Introduction: Eat Good Food: Make Your Own Tortillas

Picture of Eat Good Food: Make Your Own Tortillas

It's just not fair.
I live in Michigan, have completely bland ancestral taste buds, and grew up on a mixture of celery salt and black pepper. Spices, intriguing food, and fat of any kind just weren't my mom's forte. That being said, she did a good job feeding all four of us ungrateful kids, but she instilled in us a terror of fat, spicy food, and international cuisine. We've all been on a mission to rescue our palettes ever since. My brother lives out west, and thrives on the spiciest food available. My oldest sister married an amazing Hatian guy who makes kickass food, fish heads and bones aside...;) My other sister just ferments everything. :)
Today I'm making what are supposed to be "authentic Texan tortillas." Apparently they're different from their bland, rubbery and thin northern cousins made from nothing but white flour and a complete lack of sunshine. Who knew sharing a border with Mexico could do so much for flatbread?

Step 1: Start Your Mixers!

Picture of Start Your Mixers!

Mix together these ingredients:

2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil

It's gonna be dry and crumbly, but that's perfectly normal. Just try to incorporate the oil into the flour/salt/baking powder mixture.

Step 2: Add the Milk; Slowly

Picture of Add the Milk; Slowly

For this step, you'll need:

3/4 Cup warm milk.

I used my skillet to warm it up, because I only have one saucepan, and it's in the fridge holding tuna chowder right now.
It doesn't really matter how you warm up the milk, just don't overdo it. You don't want to burn the milk to the bottom of your pan/make it all frothy and hot, because...that's just not what you want for tortillas.

Add the warm milk about 1/4 Cup at a time. Mix after each addition: this allows the milk to get well mixed in before things get soggy.

You'll end up with a sticky ball of goo.
This is perfectly okay.
Don't worry.
Just keep on reading.

Step 3: Knead It!

Picture of Knead It!

Knead your dough for a full five minutes on a floured surface, such as a clean counter or a bread board.

Next, you'll want to put the dough in a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it sit for a full 20 minutes. If you skimp on this step, your dough will be obnoxious, tough, rubbery, and you'll never roll the dough into tortillas. Don't skimp on this step!

Step 4: Get Some Balls!

Picture of Get Some Balls!

After you've let it sit for 20 minutes, take the dough and cut/rip it into 8 equal pieces. Roll these pieces into balls in your hands, and put them on a plate. Make sure they're not touching, and cover them with that same damp cloth you used in the last step. Let them sit an additional 10 minutes.

Step 5: Roll It Out

Picture of Roll It Out

On a floured surface, pat your balls of dough into little disks about 4" in diameter.

Then take your rolling pin, (no matter how retro it looks,) and roll out your patties into 8" rounds, starting from the middle and moving out. This can take some practice, but if your tortillas aren't round, really, nobody cares. They'll just be impressed enough by your mad culinary endeavors in the first place. Blinded by the light of your expertise, even.

Step 6: Cook 'Em Up

Picture of Cook 'Em Up

Take a big pan, preferably cast iron, but obviously mine isn', any pan, and heat it up. Keep it dry - don't add oil or anything. Slap your tortillas in there for about 30 seconds per side, or less, depending on how hot your pan is. They'll start to puff up and get big bubbles when they're done. Keep the cooked ones warm in a cloth towel until you're ready to eat them!

They keep well in the fridge for a few days, wrapped in foil/etc. Reheat them any way you like, but I personally like putting them in foil in the oven for a few minutes until they're nice and warm.


EdwardsCollins (author)2014-04-29

Ethnic food in Michigan? That does seem to be surprising. I am in California so I can not imagine a place that does not have variety.
Spanish food

ParkerSmith (author)2014-03-31

Eating good food is esential to keep healthy. The tortillas are just yummy and tasty. Nice post.

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AlexSmithsg (author)2014-03-06

Really your blog is very interesting.... it contains great and unique information. I enjoyed to visiting your blog. It's just amazing.... Thanks very much.
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RaymondSmith (author)2014-03-05

one word for the article is awesome. I just love tortillas like anything.

Sze chuan restaurant Singapore

ParkerSmith (author)2014-02-20

Really your blog is
very interesting.... it contains great and unique information. I enjoyed to
visiting your blog. It's just amazing.... Thanks very much

reproducetinker (author)2014-01-22

they came out a little chewy but other than that were great

Creative Hacker (author)2013-10-06

is is possible to use this to make nachos from ?

gulnar (author)2013-08-11

This recipe looks fantastic, I will try it out with wholemeal flour, as I hate the pricing (and taste) of the ready-made tortillas here in Poland;)
Thanks for sharing!

sphinxy (author)2008-05-15

This have to be the weirdest tortilla recipe ever! :) I am guessing this are based on the tortillas de harina... tortillas are far simpler and faster and with far less ingredients... great recipe though... it's interesting to see the different kinds of tortillas...

calikoala (author)sphinxy2009-08-29

what do you mean far less ingredients. it only uses four..

sphinxy (author)calikoala2009-08-29

Tortillas only use two... Water and corn flour. At least our kind of tortilla... Their taste is not something out of the world but fresh tortillas with fried beans and sour cream is the best!

stephNY (author)sphinxy2010-03-29

Corn tortillas are made of corn flour and water, and are used for tacos and chips, but burritos, fajitas, and empanadas are generally made from flour tortillas of this type.  Most Latin groceries in NY carry both.
And I agree with you about fried beans! 

