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Authentic Mexican Flour Tortilla Recipe

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I hope that you get the same pleasure I do when you see your homemade tortillas for the first time!

homemade tortillas

homemade tortillas

The flavors, textures, and overall resourcefulness of authentic Mexican cuisine is mind-blowing. At the base of these fine flavors sits the humble tortilla. Simple, fluffy, and round, Mexican food wouldn't be the same without them. Yet, there are numerous commercial producers clouding the images of this popular flatbread.

After discovering the traditional methods of tortilla making, I vowed never to eat a mass-produced tortilla again. Why? Well, simply put, everything about traditional tortillas is superior to their store-bought counterparts. Without a doubt, they are the best tortillas, and since I'm not one to keep my recipes a secret, I'll show you how to make them as well.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

25 min

45 min

Eight 6" Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup lard
  • ~1/4 cup cold water

Note About Ingredients

I've been saying this a lot lately, but tortillas are no exception: Simplicity is key!

  • Obtain the highest quality ingredients whenever possible and never over complicate processes.
  • Lard is the key ingredient and can be obtained from Mexican markets. I use bacon lard in mine, as this was how I was taught.
  • Vary the amount or substitute butter or oil for a lower-fat option.

Instructions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of bacon lard to the flour mixture. Use a fork to mash together. You'll want to mix until a consistently crumbly mixture forms.
  3. Pour in the cold water in small amounts. Mix well until the dough has all come together in a loose ball. It could take a little less or a little more water, just let the dough tell you when.
  4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Move back to the bowl, and leave to rest covered at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.
  5. With a sharp knife, cut the dough ball into eight equal portions. At the same time, begin heating your heaviest pan on a burner set to med-high heat. For a truly authentic tortilla, a seasoned cast iron skillet is needed. Unfortunately, I don't have one quite yet, so I manage with a smaller pan.
  6. One by one, form a little ball with each section of dough and roll out on your well-floured surface. Always roll from the middle towards the edges and be sure to flip the dough to create an even circle.
  7. Once you've reached a six-inch dough circle, transfer to the heated pan.
  8. Each tortilla will cook for roughly one minute on each side. This should give you plenty of time to roll out the next dough ball and so forth. Create an assembly line, so to speak, until you've finished up all the tortillas.
  9. The finished tortillas will have developed golden-brown spots but still remain flexible and soft. Store them on a plate with a towel draped over them.
  10. Once cooled, move to plastic bags. They will store for 3-4 days at room temperature, up to a couple weeks in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for later use. Just fridge thaw to reuse.
Mix well until the dough has all come together in a loose ball. It could take a little less or a little more water, just let the dough tell you when.

Mix well until the dough has all come together in a loose ball. It could take a little less or a little more water, just let the dough tell you when.

Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Move back to the bowl, and leave to rest covered at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.

Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Move back to the bowl, and leave to rest covered at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.

The finished tortillas will have developed golden-brown spots but still remain flexible and soft.

The finished tortillas will have developed golden-brown spots but still remain flexible and soft.

Tortilla Recipe Rating -

Normally at this point in the article, I'd boast about how good these tortillas are, but honestly, they speak for themselves. With that, I'd like to personally thank you for reading my recipe. I appreciate the views and now that you know how to make these, get in the kitchen and make some of your own!

How to Use Your Tortillas

Now, what should you eat with those delights you just made? These are two of my favorite recipes.

Comments

Brandon Hart from Atlanta, Georgia, USA on January 09, 2014:

I love me some good old tortillas. Thanks for the great recipe.

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on June 25, 2013:

Joe, I made these tonight. They are fantastic. So much better than the ones we buy in the store -- even the specialty ones. I used stick butter instead of lard. I have tried making tortillas before and was never happy with them. I think the difference may be allowing the dough to rest before rolling them out. Anyway, thank you so much; they are great.

Brenda from Springfield, MO on March 26, 2013:

My grandmother use to make these all the time. I have been looking for a recipe that was like hers but i find have Crisco or oil. This sounds about right for how she used to make them. Thanks for the recipe. Voted up for useful

Zach (author) from Colorado on February 25, 2013:

Norma - Usually I just add small increments of cold water until my dough ball has formed, but for an actual measurement, I'd say it's around a 1/4 C of water.

Norma on February 24, 2013:

How much water do you pour in for this recipe?

carlarmes from Bournemouth, England on November 07, 2012:

Well I know what I'll be baking for my children tonight. We usually buy them already done, how boring, time to make our own and thank you for the recipe.

mamadolce6499 on October 30, 2012:

That had to of been the easiest dough I've ever made. I threw everything into my food processor and added cold water till the dough formed. Excellent! Thank you!

Zach (author) from Colorado on September 13, 2012:

RhettB,

Thanks for stopping by to read! I haven't personally used a counter-top griddle to make tortillas, but I'm sure that it will suffice. Of course you may need to make some slight temperature adjustments depending on the device, but I would start off at medium-high heat. Working quickly, that should keep the tortillas cooking thoroughly without becoming burned. Otherwise, follow the recipe as normal.

RhettB on September 12, 2012:

I have a glass top stove. As my old cast iron skillet would likely scratch the stove, I do not want to try that route.

Have you had any experience using a counter-top griddle? If so, what temperature setting would you recommend?

Zach (author) from Colorado on March 08, 2012:

Livingpah2004 - I have to agree with you. The smell of fresh tortillas is next to none. I am intrigued by the ways in which you use tortillas. Thanks for stopping by.

Milli from USA on March 08, 2012:

Thanks for posting it. I make whole wheat tortilla at home too. I love the smell and the taste of fresh tortilla, we call it roti.

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on December 06, 2011:

It's actually easy, provided you buy maseca (cornmeal treated with lime). Otherwise, you have to buy "cal" (lime) separately and add it to the corn meal. The lime helps break down the corn meal a bit. All you have to do is add water, roll it into balls, cut open a gallon bag on the sides so only the bottom seal is intact, put a ball between the 2 flaps, and press down with a large pan or skillet. Pushing down evenly makes it spread into a perfect circle. Then you peel back the plastic flaps of the gallon bag, and voila!

Zach (author) from Colorado on December 06, 2011:

Shortening, butter, olive/sunflower/veg oil, will all do the trick. I've tried them all out as well. Each fat/oil will have a unique taste. I still haven't mastered corn tortillas, is there a good recipe you use? Any tips?

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on December 06, 2011:

I assume you could use shortening instead if you wanted to avoid lard?

I've made corn tortillas a few times, and it was pretty easy. Will have to try to make flour tortillas now, too.

Zach (author) from Colorado on December 06, 2011:

mljdgulley354 - I'm glad that I could help you out! I've always been impressed with the level of skill that some people develop with tortilla making. I always wanted to do the same, and now I am. I hope that you enjoy the recipe.

rjsadowski - You bet I will. Takes a while sometimes to put them together, but there will always be more. Thanks for the feedback.

rjsadowski on December 06, 2011:

Another great recipe. Keep them coming.

mljdgulley354 on December 05, 2011:

Oh thank you thank you. I have been looking for a recipe for homemade tortilla and this is it. My aunt made home made tortillas when I was growing up. She made one of the big Tupperware bowls full each morning for her family. None of them learned to make the tortillas so now only have the memory. You made my day.