DIY Homemade Tortillas

Homemade tortillas have been on my cooking bucket list for forever. And after a ton of experimenting and lots (and lots and lots) of failed attempts (think: dry and crackly and just nasty) and several frustrated exclamations of “homemade tortillas are highly overrated!” I think I’ve finally found the version to stick with.

I wanted a recipe that could be easily converted from unbleached all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour and that was also forgiving and not too fussy. This is it! I can honestly say that homemade tortillas aren’t nearly as difficult as I made them out to be. I actually think I was making it more complicated than it needed to be (shocker). Much of that is due to the fact that I wanted a whole wheat version. And this recipe provides that. But! Keep in mind, and I’m stating this from personal experience of at least 8 test batches, whole wheat tortillas are never going to be as light and fluffy as their white counterpart. I’m not bagging on whole wheat, trust me. I love the stuff and whole wheat tortillas are still delicious, and nutritious and hearty, but the white tortillas, I swear, you could serve for dessert. They are tender and divine and absolutely and completely mind-blowingly yummy.

DIY Homemade Tortillas

In the interest of trying to serve whole grains more often than not, my favorite version is half whole wheat, half white flour. And really, you can experiment and decide what you like best. You don’t have to commit right now. Take some time. Think about it. Whatever works for you works for me.

The good news, no matter what flour you use, is that this recipe is really, really easy. It’s basically a matter of stirring together three dry ingredients, a bit of shortening or coconut oil (I’ve used both and the coconut oil works magically), and warm water. I’ve even included a small kitchen hack to get those tortillas perfectly round. Check out the step-by-step pictures below the recipe.

My most recent batch of these I mistakenly made while the kids were home from school. They were grabbing them off the griddle, slathering them with butter and devouring them as fast I could get them cooked, which thank goodness for them is only two minutes (fastest bread ever). Ended up stocking bellies instead of stocking the freezer. Story of my life.

Homemade Tortillas {White & Whole Wheat Versions!}

Yield: Makes 12 8-inch tortillas

Homemade Tortillas {White & Whole Wheat Versions!}

If you want larger tortillas, simply split the dough into larger portions. This batch makes 12 8-inch tortillas. I've shown the step-by-step by hand since not everyone has the same equipment in their kitchen, but I've also made these with the food processor and it works great, so if you have one, and don't mind cleaning the beast, you might try that option for mixing the dough.

Also, if using coconut oil, you can use either extra-virgin or refined. I can taste the slight hint of sweet coconut when using extra-virgin which isn't bothersome, but if you don't want the taste, use refined coconut oil (or shortening).

Finally, I've given instructions for white and whole wheat tortillas (they don't differ much except for the amount of water). 100% whole wheat tortillas, while most nutritious, will never be as light and fluffy as their white counterparts. My favorite version is half white flour, half whole wheat flour (add the water gradually until a soft, smooth dough is formed).

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons shortening or coconut oil (see note above)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Toss in the shortening or coconut oil and use a pastry blender or your fingers (two forks or two butter knives works well, too) to blend the shortening into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal - sandy with some larger pieces in there.
  2. Stir in the water until combined. For whole wheat tortillas, you'll need to add upwards of 1 cup of water to achieve a dough that is soft and smooth (similar to the consistency of playdough). White flour tortillas will need less water. A lot depends on the humidity, elevation, etc - but right around 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water is perfect in my kitchen for the white tortillas. Basically, keep an eye on the dough, drizzling in a teaspoon of water at a time if the dough is too dry/cracking.
  3. While combining the water with the flour, you'll eventually need to abandon the spoon/utensil and get in there with your hands to lightly knead the dough. Once a smooth ball is formed, portion the dough into 12 balls (about 1.75 - 2 ounces each). Cover the dough balls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for a couple of days.
  4. To cook the tortillas, heat a nonstick griddle or skillet (a cast iron pan works great, too) to medium-high. The trick is to get the griddle/skillet hot enough to cook the tortillas through in two minutes (one minute per side).
  5. Roll each ball to an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured counter or on a pastry cloth. If the dough is springing back while rolling (or while cooking), let the tortillas rest for a few more minutes at room temperature.
  6. Cook each tortilla for one minute on the first side until the uncooked side begins to bubble a bit. Flip and cook for another minute - the tortilla should puff lightly. Take care not to overcook or they will be dry and will crack (the whole wheat tortillas are especially prone to this).
  7. Stack the warm tortillas on top of each other on a towel and cover while cooking the remaining tortillas.
  8. The cooked and cooled tortillas can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for a month or so.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/step-by-step-homemade-tortillas-white-whole-wheat-versions/

