Homemade Flour Tortillas
This is part of a series of recipes made with only flour and water.
Store-bought tortillas taste like cardboard. Toasting helps with the dryness, but then you get crunchy cardboard. Homemade flour tortillas taste much better and only require two ingredients: flour and water. Similar flat breads from other cultures include naan and chapatis.
Tortilla recipes sometimes contain additional ingredients such as oil, salt, and leavening. You may want salt for flavor, but the other ingredients are unnecessary.
If you really only want to make 1 tortilla, you can cut the recipe in half. However, I would suggest using at least 1 cup of flour to make at least 2 tortillas. You might get hungry.
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 cup of flour + 2 tablespoons for rolling out the tortillas
- ½ cup of water
- optional: ½ teaspoon of salt
- Mix together 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of water. Knead until it forms a smooth dough.
- Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 2 balls, and roll out each ball into a large circle.
- To cook, heat up half of the oil in a medium pan.
- When the oil is hot, place the tortilla. Cook the first side for about 3 minutes, flip over the tortilla, and continue cooking for about another 2 minutes.
- Remove the tortilla from the pan, and repeat the process with the other tortilla.
- Serve immediately.
Corn tortillas are a variant of flour tortillas made by substituting flour with cornmeal or corn flour (masa harina). Here is a link explaining the difference between cornmeal and corn flour.
- Substituting cornmeal: Can substitute up to half of the flour with cornmeal. If you use more than that, you will not have a cohesive dough. As long as there's some flour, you can cook this as a pancake.
- Substituting corn flour: Can replace all of the flour for corn flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas taste like cornbread for one, which is stove-top cornbread, made without leavening agents or rich ingredients, such as butter or milk.
Homemade Flour Tortilla Mistakes
If you manage to successfully roll out thin tortillas, the worst that can happen is that you undercook the tortillas. Fortunately, these homemade flour tortillas stick together very well, and flipping tortillas is very easy.
If you find that a side is undercooked, you can flip over the tortilla and continue cooking until the side looks dry with some brown spots. To understand this visually, let's look at some tortillas that were flipped too early. Ideally, the first side should cook for 3 minutes before you flip it.
Here's what it looks like if you flip after cooking for only 1 minute. The first side did not cook completely, and the texture will be fairly doughy.
Here's what it looks like if you flip after 2 minutes. Some spots have browned, and the tortilla looks cooked, but trust me, the tortilla is not done. If you want to check this, try a bite.
Step by Step Photos
Now, let's make fully cooked tortillas.
Add 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to a large bowl. If you have salt, I would suggest adding about 1/2 teaspoon so that the tortillas are less bland.
I use a 1 cup measure to measure the flour and then fill it halfway with water. With your hands, mix together the dough. Right now, it's still a bit sticky.
After a bit of kneading, you will have a smooth dough. If you want, you can cover the dough and let it rest for a half hour, or you can go ahead and make tortillas immediately.
On a flat surface, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of flour. The additional flour prevents the dough from sticking to the surface. Split up the ball of dough into 2 smaller balls.
Rolling out dough takes a bit of practice. Flatten a dough ball slightly with your hand. Using a rolling pin or other cylindrical object, you want to continuously roll from the center to the sides.
If you find that the dough is sticking, you can flip the tortilla over and add some more flour. To make a more even circle, it helps to pick up and rotate the tortilla as you go.
Do this for both balls of dough. Now, you should have 2 raw, thin, homemade flour tortillas about 6-8 inches in diameter. The fork is there for size reference.
To cook a tortilla, start by heating up about 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a medium pan. Alternatively, you can use a non-stick pan or cooking spray. Make sure that your pan is large enough to fit a tortilla.
When the pan is hot, place the tortilla in the pan. If the tortilla folds a bit, flatten it out completely by gently shaking the pan or using some utensil.
Cook the first side for about 3 minutes, and then flip it over. The surface should look dry with some darker brown spots. I taste tested the tortilla, which explains why a fraction is missing. Cook the second side for about 2 minutes more.
Here's a close up picture of the texture. Homemade flour tortillas taste like bread instead of cardboard, and you can use them in place of store bought tortillas for burritos or enchiladas.
For burritos, serve tortillas immediately with fillings of your choice. For enchiladas, you should probably make more than 2 flour tortillas.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for a few months. To reheat, you can lightly pan fry them, or microwave them if you don't mind them getting soggier.