How to make tortillas you can find the answer in this complete guide. In this guide I will show all the different varieties of tortillas, how easy they are to make and why you should make them yourself. Ready to learn how to make tortillas? Lets get started!
Tortillas who doesn’t love them? They are nutritious, easy to make, simple and very versatile. Still millions of people go to the store and buy them. I know it is way easier to get them from the rack and they are so cheap.
But when you make tortillas yourself you will find they are much tastier than you any store bought tortilla.
To show you how easy it is to make tortilla yourself I everything you want to know about tortilla in one place. This guide gives you a step by step instructions how to make tortillas.
You can also find links to short instruction videos. So you can follow along when you want to make the recipes.
If you want to know even more about the various tortilla recipes in this post I will share some in-depth recipes descriptions.
Tortillas are originally from Mexico and are used as a bread or side dish with at lot of recipes. It is made with a limited number of ingredients. The basic ingredients are:
These recipes contain the basic ingredients flour, water, salt but can have additional ingredients like:
- Dahl – yellow split peas
- Baking soda
Type of tortillas
The two most distinctive tortillas are:
In case you are wondering the following are all versions in some way of the tortilla:
The only recipe that doesn’t resembles a corn or flour tortilla is:
These are all a version of the main tortilla recipe. We will go into detail what is the difference how to make these further down this article.
Tortillas are cooked on a hot plate, skillet, frying or griddle. You can adopt the dry cook method or the wet cook method.
- Dry cook method – This means cooking the tortillas without any cooking or baking product
- Wet cook method – This means cooking the tortillas with an oil, butter or other baking product
Knead tortilla dough
For all recipe applies that you can combine and knead the tortilla dough by hand or by kitchen machine. Kneading the dough by hand will take a little bit longer but gives the gluten in the dough time to activate while kneading.
Kneading the dough using a kitchen machine will go way faster and in my experience a softer dough. However when you make it using a machine means more dishes.
I would advise to try both methods and see which one you prefer.
Rest your dough
In all cases you need to rest your dough. This gives the gluten time to activate or in case of non gluten flour to absorb all the moisture of the water.
Wrap the bowl or the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge or on a draft free spot for at least 30 minutes.
Once your dough is rested knead the dough through by hand. The dough should be elastic and consistent and easy to roll into shape.
If your dough springs back and can’t hold shape when you roll it into a round shape, your dough needs more time to rest. Give the dough another 10 minutes of rest time and try again.
Shape your tortillas
There are a number of way to shape your tortillas. You can use:
- Tortilla press – can buy them in the store or make them yourself
- Rolling pin – flour your board and rolling pin and roll into a round shape
- Shape hand – shape and stretch the dough into a tortilla shape by hand
Corn tortillas are the mother of all tortillas. This Mexican tortilla is the most basic version of the tortilla and only contains 3 ingredients. To make tortillas you can either use a rolling pin or a tortilla press.
Corn tortillas ingredients
To make this recipe you need the following ingredients:
- Masa Harina (corn flour)
Masa Harina is available in either white corn flour or yellow flour. Do not confuse Masa Harina with Harina PAN which is pre cooked corn flour. This flour is used to make arepas.
How to make corn tortillas
Start by combining the water and the salt and mix it in the Masa Harina. Turn into a soft dough ball and let it rest before you start baking the tortillas.
Divide the dough balls into golf ball size balls. When you use a tortilla press cover the press with a plastic bag e.g a zip loc bag that you cut open.
Put the dough ball in the middle and press. You will get a perfect shaped tortilla. Take out of the plastic and cook on a griddle or hot plate.
For corn tortillas you do not need any baking product. Once the tortilla get a little charred turn an bake the other side. This will take about 1 minute per side.
