Easy Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe

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Homemade flour tortillas are soft, pliable, and delicious. With our simple 3-ingredient recipe and a little bit of practice, you can say goodbye to store-bought tortillas forever. 

This is a complete guide with step-by-step instructions on how to make authentic flour tortillas by hand or with a stand mixer. We also give variations. Let’s begin!

An easy homemade stack of flour tortillas on a cutting board.

Tortillas are an essential Mexican food. Although the most common tortillas are made with corn flour or masa harina, fresh flour tortillas are very popular in the northern states of Mexico and in Tex-Mex cuisine in the United States.

When I moved to the United States, I started preparing homemade flour tortillas to save money and offer preservative-free tortillas to my family. You will be amazed at how simple they are to make, how delicious they taste, and how inexpensive they are. Here is a complete guide so you can prepare them at home, too.

Ingredients and Substitutions

This recipe calls for just three simple ingredients. 

Flour – You can use all-purpose flour or flour for making bread, bleached or unbleached; you choose your favorite. You can also use whole wheat flour in combination with all-purpose flour, but I recommend starting with the basic recipe and then making adjustments to taste; please do not substitute with 100% whole wheat flour; start little by little.

Fat – Authentic flour tortillas are made with lard. However, you can substitute with vegetable shortening or vegetable oil. I like to use olive oil or avocado oil, and some people use butter.

Salt – This recipe calls for table salt, but you can use coarse sea salt or Kosher salt.

Variations

Although the ingredients are simple, you can make unlimited flavors, colors, and textures. The two main variations depend on the kind of fat you use.

Flour Tortillas with Lard

This is the traditional recipe that has been prepared for years in Mexico. Pork lard can be used as a solid or liquid.

Vegan Flour Tortillas

Preparing vegan flour tortillas is easy. Just replace the lard with a vegan fat, such as vegetable shortening, olive oil, avocado oil, soybean oil, or any other of your choice.

If you want to use coconut oil, make sure it is refined and has a neutral aroma and flavor. If you use unrefined coconut oil, they will taste like coconut.

Flavored Flour Tortillas

You can make flavored flour tortillas by adding other ingredients or replacing the water with a flavored liquid, such as spinach, chili, beet, etc. Here are some ideas:

  • Bacon Flour Tortillas: These are made with bacon fat and bits.
  • Flour Tortillas with Heavy Cream: If you have heavy cream at home, also called whipping cream, you can create soft, delicious tortillas. This recipe only requires flour, whipping cream, and salt. Check out the video here. 
  • Green tortillas. Make these with spinach. 

Do I Need a Mixer?

This easy recipe does not require special equipment; a large bowl or a flat, clean surface is enough. However, if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can use it.

It will save you time kneading. 

Homemade flour tortillas stacked on a wooden cutting board.

Reheating and Storage

Let the tortillas cool completely by placing them in one layer on the table on a cloth napkin for a few minutes. Once cold, wrap them in the same kitchen towel and put them in a plastic bag. I like to use reusable silicone bags.

Since these tortillas don't have any preservatives, it's essential that you put them in the refrigerator or freezer. Tortillas last up to 7 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Reheating them is easy. My favorite method is on a griddle (comal) at medium-high temperature. If you don't have a griddle, use a cast-iron skillet, a non-stick skillet, or the microwave.

If the tortillas are in the freezer, transfer them to the refrigerator a day before. If you forget, move them to the fridge as soon as you remember. It generally takes about four hours for the tortillas to thaw.

A homemade stack of flour tortillas on a wooden cutting board.

Tips for Soft and Flexible Flour Tortillas

I prepare these homemade tortillas once a week. Based on my experience, here are my recommendations.

Practice makes perfect: If this is your first time making them at home, be patient. Although the process is simple, knowing when the dough is ready and how to shape and cook the tortillas requires practice.

Rest time is vital: During this time, the gluten develops and creates flexible bonds that will make the job easier when forming them with the rolling pin since they will not constantly shrink when you try to roll them out.

