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Grandma Mercie’s Flour Tortilla Recipe

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Of all the recipes I share, my Grandma Mercie’s flour tortilla recipe is the one I hold closest to my heart. My grandma made the best Mexican food I’ve ever tasted, including homemade flour tortillas. She was a fantastic cook! Wherever she is right now, I’m absolutely certain she’s smiling down at me feeling very honored that I’m about to share her fabulous recipe for homemade flour tortillas (tortillas de harina). Although there are many flour tortilla recipes floating around, Grandma’s recipe is seriously the best!

Grandma Mercie's flour tortilla Recipe

Grandma Mercie’s Flour Tortilla Recipe Ingredients

What are flour tortillas made of? Here’s what flour tortillas are made of: all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, shortening, and hot water. If you were wondering how to make flour tortillas without lard – this is the recipe for you! As an adult Grandma Mercie never used lard for her tortillas (although if you’d like to use lard when making this recipe that’s perfectly fine). Instead, Grandma used Crisco shortening. If she happened to be out of shortening she simply used Mazola vegetable oil in the same quantity.

Flour tortilla ingredients

How to Make Flour Tortillas

In the recipe card for this post I’ll provide directions on how to make flour tortillas using a stand mixer. But right here I’ll show you how to make flour tortillas by hand just the way Grandma made them. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend in the shortening using your clean hands or a fork. Slowly add in the water, and continue mixing with your hands until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour tortilla recipe

How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas

On a generously floured board, knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding in a bit more water or flour, as needed, until the dough feels smooth and the texture is nice and velvety. Cover the the dough with a clean dish towel and allow it to sit and rest on the board for 20-30 minutes. Don’t skip this step! The resting period allows the flour in the dough to take a mini vacation and soak in the water which will improve the texture of the well-rested dough. After the gluten has had a chance to rest and relax it’ll be feeling super laid back and more cooperative – the dough will be easier to roll out and your flour tortillas can be rolled out much thinner.

Grandma's flour tortilla recipe

Flour Tortilla Recipe

Uncover the dough and divide it into 18-20 small pieces. Roll each piece into a little ball, just slightly larger than a golf ball. Keep the balls of dough covered with a clean (just very slightly damp) dish towel until they’re rolled out. This will keep them from drying out. Another method for keeping them from drying out is to just lightly spritz the balls with a bit of vegetable oil (but not olive oil as that flavor is way too strong!) before covering them.

Flour tortillas

How to Make Tortillas

Preheat a cast-iron comal, griddle or large frying pan over medium/low heat. Like Grandma, I have a gas stove and this is the heat setting she used and it’s what I use too. But depending on your stovetop and the type of griddle you’re using, you may need to raise the heat to medium.

Homemade flour tortillas (tortillas de harina)

How to Roll Out Flour Tortillas

With a wooden rolling pin, roll out your flour tortillas into circles approximately 8 inches in diameter. Grandma was an expert at creating perfectly round flour tortillas. Sadly, mine are not as beautifully shaped as hers. Most times I just use the handmade wooden rolling pin my grandma gave me. Other times, like today, I pull out my authentic Mexican tortilla press. I use it to give me a quick head start at making round flour tortillas.

Flour tortillas cooking on a comal.

How to Use a Tortilla Press for Flour Tortilla Recipe

It’s important to note that a tortilla press works best for corn tortillas not flour tortillas. This is because flour contains gluten which makes a rolled out flour tortilla shrink back to a smaller size. However, a tortilla press can be used to start the process of creating a nice small round tortilla that can then be rolled into a larger size with a rolling pin. When using a tortilla press, place the ball of dough between two pieces of waxed paper.

Fresh tortillas in a tortilla basket

How to Cook Flour Tortillas

Lay your rolled out flour tortilla on the comal. Casually count to 20, then flip it over. Flip the tortilla 3-4 more times, slowly counting to 20 between each flip. While the tortilla on the comal is cooking, start rolling out your next tortilla so that it’s ready to go. Your tortillas will puff up slightly while cooking, and the surface will have some light-brown spots all over. If your tortillas are not cooking fast enough, raise the heat to medium – but no higher than that. I like my flour tortillas cooked until just done so they’re soft and tender. My mother loves her tortillas cooked longer, to the point where they’re even a bit crispy! For every member of our family, our favorite part is enjoying a fresh flour tortilla hot off the comal with a nice pat of salted butter. Mmmm…so good!

Flour tortillas with a pat of butter

Best Kitchen Tools for Grandma Mercie’s Flour Tortilla Recipe

These are the kitchen tools that are perfect for making Grandma’s flour tortilla recipe! In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where I spend 3 months a year, the taco stands and restaurants all use these beautiful hardwood tortilla presses for making their homemade tortillas. I absolutely love mine!