Serve corn tortillas with
- Beef to turn it into a taco
- Pulled pork
- Shredded chicken
- Tip 1 – Did you know you can turn these tortillas into tortilla chips? If you want to know how take a look at the tortilla chips recipe
- Tip 2 – Corn tortillas are the base to make corn taco shells. You can easily make these corn tacos yourself
- Tip 3 – Did you know that corn tortillas are gluten free? You can eat them when you are gluten intolerant or just want to eat gluten free
- Tip 4 – As it only contains plant based ingredients this is vegan corn tortillas recipe
Want to know more or see how to make corn tortillas? You can watch along with the video in see how you can make corn tortillas.
Flour tortillas are made with only four ingredients and have a different texture than the corn tortillas. They are more pliable and softer than the corn tortilla.
The taste is also different as you use regular flour, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour or spelt flour for this recipe. As a result this flour tortilla recipe it is not gluten-free so be aware if you are gluten intolerant.
Flour tortilla ingredients
For flour tortillas you need 4 ingredients:
What is important for any type of tortilla is when you made the dough let the dough rest. No matter if you are making corn tortillas, flour tortillas, roti, flatbread, yufka or naan bread.
Let your dough rest. If you do not rest your dough and you try to roll the tortillas you will find a lot of resistance.
This is because the gluten are tight and you want your gluten relaxed so they give way when you roll them into tortillas.
When you let the dough rest you also give the flour time to absorb the liquids so you can get a consistent dough.
How to make flour tortillas
Making flour tortillas is similar to corn tortillas. Combine the flour and salt. Add the water and oil and use your hands to turn these ingredients into a consistent and elastic dough.
Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes wrapped in thin foil. Cut the dough in golf bal size pieces.
Knead a ball and use the tortilla press or rolling pin and turn it into a tortilla shape. Warm a skillet and bake the tortillas for about a minute per side.
Keep warm in a clean kitchen towel or tortilla warmer.
Use your tortillas
Tortillas are a very versatile basic ingredient and you can use and eat tortilla in one of the following recipes:
Making arepas are corn cakes and are similar to how to make corn tortillas. It is originally from Venezuela but is also well know in Columbia. It originates from the time that Venezuela and Columbia weren’t independent countries yet.
The main difference of this recipe from a corn tortilla is two fold:
- Pre-cooked maize meal – for arepas you use pre-cooked maize meal either white or yellow instead of Masa Harina which is not pre cooked
- Size – the size of an arepas is smaller and thicker than a tortilla. It is almost has the thickness of a flat bun instead of the thickness of a pancake
You need the following ingredient:
- Pre-cooked maize meal from e.g. PAN
Optional you can add:
How to make arepas
In this recipe you start with dissolving the salt in water. Once dissolved add the pre cooked maize meal and let the meal absorb the water. Now add some oil and knead it through the dough.
Let it rest for half an hour before you shape arepas patties the size of a hamburger bun. You can use a tortilla press for this or shape them by hand.
Take a skillet and let them cook for 5-7 minutes per side or until the arepa is golden brown.
You can make this in many different ways:
You can eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can eat it with:
Roti is the main side dish or bread in countries like India, Pakistan or Surinam. A roti is usually made fresh every day and eaten with just about any meal.
Roti comes in number of varieties:
- Roti with Dahl
- Potato roti
- Sweet potato roti
- Flour roti
Roti with Dahl
This roti with Dahl is eaten a lot in the Indian and Surinam kitchen. As a lot of Surinam inhabitants find their origin in India they took this recipe along when they traveled the World and ended up in Surinam.
Roti with Dahl ingredients
To make this recipe you need:
- Self-raising flour
- Baking soda
- Hot water
- Yellow split peas
- Chili pepper
How to make roti with Dahl
This is the most complex version of roti. You have to make a filling with Dahl and incorporate it in the roti.
To do so you have to cook the Dahl to let it get soft. Dahl is yellow and looks like split peas. To let the Dahl go soft you need to cook it. This can take at lease 30 minutes or longer.
Once the Dahl is soft you have to combine it with chili pepper, onion and garlic. To give it flavor and texture.
When the Dahl is done you can start with the roti. Make the dough make Dahl balls and wrap them with dough.
