Homemade Flour Tortillas

I'm gonna tell you a secret desire I can't shake.  It's a big desire, no doubt expensive.  But I can't get it out of my mind.  Ready?

I wish I had a tortilla machine.  You know, one of those that you drop the ball of dough into and it comes out the other end completely HOT & READY TO EAT!

Every time I make tortillas, I daydream of opening a tortilla shack, just big enough for the machine, the supplies, and me & my family working the drive thru window.  I go back & forth on whether to make room for sitting customers or just have walk-in room.  I'd mimic Krispy Kreme and give everyone a free sample of the tortilla of their choice.  I'd play around with different flavors, roasted garlic, jalapeno, cinnamon-raisin, etc. *Sigh*

Meanwhile, let's just get to workin' with what I have on hand.

I won't kid you.  Making tortillas takes a little practice to get your groove on or find the rhythm.  I don't mean you have to make them several times before you get it.  I mean, by the time you're down to pressing the last 5 tortilla balls, you'll have it and know exactly what to do, next time.

Making your own homemade tortillas is worth every minute of the task.  And being a simple flat bread, it doesn't take that long (once you got your rhythm) to make up a batch.  It more about the timing than the recipe.


Makes at least 12 tortillas

  • Tune your radio dial to a Salsa music station & turn up the volume
  • 4 scant cups of flour ( I use half all purpose, half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 healthy teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 cup warm water

In a large electric mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, and shortening until the flour looks like rough cornmeal.  With the mixer is on low, slowly pour in the water.  When the dough begins to form, stop and change over from the paddle to the dough hook attachment.  Proceed to knead the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes.

homemade tortillas

Next, divide the dough into 2 inch balls, rolling each in the palm of your hand.  Place on cookie sheet and cover with a moist towel.  Allow them to rest for 20 minutes.  This is a good time to make a batch of fresh salsa, guacamole, or stir fry fajita meat.

homemade tortilla doughballs

Now it's time to dance!

Get your griddle pan HOT! over medium high heat.  A cast iron skillet works well, too.

Lightly flour your rolling area.  Flatten a ball evenly using the palms of your hands or on your work surface.

rolling out homemade tortillas

Roll out the dough very thin, until it's about 8 inches wide.

rolling out homemade tortillas

Lift it up, lay it over your fist and gently pull the tortilla edges, working out any thick areas and stretching it into a 10 inch tortilla.  Work gently but quickly.

stretching homemade tortillas

Don't expect to get perfectly round tortillas.  Just work for an evenly thin layer that will be able to hold your fajita fixins.

make them thin homemade tortillas

Drop the tortilla onto the hot griddle and cook each side for 30 seconds.  Your first few tortillas may be too thick, taste them & see.  If they're chewy, make them thinner & bigger.  Now, let's assume you've got the thickness down.

homemade tortillas on the griddle

Let's talk rhythm. Just as soon as you drop a tortilla on the hot pan, start flattening & rolling the next one. By the time you have it rolled out, ready to pick up, FLIP the tortilla on the griddle.  Go back & start stretching that next tortilla.  Drop the second tortilla on the griddle, and move off the cooked one.  Grab the next dough ball... You'll be done before you know it.

keep homemade tortillas warm

Move the cooked tortillas to a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil folded over and lined with paper towels or napkins.  Fold the edges of the foil to keep in as much heat in as possible but allow you to slide in the hot tortillas.  When you done cooking all the tortillas, they will stay plenty hot wrapped tightly in the foil.  Allowing you time to set your table and assembly the rest of your meal.

Any questions?