How To Make Flour Tortillas
Easy Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe: Learn How To Make Flour Tortillas that are utlra-light, flexible, and full of fluffy bubbles!
Real Cooks Make Their Own Tortillas
At least, that’s what I was told by my closest Latina friend.
For years I’ve been teaching cooking classes, blogging recipes here on A Spicy Perspective, and professionally developing recipes for brands… Yet one of my latina friends noticed a package of store-bought tortillas on my counter one day and casually stated:
Mija, you are not a real cook after all. Real cooks make their own tortillas.
Of course, this was a joke. (Sort of.)
But we went on to have a long discussion about how tortillas are the first thing you learn to make with your abuela (grandma) in Latin American countries, and you never stop making them.
This friend makes tortilla from scratch every single day.
So I decided it was time to not only make my own tortillas, but to make them so well, that my amiga would be very proud of me.
Therefore, today I’m sharing a fool-proof flour tortilla recipe that produces gorgeous, soft, pillowy, bendable tortillas in any size you like.
I should state, flour tortillas are very Mexican-American or Tex Mex.
The tortillas my friend made with her abuela were corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas are traditional in Latin American cuisine. Whereas flour tortillas were introduced much later in places where American culture has had a heavy influence.
However, since my friend now lives in the US and shared both her corn and flour tortilla recipe tips with me, I decided to start with her flour tortillas. After all, I’m American, and that’s what most Americans would prefer to make. (Plus, they are a little easier to handle for beginners.)
If you are looking for a killer corn tortilla recipe, don’t worry, I shared that recipe as well!
Why Make Flour Tortillas From Scratch?
It’s a reasonable question. If there are so many fantastic tortilla companies out there, why should you take the time to make your own tortillas?
Well, in my humble opinion (and at the risk of getting smacked by mi amiga) I think there are times when you should make them from scratch, and times when you shouldn’t.
For instance, if you are coming home from a harried day at work and decide to run by the store to pick up ingredients for a quick “Taco Tuesday” dinner… Don’t plan to make your own tortillas. Just buy them!
If you are making tortilla wraps or veggie burritos to pack for your lunch… Don’t make tortillas, just buy them.
However, if you are having a weekend Mexican feast with friends, that is the time to pull out the tortilla press.
If you’ve taken the time to make authentic slow-cooked carnitas, carne asada, homemade salsa, fresh guacamole, margaritas and agua fresca for the kids… That is the time to whip up hot airy flour tortillas from scratch.
There’s nothing quite like the rustic appeal of fluffy homemade flour tortillas to enhance your tacos, fajitas, and burritos!
Homemade Flour Tortillas
The trick to making fabulous flour tortillas, is to not over-think it. If you want to know how to make tortillas at home, you just need to remember a few things.
What are the important elements of a good flour tortilla recipe?
- They should be soft and flexible. Not brittle.
- They should have bubbles to lighten the overall texture.
- They should have a delicate flavor. Of wheat and pork fat.
These things are easily achieved by following a few key steps and including a few key ingredients.
You will need some equipment to make flour tortillas from scratch… An electric mixer, a nonstick or cast iron skillet, and a tortilla press.
However, there are ways to work around these items if you don’t want to run out and buy them.
You can mix the dough by hand, and you can roll the dough with a rolling pin… This will surely give you a bit of an upper-body workout, but does not negatively affect the quality of the tortillas!
Flour Tortilla Recipe Ingredients
To make the best flour tortillas you’ve ever tasted, you only need 5 ingredients…
- All-Purpose Flour – The base of the tortillas.
- Baking Powder – To help form the bubbles.
- Salt – To enhance the flavor.
- Lard – Animal fat will produce the best flavor, but you could also use vegetable shortening for a vegetarian recipe.
- Hot Water – The water doesn’t have to be boiling, but it should be very hot tap water to melt the lard.
How To Make Flour Tortillas
- Set Up: Set out all equipment – A stand mix, cutting board, a skillet, and a tortilla press. The skillet and tortilla press must be large enough to fit the size of tortillas you want to make.
- Mix: Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix in the lard. Slowly pour in very hot tap water. Mix until the dough is smooth.
- Cut: Place the tortilla dough on a cutting board. Cut the ball in half and continue to divide in half until you have enough equals portions to make as many tortillas as you want. Cut them into 12, 15, 24, or 30 pieces to make extra-large, large, average, or small tortillas.