I recommend at least 30 but no more than 45 minutes at room temperature. If you are in a hurry, the minimum time would be 15 minutes, and if you start working with the first ball you formed, it will give the others more time to rest.

Water temperature counts: Some recipes call for warm water, but over time, I have realized that if I use very hot water, almost boiling, the texture of the tortilla is softer and more elastic.

The temperature of the comal is essential: The comal should be hot enough for the tortilla to cook in about 35-45 seconds per side. Your stove and what you use to cook them will determine the exact time. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Common Problems

Even following the recipe to the letter will result in some challenges and problems; these are the most common.

They shrink. When the tortillas shrink when forming them with the rolling pin, it's usually because they did not rest long enough. Wait 5-10 more minutes and start again. However, the tortillas will always shrink slightly when cooking; consider this when shaping them. 

The tortillas are sticking to the comal. Possibly your comal is too hot, and they are burning. Reduce the temperature.

The tortilla is hard. The temperature of your comal is lower than necessary, and the tortilla is taking too long to cook, drying out. Increase the temperature.

Another reason could be that the dough needs more water while kneading. Adjust the next time you make them. A third issue may be that you used a lot of flour when shaping them. 

They don't puff. This depends on the thickness of the tortilla. I have noticed thicker tortillas puff and expand almost wholly, while thin tortillas tend to develop only small bubbles. Don't worry.

They are not round. The first few times you prepare them, you will have trouble reaching the expected round shape. Honestly, they will look like maps- I mean, they will have no specific shape, and you can ask your family what country each reminds them of. 

It's okay. Breathe and continue. They will taste just as delicious, and over time, they will become rounder and rounder with practice.

Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe

16 tortillas

Prep time: 10 min – Resting time: 30 min – Total time: 90 min

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (500 gr) + a little bit more to flour surfaces
  • 1/3 cup of lard, vegetable oil or other fat of your choice (approx 70 gm)
  • 1 teaspoon of fine table salt or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water, divided

Equipment

  • Large bowl or stand mixer
  • Wooden spoon
  • Kitchen scale
  • Kitchen towels, you will need 2
  • Rolling pin
  • Comal or cast iron skillet
  • Rubber spatula

Process

Prepare the Tortilla Dough

Mixer instructions below.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lard (or other fat you are using) and 1 cup of the hot water (leave the other quarter cup aside). With the wooden spoon, which we use to avoid touching the hot water with our hands, begin to mix the ingredients.

Once you start to feel resistance with the spoon, continue kneading with your hands. At this moment, the dough will feel lumpy and warm.

Easy step by step instructions on how to make homemade bread dough.

As you continue kneading, and depending on the temperature of your house, the weather, and the place you live (I live at sea level), you will notice that the dough may feel a little dry. In this case, add a little of the reserved water. In some cases, the original one cup will be enough, but most of the time, you will need a bit more.

If, on the contrary, you added too much water and it feels sticky to the point that it doesn't come off your hands at all, you can add a teaspoon of flour, knead for two minutes, and evaluate if it requires another one.

It's ready when the ball of dough feels slightly moist and elastic and comes off your hands easily. This will take approximately 8 minutes of kneading time.

An easy homemade dough ball in a glass bowl on top of a wooden table.

Mixer instructions: Place all the ingredients (except 1/4 cup of the water) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the dough hook and start kneading. Follow the same instructions for kneading by hand. Kneading will take approximately 4-5 minutes.

Divide Dough

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces for regular-size tortillas. The table below shows other sizes.

To do this, I recommend using a kitchen scale to create balls of the same size, but if you don't have one, you can use a knife or a bench scraper to divide the dough evenly. This recipe makes 16 regular-sized flour tortillas.

An Easy Homemade Flour Tortilla - A bowl of dough on a scale next to a bowl of flour.

If you use the scale, weigh the total dough and divide by the desired number of tortillas to determine how many grams per portion of dough you need.

