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Apr 12, 2007 10:20 AM

Who knew homemade tortillas were so easy (and addictive)?

Last night was my first time making homemade tortillas. And I am here to report that they are really simple, and VERY tasting. I made flour tortillas, since they are my boyfriend's favorite.

After a little searching, I decided on sivyaleah's recipe:

Several other recipes included baking soda, and I wasn't sure if I should include it or not. But searching online, I found a reference to Rick Bayless' recipe, which didn't include baking soda, so I went soda-less. Also, I used Spectrum Organic non-hydrogenated shortening. I think shortening is a frightening product, but lard is out (I'm a veg) and I was worried about substituting butter on my first attempt.

Sivyaleah's recipe:
makes 8 8-inch tortillas, maybe takes 1 to 1-1/2 hours from start to finish, including resting time

2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt

Cut shortening into flour. Dissolve salt in warm water, then add gradually to flour mixture. Mix until dough begins to form. Turn onto floured surface and knead about 3 minutes. Divide ball into 8 smaller balls (for ~ 8-inch tortillas). Cover balls with plastic wrap and rest at least 30 min (mine ended up resting about 2 hours).

Heat cast iron pan over medium/medium-high heat. Preheat oven on low (~200 degrees). On floured surface, roll out ball until about 8 inches or so in diameter. Grill in dry pan, maybe about 30 seconds on each side. I flipped mine back and forth a couple of times, until they looked done. I held the tortillas in the warm oven (in between a towel, on top of a pizza stone) while I cooked the rest and plated dinner.

The results? Delicious, tender tortillas, that left your mouth watering for more. We each had one straight off the griddle, with a little butter. Heaven. Two more with dinner (well, the boy had three). And gasp! We ate 7 of the 8 in one sitting! How embarrassing. Maybe I shouldn't make these very often... Today I will see how the last, lonely tortilla survived in a ziplock overnight.

Served with homemade black beans, cilantro rice, fajitas, guacamole, and homebrew (ESB). Oh, and next time - corn tortillas! Any favorite recipes?

Photos of the process:

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  1. And two more photos of the final results!

    1. Very exciting, megek! My husband's great aunt Bea is coming in the middle of May and she is going to teach all of our favorite Mexican dishes to us, including tortillas! (My husband's grandparents were from Mexico.) Anyway, I'm very excited for this opportunity and your pictures make me even more excited! I know one thing I am going to have to have with my homemade tortillas is carnitas!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Katie Nell

        Wow - hopefully you will get to share some of great aunt Bea's techniques!

      2. They look great! What do you use for shortening? (I'm confused on the meaning-is butter considered shortening?) Sorry if it's a silly question, and thanks.

        4 Replies
        1. re: morebubbles

          Hi, she says she used Spectrum Organic non-hydrogenated shortening, in the paragraph above the recipe.

          1. re: morebubbles

            If I wasn't vegetarian, I would use lard to replace shortening.

            Shortening is a vegetable fat that is solid at room temp - it is not butter (butter might work fine as a substitute though, I don't know).

            Vegetable shortening is most commonly sold under the brand Crisco (at least in the U.S.), but I used a non-hydrogenated shortening called Spectrum Naturals Organic Vegetable Shortening. It is made of pressed palm oil. Shortening is often used in baking pie crusts and the like - supposed to result in a more tender crust than butter. Hope that helps!

            1. re: megek

              Oops, should have read your orig post more carefully - I was so excited by the photos that I went right to the recipe, then the photos, ASAP!! Thanks, that is quite thorough and helpful. I'm tempted to make them now after your experience--and the lovely photos! thanks again!

              1. re: megek

                For what it's worth, in pie and biscuit making any fat can be considered shortening. It "shortens" the dough... Vegetable shortening has been referred to as shortening so long that it is what everyone thinks of, including most cookbook authors. Very confusing.


            2. Those look great! Do you think that subbing in corn meal or masa harina without changing the water ratio would be very, very bad? I know that whole wheat, for instance, needs more water to hydrate it than does white, so I'm wondering if corn/masa is the same deal and then, of course, what would the ratio be? Maybe one of our resident flour experts can help!

              1 Reply
              1. re: brownie

                I really don't know. I hope that someone weighs in though, because I want to try corn tortillas next.

                Doing a couple searches, I found this thread and a recipe for corn tortillas:

                It looks like you need more water (1cup plus 2T for 1 3/4 cup masa harina).

              2. Um....that looks sooooo good right now. Please tell me how you made cilantro rice...I am obsessed with the flavor of Cilantro!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Keramel

                  Oh, you will LOVE the cilantro rice then. I can't take credit, it is from Robert Lauriston:

                  Make sure to salt the rice like he says, I often forget and have to add salt after its cooked. Also, stir the cilantro mix in right before serving, otherwise its not as beautiful and bright green. Still addictive though, no matter the color.

                  1. re: megek

                    Thanks very much for the tips.