Flour Tortillas: Easy Recipe, Tips, and Storage Methods

Flour Tortillas: Easy Recipe, Tips, and Storage Methods

The Basics of Homemade Flour Tortillas

Ingredients Needed

Flour tortillas require only a few simple ingredients, making them an accessible recipe for many home cooks. You need:

  • All-purpose flour: Provides the base structure. Use 2 cups for standard batches.
  • Baking powder: Helps with the fluffiness. Measure 1 teaspoon.
  • Salt: Enhances flavor. Add 1 teaspoon.
  • Lard or vegetable shortening: Offers the traditional richness. Incorporate 1/4 cup.
  • Warm water: Binds the ingredients. Use approximately 3/4 cup.

Equipment Required

Having the right tools simplifies the tortilla-making process. Here’s what you need:

  • Mixing bowl: To combine ingredients.
  • Rolling pin: For flattening dough balls.
  • Cast iron skillet or nonstick pan: Ensures even cooking.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: For precise ingredient measurements.
  • Plastic wrap or kitchen towel: Keeps dough balls from drying out before cooking.

These basics form the foundation of your homemade flour tortillas, setting you up for success in the kitchen.

Crafting the Perfect Dough

Mixing Techniques

Start by combining the dry ingredients. Measure and sift 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of lard or vegetable shortening, working it into the flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry cutter. Aim for a crumbly texture.

Pour in 3/4 cup of warm water slowly, mixing until the dough forms a ball. Use your hands to knead the dough for about 5 minutes. This step develops the gluten, ensuring a pliable and elastic dough. If the dough feels too sticky, sprinkle a bit more flour. For dry dough, add a splash of water.

Resting the Dough

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. This rest period allows the gluten to relax, making the dough easier to roll out and shape. If preparing in advance, refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours. Bring it to room temperature before rolling. Resting ensures your tortillas turn out soft and flexible.

Rolling and Cooking Techniques

Tips for Even Rolling

Ensure dough balls are uniform in size. Divide the dough into portions using a kitchen scale for consistency. When you start rolling, dust the surface lightly with flour to prevent sticking. Use a rolling pin to roll from the center outward. Rotate the dough a quarter turn after each roll to maintain a circular shape. Applying even pressure, not too hard, will keep the tortillas from becoming too thick in some areas.

Cooking on the Stovetop

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. It should be hot but not smoking. Place the rolled-out tortilla on the skillet. Wait for bubbles to form, which usually takes 30-45 seconds. Flip the tortilla using tongs when the bottom side has brown spots. Cook for another 30-45 seconds until the other side also has brown spots. Avoid overcooking, which can make tortillas dry and brittle. Stack cooked tortillas inside a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overworking the Dough

Overworking the dough results in tough tortillas. Mix ingredients until just combined and a smooth dough forms. Knead briefly—only enough to make the dough elastic. Avoid kneading excessively, as this activates gluten, leading to chewy tortillas. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, allowing the gluten to relax.

Heat Regulation

Adjusting heat incorrectly affects tortilla texture and doneness. Use medium heat for optimal cooking. If the heat’s too high, tortillas burn outside while staying raw inside. If it’s too low, tortillas become dry and brittle. Preheat the skillet and ensure an even temperature before cooking. Cook each tortilla for about 1-2 minutes per side. Recognition of subtle changes in color aids in identifying cooking completion.

Subscribing to these practices ensures your homemade flour tortillas maintain the desired softness, flavor, and texture.

Storing and Reusing Tortillas

Best Practices for Storage

Store tortillas properly to retain their freshness and texture. Place them in an airtight container, then keep them at room temperature if planning to use them within 2 days. For longer storage, refrigerate tortillas for up to 7 days. Freeze them for up to 3 months to extend their shelf life further. Separate each tortilla with parchment paper before freezing to prevent sticking. Label the package with the date.

Reheating Without Losing Texture

Reheat tortillas carefully to maintain their texture. Wrap tortillas in a damp cloth, then microwave them for 30 seconds on high. Use an oven by preheating it to 300°F (150°C), then wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and heat for 10-15 minutes. Use a skillet by placing the tortillas over medium heat for 15-20 seconds per side. Ensure they don’t become too dry by monitoring the reheating process.


Making homemade flour tortillas isn’t just a culinary skill; it’s a gateway to enhancing your favorite dishes with fresh, flavorful wraps. By following the outlined steps, avoiding common pitfalls, and storing them properly, you’ll ensure your tortillas are always delicious and ready to use. Whether you’re making tacos, burritos, or quesadillas, these homemade tortillas will elevate your meals. So, roll up your sleeves and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something truly special in your kitchen.

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