recipe. I will have to try these!

  17. Give them a try, Reggie. Hope you like them!