Resting the Dough

Take one piece of dough in your hand or roll it on a flat surface to form a ball. Place it on a lightly floured surface and repeat until you're done. 

My kitchen is small, so I like to place them on a wooden cutting board in case I need to move them. But you can leave them on the kitchen counter or on a table.

Cover them with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (no more than 45). Resting time is essential because it allows the gluten to develop and makes it easier to roll out the tortillas.

Form the Tortillas

You will need extra flour to flour the surface where you are going to shape the tortillas. I usually need a little less than 1/4 cup total.

Place one of the balls on a lightly floured surface (remember to cover the remaining dough balls). With the rolling pin, press slightly in the center of the ball, then roll it out from the center up and then the center down. 

Next, rotate it a quarter turn and roll it again from center to top and from center to bottom. Now flip it over and repeat. Try not to add more flour because it could create a dry tortilla.

A series of pictures showing how to make a homemade pastry dough recipe.

Continue rolling from top to bottom, twisting or turning until you achieve the desired thickness and size. 

Important note: Roll out the tortilla about two centimeters (about 1 inch) larger than the size you want in the end since the tortilla shrinks as it cooks.

I recommend forming only the number of tortillas that will fit flat on your work surface without placing one on top of the other. Otherwise, they will stick together, and you will have to shape them again, forcing you to use more flour and making them drier. 

I generally roll out three and form the next while I wait for one to cook.

Cooking

Heat the comal or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; once it is hot, reduce to medium heat and place the first tortilla.

When you notice that the tortilla surface has changed from a whitish to a yellowish color and bubbles begin to form, turn it over. You will see golden brown spots on it. Depending on your stove and skillet, this should take 35-45 seconds.

Wait another 30-40 seconds, then turn it again and cook for 10-25 more seconds. During this second flip, some of the tortillas puff up.

Learn how to make homemade tortillas using just a skillet and flour.

Remove the cooked tortilla and place it on the other clean kitchen towel and fold it over the tortilla or place in a towel-lined tortilla holder then cover to keep it warm. Repeat until you're done.

I use my hands to turn the tortillas because I've been making them for over 20 years, but they are hot, so use the rubber spatula if needed. 

Tip: Cooking time will vary depending on where you cook them. Comales or cast iron skillets tend to keep the heat level, while other types of surfaces might require you to adjust the temperature as the tortillas cook. You can use a nonstick pan if you don't have a comal.

In my experience, the first tortilla never turns out perfectly; take this as a test to regulate the temperature of your comal for the next one. 

What to Serve With Flour Tortillas

Now that you know how to make soft homemade tortillas, it's time to enjoy them; here are some ideas:

An easy homemade stack of flour tortillas on a white napkin.
5 from 13 votes

Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe

This is a complete guide to make flour tortillas at home with just four ingredients.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Resting time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 16 tortillas
Calories: 168kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour 500 gr + a little bit more to flour surfaces
  • 1/3 cup of lard vegetable oil or other fat of your choice (approx 70 gm)
  • 1 teaspoon of fine table salt or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water divided

Utensilios

  • Large bowl or stand mixer
  • Wooden spoon
  • Kitchen scale
  • Kitchen towels, you will need 2
  • Rolling pin
  • Comal or cast iron skillet
  • Rubber spatula

Instructions

Prepare the Tortilla Dough

  • Mixer instructions in notes.
  • Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lard (or other fat you are using) and 1 cup of the hot water (leave the other quarter cup aside). With the wooden spoon, which we use to avoid touching the hot water with our hands, begin to mix the ingredients.
  • Once you start to feel resistance with the spoon, continue kneading with your hands. At this moment, the dough will feel lumpy and warm.
  • As you continue kneading, and depending on the temperature of your house, the weather, and the place you live (I live at sea level), you will notice that the dough may feel a little dry. In this case, add a little of the reserved water. In some cases, the original one cup will be enough, but most of the time, you will need a bit more.
  • If, on the contrary, you added too much water and it feels sticky to the point that it doesn't come off your hands at all, you can add a teaspoon of flour, knead for two minutes, and evaluate if it requires another one.
  • It's ready when the ball of dough feels slightly moist and elastic and comes off your hands easily. This will take approximately 8 minutes of kneading time.