Recipe Source: from all over, really, inspiration taken from about 20 different recipes, experimented for what I liked best

DIY Homemade Tortillas

74 Responses to Step-by-Step Homemade Tortillas {White & Whole Wheat Versions!}

  1. I’ve been on the same quest, Mel. One of the issues I have is that when I transfer the tortilla from my counter to the pan (using my hands), the tortilla loses its round shape. How did you transfer yours? Also, I’m after burrito-sized tortillas that can be used for enchiladas and will not break when filled. Have you tried using yours for something like enchiladas?

  2. Liz says:

    I make almost the same recipe except I do use bacon fat or olive oil. I’m still not completely happy with their pliability. I found your soft flatbread recipes recently and have been making the one with potato flakes as well as adding potato flakes to my no knead stored dough for making flatbread. It seems like the potato flakes really make a difference in texture so I thought I’d try some in the tortilla mix and see what happens.

    Love your “round” tortillas!

    • Liz says:

      Ok, I couldn’t stand it. I’ve been thinking of trying the potato flakes in tortillas and this was just the motivation I needed – I think it was a success. The hot tortillas seem more what I was looking for in “wrapability”. The true test will be on a warm up from the freezer or frig. Taste is great – I can’t taste potato.

      This batch:
      10 oz white flour
      2.5 oz whole wheat flour
      2 T potato flakes
      I used canola oil this round
      all else the same as your recipe and with my hard red wheat flour in NW MT elev 3300 – it was nearly a cup of water.

      • Mel says:

        Awesome, Liz! Love all your details (and the weight measurements). I’ll have to give this a try!

        • Liz says:

          I’ve been studying your Wheat/Wheat grinding posts. Here in Montana we have Wheat Montana – a family “farm” that supplies non-GMO wheat: flour and berries to grind. Between their site and your posts, I’ve learned a lot and it has helped with all of my bread baking…and I’ve been baking my own for about 40 years!

          I do measure by weight now and get more consistent results and the WM flours tend to need a bit more moisture.

          Bottom line – thank you very much for all of the good info all over your site!

  3. Yay for homemade tortillas! It’s amazing how they cannot compare AT ALL with store-bought! I love how you’ve included both white and whole wheat versions.

  4. Amanda says:

    Thanks for the step-by-step 🙂 Nice tip using a pot’s lid 🙂

  5. I’ve been wanting to try this! Love the step by step!

  6. Karen says:

    Mel,
    I’ve been wanting to make tortillas and voila, you’ve provided a fantastic step-by-step! Do you put anything (spray oil, olive oil, etc) on the skillet when you cook the tortillas. Thanks again for your incredible website.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Karen – good question! If I’m using my cast iron skillet then yes, I use a little drop of oil but it probably isn’t necessary, especially if your skillet is well-seasoned. I don’t add any oil when I use my griddle.

  7. katie says:

    I am constantly running out of tortillas. This will save me . Thank you

  8. Lisa says:

    We LOVE homemade tortillas around here. Thanks to your post, I may even get a wild hair and make some today! Your idea about making them round like that is brilliant. I have seen homemade tortilla recipes before where you allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so like yours. Do you know what the purpose of that step is? Does it make the dough easier to work with?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lisa – yep, you are onto the reason the dough should rest; it helps relax the gluten so the dough rolls out better (if they continue to spring back while rolling or cooking, letting the dough rest for a little bit longer should help).

