Soft, warm homemade tortillas are one of the best things in the whole wide world. Combine that with how easy they are to make and flour tortillas from scratch becomes one of the few life decisions for which there can be no regrets.
Unless you eat them all yourself. Even then. Probably worth it.
This all-butter recipe is so easy and delicious, you may never buy tortillas again.
"This recipe is AMAZING!!! I have never commented on recipe blogs before but definitely is one of the best and easiest recipes out there! 🙂" - Charlene
"I’m a pretty seasoned baker and recently wanted to give tortillas a try. I came across your blog, and I’m so glad I did. These are amazing. I read through dozens of recipes, and since tortillas require a few ingredients, they didn’t differ much. But what makes your recipe stand out is the technique and attention to detail. You break it down and make it approachable. I am not exaggerating when I say I found your recipe a few weeks ago, and I have made these tortillas almost every night- there are only two of us, so I've found that you can easily half the recipe. Why freeze if you can have fresh tortillas, right?!" - Brooke
Why This Recipe Works
After 20 years of making what I thought were the absolute best homemade tortillas, this all-butter recipe made me realize that sometimes good things can get even better.
In March of 2017, I published the homemade tortilla recipe I'd been making for at least 20 years. It called for using corn oil and it was super duper good. The first time I ever made them I couldn't believe how much better they were than the store bought variety. Like night and day.
But then I brought home a copy of Nopalito, a fabulous Mexican food cookbook from Gonzalo Guzman, head chef at the San Francisco restaurant of the same name. Gonzalo makes his homemade flour tortillas with butter.
I had never seen a recipe for flour tortillas that calls for butter. Nearly every recipe for homemade tortillas you'll find uses either lard, vegetable shortening or some kind of oil - corn, vegetable, olive, or even coconut oil.
I'd been using corn oil for decades because a sweet little Mexican grandmother told me to. She wasn't wrong. Flour tortillas made with corn oil are delicious because ALL homemade tortillas are delicious. But, using butter makes them even better. Not just a little bit better. A LOT better.
The first time I made homemade tortillas with butter my family exclaimed, "Ohmygod, these are really good today. What did you do? These are SO. GOOD."
So. This simple pleasure - soft, warm, homemade flour tortillas - that was already one of the best things in the whole wide world just got even better. Life is good. 😊
"Thanks to this recipe, store-bought is NO LONGER an option." - Bill
Ingredients Needed to Prepare This Recipe
Homemade tortillas are surprisingly simple to make and SO MUCH BETTER than what's available in grocery stores. Like, shockingly better. Even in my tiny kitchen, if we're going to eat tortillas, they are going to be homemade.
And anyway, homemade tortillas only require a handful of ingredients and very little time or effort. Here's what you'll need:
- All-purpose flour.
- Butter! I use salted butter but if you're sensitive to salt, use unsalted.
- Baking powder.
- Hot tap water.
Step-by-Step Photos and Instructions
Every day I let a large handful of "#1 priorities" drop to the floor only to pick them up the next day and try again. This is why the end result of anything I make from scratch had really better be worth the time and effort. I know I'm not alone in this.
Homemade flour tortillas fall squarely in the category of "worth it". For starters, they are surprisingly quick and easy to make - especially if you have a standing mixer. Standing mixers are great because they do all the kneading for you. Simply dump all the ingredients into your bowl and let the mixer do the work of transforming flour, water, and butter into dough.
Having said that, I made homemade flour tortillas for years before I owned a standing mixer. You really only have to knead the soft dough for a few minutes. It's not hard, and still totally worth it.
Here's how to make homemade tortillas:
Add flour, salt, and baking powder to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
If using a stand mixer, fit it with the dough hook and pour in the melted butter while the mixer is running.
If mixing the dough by hand, stir the butter into the flour with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Pour in some hot water. Hot water straight from the tap is fine. The water should be hot enough to feel hot to the touch but it doesn't need to be even close to boiling.
If mixing by hand, stir in enough water to form a shaggy dough then start using your hands to knead the dough, adding enough water to form a cohesive dough.
Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adjusting the flour or water as necessary to achieve a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom.
If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in some more flour. If it's too dry, add in a bit more water.
If kneading the dough by hand, knead for 2-5 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough.
Divide the dough into balls. If making large, burrito size tortillas, divide the dough into ten 4-ounce balls. If you want to make smaller tortillas, divide the dough into twenty 2-ounce size balls.
Cover the dough to prevent it from drying out and let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Set a 12-inch skillet on the stovetop over high heat. Use a rolling pin to roll one of the pieces of dough out into a thin, round disc.
