Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas
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Homemade Flour Tortillas: Yes. You. Can. Homemade tortillas are delicious and not tricky at all to make. This recipe calls for 5 ingredients — there’s no yeast, no kneading, no long rest periods, and no special equipment required here. Simply mix, roll, heat, and you’re done!
There was a period many years ago during which I ate Taco Bell once a month. And I loved it. I more than loved it, in fact — I looked forward to it: From prying open the steaming nearly transparent tortilla holding oozing cheese and beans to smothering the open burrito with hot sauce, this monthly burrito ritual felt like such a treat.
While it has been years since I have eaten at Taco Bell, at the time — when I was just beginning to learn about feedlots and their impact on the environment and animals — I was very grateful to have access to a satisfying, vegetarian meal I could grab on the go. Bonus: the beans were truly tasty! Cooks Illustrated agreed: Taco Bell Home Originals Refried Beans prevailed as the winner of their refried bean taste test.
I can’t ever seem to find those Taco Bell beans, but other brands of refried beans — I like Trader Joe’s — work just as well in my experiments to recreate the bean-and-cheese burritos at home, which is a very simple process. But do you know what the key to making especially delicious homemade bean and cheese burritos is? Making the flour tortillas from scratch.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Store-bought tortillas are convenient, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t always have a stash of them on hand. That said, they are loaded with ingredients — have you ever looked at a tortilla package label? For something that should only require 5 ingredients (or less, see below), it’s shocking to see. I have no doubt all of those ingredients help keep the tortillas soft and pliable for weeks, which is something impossible to achieve with homemade tortillas.
When I have the time, I make the tortillas from scratch. Homemade tortillas are so much tastier than store-bought tortillas, and they are not at all tricky to make. The dough requires no yeast, no special equipment, minimal kneading, and just a short 30-minute rest before being rolled.
Here’s an overview of how you make them:
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
- Cut softened butter into the flour mixture.
- Stir in lukewarm water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes, just until the dough comes together.
- Cut the dough into small pieces; shape each into a ball.
- Cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and up to two hours (at room temperature or 24 hours in the fridge).
- Roll out each ball into a thin, flat round.
- Cook tortillas in a hot, dry skillet for about 30 seconds a side.
The History of Flour Tortillas in Mexico
Before I looked into the history of flour tortillas, I suspected flour tortillas were an Americanized version of Mexican corn tortillas, adapted to make use of the plentiful wheat we have available in the States. What I learned, however, is that wheat, introduced by Spanish conquistadors, has been cultivated in the Northern Mexican region of Sonora for over 400 years, and it continues to thrive there today. In Sonora, tortillas are typically made with flour.
Traditionally, moreover, Sonoran flour tortillas only contain four ingredients: flour, water, fat, and salt. The fat can vary from lard to shortening to oil to butter.
A few years ago, I discovered Caramelo Sonoran-Style Flour Tortillas. They offer three varieties — duck fat, pork fat, and avocado oil — and each is incredibly delicious. They are made in the traditional manner with only 4 ingredients, and they have ruined all other store-bought flour tortillas for me.
So why, you might wonder, do I use baking powder in the recipe below? Until I get around to revisiting this recipe, I use it for the added assurance that the tortillas bubble when they hit the hot pan. I will update the recipe once I give the non-baking powder version a good go.
5 Recipes to Make with Your Homemade Flour Tortillas
There is a simple recipe for a vegetarian refried bean and cheese burrito in the notes of the recipe box below, and here are five other recipes to make with your homemade flour tortillas:
- Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole
- Vegetarian Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos
- Weeknight Tacos (This is the recipe I made a double batch of every other week.)
- Sweet Potato Quesadillas
These 5-ingredient homemade flour tortillas couldn’t be easier to make, and they are so much tastier than store-bought tortillas. Bonus: you know exactly what is in them — store-bought tortillas are loaded with ingredients.
- If you want to use sourdough discard in this recipe, follow the instructions on this post.
- If you want to make a bean and cheese burrito, simply heat up some refried beans, spoon them into a tortilla, top with grated cheese, wrap up, and either eat immediately or wrap in foil and warm in a 350ºF oven for 15 minutes.
- 2 scant cups (256 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (7 g) kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (152 g) lukewarm water
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the softened butter and use the back of a fork to blend it into the flour mixture.
- Stir in the 2/3 cup lukewarm water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly, 1-2 minutes or until the dough comes together — it’s OK if it’s a little sticky still.
- Cut the dough into 2-oz. pieces for taco-sized tortillas or 3-oz pieces for burrito-sized tortillas. You will have 10 small pieces or 5 larger pieces. Shape pieces into a ball using flour as needed.
- Cover with a very light kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Be careful that your room isn’t too hot. Let the dough rest 30 minutes and up to two hours (at room temperature or 24 hours in the fridge. If you need to store the dough in the fridge, transfer balls to an airtight container.)
- Roll out each ball to about 6 – 8 inches (taco) or 10 to 12 inches (burrito) in diameter, or till you can see the counter start to come through — in other words, roll them as thinly as you are able.
- Heat a 12 inch non-stick or cast-iron pan (do not add any oil) on medium-high. Lay the tortilla in the pan and cook until it puffs and little brown spots on the underside appear. Turn with tongs or your fingers and cook again till lightly brown. Each tortilla takes about 60 seconds. You don’t really want the tortilla to brown at all.
- Use immediately or let cool completely; then transfer to an airtight bag.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Flat Bread
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: homemade, flour, tortillas, easy