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.
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.
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).
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- Stack the warm tortillas on top of each other on a towel and cover while cooking the remaining tortillas.
- The cooked and cooled tortillas can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for a month or so.
Recipe Source: from all over, really, inspiration taken from about 20 different recipes, experimented for what I liked best