Phoghat (author)stephNY2011-04-24

And in Mexico too. They should know right?

bettbee (author)sphinxy2008-05-19

I'm curious, what ingredients would you recommend? (Hint, hint . . . perhaps you could make an instructable?)

sphinxy (author)bettbee2008-05-19

yeah, i think i might... I've never made one... lol... I just need to get my camera ready... and I'll do it... :D

bettbee (author)sphinxy2008-05-19


Even just a recipe in a comment would be great if you've got too much to do to organize a whole instructable with images and stuff. Can't wait!

christydeering (author)sphinxy2008-05-15

I know, right? I've made simpler tortillas, but honestly, these taste the best so far. It feels wrong, it sounds wrong, but it tastes so right...:)

kidmissile (author)2008-08-26

Thank you for sharing this great recipe! It worked really well for me. Though I split it up into more balls (14) to make 6" tortillas. For those I cooked the first side for ~15sec until small puffs formed, then flipped and cooked for another ~15sec. Then I flipped one last time back to the first side and waited for the whole tortilla to puff up, about 10-15 more sec. Here's a picture of the different thicknesses I tried rolling with the same size ball, a thick 6" tortilla on the bottom, a gordita-style tortilla next, and then a couple mini pita-style rounds on top.

sweet! I may just try to make some pitas tonight. mmmmm. *is getting hungry just thinking about it* I only wish I had a tortilla press. That would make life so much easier! Though where I would store it in my one-butt-kitchen is another story...

A tortilla press is only used to make corn tortillas. Also, if you're looking for more flavor in your tortillas, try replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat. I usually replace 1/3 of the white flour with whole wheat, and haven't needed to make any adjustments to the liquid.

try a little lard instead of oil, it makes it more fluffy and thick

Phoghat (author)mistdemon1232011-04-24

Now THAT"S Spanish

kidmissile (author)markstutzman2008-09-03

Nice tip about the whole wheat flour. I only use my press for corn tortillas, but I don't see why you couldn't use one to quickly press small balls of this dough to make mini pitas like I pictured. Would be a nice alternative to breaking out the rolling pin and flouring a surface for rolling the dough. Actually, I'll give this a try some time and report back on whether the press works.

real tortillas must be made by hand. they need to be thicker than the ones in the instructable, and must have different ingredients. as someone who grew up in new mexico, i gotta say that it is wrong to use a tortilla press. if you want, i'll give you my abuelita's recipe.

Phoghat (author)mistdemon1232011-04-24

Real tortillas are made in a tortilla press (available in Spanish neighborhoods or online)

kidmissile (author)mistdemon1232010-04-15

Please, share your recipe with all of us! And think of the poor exclamation points next time, hehe. ;)

I just tried another thing last night with your dough: split it into just four balls and rolled them out sorta oval-shaped and baked them on a sheet in a 500F oven for ~5 minutes. The things turned out basically like flatbreads; after slightly browning, we took them out of the oven and used them to make thin crust pizzas: topped with pesto and a thin layer of cheese and thin sliced vegetables. Popped them back into the oven and top-broiled for just a couple minutes! I know what you mean about dwindling room in the kitchen! I have to restrain myself every time I see a gagdet that I want. Though you'll get by just fine even using just your hands or your trusty rolling pin to get the pita style going.

mackbuck (author)2011-04-20

Interesting recipe.

tonysoprano6379 (author)2011-04-03

Thanks for this cool Instructable........ I will def. try this!!!!!

ugania (author)2011-03-15

Just made these for a family meal of Fajitas - Absolutely brilliant. Very easy, even though I'm only 14!

johnvile (author)2010-02-02

WTF Flour?

dawgz031 (author)2010-01-11

good god....can some one please tell me why my tortilla taste bad??.......please....i need some hints..........its a little bit bitter.....i dont know why........

can some one please tell me how can i add some flavor to it?

pancho del rancho (author)2009-08-09

foo leave the tortillas to the mexican viva mi raza.

whocansaveus (author)2009-03-27

I am interested in trying this, but first I want to know how soft/flexible I can expect these to be. They look good, but I do not want them to break when going to make a taco. Thanks for the instructable!

