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How To Make Flour Tortillas Recipe/Receta de Comó Hacer Tortillas de Harina

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Flour Tortillas1a@mexicoinmykitchen
Flour tortillas are more common in the northern states of México, where they are still made using the traditional recipe of:

  • 1 kilo of All purpose flour
  • 1/4 of a kilo Vegetable Shortening 
  •  Hot water as needed
  •  A dash of baking powder
  •  A pinch of salt. 

Some cooks will omit the baking power.

Although nowadays you can conveniently get them at the corner store, many housewives continue to buy one kilo of flour to make flour tortillas at home, Like Señora Hortencia Luna, a very sweet lady that used to be my son’s nana in Monterrey, NL. Everyday before going to work, she would cook this amount of flour in tortillas for her family. When I asked her why she always made the same amount, she told me that it was the only recipe that anyone knew. In México, it’s very common to find shortening in 1/4 kilo sizes packages and flour in 1 kilo sizes.

Please make sure to read all these notes before you start making your tortillas, you’ll be glad you did.

Makes 10 (10 in.) Tortillas
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour, plus extra to form tortillas.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 Cup shortening or Lard
  • 1 cup hot water * See Note
*Note 1: Add the water little by little to from the dough since in humid climates a slightly less amount of water will be needed.

Flour TortillasA1

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, salt and mix. With the help of a fork, pastry blender or your hands, incorporate the shortening or lard until it resembles coarse meal.
2. Slowly add the hot water a little at the time until the dough holds together. Do not add all the water at once. See note above.
3. Turn dough onto a work surface, and knead for a couple of minutes until it is smooth.

Flour Tortillas10@mexicoinmykitchen

4. Divide the dough in 10 pieces rolling every piece in your work surface with the palm of your hand to form a little disk . We call these “testales”.

Flour Tortillas11a2mexicoinmykitchen

5. Cover the “Testales” in a damped kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rest for 30-45 minutes.
Note 2: The resting period will develop the gluten and forming the tortilla disks will be easier. Do not skip this step.

Flour Tortillas12@mexicoinmykitchen

6. After the resting period, place an ungreased griddle/comal over medium heat. Grab your Rolling Pin to start forming the tortillas on a lightly floured surface. If you add too much flour to the surface your tortillas will be dry.

Flour TortillasB

7. To form the tortillas place the “testal” (ball of dough)onto the working area and press slightly with your hand, set the rolling pin at the center of the “testal” and press forward without making it to the edge and then press backwards towards yourself stopping before the edge. Turn the tortilla 45 degrees (like a half turn) and repeat pressing forward and then towards you. Flip the tortilla and repeat the same process until you have a thin disk of about 10 inches. If you are new to rolling tortillas, be patient, it takes a little practice.

Flour Tortillas23

8. Now, place the tortilla in your already hot Griddle or comal. This step is a really quick one: be careful with your timing. a) During the first 20 to 30 seconds, the tortilla starts forming air bubbles and light brown spots will show at the bottom side of the tortilla, b) turn the tortilla, and during the next 20 seconds, more air bubbles will continue to from. c) turn again; at this time the tortilla will puff up like in the picture above. This last step will take about 10 seconds. Remove the tortilla and wrap with a kitchen towel. Keep making the rest of the tortillas.



Extra Notes:
*Your comal/griddle should be hot enough so that when cooking the tortillas the spots are light brown; if they are dark brown to soon then the heat is too high, and if the tortillas take longer to cook then the heat is too low.
* To store the tortillas place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
* To reheat the tortillas, place them in a hot griddle/comal and warm them the same way you cook them, turning twice. The air bubbles will form again but not as big as when they were just cooking.


Do you like Flour Tortillas?  Do you have a special recipe for them? Please share it with us in the comments section. Thanks!

Mely




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89 comments:

  1. Mely, This flour tortilla looks delicious. How you prevent the stickiness of the dough. May be lard is helping here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Swanthi,

      If the dough is too sticky maybe reduce the amount of water your recipe calls for. The dough should be soft but firm. The texture is not similar to the one for bread.

