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Posted on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Astonishingly easy homemade tortillas

By Jessica Webster


Once you realize how easy and delicious homemade tortillas can be, you'll want to make them every day.

Jessica Webster |

I distinctly remember when salsa overtook ketchup, becoming the best-selling condiment in America. But I was surprised to read that over a decade ago, tortillas began outselling bread and bagels and pita bread combined.

Americans are crazy for tortillas, and who can blame them? Wrap them around a taco or a burrito, or fry them up with some cheese for a quesadilla. When they're fresh and good, they're unbeatable. And yet, when was the last time you had a store-bought tortilla that you wanted to eat plain, right out of the bag?

I remember the first time I went to a Mexican restaurant where the flour tortillas were made fresh to order. It was mind-blowing. I didn't realize how delicious they could be. Rather than the flavorless tough consistency of the packaged supermarket tortillas, these were warm, melt-in-your-mouth and more than a little addictive.

It turns out that these delicious tortillas aren't difficult to make at home, and you probably have all the ingredients you need to do it tonight. If you want to get fancy you could invest in a tortilla press, but some elbow grease and a rolling pin will work just fine.

This recipe is for flour tortillas, but if you're avoiding gluten, just replace the flour with Masa Harina.

Homemade Flour Tortillas


  • 2 cups white flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or lard

  • 3/4 cup hot water


Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl add the oil into some hot water.

One teaspoonful at a time, drop the oil/water mixture into the dry ingredients.

Mix. And keep on mixing. Mix some more. Eventually, your oil, water and dry ingredients will all combine into dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it like you would bread dough, until it’s smooth and elastic. (You could also use your stand mixer for this.)

Divide the dough into 8 or 9 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Set it aside under a wet kitchen towel for 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the balls of dough out into very flat 7-inch circles.

Heat a nicely seasoned cast-iron skillet (or a nonstick pan) to medium-hot and cook each tortilla, flipping it over as it starts to brown and bubble (about 30-45 seconds each side). Place cooked tortillas in foil and cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Serve with taco or burrito ingredients, fajitas, as quesadillas, with eggs or just eat them with a little butter or guacamole.

The tortillas keep well for a few days in a sealed plastic bag.

Jessica Webster leads the food section for You can reach her at



Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

Really one tsp at a time???


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Is all purpose flour really the way to go, or is there a brand/type of flour that is used in Mexico for tortilllas?

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

We make our own corn tortillas using a tortilla press. They are trickier than your recipe implies and contain only masa and water. Hint: the best instant masa (most corn-y tasting) I have found in this area is Aldi's house brand. La Tienda Libertad has masa dough in the refrigerator, but I haven't tried it. Regarding the "puff" - San Antonio has made "puffy tacos" a specialty. You need really fresh tortillas to make that work. They are fried, I'm pretty sure.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

yummm. I am eating fresh hot tortillas rolled up w/ raspberry preserves and hot tea for breakfast as I read this! I keep intending to make my own...but I love going to Mexican Town in Detroit and buying them fresh! Sooooo inexpensive. A dozen packages (of 12 each) for about $6. I cannot eat store bought tortillas at all. Too dry and tasteless.

Jeff Renner

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Wow, Linda, I've thought of doing that, but always decided to skip it. But it's easy to make corn tortillas from masa harina, and they're way better than store bought. Just masa and water. I almost never buy corn tortillas because they're so easy to make. Very tender. One trick is to puff them up over the electric stove element or gas stove flame after they're cooked on a griddle. When done right, they puff up like a balloon.

Sofia Toti

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Once they've puffed, slit them open, slather some refried beans & a couple of slices of hard-boiled eggs, then fry as for tostadas & serve w/ the usual fixings: shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, guacamole, salsa, shredded Cheddar & Asadero cheeses, etc.

Linda Diane Feldt

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

It's true that this is the easy part. One year I made tortillas from scratch. Starting with whole corn. We had to find a source for lime (available in a Mexican store in Detroit), soak the corn in a lime water mixture for a couple days, drain and find a way to grind it (finally came up with a hand mill bought in Honduras) and then proceed similarly to what you've written, although I don't recall using baking powder. What a mess! And they were the most amazing tortillas I've ever had.