Homemade Flour Tortillas

Make Flour Tortillas with this ultimate guide so they always come out soft & delicious! They melt in your mouth and I guarantee you’ll never want to get store bought again.

Two hands hold a stack of homemade tortillas.

**This post was originally published on May 2020. It has been updated to be more helpful.

Authentic Flour Tortillas

These tortillas go perfect with any Mexican dish or even alone! Enjoy with Papas con huevo, healthy beef chorizo, Bistec Ranchero or my easy to make Caldo de queso con papas.

My Mama’s legacy lives on as my siblings and I make her tortillas. She was the master of homemade flour tortillas and was known for that by anyone who knew her. She had to be since she would make kilos of tortillas each day to feed her nine kids!

My sister Brenda is also known for her homemade flour tortillas and she helped me with the troubleshooting section. Oh and I also have two brothers that live Guanajuato Mexico that have their own tortillerias. I can say that making the best tortillas runs in the family!!

Ingredients Icon Graphic.

Other tortillas recipes you may like:

A stack of flour tortillas placed inside a kitchen towel.

The Ingredients

  • Flour: All purpose flour is used for traditional tortillas. Just make sure it’s fresh and not stale.
  • The Fat: This is the key ingredient that will make your tortillas soft and pliable. I use Crisco vegetable shortening (at room temperature) but the traditional way is with lard. These two fats will give you the authentic flour tortilla flavor. An alternative to these two is butter. Just make sure it’s almost at room temperature.
Ingredients Icon Graphic.

I have not tested making tortillas with coconut oil even though it’s a popular request. I would discourage you to use liquid fat as the tortillas won’t be as soft and will get hard quicker.

  • Salt: Use table salt as it gives the best flavor. If using kosher, sea salt or any other coarse salt, dissolve it in the hot water you’ll use to make the dough. Otherwise, the flavor won’t incorporate in the dough as well.
  • Water: The water has to be as hot as your hands can handle it (if kneading by hand). If using your stand mixer, then use boiling water. The hot water is what will make your tortillas soft by incorporating the fat with the flour perfectly.
  • Baking Powder: This ingredient is optional. You don’t need a lot of it since you don’t want to make them super fluffy!
Ingredients for this recipe in small bowls on a marble backdrop.

Tools you’ll need

  • Stand Mixer or
  • if kneading by hand: A large plastic bowl.
  • Rolling Pin
  • Comal, nonstick griddle or a nonstick large skillet.

Make the dough for flour tortillas

Kneading by Hand:

  1. In a very large bowl, whisk the flour, salt & baking powder.
  2. Add the vegetable shortening/butter and incorporate well until it’s all blended and crumbly.
  3. Add the hot water little by little and begin to knead. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. The longer you knead the masa it will release the gluten allowing for a light fluffy tortilla.
  4. Dough should not be sticky to the touch. If it’s sticky then add 1/2 teaspoon of flour at a time until it’s no longer sticky. Don’t add too much since this could make your tortillas hard later on.

Kneading with a Stand Mixer:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in place, add the flour, salt & baking powder. Whisk until well incorporated.
  2. Add the shortening/butter or lard and mix well until crumbly. Scrape the sides with a spatula to incorporate all flour as you go along.
A metal bowl with flour and vegetable shortening inside.

3. Change to the dough hook and turn to speed 2. Start adding the hot water little by little (about ¼ cup at the time).

A mixer bowl and the hook tool with flour inside.

4. Mix until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. 

Ingredients Icon Graphic.

The dough should not be sticky to the touch. If it’s sticky then add ½ teaspoon of flour at the time until it’s no longer sticky. Don’t add too much since this could make your tortillas hard later on.

A white mixer with dough on the hook tool.

5. Let the dough rest: Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp towel and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rolling technique

Rolling a tortilla is an art onto itself! Just keep trying. The more you make tortillas the better you’ll get! Regardless of what shape they come out (like a flower, like a map, like a chancla? lol), they will be delicious!