      Mely

      Delete
    2. I followed the directions exact and my dough is sticky I guess I'll add some flour let's see what happens thank you

      Delete
  2. I love your tutorial here, Mely! It makes the process very clear. I've been making my own since 1976. A Hispanic friend told me how to do it. She said, just use some biscuit dough and she described how to cook them. I have made as much as 10 cups of flour into tortillas at one time when our children were still at home! I remember that amount would take 45 minutes to bake on the griddle. Now, when I make them for me and my husband, I only need 1 cup of flour! :) Here is a blog post I did on the way I make them now:

    http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2011/04/another-tortilla-recipe.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Yolanda those were a lot of tortillas. Thanks for sharing the link to your whole wheat tortillas. I also have a similar recipe but with the addition of 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.

      You know for those times when we switch to the more healthy version of tortillas.

      Mely

      Delete
  3. Oh, how I love homemade tortillas and miss living close to the border when I could get them anytime. I've made them in the past, but mine turn out too dry, so I will try again and make sure I don't use too much flour. Thanks, Mely!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mely, I really appreciate your continued loving dedication to La Comida de Nuestra Tierra. I posted this one on my facebook page. When did you live in Monterrey? All my tias live there. We grew up in Colonia Las Mitras, next to Simon Bolivar in the traffic circle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very close by in the Cumbres area is where I used to live.

      Mely

      Delete
  5. oh yum yum, i love warm homemade flour tortillas slathered in butter. Thank you!
    I've tried other recipes in the past with not a very good outcome. I hope these work for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please let me know how they turn out for you.

      Mely

      Delete
    2. Just for the record this IS the best tortillas recipe I've ever made. And now the only one I use and share with friends. I use a cuisinart. I put in flour, baking soda and salt and mix for around 1 min. Add lard mid 2 min. And as it's mixing pour slowly 1 cup hot water and Co tinge mixing for maybe 2 minutes. I put container in a kitchen warm place for 30 min. And I end up with wonderful tortilla dough. Thank you for sharing

      Delete
    3. Just for the record this IS the best tortillas recipe I've ever made. And now the only one I use and share with friends. I use a cuisinart. I put in flour, baking soda and salt and mix for around 1 min. Add lard mid 2 min. And as it's mixing pour slowly 1 cup hot water and Co tinge mixing for maybe 2 minutes. I put container in a kitchen warm place for 30 min. And I end up with wonderful tortilla dough. Thank you for sharing

      Delete
  6. Hace mucho que quiero acabar de escribir una entrada acerca de la diferencia entre tortillas de harina y "piadina" (una tortilla de harina que hacen por estos rumbos).

    El día en que finalmente me anime a terminarla, voy a poner un enlace a tu entrada Mely.

    Por cierto, acá todo mundo piensa que la "verdadera" tortilla mexicana es la de harina de "Casa Fiesta", ya sabes...

    Un abrazo querida Mely

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A mi me ha pasado algo parecido Flavio. Pero para eso estamos aunque sea poco a poquito mostrarle a la gente lo que es Mexico.

      Saludos!

      Mely

      Delete
    2. Mely, cuando estuve en Monterrey, puse leche en lugar de agua (como me aconsejó una de mis lectoras) y me gustaron mucho.

      Flavio, yo ya hice las piadinas y también a todo mundo le gustaron, son muy ricas.

      Delete
  7. Hello, Mely! me gustan las tortillas de arina, me encanta comerlas con miel. No se hacerlas, a veces meto mano cuando alguna de mis amigas prepara pero asta ahi. En una de esas me animo, tu receta se me easy, a ver que tal me va.


    Merry Christmas an Happy new year!! Mely, I wish for you and family the best as always.

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Las tortillas de harina no me salen por más que lo intento! Mely, te deseo lo mejor para el 2013 y que te colme el cielo de bendiciones. Feliz Año!
    Besos,
    Prieta

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mely, hi. I make tortillas at least 3 times a week. Yours are looking delish and now I feel like going in the kitchen to make some.:) Just popped in to wish you a very Happy New Year to you and yours. Enjoy the new year, have health, happiness, and peace. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy New Year, Mely! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial on making tortillas. There is absolutely no comparison between homemade tortillas and the ones that are store bought. I love the smell of a freshly made tortilla and the taste is sooo much better than the ones in the package. I'm sharing this with my "tortilla making hubby". Maybe he will give your recipe a try this weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. perfectly done n explained...fluffy n fresh.
    happy new year2013
    maha

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Saliha

      Tortillas is part of our daily meals.