  9. Yummy! I love any type of fresh bread!

  10. Angela says:

    Thanks for the tip of letting the dough rest so it’s not so springy. I’m going to try that next time. And the pot lid tip for getting them round. You’re brilliant!

  11. J says:

    Love how u make them round!! 🙂 great idea!

  12. Becky says:

    THANK YOU!!!

  13. Traci says:

    Nice to know that homemade tortillas aren’t as difficult as you expected. These are very helpful, the way you laid out the steps with photos and the two different kinds. Thanks!

  14. Kim in MD says:

    YEAH! I have been hoping and praying (and have requested) that you would perfect the most amazing homemade tortillas! You ROCK, Mel! 🙂

  15. Paula says:

    I recently discovered the uncooked tortillas at Costco. They are so easy to cook at home and much better tasting. I’m going to have to try these tortillas. The Costco ones will work in a pinch when I’m short on time but I usually find that homemade things are so much better than those you buy at the store.

  16. Great step by step Mel – I love the addition of the photos!

  17. Marci says:

    I love the step by step explanation. I’m pinning this, thanks for the thorough and easy to follow post!

  18. Susan says:

    Just read your post – a bit confused if this is a tortilla or an Indian Chapathi as I make these all the time. Recently i found a trick to making soft chapathis same as your recipe is using boiling water instead of warm. It makes a lot of difference on the softness.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Susan – I’ve never made a recipe for Indian chapati bread so I don’t know how this recipe differs. I consider this a pretty basic (delicious!) tortilla.

  19. nosh says:

    thanks for such a fab recipe … i always wanted an alternative to shortening ! will be trying tomm

  20. Rebecca says:

    Ha! I’ve been making my own tortillas off and on for years. So much better than store-bought; it really give my Mexican-inspired (because who am I kidding, they’re not really Mexican) meals a step up.

    I’ve never, ever, been able to get them very round; I never thought to cut them out!

    Now at least I know that it’s not because I’m a slacker that I can’t get them round in the first place. I’m just a Muggle.

  21. Kimberly T. says:

    Yeah, thank you!

  22. I’ve made tortillas with butter instead of shortening or lard, but I’ve never tried coconut oil! Can’t wait to try them with coconut oil instead, that’s a great idea!

  23. Aubri says:

    Mel…these look amazing! Now could you do a post on how you do it all? Haha! I have 5 kids, and I’m overwhelmed! I love making things from scratch. I just think that you’re amazing that you make so many wonderful healthy foods and take awesome pictures, blog, and take care of your family. (At least they appear well cared for, haha!) Thanks so much for all of the awesome recipes! I’m excited to try these!

  24. Britney says:

    I have been a huge fan of your potato flakes late breads so I was super excited about these. The folate bread recipe has been fool proof and now I have this recipe too. Love them. Thank you

  25. Britney says:

    I meant to say thank you for the step by step pictures. It really really helps when I am trying something new.

  26. Eva says:

    I had tacos on the menu tonight and was delighted to see this recipe hit my inbox today. So I cooked them up, and they were a huge hit! Next time I will make them larger because the little peeps in my family prefer burritos. Still, these were a winner and a keeper! Thanks!

  27. The picture tutorial is awesome, thank you! I absolutely adore tortillas and can’t wait to try a half white/ half whole wheat version!

  28. Meg says:

    Hi Mel:) I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love the taste of homemade tortillas, but for all the same reasons and with all the same frustrated exclamations as you mentioned above, I just quit making them. Thanks for all your hard work!

    Question: what kind of griddle do you use? I need to get one and I’ve never had a big one, and I would love to know what you love. Thanks in advance:)

  29. Sheila says:

    Thank you for using coconut oil in these tortillas! Your flatbread recipe is our favorite and there is no going back to store brought. Excited to try this recipe. Your tutorials are so well done and so very helpful. You are the best!