Let’s get rolling!

  • Sprinkle a little flour on a clean surface such as your kitchen counter.
  • Spread with a rolling pin, from the center outwards without reaching the ends. Rotate the dough to give a round and thin shape.
  • As you roll the tortilla turn the tortilla to the fat edge and roll. Keep turning the tortilla and rolling the fat edge.
Rolling tortillas with a rolling pin.

How to cook the Flour Tortillas

Cooking the tortillas is another important step for getting soft tortillas: Cook it too long? they will come out hard and crack later on. Not cooked enough? they will be doughy or crack later on.

There are a few factors that could affect exactly how long you cook your tortilla for 1) the type of stove (gas or electric) you have, 2) the type of pan you use, or 3) your city’s altitude (the same way it affects baking). So just keep practicing and adjust the guidelines below until you get it right!

The Comal/Skillet You can use any regular nonstick griddle/comal or even a large frying pan. I tried cooking them in a cast iron skillet and for some reason they came out very hard so now I stick to a normal comal.

The Heat: First get the comal very hot on medium high heat, then lower to medium heat before you start cooking the first tortilla. If the comal is not hot enough, then the tortillas may get hard since you have to cook it longer.

The comal is ready for the tortillas when you see steam coming out of it.

Time to cook:

  1. Add the tortilla and cook until it starts to bubble on the edges, about 30 seconds.
  2. Flip when it starts to bubble, start turning then turn it around with a a paper towel like if you were playing a music disk. This way the tortilla cooks evenly since sometimes the comal is not heated evenly. Cook on this side about 50 seconds.
  3. Flip again. This is the last turn and it’s when you’ll get those big bubbles. Do not poke them! Cook for about 50 seconds.
  4. Remove from the comal immediately and transfer to a tortillera or a clean kitchen towel and cover.

Important!

Use a dish towel that has been washed without any strong soaps and does not have fabric softener. Often these smells will transfer to the tortilla! Or you can also line the dish towel with paper towels inside to act as a barrier (I do this regardless)

Cooking a tortilla on a skillet.


How to Store And Freeze Tortillas

Prior to storing, let the tortillas cool completely inside a dish towel.

  • Refrigerate – Place them in a ziplock bag and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
  • Freeze – I really doubt you’ll have leftovers, but if you do you can store them in the freezer for up to three months. Freeze in an airtight in a ziplock bag. When ready to use, take out and let them thaw in the refrigerator.
Tortillas stored inside a ziploc bag along with paper towels inside too.

How to warm flour tortillas

Place them on a comal again and heat thru on both sides until soft and pliable. Serve right away.

On a gas stove, you can place them directly on the flame and heat thru on both sides. This is my preferred method as the char flavor on the tortilla is so delicious!

FAQs

Can I prepare the masa the night before to make in the morning?

Yes! Follow this process so that the dough does not get hard:
* Make the dough and form a ball. Coat it with a little a vegetable shortening.
* Place it inside a large glass bowl, then cover with a paper towel on top of the dough.
* Cover with a kitchen towel and cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap.
* Leave on counter overnight.

How many carbs in a flour tortilla?

It all depends on the size you make them and the type of fat you use. For this recipe, there are 22 grams of carbohydrates for one large tortilla.

Why do my homemade flour tortillas come out hard?

If the comal is not hot enough when you start cooking, the tortillas may come out hard. Or you may need to knead longer to release the glutens. See step above on how long to knead for and the cooking times.

Flour tortillas with a butter knife and some butter.
An icon of a plate with a fork and knife.
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💫 If you make this recipe be sure to leave a rating in the comments below. You can also tag me on Instagram at @anafriasb.🙏

A stack of flour tortillas placed inside a kitchen towel.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Servings 12 Medium Tortillas
Ana Frias
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 50 mins
These delicious Flour Tortillas are so easy to make at home, and they are a world apart from store-bought! They make a great addition to any Mexican meal.

