5 Ingredients or Fewer

Homemade Flour Tortillas

April 30, 2014
6 Ratings
Photo by Linda Pugliese
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 8
Author Notes

In this recipe, handmade flour tortillas are made with a surprising tip that enables you to shape the tortilla with ease using a tortilla press that would typically be used for making corn tortillas!

There are a few basic ways to make tortillas, and this is really more of a technique than a recipe. I’ve gathered tips from all over, but have found that I have a great tip of my own to add.

Due to the gluten in flour, flour tortillas are most commonly made by rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. That means that I tend to end up with tortillas shaped like continents, my hand, or even hearts, rather than beautiful circles.

Cake flour is lower in gluten and produces a very tender, flaky tortilla. The lower gluten content means that the dough can spread easily in a tortilla press without snapping back as a dough made with all-purpose flour would.

Follow this technique by using a tortilla press, or try using cake flour the next time you make flour tortillas, even if you're using the rolling pin method -- it will make quick work of this delicious treat. —AngelinaLaRue

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: AngelinaLaRue might be fairly new to Food52, but she is not new to tortilla-making.
WHAT: Light and pillowy tortillas that can -- and should -- be eaten like pita, English muffins, and lavash. Flatbreads of the world, unite.
HOW: Make a standard tortilla dough, but replace the all-purpose flour with cake flour. Use a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap to shape the tortillas, then cook them on a hot griddle.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Funny-shaped tortillas can be endearing, but they also can be frustrating. This ingenious technique for forming perfectly circular flour tortillas using cake flour and a tortilla press allows you to put away that pesky rolling pin, and it means you'll have neater tacos and quesadillas, too. And even if you don't use a tortilla press (we didn't!), the fluffiness of these tortillas is enough to make this recipe special. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening with your hands until well incorporated. Start adding water a little at a time until you reach a smooth consistency, being cautious that the dough does not become too sticky.
  2. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Cover dough with damp paper towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough into 8 balls and let them rest for a few minutes while you prepare the tortilla press.
  3. Preheat a griddle, comal, or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  4. Shape the tortillas: If you're using a press, cut off two pieces of plastic wrap about the size of your tortilla press. (I like to cut a quart-size zip-top freezer bag apart to use in place of plastic wrap, but either works well.) Lay one piece of plastic onto the bottom plate of the press. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray (or coat lightly with oil). Place one dough ball onto the center (or a little higher) of the plate. Press with fingertips to flatten into a little disk. Lightly spray the other piece of plastic with non-stick cooking spray and place on top of dough.
  5. Close the top plate over the dough and press the handle to flatten the dough. You will see it peek out of the edges of the press. Peel off the top plastic layer, and lift the tortilla with the bottom plastic attached, laying it across your palm. Gently peel plastic back while draping the tortilla out over your other palm. (Separate the dough from the plastic by nudging it with your thumb, if need be, then peel the plastic off.) If you don't have a tortilla press, you can take the more traditional route and use a rolling pin to roll out these tortillas.
  6. Place the tortilla on the dry, preheated griddle, comal, or cast iron skillet. When bubbles start to form, continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Flip, and repeat. Continue with each tortilla and keep them warm in aluminum foil in the oven, set at 200° F.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • laura
  • fur8elise
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • loubaby

36 Reviews

s C. November 28, 2022
Flour tortillas need to be rolled to taste authentic and have the right texture. I’m from NM and this recipe missed the mark big time
Smaug November 29, 2022
Not so bad if you think of them as pancakes.
oooooot November 7, 2022
its good
Smaug January 18, 2022
Not crazy about puffy tortillas, don't get the "eat them like English muffins" comment at all. At any rate, I use strong (King Arthur) AP flour and have never had trouble rolling them out (just be sure to give the dough a good rest first), but here's a pizza maker's trick that might be worth trying- a couple of drops of pineapple juice (or papaya juice, if you can find such a thing) will relax the dough to a surprising degree.
Smaug January 18, 2022
ps- the pineapple juice needs to be fresh; cooking denatures the enzyme that relaxes the dough, and canned juice is cooked.
paseo January 27, 2022
To each his own. I like both depending what I am using them for, My only change is lard for the flavor instead of shortening. I thought this a good recipe and like another use for my press.
laura February 13, 2019
I made my first batch of these last night and they were pillowy-soft, tasty, and the perfect little vessels for braised and shredded pork from the instant pot piled with some pickled red onion. So good and relatively simple~thank you for sharing this recipe! I'm going to have to do a double batch next time :)
AngelinaLaRue February 13, 2019
Thanks for your feedback, Laura! I'm so happy you like them. The cake flour is a nice element, with a little less gluten, making the dough easier to work with, and creating a super soft tortilla. Thanks again!
fur8elise December 14, 2017
I don't know why this is genius???
Similar recipes have been around for decades(centuries?).
The baking powder is optional. If i have it on hand, i use milk in place of water and always use butter in place of lard.
Make ahead hint:
Form individual balls of dough, coat with oil or butter and place in an airtight container and refrigerate. You can have freshly cooked tortillas in minutes this way. The longer the dough sits, the more elastic it becomes.
My favorite Mexican cookbook is Mexican Cookery by Barbara Hansen. My Mexican friends approve anything I've prepared using it!
Taylor S. November 4, 2015
These are fantastic! I used coconut oil instead of lard, then popped it in the freezer for 15 minutes after i cut in the oil. The flavor was delicious and satisfying and they couldn't have been easier to make. Will definitely be adding these to my "staple" recipes.
AngelinaLaRue November 4, 2015
I'm so happy you like the recipe, Taylor! I love using coconut oil so I will have to try your version! If you get a chance, check out my new cookbook, The Whole Enchilada - Fresh and Nutritious Southwestern Cuisine. Thanks!
chamen February 9, 2015
In SRI LANKA we are preparing same type of food locally called as "rotty" also we adding some coconut (scraped) it is delicious with "lunu mirri" made out of chilli & onion.
AngelinaLaRue November 4, 2015
Rotty sounds good, Chamen!
Cecilia November 20, 2014
The ones in the pic look more like some kind of pita bread than flour tortillas. Flour tortillas are mean to be thin.
AngelinaLaRue January 5, 2015
These are a little fluffy, Cecilia, but still a have a very tender texture like a tortilla.
Ceege August 26, 2014
I have two questions. I do not have a press to make these so how "thin" do they need to be rolled out in order to cook in cast iron skillet? Also, I do have a pasta machine, so the same question would apply - how "thin" do I make.

