Tortilla Española

published Jan 13, 2022
Spanish Omelette Recipe

Just a handful of humble, commonly available ingredients morph into something more than the sum of their parts when treated carefully.

Serves6

Prep10 minutes

Cook40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
A Spanish Omelette, sliced, as seen from above (Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla is a traditional dish from Spain. Celebrated as national dish by Spaniards, it is an essential part of the Spanish cuisine. It is an omelette made with eggs and potatoes, optionally including onion. It is often served at room temperature as a tapa.)  with a plate of sliced tomato and avocade behind it
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

Stuffed with thin slices of tender, comforting potato and slivers of soft, sweet onion, tortilla Española (or Spanish omelette) is a versatile and satisfying creation perfect for any time of the day — equally great for a lazy breakfast or brunch, cocktail hour snack, or a light but substantial dinner. 

When treated carefully, just a handful of humble, commonly available ingredients morph into something more than the sum of their parts. Traditionally, the vegetables are almost fully submerged in lots of olive oil. The oil is then strained and saved for reusing in the next batch. Because most of us might not be making tortilla Española on a twice-weekly basis, reducing the oil to a more manageable amount seemed essential. By starting the vegetables in a cold pan and cooking them covered so they simultaneously steam and sauté, just half a cup of oil is enough to create meltingly soft potatoes and onions. 

A good-quality nonstick skillet is essential to the success of this recipe. Usually the omelette is cooked entirely on the stovetop and flipped halfway through cooking to ensure it’s evenly cooked. Starting it on the stovetop and finishing it in the oven eliminates the need for any fiddly flipping without sacrificing flavor.

What’s the Difference Between a Spanish Omelette and a Regular Omelette?

Bound with beaten eggs, Spanish omelette has cooked potatoes and onions and is cooked in a thick layer, while an American or French-style omelette is generally just a thin layer of eggs at its most minimal or with some herbs, cheese, and vegetables for a more filling version. 

Is a Frittata a Spanish Omelette?

A frittata is similar to a Spanish omelette in that both consist of vegetables bound with eggs. Spanish omelettes are typically made with just potatoes and onions, while frittatas can have bits and bobs of almost anything, like leftover roast vegetables, meat, cheese, and herbs. 

Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

Best Food to Serve with a Spanish Omelette

The beauty of a spanish omelette is how versatile it is! 

  • Serve it in hefty wedges for breakfast alongside mini sweet bell peppers and sausages. 
  • Cut it into tiny squares and set it out for cocktail hour along with cured meat, olives, and cheese. 
  • Serve it alongside a crisp green salad and a glass of white wine for an easy and elegant dinner. 

Spanish Omelette Recipe

Just a handful of humble, commonly available ingredients morph into something more than the sum of their parts when treated carefully.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    medium Yukon gold potatoes (4 to 5)

  • 1

    large yellow onion (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 large clove

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil

  • 8

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel 1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes. Halve each potato, then position each half cut-side down and thinly slice into 1/8-inch-thick half-moons. Thinly slice 1 large yellow onion. Finely chop 1 large garlic clove.

  2. Place the sliced potatoes, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet. Place over medium-low heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and barely golden-brown, 15 to 18 minutes. (If vegetables are taking on too much color, turn down the heat slightly.) Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat to cool slightly. Meanwhile, place 8 large eggs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. Add the potato-onion mixture to the eggs (it’s OK if it’s still warm) and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to absorb some of the egg.

  5. Return the egg mixture to the skillet (no need to wash). Place over medium heat and cook, stirring gently but constantly, until the eggs are halfway set, 5 to 7 minutes. Smooth the mixture out in the pan and level the surface with the back of the spatula. Transfer the pan into the oven and bake until the omelette is slightly puffed and just set (eggs will feel firm when the surface is gently pressed), 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before the flipping omelette out onto a serving plate or cutting board and slicing.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Spanish omelette can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Variations: Switch up the flavorings by adding minced fresh or dried parsley and/or smoked paprika to the eggs before adding the cooked potato mixture.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve cold or at room temperature. Do not freeze.