When the pan is very hot, add the tortilla. Let it cook on one side for about 20 seconds until brown spots are beginning to appear on the underside of the tortilla. Use a spatula and flip it over and let it cook on the other side until brown spots appear on that side as well.
Flip it out of the pan and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Top Tips for Making Homemade Tortillas:
# 1. Tortilla dough should be soft and slightly sticky, but not wet.
If you're using a standing mixer, you want the dough to clean the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom. The amount of water you'll need to achieve this consistency will vary based on climate, humidity, temperature, and who knows what other factors.
Start with the amount in the recipe and then add more as the dough kneads, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a soft, smooth dough that clings to the bottom of the bowl while sweeping cleanly along the sides.
If at any point you find that you've added too much water, just add a bit more flour. No big deal. Tortilla dough is very forgiving.
If you're kneading the tortilla dough by hand, adjust the consistency of the dough as you knead with additional flour or water until you have a soft, smooth dough that clings slightly to the countertop but does not stick to your hands.
#2. Allow the tortilla dough a little bit of time to rest.
If you try to roll out tortilla dough immediately after kneading, you'll discover that it's nearly impossible to roll the dough flat. Kneading dough strengthens the gluten - those strands of protein that give bread structure and texture.
Giving the dough time to rest allows the gluten to relax, making it so much easier to roll out into tortillas.
#3. Cook tortillas over very high heat.
Cook tortillas on high heat in a dry skillet. There's enough fat in tortilla dough to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan as long as your pan is very hot.
You also want to cook tortillas over high enough heat that each side takes only about 10-20 seconds to cook. This is what ensures that deliciously soft interior. Cooking them over low heat simply dries out the dough.
Frequently Asked Questions about making homemade tortillas:
A: The main difference is simply flavor. Lard works great, as does vegetable shortening and oil. I’ve used several different kinds of fat, and the tortillas always turn out about the same except for the flavor. Butter, in my opinion, contributes the most flavor.
A: Yes – the gluten in the flour does cause them to shrink up a bit when they hit the hot pan. As far as I know, there’s really nothing you can do about that.
I have had other readers tell me that they’ve added more butter to the recipe, which might help. Fat interferes with gluten development so it’s possible you’ll get less shrinkage with a bit more butter.
Also keep in mind that the dough should be slightly sticky. If it ever seems too dry, just add a few more drops of water until it’s soft and smooth and a bit tacky. If you’re using a stand mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom a bit.
A: If I want to keep the tortillas warm for a while after baking, I usually stack them as I cook them and then wrap them in aluminum foil. They’ll stay warm for a while on their own if they are wrapped in foil, but you can also put them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes to re-warm them.
However, they shouldn’t get very stiff after cooling… they won’t ever be as soft and warm as when they are freshly made, but even a day or two later, they should still be soft.
If they are stiff after cooling, my guess is that they were overcooked. It’s important that the pan you cook them in be very hot – hot enough to cook them in about 30 seconds or less. If the pan isn’t hot enough, the dough will dry out too much as they cook.
I also received a great tip from a reader about keeping tortillas in a cloth warmer:"I have a cloth type tortilla warmer and after cooking them they went straight into this holder to keep warm and moist for an hour. This is the ONLY warmer that keeps tortillas warm and not hard, stiff nor dried out. You can even use it in the microwave oven to rewarm the next day."
A: Yes – you can freeze these homemade tortillas. Make sure they are completely cool, wrap no more than 5 together tightly in plastic wrap and then either wrap again in aluminum foil or put in a ziplock bag. They should last in the freezer for at least 3 months.
A: Yes! Divide the dough into balls (step #3 in the recipe) and set them on a baking sheet or plate. Cover with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. After a few hours they should be frozen enough to pile in a zip top bag or other container without sticking together.
Let the dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight then roll out and cook as usual. You can also roll out the tortillas and stack them in between pieces of parchment or wax paper to freeze them.
A: Absolutely. I have made tortillas for a crowd on many occasions and can tell you that it's just as easy to make one batch of tortillas as it is to make two. Beyond that, it's best to make successive batches because the amount of dough is just difficult to deal with.
A: The best way to reheat tortillas is to warm them for a few seconds in a hot, dry skillet. Heat a skillet over high heat, add a tortilla and let it warm for 5-10 seconds. Flip it over, let it heat on the other side, and remove it from the skillet. Serve immediately.
How to Use Homemade Tortillas
Besides eating homemade tortillas all by themselves while they're magnificently hot and fresh, these three recipes are my favorite ways to use them.