Second questions. Could these possibly be made in double or triple batches, freeze on cookie tins, then package and kept in freezer in order to make several at a time? Would I thaw them out first before cooking?

Thanks for your help
AngelinaLaRue January 5, 2015
Not sure if anyone answered you Ceege. After dividing the dough into 8 equal pieces, press each one to about 8 inches in diameter. The will snap back just a bit, but the thickness will be about 1/8 inch. I have never frozen these, but I have frozen others that were fully cooked and they did pretty well when reheated.
loubaby August 17, 2014
If you chill the liquid coconut oil, will it turn solid?
Libia C. August 13, 2014
A pasta machine makes a good tortilla press. Roll much thinner than shown for better tortillas.
AngelinaLaRue January 5, 2015
Great idea, Libia!
Kristen M. August 12, 2014
I could not stop eating these.
Rebecca V. August 12, 2014
AngelinaLaRue January 5, 2015
Kristen, Rebecca - I'm so glad you liked the recipe! Thank you!
cynthia F. August 12, 2014
There are other corn flour / options like Bob's Red Mill - that are sooooo much better than wheat!
AngelinaLaRue January 5, 2015
Cynthia, I totally love corn tortillas, too! I guess I just like any tortilla that's well made. :)
gwin August 12, 2014
Lard is the traditional fat used on flour tortillas. Masa makes corn tortillas, not flour tortillas, and are flattened in a tortilla press, not rolled out like flour tortillas.
Cecilia November 20, 2014
Lard is neither used in the making of flour tortilla nor in the making of corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas masa doesn't require any kind of fat.
Lard is used in the making of masa, as in tamales masa.
Tha fat used in the preparation of flour tortillass is vegetable shortening and nothing else... substitutes won't lead to good results... just saying.
Verónica L. June 28, 2020
Lard is most definitely used in making flour tortillas. It’s the traditional way my great grandmother, grandmother, mother, have made them and how I do as well. Some do use other fats such as butter or shortening. But your comment that lard is never used is incorrect.
Nessaleah October 20, 2020
Yes, you can use other fats but lard is the traditional fat. My grandmother used to make a foot high stack every morning for her family. She used lard because shortening didn’t exist! I’m Mexican-American and I make tortillas for my family every week. I use lard:-)
cynthia F. August 12, 2014
There is a much better tortilla recipe on the back of the MASA (corn) flour tortilla bag:
m August 12, 2014
Yes, but MASA (corn) flour tortilla mix is NOT GMO-free, if you care about that sort of thing.
cynthia F. August 17, 2014
The recipe is not GMO - just the corn.
Corn flour can be bought at a variety of places that is supposedly not GMO.
Bob's Red Mill, Arrowhead, and some people may be able to find a local source depending on locations!
Ksenya August 12, 2014
What can vegetable shortening be replaced with? (Can't get it where I am at...)
adele93 August 12, 2014
Maybe butter?
marcellatp August 12, 2014
I'll often use oil (vegetable, olive, etc) for tortillas when I'm making them for veggie eating friends. Normally I use lard rather than shortening. I have to say, wow, those tortillas in the photo are thick! Guess it's because the press is used. Might be quick but it could make for a very bread-y burrito.
I_Fortuna August 13, 2014
Coconut oil. absolutely the best substitute. Not the liquid type, use the solid. : )