Homemade Flour Tortillas

After yesterday’s post telling you about making the components for fajitas from scratch, it’s not much of a surprise that today’s post is about making homemade flour tortillas.

I have a confession to make. I’m not good with rolling pins. Maybe it’s a matter of patience (of which I have very little), but I always get grumpy when I try to roll out dough with a rolling pin. I especially hate it when it keeps shrinking (I know it helps to allow the dough to rest to avoid this, but still). This is why I never make pasta the classical way with a rolling pin (which according to Italians is the superior method), but with a pasta rolling machine. And this is also part of the reason why I never made flour tortillas from scratch before. So when I was purchasing some dried chipotle and ancho chiles from an online store that sells Mexican stuff, on a whim I clicked and added a tortilla press to my order.

There is one thing I hate even more than rolling out dough with a rolling pin, and that is rolling out sticky dough with a rolling pin. Which is why I was a bit skimpy with the water when I made these flour tortillas and so the dough ended up a bit dry. That actually made it harder to make them thin, and the tortillas ended up just a bit dry as well. So next time I will use a bit more water (already adjusted in the recipe below). Another thing I’ll do differently next time is that I will use my stand mixer to make the dough.

The verdict? The homemade flour tortillas definitely tasted fresher than store-bought ones. And it’s nice to know that there are no preservatives or other ingredients in there. They are also cheaper if you don’t count the labor you put in. They were definitely better, but I think I will still buy tortillas as well.


For 4 tortillas of 20 cm (8″) diameter

200 grams (1 1/4 cup) flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp olive oil (it is more traditional to use lard)

120 ml (1/2 cup) hot tap water


Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to mix.

Add the water…

…and the oil.

Mix until the dough comes together. Add a bit more water if the dough is too dry or a bit more flour if the dough is too wet.

Knead the dough just until it is smooth. (It should really be smoother than shown above. Like I said, I kept it slightly too dry. A stand mixer would also do a much better job.)

Do not knead the dough more than necessary, because that would develop gluten that will make it difficult to roll out the dough.

Divide the dough into four quarters. Roll them into balls and flatten them with your hands.

Let the discs of dough rest under a moist towel for at least half an hour. This allows the flour to absorb the moisture and the gluten to relax.

Put a disc of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap on the tortilla press.

Close the tortilla press and press firmly.

If the tortilla does not become thin enough, your dough is probably too dry.

If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can do it by hand with a rolling pin as well. Roll out from the center towards the edges into different directions until it is about 20 cm (8″) in diameter and thin enough.

Fry the tortilla in a hot frying pan without any oil for about 30 seconds on the first side.

Repeat for 30 seconds on the other side. There should be some brown spots. If they do not appear, your pan is too cold. If the tortilla burns in 30 seconds, your pan is too hot πŸ˜‰

Wrap the warm tortillas in a damp towel to keep them pliable until you are ready to serve them. If needed you can reheat them in the microwave, still covered in the damp towel.


26 thoughts on “Homemade Flour Tortillas

  1. Baby Lady is planning on showing you her sister’s recipe when you arrive. I won’t post it until then. πŸ˜‰ I’m also going to get you a real tortilla warmer. As for the tortilla press, that is for corn tortillas. Four tortillas you really need to do either by hand or with a rolling pin. I like flour tortillas for burritos and a few other dishes but I truly prefer white corn tortillas for almost everything else. I’m also going to send you back with a 5 lb bag of masa harina. πŸ™‚


    1. I was hoping Baby Lady would teach me a thing or to (as I’m sure you will). As far as I know fajitas are made with flour tortillas. I’ve never even tried corn tortillas and am curious what they are like. The fact that the tortilla press is supposed to be used for corn tortillas probably explains why it didn’t work as well as I had hoped πŸ˜‰
      Thanks Richard!


      1. Stefan, you are correct that fajitas use flour tortillas, as do quesadillas, chimichangas,flautas, and even some soft tacos. When you eat a stew, i.e. guise de puerco (pork stew), costillos (braised ribs), chicken mole, menudo, etc. tortillas are always served on the side. The type of tortilla served is what you or your guest prefers. Personally, I just like the flavor of the corn tortillas better but there are dishes I prefer the flour, especially someone who knows how to make a really good, soft, pliable, tender flour tortilla. We will probably only do 1 night of Mexican food because it’s so easy to go overboard and eat waaayyyy tooooo much. We are still discussing the menu. Given your trip is almost 4 months away and who knows what will be in the market at that time, there is absolutely no telling what we are going to do other than Baby Lady showing you how to do flour tortillas. πŸ™‚


        1. I just have to butt in here.. It’s funny you said that about eating too much. I cook a lot of mexican/southwestern at home, but if we go out for mexican, i insist that it’s for lunch. that way, i have the rest of the day to recover!!


            1. Noooooo….!!!
              Last time when our friends in Australia tried to overfeed us at lunch, Kees simply skipped dinner altogether. Please have mercy on our small stomachs that are not used to American portion sizes — and certainly not to Mexican ones πŸ˜‰


        2. Please go easy on the amount of food, as well as on the amount of chiles πŸ™‚ We are not used to either of them and may actually get sick. (When I made the dish with 7 chiles for your challenge, we didn’t sleep well because our digestion wasn’t used to so much capsaicin.