      Delete
  13. It looks like it's not that difficult to make tortillas at home! I love to play with dough, I must try to make these tortillas soon!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mmm qué rico Mely!

    Yo aprovecho este friecito para prepararlas y calentar la casa jeje

    Salu2

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, Mely.

    I came across you website by chance. I made your tortilla recipe and they came out delicious!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe with the world. Blessing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Roxanna,

      I am so glad to hear this recipe worked for you.Blessings to you too.

      Mely

      Delete

  16. Mely,
    I am making this recipe, But I had to substitute the shortening or lard with olive oil. I will post back to let you know how they come out!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Mariel

    ReplyDelete

  17. Mely,
    I am making this recipe, But I had to substitute the shortening or lard with olive oil. I will post back to let you know how they come out!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Mariel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Muriel,

      Please come back and let me know. I sometimes use olive oil when making half whole wheat and half all purpose flour. They always come out very soft.

      Mely

      Delete
  18. I tried making flour tortillas, but after they cool, they crack, what could i be doing wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try adding a little bit more water to the dough and when rolling the tortillas avoid using to much flour. Sometimes it doesn't need flour in the working area at all.

      Please let me know how does it work the next time.

      Mely

      Delete
  19. Mely, I tried making your tortilla recipe but mine turned out hard and never puffed up! Not sure what went wrong...I'll have to try again.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Rabbit,

    Seems like it need more water. Please let me know if adding a little water to the dough works for you.

    Mely

    ReplyDelete
  21. I tried to make them but they don't come out right when I'm rolling them out they shrink and they don't plump up when I'm cooking them what am i doing wrong

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Eric,

      You need to let the dough rest at least 30 minutes or more at room temperature, this will help the dough gluten to develop and make shaping the tortillas easier.

      Please read again step # 8, about cooking the tortillas. I know it could be frustrating when making tortillas for the first time. But with a little practice you will get the hang out it.

      If you still have trouble forming the tortillas send me an email, I will be happy to help you.

      Happy cooking!

      Mely

      Delete
  22. I covered them with a damp towel & let then sit for 40 min. Can it maybe i didn't mix the dough right

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Erickarx,

      That could also be a good reason for the tortillas not getting bubbles at the time of cooking.

      Mely

      PS. If you want we could skype, to help you get it right. Do not get frustrated, it takes some time and practice to get the feel of the dough. Just keep practicing.

      Delete
  23. Hello Mely, I want to start by saying that I really enjoy your blog! When I have flour tortillas at our local Mexican restaurant(not a chain restaurant, very good home cooked style food) they are very soft and silky. I have made flour tortillas at home & although they taste good, I have been unable to recreate that wonderful, soft & silky consistancy. I tried adding more homemade lard but they just ended up being more opaque. I also tried used part cake flour & part all purpose flour, that came a little coser to the consistancy I was looking for, but not quite there yet. Is there some trick to making them so soft?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jewels1900,

      You do not mention where do you live, but let me tell you that when I was living in South Texas one thing that I enjoyed at the local restaurants was there flour tortillas. Those tortillas are a slight different than the ones we make in Mexico, they are thicker and silky as you mention. When I asked one of the cooks one time, she told me that they mix margarine and a little bit of milk to the flour mix, but I never tried to make them that way at home.

      Keep experimenting and please let me know your result.

      Mely

      Delete
  24. Hello Mely I wanted to know instead using lard can I use olive oil. If yes how much do I use.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Mely, I was checking out your recipe. I wanted to make tortillas from scratch but I wanted to know instead of lard can I use olive oil or canola oil. If yes how much?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello ninasky007,

      Yes, you can use any other type of fat. Like olive oil or canola. The results will be slightly different than using lard or shortening, not as soft but still a pliable tortilla.

      Happy Cooking!

      Delete
  26. I have always made them but never had a recipe, I'm trying this one to see how it turns out. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have always made them but never had a recipe, I will try this one and see how they come out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, SL0073493

      Enjoy the ride and be patience, that is the key.

      Mely

      Delete
  28. Thank, thank you.
    After practicing for some time, the tortillas are perfectly round.
    So long store bought tortillas.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hello Sra. Mely,

    I would like to make flour tortillas but using oil either olive or canola.