As a general rule, the fresher the tortilla, the softer. I haven't made them according to this instructable, but just from the images it looks as though these may be stretchy to the point of tearing if you try to make a burrito. If for some reason you just want to make a soft taco without a closed end, I think these tortillas will be just fine, but the folds of a burrito may be too much. It seems, perhaps rather logically, that you can really lower your chance of a break if you just go easy on the filling. It's hard, I know, but sometimes you really don't need as many beans and as much meat as you think you do.

Procrasticus (author)2009-05-28

An extremely effective way of heating a cold tortilla, I've found, is just laying it on the (gas stove top) burner on high at about seven seconds per side. I've grown up in Texas doing it like this, and it works quite well, I must say.

bdubu (author)2009-03-05

Got my mouth watering... Thanks for the instructable!

bobhill125 (author)2009-02-06

lol make some balls

miaspamm (author)2008-12-13

I made them last night. They're amazing! Thanks so much!

TheBestJohn (author)2008-08-04

tried these... Man they were thick and rigid... my fajitas turned out to be a platter lol. I guess I need to get a better rolling pin. I made massive ones with my dutch oven.

TheBestJohn (author)TheBestJohn2008-08-04

Update! I made two more ( yes I only made two out of this whole recipie) this time I made them a bit flatter. They still weren't flat enough but it seems a good rule of thumb Is if you can see the outline of your hand through it youre getting close. Because they were still to thick they were still rigid. To fix this I steamed them over some boiling water. They turned out well, and tasted amazing. I personally didn't have any vegetable oil so I used sunflower. Awesome instructable. Thank you!

i've had em turn out too rigid before too, and it actually happened on a really dry day. It can happen when there's not enough milk/in dry climates/etc. You just gotta watch the consistency of the dough - it has to be pretty tender and soft and not too tough, because if it's too tough they'll wind up all thick and hard. Good for making pita chips, but not so good for burritos. ;)

jeff-o (author)2008-08-18

I sent this link to my mother in law, and she made these when we came over for dinner last night. They were absolutely perfect! Thicker than store bought, but also much stronger and better able to hold fajita fillings. According to her, this recipe is much easier than her old one. If you're having trouble, just remember to follow the instructions carefully; every step has its purpose.

berrygunks (author)2008-06-22

I love these!!! Of course they were too thick the way i made em but there good!!!

Cai (author)2008-05-18

Awesome job with picture details!!! I really like you showing EVERYTHING....good work! I haven't even finished reading/looking yet and felt last thing before I continue looking at this...gas stoves are the only good stoves! You really can't regulate heat appropriately otherwise, I can't stand that I have electric! ahhhh! Now, I must favorite this and finish later...I have bland old Polenta to finish frying in icky fat...Tasty with nice meat sauce...which would go well with these tortillas as well.

christydeering (author)Cai2008-05-18

Gas stoves are essential, I agree. That said, I managed alright for years with an electric before lucking out with this apartment. I think what sold me was the stove, seriously. It's a tiny apartment stove, but it's GAS! And it's not ancient, so all the burners work well. The only problem is that my oven cooks much hotter in the front towards the door, for some odd reason, so I have to rotate things halfway through the cooking cycle in order to avoid burned food. :(

Cai (author)christydeering2008-06-04

Want a quick hint to keep your oven staying nice and even through the cooking process? Bricks. Yes, Bricks. If for example the front of your oven heats a little less add a brick or two to the front. You can also just put in a nice baking stone in helps keep heat evenly dispersed. My idea...I wish...I owe it to Alton Brown a scientific cooking genius in my book...well known look him up...has his own thing on the food network I believe though I wouldn't know because I never watch tv and only get three channels...yeah, rant...

oncex (author)2008-06-04

They look hard to make:( The mexican tortillas are easier; you just add water to the Maseca flour (corn flour) and cook it on the pan. But I seriously thought that this tortillas were like spanish tortillas. Thanks anyways.

t.rohner (author)2008-05-16

Hi Christy nice instructable, they look delicious. I bake a lot myself, mostly yeasted and sometimes sourdoughs. Have you ever tried to make a tortilla with a yeasted dough, instead of baking powder? I can imagine it would add some more flavour. The tortillas i ate until now have been so bland tasting, i didn't like them at all. My lady makes wonderful stuffings for them, but the tortillas themselves were something to forget. (She runs a gourmet cooking school...) At the moment i have two breads in one oven and some spent grains from my brewing hobby in the other one to dry and roast a little bit. I will post a instructable on a spent grain/sesame bread later on. Some friends from the homebrewing community asked for a receipe. I try to make tortillas today or tomorrow... Picture of my bread and spent grains.

christydeering (author)t.rohner2008-05-17

Let me know when you post an instructable about spent grains/etc. That looks so cool! I think making yeasted tortillas would turn them into flatbread or pita bread. While it would be awesomely tasty, it would no longer be a tortilla. :) Good idea, I'll have to see if I can make good pita bread that way.

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