When you roll the dough with Dahl in it the whole roti is infused with Dahl. It will be soft and so tasteful. Heat a skillet and brush with oil. Put the roti in the pan. The roti will puff up.
When done and brown patches are visible flip the roti. Brush the outside with oil. Want to follow along you can watch and see how you can make roti with Dahl.
This potato roti recipe might be the easiest roti recipe you have ever made as it has way less ingredients that roti with dahl.
Potato roti ingredients
To emphasise how much easier this recipe is, it only requires two ingredients:
You could add salt but it is not really necessary. A prerequisite for a potato roti is that you use a starchy potato.
When cooked the potato should almost fall apart. That makes it easier that when you use a more solid potato.
How to make potato roti
All you have to do is cook the potato and when done combine it with the flour. As such you knead the flour into the potato and let it rest to activate the gluten in the flour.
Once you rested the dough you cut the dough into large balls and roll it into a tortilla. Bake it as any tortilla. So use a skillet or large griddle.
Brush with oil and bake the potato roti 1 to 2 minutes per side and you get one tasty roti.
Sweet potato roti
This sweet potato roti is similar to the potato roti recipe. The flavory of this recipe is distinctly different because sweet potato and regular potatoes do not taste alike.
It is all about what you like best.
Roti with flour
This flour roti is also made in the Indian/Surinam kitchen but is equal to the regular tortilla. A roti in India is also know as chapati or paratha.
Flour roti ingredients
If you want to make this flour roti you need the following ingredients:
Follow the instructions how to make tortillas and you have your roti with flour.
Eat roti with
Roti usually eat with Chicken, potato, egg and green beans. You can substitute the chicken for beef or pork but can also be eaten without meat.
Yufka Turkish flatbread originates from Turkey and is their version of the tortilla. This flatbread is about the size for a burrito tortilla which at 18 inch (40-50 centimeters) and there for big.
To make a yufka you need:
How to make yufka
Combine the ingredients and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Cut into equal pieces and roll into a round shape.
Opposed to a tortilla this recipe does not contain any oil and is originally made on a sac which is an iron plate that is heated with wood.
Because we do not have an iron wooden oven at home make a yufka in a skillet. You can brush the skillet with oil and bake the yfka. You can also bake with out.
As there is no oil in the yufka hardly has any moisture in it. The main reason it has a long shell life. You can put them in the freezer to store the yufka.
Compared to the tortilla that originates from Mexico, the flatbread does not have one particular origine. It is a common name a metaphor for all the variations of the tortilla you can find around the world.
There are more than 70 different types of flatbread that have the same base ingredients as tortillas but may be slightly different in preparation of cooking.
The most of these 70 plus recipes are from Asia but all continents (Europe, Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia) have their own version of the tortilla flatbread.
Flatbread is a bread recipe made with:
It does not have any leavening agent but can contain:
How to make flatbread
To make soft pliable flatbread put flour, milk, butter and salt in your kitchen machine. Combine the ingredients using a kitchen machine or knead by hand.
Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cut into golfball size balls and roll into a flatbread.
Bake in a hot skillet brushed with oil about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until you she brown patches. When your skillet or griddle is hot your flatbread dough can puff up.
This is alright and a sign your flatbread is properly cooked.
The basic ingredients for a pancake are:
Sometimes the batter contains a leavening agent like baking powder but potatoes can also be an ingredient in the pancake batter.
How to make pancakes
You can mix the pancake batter by hand in a big bowl. When you combine the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and keep on stirring until you have a lump free batter.
In my experience the easiest way to mix the pancake batter is combining it in a blender like how this is done for the Dutch baby pancake recipe. Take a look and follow along with the video to see how this is done.
Important step with pancakes is to let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes put preferably longer. It will give the flour time to absorb the wet ingredients and for the baking powder to activate.
Use a big non stick pan and some butter to bake the pancakes. Pre-heat the pan and put a knob of butter in the pan. Take a gravy spoon and pour the batter in the pan. Swirl the batter through the pan.