- Press: Place plastic wrap over the to top and bottom pressing-surface of the tortilla press. Once at a time, place a ball of dough in the middle of the press. Press down hard to flatten the dough ball. Then rotate the tortilla, and press hard again.
- Cook: Peel the tortilla off the plastic and move it to a hot dry skillet. Cook the tortilla about 30 seconds per side, waiting until large bubbles form. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Get the Full (Printable) Best Flour Tortilla Recipe Below
Tips & Tricks
- If you don’t have a tortilla press on hand, you can place the ball of dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll out the tortilla!
- Make sure to use lard or vegetable shortening in order to get the right texture and fluffy tortillas!
- Homemade tortillas are cheaper to make at home than buying at the store, plus they are so fresh and delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Calories and Carbs do Flour Tortillas Have?
Flour tortillas are not low carb, however they are also not terribly unhealthy. An average taco-size flour tortilla has about 16 grams of carbohydrates, 76 calories, and about 1 gram of fat.
We’ve provided a full nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below.
If you are looking for low carb tortillas or grain-free tortillas try these two amazing options…
Can I Make Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas?
Yes, you can make a gluten-free version of this recipe by swapping 1-to-1 gluten-free baking mix with the wheat flour.
The tortillas will not be quite as flexible as when made with gluten, but if you serve them warm, they still have great bend and flavor.
If you don’t mind mixing your own gluten-free flour, try this GF tortilla recipe for a bit more flexibility.
How Long Do Homemade Flour Tortillas Last?
Homemade Flour Tortillas will last at least one week in the refrigerator.
They are best when served fresh, yet will taste pretty much like store-bought tortillas after a day or two.
Can You Freeze Flour Tortillas?
Yes, you can freeze homemade tortillas. Place them in a freezer zip bag, squeeze out the air, and seal well. Then freeze for 3-6 months.
Thaw at room temperature before reheating.
What’s the Best Tortilla Press for Flour Tortillas?
If you need to buy a tortilla press, check out this post on the best tortilla presses, which includes the ever-popular, Victoria tortilla press that’s similar to the cast iron press that I use regularly. It’s a basic, durable design that you can get on Amazon for around $25. Or, the IMUSA aluminum press is lightweight and a little more affordable and sells for $15 at Target.
Do I Need a Tortilla Press to Make Tortillas?
Technically, no. But it makes the process a whole lot easier! If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can place the ball of dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll them into thin circles.
How To Make Flour Tortillas
- Set out a stand mix, a cutting board and knife, a cast iron or nonstick skillet, and a tortilla press. The skillet and tortilla press must be large enough to fit the size of tortillas you want to make. *You do not have to have tortilla press; you can make tortillas with a rolling pin. But the press makes it much easier!
- Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix well. Then beat in the lard. Finally, turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in very hot tap water. Mix until the dough is very smooth. Then turn off the mixer.
- Gather the dough and press into a ball. Place it on a cutting board. Cut the ball in half and continue cutting each piece in half (or thirds) until you have enough equals portions to make as many tortillas as you want. *You can cut them into 30 "street taco" 4-inch tortillas, 24 taco 6-inch tortillas, 15 large taco/fajita 8-inch tortillas, or 12 burrito 10-inch tortillas.
- Set the skillet over medium heat. Place plastic wrap over the to top and bottom pressing-surface of the tortilla press. (Some people like to slide a freezer bag over each section because it's a little more sturdy than plastic wrap.) Once at a time, place a ball of dough in the middle of the press, just slightly closer to the hinge. Press down hard to flatten the dough ball. Then rotate the tortilla 90 degrees, and press hard again. The tortilla should be paper-thin.
- Peel the tortilla off the plastic and move it to the hot dry skillet. Make sure you lay it in the skillet carefully so it has full contact with the hot surface. Cook the tortilla about 30 seconds per side, waiting until large bubbles form. If you flip it too fast, the tortillas will be dense instead of airy and bubbly.
- Adjust the heat as needed after the first or second tortilla. They should have golden marks from the skillet touch-points and have airy bubbles. If they are turning dark too fast, lower the heat. If bubbles are not forming, turn the heat up.
- Once cooked, move the tortilla to a holding plate and cover with a towel to keep warm. Continue making the rest of the tortillas. Serve warm.