  30. Chelsea says:

    If you make them often enough, invest in a hot tortilla press. I used to spend so much time rolling. Now I squish them into perfect circles and have an assembly line going with the dough balls, press, and cast iron skillet. It’s a huge time saver.

  31. Bonni says:

    I have been wanting to make homemade tortillas for a long time. These sound terrific – but I wondered if you’ve ever made them with corn – maza flour? I bought some to make them, and never did.

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t, Bonni – but corn tortillas are next on my list. I have a tortilla press that I want to use for those (although it doesn’t work well for flour-based tortillas like this).

  32. Brianna says:

    I love the pan lid idea! My tortillas never look pretty. Also, random, but in the actual directions of the recipe it says to roll the dough into 8 pieces instead of 12 listed in the pics and above. And one last thing, have you ever tried making them in a food processor? I have tried a few recipes like that and they seemed so smooth…the other ways always ended up weird. I will have to try yours out.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the heads up, Brianna. It should be 12 portions in the recipe (unless you want them bigger). I edited the recipe. Also, I have used a food processor (I mention that briefly in the notes and in the picture step-by-step) and it works great. I demonstrated it by hand in the pictures since I figured many people will be making them that way but a processor works beautifully.

    • Michelle says:

      I rolled the 8 as the recipe said. I thought they were PERFECT. I also used my Food Processor and it worked like a gem!!!

  33. Mrs. Friday Lynn says:

    Hi Mel’s
    I just want to say that I love Your recipe’s . I am what you may call
    a old school girl tried and true . I feel like if it ant broke don’t fit it
    you keep doing what your doing and we will be all right….
    ~~~~Friday 2014

  34. nosh says:

    Hey mel ! I tried your recipe …my tortillas were stiff and hard after being cooked . But thats with every tortilla recipe i make. U think i overcook them ? I want soft tortillas which i can roll easily .

    • Mel says:

      Whenever I overcook the tortillas (even by 10-15 seconds), they are hard and not very pliable so try moderating the heat a bit and cooking them for less time. They should cook really fast!

  35. Jenna says:

    Thank you! Grazie!

  36. Michelle says:

    I LOVED how EASY these were to make. I will never buy tortillas again. I used the coconut oil…so no trans fats. I asked my husband to try one as I was making them. I handed him one and said “Not quite like store bought. :)” His response… ” No, they are WAAAY better!!” I will say that I need to perfect when to flip them. I had a hard time with that. I think 40 seconds on my cast iron griddle is plenty. Love this recipe!!

  37. Brittany says:

    YAY! A perfect tortilla recipe after trying so many!! Pliable, chewy, soft, and a bit crispy. Love it. I started out with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and ran out so finished up with one tablespoon of shortening (I cut the recipe in half) and it worked… I think I’ll do that again next time since they were so scrumptious. Thanks!

  38. SallyBR says:

    Loved this post and all the photos – I make my own corn tortilla but never tried to make wheat ones, so that’s something to try soon

    The use of the lid to make them perfectly round is pure genius!

    Great post!

  39. Marisa says:

    So excited to try this recipe! One question though… do you use store bought white flour or grind soft white wheat berries?

    • Mel says:

      I used home ground wheat flour (white wheat variety) for the whole wheat version and used unbleached all-purpose flour for the white version.

  40. Barbara Ostergaard says:

    I’ve been making our own flour tortillas for years, very similar to your recipe. I find that really warm water makes the dough very soft and lovely to work with. Also, I have never let them rest in the fridge in the balls before, and that was a wonderful idea. The dough was made in the morning, and at dinner time the rolling and frying were easy peasy. I felt the dough was more easy to control, and though I was looking forward to using your trick for cutting them round, I didn’t need to because they rolled out into circles so easy after the stint in the fridge. I used your method for shaping rolls to make them into balls, and starting with that perfect circle helped, too. Thank you!

