I put off making homemade tortillas for a long time. The whole process just sounded too labor-intensive. Once I did finally get around to trying it, I wasn’t very happy with the results. I tried a few more times and then gave up on the notion completely for about a year.
Then one day, I really had a craving for Mexican food and had all the ingredients on-hand except for tortillas. I decided I would try again. That batch turned out pretty good. I still wasn’t 100% convinced, but I was willing to give it another shot. The more I practiced, the better they turned out. It also became a much quicker and easier process.
I haven’t been able to pick out the one step that really makes or breaks a batch of tortillas. I wish I could tell you the trick to perfect tortillas, but I really believe it’s just a process you have to be willing to play around with until you develop your own method and find what works for you.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
- 1 c. flour
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
- 2 T. butter or margarine
- 1/2 c. or less hot water
This makes about 6-8 tortillas, depending on how thin and how big you make them. The nice thing with these proportions is that they are easy to remember and easily doubled or tripled.
1. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter or margarine with a pastry cutter or two knives (a potato masher works great in a pinch too). Slowly stir in the hot water, a little at a time, until the dough starts to come together. Start working the dough with your hands. If it is too dry, add a little more water. If it’s too sticky, sprinkle in some more flour. (Try to avoid this though.) Knead dough until it becomes very elastic and roll into a ball.
2. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least one hour. Divide the dough and roll into golf-ball size pieces. Roll out each ball as thin as possible, trying to maintain a circular shape. If the dough is still a little sticky, you may need to flour the surface a bit. However, if the dough is elastic and smooth enough, this shouldn’t be necessary.3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a tortilla to the pan. Cook until the top appears dry, as seen below, about 1 minute. Flip and cook about 45 seconds more.
4. Serve the tortillas immediately, or refrigerate and reheat for a few seconds in the microwave, covered with a slightly damp towel.
Extra tortillas will stay good for about 3 days in the fridge. They freeze perfectly for longer storage. I like to roll mine jelly-roll style and wrap individually in a little aluminum foil before putting in a freezer bag. This way, I just pull out a few at a time and the quality once reheated is as good as freshly-made tortillas.