Essential Preparations/

Flour Tortillas

Tortillas de Harina
Recipe from "Authentic Mexican"
Servings: 12tortillas


  • 3/4pound ( 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
  • 5tablespoonslard or vegetable shortening, or a mixture of the two
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • About 3/4cup very warm tap water


  1. Make the dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your fingers, until completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven't been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth. It should be medium-stiff consistency -- definitely not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.
  2. Rest the dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes (to make the dough less springy, easier to roll).
  3. Roll and griddle-bake the tortillas. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into an even 7-inch circle: Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don't overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner and stacking them one on top of the other.

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  1. This is by far the best recipe I have ever tried. It is definitely a keeper. Thank you for your amazing recipes. My very first recipe book I got from you was from a discarded box of library books that were being donated to a juvenile detention center. I have treasured it. Not only for the great authentic recipes but for the beautifully written stories of your beloved Mexico. Every one of your recipes are so detailed, how can the end result be not perfect! I so much enjoy your show on PBS. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

      1. Do not use a tortilla press for flour tortillas. Please please do not . The presses are for corn . All you need is your palms and I roller for flour tortillas.

        1. There are electric presses just for flour tortillas but the only precook to stretch the tortilla to size the you finish cooking on a comal

      2. Should be an electric press that only precooks to stretch the tortilla, then you place it on comal to complete the cooking

  2. I have to eat gluten free and make a lot of things from scratch with millet, buckwheat, and oat flours. Any idea which of those or which combination would work best for flour tortillas? Millet tends to be the lightest, oats hold more water, and buckwheat is somewhere in between but with a stronger flavor.

    1. I do not know the answer to this unfortunately, but what I DO know is that corn tortillas, which we use for nearly everything in our cookbooks and restaurant, are completely gluten free!

    2. Almost all of the time it’s the GMO wheat that is causing your gluten sensitivity and not actually the gluten itself. To avoid this “gluten sensitivity” simply use organic wheat flour. Most everyone will find they can consume the gluten in organic wheat flour without any adverse effects. Wheat gluten in organic wheat has many health benefits. I would like to add that avoiding all wheat due to the many problems with genetically modified wheat is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

          1. All gmo crops require years of testing and millions of dollars to get approval, it’s very regulated.

      1. I realize that this is an old comment, but I have to reply because the information in the comment is so wrong. If a person has celiac disease, they will become very, very ill if they eat wheat gluten. It doesn’t matter if it is organic or not, gluten is gluten. Please don’t spread false information and junk science!

      2. This is a flat out misconception. There are no gmo wheat crops so all flour is already non-gmo. Gluten is gluten and there are various degrees of sensitivity to it.

    3. Try Italian wheat. It is non-GMO and usually does not cause people with gluten allergies any problem. I know as a friend of mine has a severe gluten allergy, but he can eat this wheat.

      As to the 3 flours you asked about, oat is the best substitute.

      Personally, I would make oat cakes instead.
      Here is the recipe I use.
      It does not use any flour.

      Scottish Oatcakes


      Donegal Oatcakes

      2 Cup Fine Oatmeal
      2 Tbs Butter
      Pinch Salt
      3/4 Cup Boiling Water ( + Plus a bit more, IF NEED, to make a dough )


      01) Put the butter and salt into a mixing bowl.

      02) Pour boiling water onto them.

      03) Stir mixture until the butter is melted and the salt is completely dissolved. 
      * My Note * Rub a drop of the mixture between your thumb and middle finger. If it feels rough the salt has not completely dissolved *

      04) Add the oatmeal.

      05) Mix well.
      * My Note * If Needed, Add a little more water to obtain a dough that doesn’t fall apart *

      In Donegal the mixture was then left out for several hours, sometimes overnight, until it dried out enough to press out into a thin sheet.
      * My Note * I think this was done to let wild yeast, blown by the air, settle on the mixture causing fermentation to begin. Fermentation is the bubbles you would see in the mixture * Fermentation by yeast is what makes bread rise. *

      06) Roll the dough into a 10 inch X 8 inch ( 25.4 cm X 20.3 cm ) rectangle.

      07) Place in a 10 inch X 8 inch ( 25.4 cm X 20.3 cm ) baking pan.
      If needed, use your fingers to press the dough to the edges of the pan.
      * My Note * Use a flat pancake flipping spatula to flatten. It will do a much better job than your fingers *

      You may not manage to get it quite that thin, on your first attempt, because the dough can be rather difficult to handle. 

