The Kitchn: How to make flour tortillas from scratch

<p>Soft and tender flour tortillas are easier to make at home than you might think.</p>

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Soft and tender flour tortillas are easier to make at home than you might think.

Good flour tortillas are a thing of beauty. Once you know the taste of fresh handmade tortillas, well let’s just say you’re missing out. Before we were making them ourselves we would drive across town to pick up the best of the best, but not any more because making them is as simple as mix, roll, heat and eat!

What are the ingredients in a tortilla?

Homemade flour tortillas come together with just a couple basic ingredients. In addition to glass measuring cup, rolling pin, and cast iron skillet, here’s are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Lard
  • Warm water
  • Kosher salt

Flour Tortillas

Makes 12 tortillas

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons lard

1. Add 3/4 cup warm water and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir until salt has dissolved.

2. Add 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 5 tablespoons lard to a medium bowl. Work the mixture with your hands (it will only be sticky for a minute) until it comes to a fine crumble. Just smoosh and moosh until it’s all crumbly and an even texture.

3. Pour 2/3 of the water into the flour mixture; and stir with a fork until chunky. Add remaining water (if needed) until combined and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface.

4. Knead the dough gently until it comes together (5 to 10 times). Divide into 12 even pieces. Place on a baking sheet or large plate and cover with plastic wrap (or a barely moistened dish towel). Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Once the dough balls have had time to rest, one by one, roll them with a rolling pin until they are about 7 inches wide. Keep remaining dough covered while you work. Roll them one at a time and cook one at a time (unless you’re using a griddle or more than one pan). You can pick them up with your hand (gently) and lay it across your palm to transfer it to the pan.

6. Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, cook until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove, place on a plate, and cover with a warm towel until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Recipe notes

  • If your tortillas don’t sizzle quietly when they hit the pan, it isn’t hot enough. If the residual flour (from rolling) smokes, your heat is too high. Don’t be afraid to adjust your temperature or time left in the pan, but the best ones will come from a pan that’s hot enough to allow the shortest cooking time on each side.
  • Making your own tortillas isn’t hard, but it might take you a few tries to get your groove on. Having friends over for a taco or burrito night? Put them to work making their own tortillas while you’re getting conversation started. What better way to get together than joining in to make your own meal from fresh ingredients!

(Sarah Rae Smith is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com.)