Divide Dough

  • Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces for regular-size tortillas. Check the table above for other sizes.
  • To do this, I recommend using a kitchen scale to create balls of the same size, but if you don't have one, you can use a knife or a bench scraper to divide the dough evenly. This recipe makes 16 regular-sized flour tortillas.
  • If you use the scale, weigh the total dough and divide by the desired number of tortillas to determine how many grams per portion of dough you need.

Resting the Dough

  • Take one piece of dough in your hand or roll it on a flat surface to form a ball. Place it on a lightly floured surface and repeat until you're done.
  • My kitchen is small, so I like to place them on a wooden cutting board in case I need to move them. But you can leave them on the kitchen counter or on a table.
  • Cover them with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (no more than 45). Resting time is essential because it allows the gluten to develop and makes it easier to roll out the tortillas.

Form the Tortillas

  • You will need extra flour to flour the surface where you are going to shape the tortillas. I usually need a little less than 1/4 cup total.
  • Place one of the balls on a lightly floured surface (remember to cover the remaining dough balls). With the rolling pin, press slightly in the center of the ball, then roll it out from the center up and then the center down.
  • Next, rotate it a quarter turn and roll it again from center to top and from center to bottom. Now flip it over and repeat. Try not to add more flour because it could create a dry tortilla.
  • Continue rolling from top to bottom, twisting or turning until you achieve the desired thickness and size.
  • I recommend forming only the number of tortillas that will fit flat on your work surface without placing one on top of the other. Otherwise, they will stick together, and you will have to shape them again, forcing you to use more flour and making them drier.
  • I generally roll out three and form the next while I wait for one to cook.

Cooking

  • Heat the comal or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; once it is hot, reduce to medium heat and place the first tortilla.
  • When you notice that the tortilla surface has changed from a whitish to a yellowish color and bubbles begin to form, turn it over. You will see golden brown spots on it. Depending on your stove and skillet, this should take 35-45 seconds.
  • Wait another 30-40 seconds, then turn it again and cook for 10-25 more seconds. During this second flip, some of the tortillas puff up.
  • Remove the cooked tortilla and place it on the other clean kitchen towel and fold it over the tortilla or place in a towel-lined tortilla holder then cover to keep it warm. Repeat until you're done.
  • I use my hands to turn the tortillas because I've been making them for over 20 years, but they are hot, so use the rubber spatula if needed.
  • In my experience, the first tortilla never turns out perfectly; take this as a test to regulate the temperature of your comal for the next one.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
168
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Cholesterol
 
4
mg
1
%
Sodium
 
147
mg
6
%
Potassium
 
38
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
27
g
9
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
0.1
g
0
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Calcium
 
6
mg
1
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: flour tortillas from scratch, how to make flour tortillas, Mexican tortillas

Notes

Mixer instructions: Place all the ingredients (except 1/4 cup of the water) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the dough hook and start kneading. Follow the same instructions for kneading by hand. Kneading will take approximately 4-5 minutes.
Important note: Roll out the tortilla about two centimeters (about 1 inch) larger than the size you want in the end since the tortilla shrinks as it cooks.
Cooking time will vary depending on where you cook them. Comales or cast iron skillets tend to keep the heat level, while other types of surfaces might require you to adjust the temperature as the tortillas cook. You can use a nonstick pan if you don't have a comal.

Frequent Asked Questions

Can I use a tortilla press?

Using a rolling pin is the best way to create soft flour tortillas. If you use a tortilla press, the tortillas will be very thick and take a lot of time to cook, producing a cardboard-like texture. The tortilla press is ideal for making corn tortillas.

Silvia Martinez
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