      08) Leave dough in the baking pan for another hour or two before you bake it.
      * My Note * This allows the water to be well absorbed and evenly distributed throughout the dough, making a much better tasting bread, that is less likely to stick to the pan *

      09) Bake for 3 to 4 hours in at a VERY LOW HEAT.
      Set the oven at 250 degrees F. ( 120 degrees C.)

      The more slowly it cooks, the better the flavor will be.
      * My Note * This roasts the oatmeal which causes the natural sugars in the dough to caramelize, making the oatcakes sweeter tasting.

      Good to Know Facts About Oatcakes

      A) Oatcakes keep for long time in an airtight container.

      B) Oatcakes  can be reheated.

      C) Oatcakes taste best when eaten with jam and butter. 

      Note: we use fine stoneground oatmeal flower from Macroom.  
      * My Note * Find out where or what Macroom is *

      Traditionally, after being baked on a griddle or bake stone, the oatcakes would be hardened in front of the fire.
      * My Note * This is to get rid of any water, which would cause it to get mouldy *

      Because of the longevity of cakes and bread made with oats, they were often given as gifts to people about to go on a long journey, such as the famine ships and Scottish fishing boats that stay out for weeks at a time, and other similar seasonal work.

      I hope this helps you !

    4. Maybe try White Sonora Flour. It will have gluten but it won’t have nearly as much gluten as modern wheat varieties, since it’s a heritage wheat. People who react to high gluten levels are starting to find that they aren’t affected by these types of heritage wheat varieties. Sunrise Flour Mill and Hayden Flour Mills sell White Sonora, and it’s the wheat that the Spanish brought with them so it’s the original flour used for flour tortillas.

    5. Experiment with the different gluten free grains yourself with a quarter or third of the recipe. It’s also about which flavor of grains you like. Most flours should work. You might need to add more oil or water depending on the type of grain you use.

  3. You recently make flour tortillas using the food processor. It seemed so easy I feel I could make them. Where can I find the directions.
    My husband and I have been fans for a long time, and enjoy watching you prepare foods that we love, and grew up with, but I never learned to prepare. I am learning from you now. Thank you

  4. LOVE this recipe, use it all the time, TASTES GREAT, but they never turn out “floppy” for me. the last time i made them (from seeing other recipes –looking for what could be missing), i threw in a tiny bit of baking powder and it fluffed them up a bit and i think that fixed my bendability issue : )

    i also love to add in sesame seeds and just eat these tortillas as is.

    1. It may be that you aren’t using a hot enough cast iron skillet. If you are cooking them at too low a heat, you have to cook them longer and they will turn out hard. The temperature is important, as is using cast iron. The cast iron keeps the temperature more even.

    1. We don’t use baking powder because it is not traditionally used in Mexico – but you are more than welcome to!

  5. I have tried quite a few tortilla recipes, these are by far the best. They get the air bubbles in them as they cook. I couldn’t get the others to do this. The air bubbles make them light. We have not purchases store bought tortillas since making these the first time. Of course it takes a little longer to make your own but it is worth it.

  6. I am going to try to make my own tortillas and well my first batch didn’t come out…I bought some flour called “torti masa” and the ingredients didn’t call for oil or lard…Well they didn’t turn out…My girlfriend who lives in Tijuana and is a from Mexico told me to put in manteca…So I bought some at our local market…The manteca is refrigerated, so my question is to I leave it in it’s hard state or should I melt it in the microwave…I am going to use your recipe you have here rather than the one on the bag of flour…
    Thanks for your response…

  7. Great Recipe! i have a couple questions..

    When i buy flour tortillas from the store, they are really thin and pliable, they roll up a burrito without breaking.. i have a tortilla press, and used this recipe.. it tastes great, but i cant manage to get them so thin and when i try and roll then they break.. definately not as pliable as the store bought ones.. any tips? I am trying to use flour tortillas only for burritos, as i like corn ones more for everything else.. thanks in advanve!

    1. Hi Luke,
      I use a thin silicone rolling mat. Instead of trying to pick up the tortilla I pick up the mat and bend near the edge of the tortilla and slowly lift and separate, then when 2/3’s of the way off I lay the mat back down and get my free hand under tortilla and finish slowly lifting then go right to griddle. If you keep enough flour under it you should have no problem..
      But rolling is how my step mother from Ensinada made her flour tortillas. A press leaves them too thick and dense in my opinion.

  8. Can you make these one day and serve them later. How would you store these? How long can you keep them? Thank you for your help!

    1. Disculpa, no se mucho ingles, pero yo soy de Sonora, Mexico y soy muy buena para hacer tortillas de harina. Las puedes guardar en el refrigerador hasta por tres dias, despues pierden sabor o se hechan a perder. Cuando esten frias, las guardas en la tortillera, si esta cierra hermetica, si no, metelas en una bolsa de plastico, envueltas en la toalla de cocina, y cierrala bien, si no lo haces, se pondran duras.

