Welcome to the best recipe for flour tortillas. You just happened to find a pro to show you how to make these deliciously chewy, thin and soft Northern Mexican flatbreads. The best thing is, you can make these tortillas with or without lard.
Why make your own?
Once you made your own flour tortillas from scratch you will never want to go near store-bought tortillas ever again. There is just no comparison in texture, flavour and classiness when making it yourself.
The satisfaction you get from sinking your teeth into a proper burrito or juicy quesadilla is unbelievable and will make you seriously wonder why you never made your own flour tortillas.
The beauty of homemade goes even further. By making it yourself you get to control the size and thickness of the tortilla.
Some like it thick for some reason. I never Understood thick tortillas but, hey, each to their own. Most people like it thin. Which is the correct way to make them.
Makes your meal lighter and your waist & thighs happy too.
What to use it for
Once you've made it you can use it for a variety of other Mexican or Tex Mex dishes.
You can make bite-sized tacos for a barbecue party or do a giant casserole with enchiladas on gameday.
Then when your done and have loads of leftovers, you can fry or toast them into tostadas, taco shells or make your own tortilla chips, aka, Doritos.
Perfect to scoop up some chipotle guacamole.
Why this recipe?
My Vegan friends will be happy to know that this recipe is 100% plant-based and does not use lard. Although, I do include the measurement if you would like to make a more traditional version that does use lard. For my omnivore friends of course.
Finally, you'll be happy to know that flour tortillas do not require any kneading and use the simplest of everyday ingredients you already have lurking in your pantry.
That means, quick-quick, easy-peasy and we off to the races.
Have a little fiddle around your pantry and you will find these ingredients in a jiffy. If not, your local store definitely sells them for cheap-cheap.
- Flour - Plain all-purpose white flour. You could also try gluten-free or substitute a part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat.
- Fat - You can use any fat your heart desires. To make this recipe vegan I used regular sunflower oil. For a more traditional tortilla recipe use lard or, if you want to be real fancy use coconut oil, olive oil or beef dripping.
- Salt - Fine sea salt
- Baking powder - Got to have it. Helps make it light and airy.
- Water - Boiled cold water and then cooled down. It's better not to use warm water straight from the tap as old boilers can harbour lots of nasties.
How to make it
This whole process will take about 30 - 45 minutes of your time If you're medium-paced like me.
Making the dough
- Get your flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and give it a mix. This is so that all the ingredients get evenly distributed. You should always do this if a recipe calls for a mix of dry ingredients.
- Add the fat/oil/lard/butter, whatever you are using, and give it a little mix through until all incorporated.
- Add in warm water(50C or 122F) to be exact. A few degrees, either way, won't kill anyone so, relaxy. Just make sure it's not burning your hands.
- Mix it all together until it forms a dough, and then shape into a ball. Put that back into the bowl, lightly oiled with whatever you used as fat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough have a nap for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, the dough will be able to form into a smooth ball as it has fully hydrated and rested. Form the ball.
- Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equal pieces. They will each weigh about 40g. Enough to make a 22cm or 8 inches round tortilla to cook in your 26cm or 10inch cast iron skillet.
- For those dough pieces into round balls again and give it another rest under a damp cloth for 5 minutes.
Next, we will roll them out one by one as we cook them so keep the blanky over them. You can roll them out all at once, just make sure to place each tortilla between a sheet of baking paper so they don't stick to each other. Imagine rolling them all out, and then they all get stuck into one big dough again. Fail)) Tears might also follow.
You will roll them out by placing on a floured work surface and flouring your rolling pin too. You want to roll from the middle outwards and turn the dough often. Anti-clockwise if you're right-handed, or clockwise if you're a lefty. You'll see what I mean when you do it.
This way they'll be more evenly shaped. Don't worry if it's not completely round. Embrace imperfections like that.
Tortilla presses does not do a nice job with flour tortillas. These are for corn tortillas. A whole different thing altogether.
Cooking the tortillas
Cooking them in a dry skillet on high heat is the only way.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet until that thing is ripping hot. That just means heating it on the stove for about 2 minutes or so. If you hover your hand over the pan it, you should feel the heat blaring off it.
- Place your first beautiful little piece of tortilla dough into the pan making sure it's flat and even. Cook it for about 30 seconds on one side and then flip over, cooking another 30 seconds on the other side until charred and cooked through on both sides. It will bubble up a bit and that's cool. Should be doing that. Just gently press it down with a spatula ever so slightly and all will be ok.
- Once cooked you have to keep the tortillas warm so they can stay soft and not dry out. This is very important. Most people just use a kitchen towel but you could also use a tortilla warmer.
- Repeat the dry-pan-cooking and keeping-warm-business until they are all cooked.
They only thing left to do now is eat them. Any way you like!
How to store them
Once cooled, you should keep them in a plastic bag or container sealed airtight.
You can keep them at room temperature for up to two days.
If you store them in the fridge, make sure they are sealed airtight. Otherwise, they will dry out and go stale.
- Don't use hot water from the tap. Boil and add cold water or let it cool down instead. Some older boilers are nasty inside and have lots of residue build-up inside that you really don't want to put in your body.
- After each tortilla is cooked, wipe the skillet with a dry cloth to get rid of any residual flour that might burn.
- Do not roll these out too thick. If they are too thick they won't cook properly and you'll have very heavy unpleasant tortillas. I always roll it thin enough so I can just about see my hand through the dough.
- If you have made a big batch of these and have some leftover you can either bake or fry them into tortilla chips or wrap airtight and store in the freezer for later use.
- The dough can be kept in the freezer. You can make a big batch and freeze smaller batches so that it's ready for when you need it.
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You can make a few small adjustments with the few ingredients used.
- Flour - Substitute part of the white flour for whole wheat flour or try using gluten-free flour instead if you are gluten intolerant. Do not use nut flours like almond flour as they will burn and be horrible.
- Fat - Here you can let rip. Use coconut oil, shortening, butter, ghee, olive oil or any kind of rendered animal fat like lard. Have you got any idea how good homemade tortillas with pulled beef are that's been made with beef dripping? You've got to try it. Mind explosions. Might even make you cry.
- Added extras - Go ahead and add some smoked paprika or turmeric powder. A little goes a long way.
You might have realised that flour tortillas can be used for more than the usual Mexican fare. Although, they do rule the party. Here are a few alternatives:
- With barbecued pork belly, whole roasted fish, thinly sliced bavette steak with bbq sauce or even pulled slow-roasted leg of lamb.
- To scoop up dips like these: green pea, feta and mint, this chipotle guacamole or this Moroccan baked eggplant zaalouk.
- Add some sauce like chimichurri or salsa verde.
- Have with curries or stews like this coconut chicken curry, this massaman shrimp curry or this Filipino beef adobo.
Other recipes you might like
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Useful equipment for this recipe
Cast iron skillet - Buy Now
Tortilla warmer - Buy Now
Wooden chopping board - Buy Now
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