  41. Anon says:

    Just wanted to share that I have found using mayonnaise instead makes a tortilla that is soft and pliable. Much softer tortilla when you reheat them the next day than those made with shortening. I haven’t tried oil before. May try olive oil when I get a chance. Being Mexican, my Mom and mother-in-law both used shortening for years. I have been using mayo lately and know of other Mexican “pro” tortilla makers that have been using mayo for years. For those that are health conscious, I found mayonnaise made with olive oil at our local Super Walmart. When rolling them out, turning the tortilla 1/4 of a turn each time you roll them out helps to create a round tortilla. Using the lid is a great idea and much easier too. Nothing like a warm fresh tortilla with butter and some fresh beans!! Yum!

  42. Fenella says:

    Just made these tonight with 50/50 white and wheat and coconut oil and they were amazing!! How do you keep them covered in the fridge? I just put a towel over them but they had already started to crust over. I’m going to make a big batch next time and freeze for quick meals during the week!! Thanks again for all your recipes, I’ve never had one fail!

  43. Karis says:

    I made these tonight and they turned out beautifully! I used all-purpose flour, coconut oil and a cast iron pan. I used unrefined coconut oil and agree that the slight taste of coconut didn’t detract from the tortillas, especially when loaded with taco ingredients 🙂 I’m looking forward to trying half all-purpose / half wheat next time.

  44. Marci says:

    Why does a press not work as well on flour tortillas vs corn tortillas?

  45. Mia says:

    Mel you are AWESOME love you to pieces! Anyway I was wondering what is this pastry cloth you speak of? I never have a clean surface in my kitchen so I want one….

  46. Erika says:

    I made these tonight for the 2nd time & just have to gush that they are soo good & so easy! I can’t believe I am now making homemade flour tortillas lol! Never thought I would ever do that. I have always hated store flour tortillas so just bought corn. These are amazingly good. Now we can have flour tortillas sometimes!

    They do take a little bit of time to cook up so I pair them with a dinner that has zero to minimal last minute prepwork so it’s not too crazy.

    Today, I started a some slow cooker pork shoulder that cooked in a crock pot all day that I added a jar of store bought tomatillo salsa, cumin, coriander & chili powder. After that was going I spent less than 10 minutes mixing up this dough & rolling into balls. Then I left the house for the day. Came home to cook up these tortillas which took less than 30 mins & dinner was ready. My tip for cooking the tortillas is to use my iphone timer & just keep setting it for 1 min to cook each side. They cooked up perfectly both batches. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour & rest all purpose. The whole family loved the dinner 🙂 Thanks Mel for the encouragement to try something I had thought previously would be too hard & not worth the effort. Glad I was wrong!

  47. Kattie says:

    Mmmmm… These were very good! I made them half and half with the wheat flour. I used them for your smothered pork burritos and they were auhmazzing!!

  48. Christine says:

    These were fun and delicious but I feel like I missed something because I was exausted afterwords. Since they were refrigerated, the balls were very hard to roll out. What did I do wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Any chance you over floured the dough – was it overly stiff? It is a lot of work to roll them out so I can understand it being exhausting. Next time you could try letting them sit at room temperature a bit before rolling.

  49. Eden says:

    So everything was going well until I rolled them out. I couldn’t figure out how to lift the tortillas from the counter to the cast iron pan without them breaking apart. Any advice??

    • Mel says:

      Was your dough on the dry side? They should be soft and pliable so you might cut back a bit on the dry ingredients or measure with a light hand – also try greasing the counter lightly with cooking spray (or flouring but be careful not to over flour).

  50. Vanessa says:

    I made these tonight with half white and half whole wheat flour. I made the dough in my food processor and it turned out great. I did let the dough rest for about 10 minutes prior to rolling.

  51. Danny says:

    Great recipe!
    Can I use extra-virgin olive oil? How different the result will be?

  52. Meg says:

    I have not had good luck with tortillas! Every time. Even I see them roll them out at the restaurant in 3 seconds I have a desire to try again! Have you used olive oil? Do you think it would work?

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