      1. Translation for Alina’s reply:

        Sorry, I do not know much English, but I’m from Sonora, Mexico and I’m very good at making flour tortillas. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to three days, then they lose flavor or spoil. When they are cold, keep them in the tortillera, if it closes airtight, otherwise, put them in a plastic bag, wrapped in the kitchen towel, and close it well, if you do not, they will get hard.

  9. I realize the tortillas are best eaten immediately after baking, but I would likely make them in the morning and serve them for dinner that evening. How do you recommend storing and reheating the tortillas for later consumption?

    1. Wrap them in foil and when it’s time for dinner, unwrap them and cover with wet paper towel and nuke them 10 seconds

  10. My grandmother in her 70s used baking powder, she was from Saltillo Coahuila. Other family members from Monterrey also used it. I guess maybe the northern states used/uses it.

  11. I am from Wisconsin parents are from Texas we also use same ingredientsand we add baking powder to it they are very good fresh every morning

    1. They really don’t act the same way as the lard. Crisco is the only substitute but it would taste very different.

  12. I have to say I’ve read many recipes on Flour Tortillas. Yours by far is the easiest to follow. I love to cook, well it’s a passion. I could buy the item needed then my husband asks why? your a gourmet chef. Well, I’m not but I love to cook. Again thank you for an easy to follow recipe without all the hoopla others tend to put on their blogs. Bravo.

  13. How long will these typically keep for? I was hoping to prepare some ahead of time, but didn’t want them to go bad.

    1. They will last a few days in your refrigerator. But the flour tortillas do not reheat as wella s the corn, they tend to get sticky and gummmy. The real reason to make your own is to enjoy freshly made tortillas.

  14. I have been cooking since I was 8. I am now 54. This is by far the easiest and best recipe for flour tortillas I have ever come across. I tried the prepared mixes and they don’t even come close. The extra time and effort is well worth it with the quality you get. Mr. Bayless I give you a “Bravo Zulu” from an old Marine Veteran who loves to cook and eat great food.

  15. Hands down, best tortilla recipe. I use leaf lard, which works magic in this recipe. Love, love, love, will never use another!

  16. I have some yellow corn flour and would like to incorporate it. As it has no gluten, it will perform differently. It is not corn meal or masa harina but corn flour. ANy ideas how much I can substitute for the AP flour? Last night I made it with half and half, but I think that was a bit too much corn flour.

  17. When using Baking powder my experience is that the thinly rolled tortillas are hard to manage when transferring to the comal as they are too soft.
    My question is about the raw dough looking appearance after cooking. I have tried raising and lowering the heat and adjusting the times and all the places beside the ‘bubbles looks raw. Is there an adjustment I can make.

  18. Although I do not practice Judaism and I am not a strictly kosher eater, I am a Torah observant believer. I do avoid all foods containing pork, other forbidden meats; many crustaceans, mollusks, insects and some fish. I am very appreciative when your recipes have alternative kosher ingredients. Thankyou!

      1. Then it would be dairy and could not be eaten with meat. The vegetable shortening (Crisco) is appropriate in order to use either meat or cheese (not both). I am an observant Jew, and this recipe is perfect. Thanks for posting it.

  19. Hi
    I tried this recipe yesterday. It was my first time making tortillas..the tortillas didn’t rise at all. I can’t figure out what the problem was. I tried to cook them on a pan and directly on the stove. Any ideas?

    1. Hi,
      I’m a bit disappointed with my attempts at making tortillas. I have been trying since last November and kind of gave up for awhile because of my cold kitchen but now have been at it like crazy, but am going crazy because they are again not working out.

      The problem is that I cannot get them to puff up on the grill. The only thing I haven’t tried is lard since it is hard to find where I am living at the moment. I have used butter and olive oil in all combinations as I have with different flours as well, even just white…..I have always used baking powder and salt though I have watched videos for tortillas, roti and chapatti and seen all different combinations, with even just water, salt and flour, I have rolled them thick and thin, I have tried all heat levels. I am cooking them on a really nice wide SS pan with a very thick bottom……..nothing works, I have been on other blogs asking for help, yet I have tried everything….I have a fridge full of crackers, no soft tortillas…..there has got to be something I am doing wrong….please help.


      1. You can get pork leaf lard through This type of fat will allow the puffiness to happen in the tortilla when it hits the heat sort of the same way that flakiness happens in a pie crust with ice cold butter in the hot oven. The leaf lard is the good kind of lard, not the hydrogenated kind but costs more and worth every penny.

