How To Make Flour Tortillas From Scratch

How To Make Flour Tortillas From Scratch

Sarah Rae Smith
Feb 25, 2010

Good flour tortillas are a thing of beauty. Once you know the taste of fresh handmade tortillas, well lets just say you're missing out. Before we were making them ourselves we would drive across town to pick up the best of the best, but not any more because making them is as simple as mix, roll, heat and eat!

What You Need

2 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour (plus extra for dusting)
5 tablespoons Lard
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Warm Water
Medium Bowl


1. Mix Salt: Add salt to your measuring cup (or bowl) holding your water. Stir the solution gently until salt has dissolved.

2. Combine: Into a medium bowl, add flour and lard. Work the mixture with your hands (it will only be sticky for a minute) until it comes to a fine crumble. If you're making 100 of these, go ahead and use the food processor, otherwise, it's not worth your time and your hands will bring the mixture together in a few seconds. Just smoosh and moosh until it's all crumbly and an even texture.

3. Add Water: Pour 2/3 of your water into the dry mixture. Stir with a fork until mixture is chunky. Add remaining water (if needed) until combined and turn out onto a floured board.

4. Knead & Divide: Knead gently until it comes together (5-10 times). Divide into 12 pieces. Place in a pan (or on a plate) and cover with plastic wrap (or a barely moistened towel) and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

5. Roll: Once the dough balls have had time to rest, one by one, roll them with a rolling pin until they are 7" (give or take) in diameter. Keep remaining dough covered while you work. Roll them one at a time and cook one at a time (unless you're using a griddle or more than one pan). You can pick them up with your hand (gently) and lay it across your palm to transfer it to the pan.

6. Heat: Heat a dry skillet over medium to medium high heat (cast iron works great!) and let each tortilla cook for 30-45 seconds. You're looking for brown, not burnt (if they cook too long you'll have tortilla chips!) so don't hesitate to remove when done. Cover with a warm towel until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Additional Notes
If your tortillas don't sizzle quietly when they hit the pan, it isn't hot enough. If the residual flour (from rolling) smokes, your heat is too high. Don't be afraid to adjust your temperature or time left in the pan, but the best ones will come from a pan that's hot enough to allow the shortest cooking time on each side.

Making your own tortillas isn't hard, but it might take you a few tries to get your groove on. Having friends over for a taco or burrito night? Put them to work making their own tortillas while you're getting conversation started. What better way to get together than joining in to make your own meal from fresh ingredients!

(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)

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