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Tender, soft, and so much better than store-bought, these Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas are so good that it’s hard to resist eating them right as they come off the pan. With just 5 simple pantry ingredients and about 30 minutes from start to finish, you may never buy tortillas from the store again!
Homemade Mexican Flour Tortillas
I apologize in advance for what I’m about to do to you. I always figured the packages of flour tortillas as the grocery store were just fine until I started making them from scratch at home. Now the store-bought ones pale in comparison. They are never fresh enough or flavorful enough and only function as a vehicle used to wrap up flavorful fillings and get them to your mouth.
But once you make a batch of these super soft tortillas at home, you will realize that they can and should be so much more!
It is so easy and completely worth it to make flour tortillas at home. Whenever I make these, my kids and husband hover nearby, waiting to snag fresh, hot tortillas to snack on right as they come off the skillet.
They like to spread them with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then roll them up and eat them for a treat. It’s all I can do to keep enough for dinner sometimes!
Use your flour tortillas as a bed for holding Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa with crispy romaine lettuce, rice, beans, and pico de gallo for my favorite dinner salad of all time. Or use them for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, or any thing else you can think of!
Ingredients for Homemade Flour Tortillas
Flour. I use all-purpose white flour, but you could sub half whole wheat to make these a little healthier.
Fat. My personal preference is using shortening to make flour tortillas. But you could also use butter, lard, or oil.
Salt. Without a little salt, your tortillas will be a bland. Don’t forget this!
Baking Powder. I like to include baking power in my tortillas because it makes them a bit thicker, chewier, and lighter. You can omit if you want really thin tortillas, but for eating rolled up and warm, I definitely like to include the baking powder. Try it both ways and see what you like!
Hot Water. It doesn’t have to be boiling, but make sure the water is plenty hot to help the tortilla dough come together. If your tap water runs hot, you can use that. Otherwise, just heat some water in the microwave for a minute before using that.
Tips for making flour tortillas
- Use a food processor. I find that the easiest way to make flour tortillas is with my food processor. It makes homemade tortillas a total breeze! I have tried these with a stand mixer before, and while it works, it’s too easy to over-knead the dough and the tortillas turn out tougher and not nearly as tender as when I use my food processor. You could even make these by hand, but it will take some elbow grease to knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
- Adjust the heat. You might need to experiment with your first tortilla or two to find just the right amount of heat. If the tortilla isn’t developing light brown spots after a minute, your heat is too low and the tortillas will dry out and be tough.
- Wipe out the pan. If flour starts to accumulate in the skillet you are using, it can burn. Wiping out the pan with a clean paper towel can help prevent black spots on the tortillas.
- Roll the tortillas thin. If you have a hard time getting them to roll out, let the dough rest for five minutes and then try again. You want to roll the tortillas as thin as possible.
- Keep the tortillas moist. Be sure to wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels so that they stay pliable and warm.
How to make flour tortillas
Add hot water. The water should be very hot, but it doesn’t need to be boiling. Pulse until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough comes together.
Shape into balls. We typically get 16 medium-size flour tortillas from one batch of tortilla dough, but you could make 20 fajita-size tortillas, or 10-12 burrito-size tortillas instead. Let them rest on the counter covered with a damp cloth for 15 minutes so they are easier to roll out.
Roll out tortillas. Use a lightly floured surface and a rolling pin to roll out the flour tortillas as thin as possible.
Cook tortillas. Lay each tortilla, one at a time, in a hot cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat, letting each cook for 20-30 seconds until it starts to bubble slightly and brown spots appear on the bottom. Then flip and cook for another 15-20 seconds on the other side.
Keep warm. Transfer the tortillas to a plate lined with damp paper towels as they cook and keep them covered with another damp paper towel.
How to reheat flour tortillas
- Skillet: You can reheat the thawed tortillas in a skillet until warm and pliable again.
- Microwave: Or sprinkle a little water between tortillas and cover them with a damp paper towel, then reheat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
- Oven: You could also just wrap a stack of tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them in a 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes or so.
Storing and freezing instructions
You can freeze these tortillas for up to 3 months. Just stack them with a piece of parchment paper in between each tortilla so they don’t stick together. Then wrap the stack of tortillas in plastic wrap and seal in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and stick them in the freezer.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
More Mexican Recipes to Serve With Tortillas
- Best Ground Beef Taco Meat
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas in 30 Minutes
- Shredded Beef Chimichangas
- Crispy Mexican Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas with Escabeche
- Charro Beans (Frijoles Charros)
- Homemade Mexican Rice (aka Spanish Rice)
- Easy Mexican Restaurant-Style Salsa
- Green Chili Chicken Chimichangas
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn Recipe
- Vegetarian Swiss Chard and Pinto Bean Burritos
- Grilled Chicken and Steak Fajitas
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening to the bowl of a large food processor.
- Pulse several times to cut the shortening into the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. This can also be done by hand using a pastry cutter.
- Add the hot water to the flour mixture. It doesn't need to be boiling, but it should be very, very hot. You can either microwave it for a minute or two or just use your hottest tap water.
- Pulse again until the dough comes together in a ball. It will make a fairly sticky dough.
- Dump the tortilla dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times until smooth and elastic. You may need to sprinkle the dough and rub your hands with a little extra flour so you are able to work with it, but try not to add too much flour or the dough will become tough. It should stay fairly tacky.
- Divide the dough into 16 even-sized balls. I find it easiest to do this using a pastry cutter to cut the ball of dough in half, then in halves again, and again, then rolling each piece of dough into a ball between the palms of my hands until there are 16 ball of dough that are roughly the same size. Cover them with a damp towel and let them rest for 15 minutes so the dough can relax.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Working with one ball of dough at a time, press it into a disc between the palms of your hands and dip into a little extra flour, shaking off any excess. Keep remaining dough balls covered with the damp towel while you are not working with them.
- Roll the dough very thin using a rolling pin, turning the dough frequently a quarter turn at a time to form a circle. It's okay if they come out misshapen - they will still taste just as good! I tend to roll out 4-5 tortillas at a time, cook them, then roll out the next group.
- Lay each tortilla, one at a time, in the hot skillet, letting it cook for 20-30 seconds until it starts to bubble slightly and brown spots appear on the bottom. Then flip and cook for another 15-20 seconds on the other side.
- Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate lined with damp paper towels and cover it with another damp paper towel. Continue to cover and add tortillas as they are finished, recovering with the damp paper towel to keep the cooked tortillas warm, soft, and pliable, until all tortillas have been cooked.
- You can replace the shortening with butter, lard, or vegetable oil, if you prefer.
- This makes medium-size tortillas perfect for soft tacos. You can make fewer, larger tortillas for burritos (about 10-12 tortillas) or more, smaller fajita-size tortillas (about 20 tortillas).
- Leftover tortillas can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat cold tortillas in the microwave or by wrapping them in foil and heating in a 350 degree F oven until warm and pliable again.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 179mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g