  20. If you have ever had authentic Mexican cuisine (not that Americanized Mexican you get in restaurants), then you will absolutely love this recipe.
    I have always thrived on being as authentic on recipes as possible. This recipe delivers!
    Pork fat rules, and flour tortillas would not taste the same without it.

  21. Thanks for sharing your recipes so generously. As a baker, I’d love to see the quantities for each ingredient in grams — after my “impeccably clean hands” as Julia liked to say, the kitchen scale has become my favorite tool. It’s just so much easier to replicate delicious recipes.

  22. Hello! I plan on using this recipe for a big family party. Can I make the dough and refrigerate over night then roll out and fry the tortillas the day after? It will be for about 100 people so I’m trying to cut corners where I can. Thank you!

    1. Hello! Thank you for your comment! You can make the dough the day before and what I would do is separate the dough into portions that fit in a quart Ziploc bag. Make sure and lightly flour the bag before you place the dough inside and it will come out easy the next day. Also try to get as much air out of the bag as possible. Refrigerate overnight and in the morning leave out about 30 minutes before you are planning on rolling out the dough. Let us know how it comes out!

  23. i used this recipe tonight and it replaces my older recipe from chef john because it is sans baking powder. just veggie lard, flour and salt dissolved in the water. simple and perfect recipe, thank you.

  24. I’m going to try making these today, but I noticed everyone is rolling these by hand instead of using a tortilla press. Is there a particular reason for that?

  25. Really shocked, but these didn’t come out well at all. No matter how thin I rolled them, they were still too thick and end up hard as logs.

    1. Hi there. Try a little less lard or shortening. I add 1 tablespoon shortening for every cup of flour. Also, make sure your griddle is preheated or your tortillas will take too long too cook and end up hard. Another trick is to cover them in a dry dish towel after you make them. I always add baking powder because my mom always did, but that’s a personal preference. Using a little less shortening will make your tortillas softer and more pliable . . . even a day or two later when you reheat them. Good luck!

  26. Hi,
    I’m a bit disappointed with my attempts at making tortillas. I have been trying since last November and kind of gave up for awhile because of my cold kitchen but now have been at it like crazy, but am going crazy because they are again not working out.

    The problem is that I cannot get them to puff up on the grill. The only thing I haven’t tried is lard since it is hard to find where I am living at the moment. I have used butter and olive oil in all combinations as I have with different flours as well, even just white…..I have always used baking powder and salt though I have watched videos for tortillas, roti and chapatti and seen all different combinations, with even just water, salt and flour, I have rolled them thick and thin, I have tried all heat levels. I am cooking them on a really nice wide SS pan with a very thick bottom……..nothing works, I have been on other blogs asking for help, yet I have tried everything….I have a fridge full of crackers, no soft tortillas…..there has got to be something I am doing wrong….please help.


  27. I love reading these comments! Lard is a remarkable ingredient for baking, not just for tortillas but for pie crusts, pastries and other foods. That being said, I totally understand the hesitation and the strict dietary constraints. For this recipe it’s clear that vegetable oils, butter, olive oils, etc. are not good substitutes, but I’m really curious about other animal fats. Duck fat? Makes a heck of a roasted brussel sprout. Rendered beef fat? Relatively easy to prepare. Chicken schamltz? Wild game? Each of these ingredients may be useful, add new and interesting flavors. For that authentic taste, though… Lard!

  28. You can make tortillas with beef tallow instead of lard. You can find recipes for that online. Searching manteca or sebo with tortilla can help Not sure if lamb, sheep, or goat fat would work or not.

  29. This is a simple recipe that works every time.
    I usually make half a recipe but with 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening (room temp) to make 6 tortillas. I add a little bit of baking powder but the recipe works without it. I let the balls rest for an hour so it autolyzes well. If you don’t have shortening, coconut oil works very well as a substitute.

  30. I live in Tucson Arizona and I learned how to make flour tortillas when I worked on the Yaqui reservation. 2 cups of flour, quarter teaspoon of salt One cup of warm water. Quarter cup of butter or lard…..your choice. If the dough is a little sticky add a sprinkling a flour. Work that Dough till it’s smooth. Cover the dough and let it sit for 30 minutes if you’re in a rush 15 minutes at the minimum. Roll into little golf size balls. Roll it out throw it in your hot pan once it bubbles flip it over it’ll start to puff up pull it out stack them up so they keep steaming and baking on top of each other. That is how you make them in Tucson Arizona. In Tucson we would never add ingredients like milk or baking powder. If you add those ingredients and then fry it in oil you have Indian fry bread which is also very delicious and very popular here in the Sonoran desert especially with the Tohono Oodham nation.

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