    Should I use 1/3 of cup of oil then?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Yes, use 1/3 cup of oil. Sometimes I use olive oil instead of shortening. The dough texture changes a little bit but it works fine.

      Mely

      Delete
  30. I love this recipe. I have tried many but I just couldn't get them to come out soft or even puff. I added a bit of water at a time like you said and I only used 1 1/2 cups (Minnesota has very humid summers) but they came out just like my mom's homemade tortillas. Thanks for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rubyce,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment about your experience with this recipe. Enjoy your tortillas.

      Mely

      Delete
  31. would it be ok to use a tortilla press instead of a rolling pin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello BigGuyFfrom WI,

      I know some people uses that method of a tortilla press. Personally, I do not have experience of making flour tortillas that way. But for sure next time I will try and post an update about it.

      Delete
  32. My tortillas r good but they r not as soft as they should be, kinda hard when I reheat n they crack when folded. What am I doing wrong?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Amanda,

      Try adding a little bit more water like a tablespoon at time, it always depends of the humidity in your area or even your kitchen environment. When rolling the tortillas the less flour over the working area the better. Sometimes, I even reduce the amount of shortening to less than the 1/3 cup, and they still come out soft and fluffy. If you add more shortening than needed they will get crispier due to the excess fat content.

      If you still have some questions while working with the dough please send me an email for a faster reply. My email is in the contact section.

      Mely

      Delete
  33. mine do not puff up, come out hard and not flexible

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ed,

      Making flour tortillas is tricky. I used to get so desperate when trying the first times. Please do have some patience and keep trying, as it takes practice to master the feel of the dough. Read again all the steps, give some time to the dough to rest, and it will develop the gluten content to make it easier to form into circles. Check the heat on the griddle, that is essential when cooking the tortillas to make them puff.

      I do not know where do you live, but is you want or have some time to use skype, please let me know. i will be happy to help you.

      Mely

      Delete
    2. I forgot to add that your dough has to be very soft and not hard as for cookies or pies.

      Delete
  34. Thanks, we attempted 4 or 5 times with no success. One thing you added about dough needing to be soft, mine was not. What does this indicate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will need more hot water to have a softer dough.

      Delete
    2. Is it possible to over knead the dough?

      Delete
    3. That could happen, then the dough gets hard and difficult to work with.

      Delete
  35. I made the flour tortillas for the first time. I tried several other online recipes but this time yours really work. They even puff a little.
    Gracias.

    Tina Brown

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have tried to make flour tortillas in the past, sometimes the recipe worked, but the tortillas had to be eaten fresh as reheating them ruined their texture. I've tried at least five or 6 other recipes, some from "prominent" cooks or websites - yeah, we know they can never beat authentic, generational home coooking- but, I digress, I want to tell you that your recipe is FABULOUS! Using lard has always repelled me, but note to all other pig-averse: I made mine with softened, room temperature butter, unsalted, and they are to die for. They remained pliable, soft and tender. A winner. Thanks, Mely!

    ~Cynthia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for the feedback Cinthia. Now, I want to have some with butter too.

      Mely

      Delete
  37. I most certainly will highly recommend this blog! Thanks for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Mely you are an angel!!! My grandmother passed away before I learned to make her amazing tortillas. Over the years I have tried dozens of recipes and none even came close to authentic.
    I made your recipe today with tears of joy as they are the same as the wonderful tortillas I enjoyed growing up. Many blessings and thanks to you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Eflo
      I am so glad you like the results of this recipe. They are not easy to make at first but practice really pays at the end.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Happy cooking!

      Delete
  39. Hello Mely,
    Why don't mine puff? My corn ones didn't either. I am only using a skillet though. I don't have a cast iron one comal yet. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Mamcita3b1g,
      You need to knead the dough very well and wait a little more time when you have to turn the tortilla for the second time, then flip and press gently the center of the tortilla with a spatula and then release to let it puff.

      Mely

      Delete
  40. I first must say 'Thanks!' for such a wonderful blog! That said, let me add another reason to make your own wheat tortillas: I was truly astounded at the ingredient list in my favorite store brand wheat tortillas, once I looked at it, after eating them with relish for years and years. After that epiphany, there is no turning back for me: I'm a home-made wheat tortilla guy from now on! Thanks again for this recipe, and all you are doing here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Cliff,

      You are very welcome!