Let the pancake cook until the top is dry. Flip the pancake and bake the other side. Keep warm.
What most pancakes like tortilla and flatbread have in common it that is filled with a variation of toppings or filling.
Pancakes can be eaten any time of the day and usually with sweet toppings but a lot of savory toppings can be used.
Pancakes can even be decorated as a pizza and used as the base.
As naan bread, pita bread is one of the few flatbreads that is made using yeast. Pita is common in countries around the Mediterranean like Greece, Turkey and the Middle East.
Pita bread ingredients
The basic ingredients for pita bread are:
How to make pita bread
What is important with pita is that after preparing the dough, you let it proof and then bake the pitas at a very high temperature.
This ensures that the pocket in the pita will puff up. This is caused by the water inside the dough that will evaporate into steam and puff up.
As we most likely do not have an wood oven at home you simulate this buy heating your oven as high as it can go. Heat the oven with a pizza stone.
When the have rolled, shaped and proofed the pita you put it on the pizza stone and bake it in the oven for a couple of minutes. You will see the pita puff up.
Eat pita bread with
You can eat pita bread with:
You can also turn your pita into a pita pizza when you cut the pita in half and top it with your favorite ingredients.
Pita is a great source to making crispy pita chips. Cut your pita in half and then cut each halved pita in 6 to 8 wedges.
Sprinkle the wedges with oil and your favorite spices and herbs. Bake crisp in the oven and you have a great snack.
The naan bread we know originates from India and what may be surprising closely resembles pita bread.
Naan bread is one of the few breads that is also made with a leavening agent. Usually this is yeast but can also be made with baking soda.
Naan bread ingredients
The ingredients for naan bread:
- Self raising flour
- (Greek) yoghurt
- Olive oil
The advantage of using self raising flour is you do not need a long proofing time. When you use yeast it requires at least 15 minutes of proofing time or longer.
How to make naan bread
First combine the wet ingredients, yoghurt with the olive oil. Then combine the dry ingredients and stir.
Now it is time to combine the dry ingredients with the wet. First with a wooden spoon until consistent then knead by hand.
Make a ball from the dough and cut it into 6 wedges. Roll into a naan shape using a rolling pin. Warm a griddle or skillet and brush with olive oil.
Grill the naan bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Keep warm in a clean kitchen towel and serve.
Eat naan bread with
Naan is the ultimate side dish that you eat with curry or tikka masala. You can eat them with the following curries:
- Chicken curry
- Fish curry
- Vegetable curry
- Vegan curry
This post is all about how to make tortillas and we can not leave out the Spanish tortilla or also know as the tortilla Española or tortilla patatas.
Besides the name tortillas there is no comparison with the Mexican tortillas, flatbread, pita, naan or any of the other tortillas.
Spanish tortillas ingredients
This recipe requires the following ingredients:
- Onion (optional)
Even amongst Spaniards there is a debate whether or not a Spanish tortilla or tortilla Espanola includes the onions or not.
All the Spanish tortilla I have eaten are with onions so that is what we make.
How to make Spanish tortilla
To make this recipe start with peeling the potatoes. Cut into small pieces and wash the starch from the potatoes. Finely chop the onions.
Heat your olive oil just below cooking and add the potatoes and onion. Now boil the potatoes and onion for 20 minutes until soft.
Do not heat the olive oil to high because you will be frying your potatoes instead of boiling them. Strain the potatoes and onions. Save the oil.
Whisk the eggs and combine with the potatoes onion mixture. Heat your skillet and add some oil. Pour the mixture in the skillet and let it set then cook on medium heat for 6 minutes.
After 6 minutes take the tortilla out of the pan on to a plate. Use the pan as a lid and turn the tortilla in the pan.
Bake the other side also for 6 minutes. Let your tortillas de patatas cool and cut into wedges.
This concludes the ultimate beginners guide how to make tortillas. I hope this is useful information and helps you make the best, tasty tortilla you have ever eaten.