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or if kneading by hand: A large plastic bowl.
  • Rolling Pin
  • Comal, nonstick griddle or a nonstick large skillet.
12 Medium Tortillas

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour tortillas (plus more to dust when rolling)
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder Optional
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening (plus more to coat the tortilla dough) or ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup very hot water

Instructions
 

KNEADING BY HAND:

  • In a very large bowl, whisk the flour, salt & baking powder.
  • Add the vegetable shortening/butter and incorporate well until it's all blended and crumbly.
  • Add the hot water little by little and mix with your hands. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. The longer you knead the masa it will release the gluten allowing for a light fluffy tortilla.
  • Dough should not be sticky to the touch. If it's sticky then add ½ teaspoon of flour at the time until it's no longer sticky. Don't add too much since this could make your tortillas hard later on.

KNEADING WITH A STAND MIXER:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in place, add the flour, salt & baking powder. Whisk until well incorporated.
  • Add the shortening/butter or lard and mix well until crumbly. Scrape the sides with a spatula to incorporate all flour as you go along.
  • Change to the dough hook and turn to speed 2. Start adding the hot water little by little (about ¼ cup at the time).
  • Mix until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Dough should not be sticky to the touch. If it's sticky then add ½ teaspoon of flour at the time until it's no longer sticky. Don't add too much since this could make your tortillas hard later on.

REST TIME

  • Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp towel and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

PREPARE COOKING THE EQUIPMENT

  • Heat the comal/skillet until very hot on medium high heat, then lower to medium heat before you start cooking the first tortilla. 

ROLLING TECHNIQUE

  • Sprinkle a little flour on a clean surface such as your kitchen counter.
  • Grab a handful (a little larger than a golf ball) of the dough and set the rest of the dough aside still covered with the towel.
  • Spread the dough ball with a rolling pin, from the center outwards without reaching the ends. Rotate the dough to give a round and thin shape.
  • As you roll the tortilla turn the tortilla to the fat edge and roll. Keep turning the tortilla and rolling the fat edge.

COOK THE TORTILLAS

  • Before you begin, make sure the comal/skillet is hot. It's ready for the tortillas when you see steam coming out of it.
  • Carefully, add the tortilla and cook until it starts to bubble on the edges, about 30 seconds.
  • Using your fingers or a spatula, flip it. When it start to bubble, start turning then turn it around with a with a paper towel like if you were playing a music disk (watch video on mark ) . This way the tortilla cooks evenly since sometimes the comal is not heated evenly. Cook on this side about 50 seconds.
  • Flip it once again. This is the last turn and it's when you'll get those big bubbles. Do not poke them! Cook for about 50 seconds.
  • Remove from the comal immediately and transfer to a tortillera or a clean kitchen towel and cover.

Video

*Ana’s Notes:

Heat: The comal is ready for the tortillas when you see steam coming out of it.
Use a dish towel that has been washed without any strong soaps and does not have fabric softener. Often these smells will transfer to the tortilla! Or you can also line the dish towel with paper towels inside to act as a barrier (I do this regardless!)
Storing:
  • Refrigerate – Place them in a ziplock bag and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
  • Freeze – I really doubt you’ll have leftovers, but if you do you can store them in the freezer for up to three months. Freeze in an airtight in a ziplock bag. When ready to use, take out and let them thaw in the refrigerator.

ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1 tortilla | Sodium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Calories: 180kcal | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Fat: 9g | Protein: 3g | Carbohydrates: 22g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

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Recipe Rating




25 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are perfect, authentic flour tortillas. Manteca makes all the difference. I have tried other recipes and wasn’t happy. I did cheat with a tortilla press I picked up in the Mercado many years ago. The magic moment is when the whole tortilla puffs up.

  2. Okay, I finally found the video (“jump to video” does not take you there, BTW), and I have one question: did your mother really use a standing mixer with a dough attachment to make tortillas? I live in a Latino country where these are not easy to find. Besides, I’m guessing they’re not common in a lot of Mexican homes.