- Quick Easy, Cheesy Enchiladas Verdes: These super cheesy chicken enchiladas verdes require one bowl, one pan, and about 15 minutes of your time.
- Black Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce: Flour tortillas filled with black beans, green chilies, and cheese, and smothered in a creamy tomatillo sauce and more cheese.
- The BEST Pork Green Chili: This Green Chili (Chili Verde) recipe is the result of years of tweaking and testing (and eating!), until it was packed with as much rich, meaty chili flavor as I could cram in there.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram. Happy baking!
More Homemade Bread Recipes
- The Ultimate Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
- Simple Homemade White Bread
- Simple Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Pizza Dough
- Homemade Potato Rolls
- Cinnamon Bread
- Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
- This is my favorite recipe for sour dough style bread: Country Bread
Homemade Flour Tortillas are a Building Block Recipe
Building block recipes are tried-and-true recipes that I consider foundational to great home baking. They are the kind of recipes I come back to over and over again, sometimes baking them as is, but often using them as a jumping off point to create something new. > Scroll through all Building Block recipes.
- 4 cups (480 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ teaspoons (10 grams) salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/ 113 grams) butter, melted
- 1 ⅓ cups (10.6 ounces/ 303 grams) hot tap water
- Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, and stir to combine. (See instructions below to mix and knead the dough by hand.)
- With the mixer running, pour in the melted butter and then the hot water, mixing on medium-low speed until all the ingredients come together into a dough. Let the mixer knead the dough for 3-5 minutes, adjusting the flour or water as necessary to achieve a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom. (See note.)
- Dump the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into ten 4-ounce balls of dough for large, burrito-size tortillas or twenty 2-ounce size balls of dough for smaller tortillas. Cover the balls of dough with plastic wrap and let them rest on the counter for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- Heat a large non-stick or seasoned cast iron frying pan over high heat until very hot. If you sprinkle a drop of water into the pan the water should sizzle and "skip" across the surface of the pan, evaporating completely in a matter of seconds. (You can also use a griddle, turned to high heat.)
- Remove one ball of dough from beneath the plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll it into a thick disk, about 6 inches in diameter. Use your fingers to pat and stretch the dough into a thin tortilla. (You may or may not need to sprinkle your work surface with a bit of flour to prevent sticking depending on the work surface itself and how wet the dough is. If the dough is really sticking to your work surface, lightly flour the surface trying to incorporate as little flour as possible into each tortilla.) *Click here for a short video demonstration showing how I shape and cook tortillas.*
- Lift the rolled-out tortilla and place it in the center of the hot pan. Let the tortilla cook on one side until brown spots begin to form here and there on the surface of the tortilla that's touching the pan, about 20 seconds. Use a spatula to flip the tortilla to the other side and cook until a few brown spots appear on the other side, about 10-20 seconds. Use the spatula to remove the tortilla from the pan to cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
- Tortilla dough should be soft and sticky, but not wet. If you're using a standing mixer, you want the dough to clean the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom. The amount of water you'll need to achieve this consistency will vary based on climate, humidity, temperature, and who knows what other factors. Start with the amount in the recipe and then add more as the dough kneads, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a soft, smooth dough that clings to the bottom of the bowl while sweeping cleanly along the sides. If at any point you find that you've added too much water, just add a bit more flour.
- If kneading the dough by hand, use a spoon or rubber spatula to stir the melted butter and hot water into the dough, stirring just until it begins to come together. Then use your hands to start kneading the dough. Knead for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough, adding more flour if the dough is too wet or more water if the dough is too dry. It should be wet enough to feel tacky, but not so wet that it's sticking to your hands.
- Adjust the heat of the pan as necessary if the tortillas start to cook too quickly and burn spots appear instead of the lovely brown spots.
- I received a great tip from a reader about keeping tortillas in a cloth warmer: "I have a cloth-type tortilla warmer and after cooking them they went straight into this holder to keep warm and moist for an hour. This is the ONLY warmer that keeps tortillas warm and not hard, stiff, or dried out. You can even use it in the microwave oven to rewarm the next day."
- I recently heard from a reader who cooked these in a cast iron skillet on his stovetop and said that each tortilla took about 2 minutes to cook. He said they were still soft and delicious, puffing up as they cooked just like they should. I just wanted to add a note about his experience for anyone else who is experiencing longer cooking times and isn't sure why. The key is to cook them at high heat. If the tortillas cook at low heat, they will dry out. If you are cooking them in a hot skillet at high heat, they should turn out perfectly whether they take 30 seconds to cook or 2 minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 tortilla
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 132Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g