      2. Stefan, it’s funny you commented on US portion size. We are the most obese nation in the world for a reason. πŸ™‚ I generally don’t eat lunch. On the rare occasions I do, it’s a very lite lunch. Ironically, Elia and I were just discussing menu and portion size for your visit. She mentioned service on salad plates as opposed to the standard American dinner plate. It’s easier to control portion size on smaller plates. πŸ˜‰ Rest assured we will not overfeed you (at least not intentionally πŸ˜‰ ).
        I figure we will have a nice lite breakfast – we typically eat yogurt but do have the occasional egg. Lunch will be something lite, as well, more than likely a salad, or cup of soup and half sandwich – something simple but tasty. Of course, then there are those days we eat brunch simply because we are having a very relaxing morning.
        Dinner portion sizes will be controlled but it will be on the order of a tasting menu, most likely. One night will be Mexican food with our twist on it. It will not be too hot, I assure you. More than likely there will be a variety of salsas so you can make it spicy or not. I am very seriously toying with the idea of a duck carnita sous vide, as well as a poblano relleno with coconut (and perhaps mango) for dessert -still wrapping my mind around this one. Oh, there will be a lot of wine, πŸ™‚ mostly red because that is really what we drink, but we do have some whites (40 – 50) and I’m sure we can find a place for a bottle or 2 of champagne, especially when Mimi is here. πŸ™‚ Of course, the gears are spinning and have been spinning for both Elia and me, so there really is no telling what we will come up with. I may go back to my restaurant training and do French food. Who knows? All I know is we are really looking forward to your trip. πŸ˜€


        1. Hmmm that’s strange — I’m sure I already responded to this on the train but that seems to have gone missing 😦
          Everything you mention sounds great, and I’m sure the food will be fantastic. I’m very curious about the duck carnitas sous-vide. Anyway, it’s also good to remember that the main reason for coming over is meeting you and Elia (with Mimi as a bonus).
          As for wine, we like both red and white and we like to pair our wines with the food. As such, we have red mostly with red meat only. Thus it’s ironical that you prefer red as I know you don’t eat a lot of red meat (duck is read meat though). 40 bottles of white should be sufficient though πŸ˜‰ With our jetlags, we shouldn’t drink too much red or we’ll fall asleep for sure.
          We are definitely looking forward to coming over, too! πŸ™‚


  2. I was just going to tell you about masa harina, too! It works like magic. I think there might be a preservative or two in it – I’d look but I don’t have any right now. But I was going to add that a wheat and corn combo in tortillas is also fabulous. You just have to grind the cornmeal super fine.
    There is also a gadget that works like a press and also cooks at the same time. here is the link to my post: http://chefmimiblog.com/2012/11/12/im-not-martha-stewart-but/


    1. I’m having a lot of fun reading the comments between you and Richard, Stefan. It almost sounded like you were going to cancel you trip for fear of overeating, overdrinking, and getting sick! (kidding, of course!)

      We do overeat in this country. I happen to be one of those who doesn’t believe in portion size, when I’m eating something wonderful. Within reason, of course.

      But it’s typically the American restaurant chains that serve the giant portions. We do, fortunately have good restaurants that serve tasting menus and the like. Of course, I know you have travelled in the US before, so you’re well aware of this.

      But I honestly didn’t think about the fact that your stomachs aren’t used to the spiciness that Richard and I are. I, personally, have an iron stomach, which comes in handy! However, I also like to taste my food – not have it so “hot” and my mouth burns. Flavor is everything!

      My number one love is Mexican/Southwestern food, but that is tied to Indian food as well. (They have so many ingredients in common.)
      I don’t think I could pick number 2! So many from which to choose!

      But it’s probably good you did say something. Otherwise there might be a chile pepper eating contest! kidding, again…

      I’m really looking forward to meeting you, Kees, as well as Richard and his wife in person. I’m coming the second night, so you shouldn’t be as jet lagged.

      I know you’ve travelled to the US before, but my flights from London and Amsterdam into DFW are just long days. And Richard just lives right there, so you should be just fine.

      I’ll come the next afternoon, and I’ve been wondering what I can bring to the party… I know it’s months away, but I know we all love to plan ahead! If you have any ideas, please tell me!
      It certainly sounds like I don’t have to bring wine!!!

      I am bringing my camera, and would love to do blog posts eventually on two of my favorite food bloggers!


      1. When you say Indian food, you mean American Indians or Indians from India?
        It won’t come as a surprise that my number one love is Italian food πŸ™‚
        I’m also looking forward to meeting you. Our jetlag is usually okay going to the US (coming home is a different matter though).
        Perhaps you have some tools or equipment that Richard doesn’t have that you could bring to play with, but I doubt it πŸ˜‰


  3. Chef Mimi is right – masa harina is hard to find, but there is no substitute for it. It is fabulous in tortillas. Oh, I and I think Rich is right – tortilla warmers rock, plus they are so festive. You are always stretching your limits and exploring culinary art – and learning. Another impressive recipe, Stefan. Nice work.


  4. Homemade tortillas are so much better than any that can be bought. Although I’ve not made them myself, I have enjoyed quesadillas made with homemade tortillas and they were fantastic. I’ve no doubt that your tortillas were every bit as good as those I enjoyed.


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