      Enjoy your cooking.

      Mely

      Delete
  41. Hi. I have made the tortillas twice but when they cold they become hard. What am I doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Bricia,

      It could be too much flour. Try using the recipe by weight to be more exact with the flour-fat ratio. Try small amounts like the following: 250 grams flour, 50 grams shortening, salt to taste and 3/4 cup of hot water. Do not use to much flour to roll the tortillas. Sometimes just dusting the rolling pin is enough. With this recipe you will make 8 medium size tortillas.

      Please do not hesitate to contact me with further questions.

      I will be glad to help.

      Mely

      Delete
  42. Mele,
    I just started making my own flour tortillas a month ago. Will you recipe work with coconut oil? I will be trying this tomorrow for our Mexican dinner. Your instructions are so easy to follow. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jane,

      I had tried making the tortillas using olive oil and vegetable oil. I guess coconut oil will work fine. Let me know how they turn out.

      Happy Cooking!

      Delete
  43. Hi Mely,

    I am searching for organic flour tortilla recipes and I found yours. Your recipe is very clear to explain and I am very intersted to make your recipe. Since I noticed that many recipes do have 5 ingredients - flour, salt, baking powder, lard or oil, and water. I need your honest opinoin.... Can I replace lard for butter, shortening, or oil? If so, what do you recommend for best taste -- butter or shortening or oil? If oil, what kind of oil? I had been making bread and pizza dough through many different recipes and I found right one for bread and pizza dough. I hope your recipe would be my first best recipe of flour tortilla so I don't have to follow other recipes until I find right taste of tortilla. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello J Johnson,

      The baking powder is really optional, most cooks don't add it unless you want a little most puff in your tortillas.
      Fat choices: Well, traditionally used to be lard back in the day. Shortening has been the main fat now for decades in Mexico.
      For flavor butter is the best, but then you will have to reduce the amount in order to avoid hard tortillas when they cool. I had used olive oil and know of people that only use 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil with great results. Personally, I stick to shortening. Everyone has a personal taste, what will be yours?

      Happy cooking!

      Delete
  44. How do I know if I'm using to much shortening ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Bricia,

      If your tortillas get hard really soon after cooking. That is one way to know there is too much fat content.

      Mely

      Delete
  45. Hi Mely, I'm from San Antonio and just recently I've tried to make homemade tortillas, but with no success on the texture. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. They shrink and get hard after they have cooled. They don't come soft and fluffy. How do I get them to come out that way and stay that way?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hello Denise,
    I know it can be frustrating at the beginning, because it takes some practice. You can reduce the amount of shortening to 1/5 of the weight of the flour and even avoid the use of the baking powder. They still come out fine. Sometimes, I just mix 500 grams of flour and 100 grams shortening, salt and water as needed to form a soft dough.
    Try it this way and come back to let me know how did it work for you.

    Happy cooking!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Mil gracias Mely eres lo maximo. Me encantan las tortillas de harina. Mi problema es que la masa me queda muy aguada o muy dura. El agua es lo mas dificil para medir...Ayuda please!!! SALUDOS

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hooa Claudia,

    El agua tibia se la tienes que agregar poco a poco. Amasas y si sientes que necesita mas agua, le pones una cucharada de agua tibia. Vuelves amasar hasta que sientas la masa suavecita y manegable. Espero esto te ayude.

    Mely

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love your blog! I made these flour tortillas today and they turned out great. The whole time I just kept thinking of my abuelita.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne,

      I so glad you like them.

      Delete
  50. I am in Cambodia and my husband is homesick for Mexican food (we're from the States), so I am going to try your recipe. I have vegetable oil because that is easy to come by, will that work? I may be able to find enough margarine for the recipe, would that be better? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rayhardingkirstinharding,

      Margarina should work just fine and also vegetable oil. Just do not add the same amount of oil. Reduce to 1/4 cup.

      Delete
  51. My husband made homemade taco meat and I made these tortillas for us and our huge family and I must say this was the best Mexican food I have ever put in my mouth! Thank you for this recipe because we will never buy store bought tortillas again! I will keep following your recipes, because if they are half as good as this one, they will go into our family recipe book!

    ReplyDelete

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