    1. Hi Miel! She did not use it as she passed away 10 years ago and did not have that in Mexico. I do use it for mine since I like to save time (I also make my tamales with a standing mixer! Modern times what can I say lol) but also knead it by hand once in a while. I’ll make a video on how to knead them by hand…is on my to-do list :).

      The majority of my readers are in the U.S. where mixers are very common. One of the things that stop people from making homemade tortillas is the intimidation of the kneading process. That’s why I’m showing how to do them this way since I want everyone to experience the amazing flavor these have. The method of how it is achieved does not change the end result 🙂

      Have a great day!

    1. Hola Miel! What do you mean by “where was it”? It’s on the post towards the top. Once you start watching the video, make sure to click “stay” to continue watching the rest of the video. Enjoy!

      1. I think it’s because the links don’t work. Clicking “Jump to Video” takes you to the recipe. Clicking “Print Recipe” opens a tab of this page all over again but never lets you print.

  3. 5 stars
    Muchas gracias por la receta Ana!! Deliciosas tortillas y muy facil de preparar paso a paso con tus instrucciones.

  4. 5 stars
    Not all tortillas are the same. The quality, flavor, texture etc. varies so much. Who would have known? My limited knowledge of this left me to think the store bought commercial tortillas were what a tortilla was. Shame on me! Once you have a “real” tortilla you will never go back to those. This recipe is fairly easy considering other recipes I’ve seen so now I can have the real deal whenever I want. These are great tortillas!

  5. What size should the little balls of dough be or how much should they weigh? Do you just pull the big lump of dough into smaller lumps using your hands or cut them with a bench scraper?

    1. Watching the video, she cuts in half, and then those halves in half…. and at the end it looks like 10 equal sized balls.

  6. need more information about the comal!!! where to buy etc. also too many ads popping up for me to enjoy the user experience :)!

    1. Hi Miranda! You really don’t need a special Comal and can actually use any griddle. Just make sure it distributes the heat evenly as some of them tend to get wobbly and some parts get hotter than others. But if you’re ready to invest in a good Comal, you can buy something like this

      Sorry about the ads popping up! I will check the settings with my ad network to make sure it’s a pleasant experience. Thanks for the feedback.

  7. I’ve had so many tortilla fails and I was losing my mind trying to understand what I was doing wrong. Your recipe, thorough instructions, and helpful tips fixed it! These were some of the most delicious tortillas. For those having issues, time matters! knead it a bit longer, let it rest a bit longer, it made all the difference in light, puffed, stretchy tortillas!! This is a GREAT recipe!!

    1. So sorry to hear this KVM. They have never come out like a cake for me or anyone else that has made them following this recipe. Perhaps you added too much baking powder or you did not use very hot water? What kind of flour did you use?

  8. 5 stars
    A tortilla is a tortilla is a tortilla. NOT! I’ve learned over the years that there’s a BIG difference from one tortilla to the next. Especially store bought ones. Well now I don’t have to worry about that because I can make my own with this recipe and they’re the bomb.

  9. 5 stars
    I woke up this morning remembering that I had promised myself to master tortilla making during my retirement. When I opened my email, there was your wonderful and well written recipe and directions! It’s a sign that I have put this off long enough. I have some scribbled notes after consulting with my mom many years before she passed and I have 2 kinds of comals so I can experiment. I knew several ladies who made them outside. What a wonderful scent for the neighborhood! When my mom made them she would place one with cheese near the bottom of the stack to keep the cheese melted until we “found” the treasure with a warning to “share with your sister!” Love your recipes – thank you so much.

    1. 5 stars
      Dear Elle, I love reading your comments since you have such a poetic to convey your words. So beautiful and I can just picture your memories and beautiful moments with your mom. We have that in common where we both lost our moms and their cooking is what connect us. I hope you get to make these wonderful tortillas and please do let me know who they turn out with different comales.

      All the best to you and thank you so much for stopping by! XO, Ana