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Flour tortillas

Grandma Mercie’s Flour Tortilla Recipe


Description

Grandma’s homemade flour tortilla recipe! This delicious Mexican recipe has been passed down through four generations in our family. Although you can use lard to make these tortillas, Grandma preferred using Crisco shortening. There’s something very special about a freshly made tortilla hot off the comal smothered with melted butter. Mmmm…so darn good. This recipe’s a keeper!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup Crisco shortening, cut into small pieces (or fresh lard)
  • 2 + 1/2 cups warm water (super hot water if using lard)

Instructions

  1. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well. Add in the shortening and mix until blended. Slowly pour in the water. Mix for 90 seconds on low speed or until all ingredients are well incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be very smooth and velvety. If needed, add a bit more flour or water to achieve this desired texture.
  2. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board. With clean hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to relax for 20-30 minutes. Do not skip these important steps!
  3. Tear the dough into 18-20 small pieces. Roll each piece between your hands to form a ball just slightly larger than a golf ball. Place the balls of dough on a cookie sheet and cover them with a clean (just very slightly damp) kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.
  4. Preheat your black cast-iron comal (or griddle or skillet) over medium-low heat. Depending on your stovetop (gas or electric) and the type of griddle you’re using, you may need to raise the heat to medium.
  5. With a wooden rolling pin, roll out your flour tortillas into circles that are approximately 8 inches in diameter. If you prefer thinner tortillas, roll them out into 10-inch circles.
  6. Place the first flour tortilla on the comal or griddle. Slowly count to 20. Flip the tortilla over and start counting to 20 again. Each tortilla should be cooked after being flipped 4-5 times, counting to 20 between each flip. As the tortillas cook they will slightly rise and some may look extra puffy before deflating. Your tortillas will have small brown patches when cooked, but should be soft and tender.
  7. As the first flour tortilla comes straight off the comal, enjoy it with a delicious pat of melted butter! Ahhh…there’s nothing better than the taste of Grandma’s fresh homemade flour tortillas!

Notes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Why let tortilla dough rest? The reason for letting tortilla dough rest is to give the flour enough time to fully absorb the water which will result in a nicer more beautiful texture. When the gluten is given ample time to rest the flour tortilla dough will be much easier to roll out and you’ll be able to make thinner tortillas.
  2. How to knead dough? Here’s how to knead dough. With clean dry hands, gather the dough together into a ball. Press down on the dough and with the heels of your hands, stretch it out in front of you by pressing it forward and flat. Fold the dough in half, turn it 45 degrees, and repeat the process using the heels of your hands.
  3. How long do tortillas last? When refrigerated, homemade flour tortillas will stay nice and fresh for up to 5 days. After your fresh flour tortillas have been cooled, place them in a large zip-top bag and stick them in the refrigerator.
  4. How do you reheat tortillas? Your tortillas can be reheated on a comal or griddle, or wrapped in slightly damp paper towels and placed in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • Category: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Taco Tuesday
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Mexican-American, Tex-Mex

Keywords: homemade tortillas, flour tortilla recipe, how to make tortillas

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GRANDMA’S FLOUR TORTILLA RECIPE > PIN IT TO PINTEREST

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Grandma's Flour Tortilla Recipe


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I spend three months a year in Mexico, and while I’m there I pick up excellent authentic recipes like this yummy recipe for authentic Mexican guacamole!

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GRANDMA’S FLOUR TORTILLA RECIPE > JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

Do you love eating freshly made flour tortillas slathered in butter? What do you think about this authentic flour tortilla recipe? Join the conversation in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!

32 thoughts on “Grandma Mercie’s Flour Tortilla Recipe”

  1. Thanks for this! I recently found the aprons my grandma and I wore, while we were making tortillas when I was young. For Christmas I got a new placa (comal), and just this week I found her broomstick rolling pin. Even though her recipe mostly stuck with me, it’s nice to have a baseline to use in forgetful moments or when others ask. My grandma always used crisco too! Last night I made fresh lard, so I think I’m going to give that a try. I’ve wanted to for many years. :)

    • Christen, my eyes are all misted up reading your story. Food is magical. It’s the silver cord that connects one generation to the next. What a wonderful thing that you found your grandma’s rolling pin AND the aprons you both wore while making tortillas. Each year our extended family gets together around January 20th, Grandma Mercie’s birthday, to make tortillas and breakfast like grandma used to make for all of us cousins and our children. We then recall our fondest memories of her. It keeps her memory alive, and all of us connected. We call this event “Tortilla Day”. Thank you so much for taking a moment to share your own beautiful memories with me!

  2. I have spent years making my own corn tortillas because they aren’t available in the supermarket in Australia.I have yet to try my hand at flour tortillas though and am very grateful for all the tips in this post!! Handmade is always so much better than store bought, and these sound fantastic!! This is going to be our family cooking experiment this weekend :)

  3. I love the idea of making my own tortillas! I’ve never tried before but you make it look so easy. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. I love that they can be made with or without shortening depending on what I have handy! So much better than buying premade tortillas!

  5. These were just perfect!
    So soft and supple and much tastier than the ones you buy in grocery stores.
    Thank you :D

  6. Wow! Great Recipe.
    I would definitely try it and give you a feedback. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  7. These look delicious. There’s nothing better than fresh homemade tortillas! I will have to try this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  8. My boyfriend’s mom makes the best homemade tortillas. It’s such a dramatic difference when they’re fresh!

    Gennifer Rose

  9. These look fantastic and I love that you’ve shown what they look like at each step. I can’t wait to try these!

  10. Making homemade tortillas is a game changer! In Texas we eat a lot of flour tortillas. I will need to try your recipe!

  11. Flour tortillas are one of my weaknesses! I’ve never been a huge fan of the corn kind, no matter how authentic they are – flour are so much better to me. I’ve never thought about making my own, but now I know I’ll have to give it a try!

  12. I can almost smell these cooking just by reading this post! These look so good and easier to make than I thought!

  13. Oh how I LOVE homemade flour tortillas. What a treasure this recipe must be to you and absolutely wonderful too! I can;t wait to whip some of these up because we use tortillas all the time!

  14. I love recipes with a story and being that this recipe was your Grandmother’s makes it so special. It’s so hard to find a tortilla recipe made without lard and I was thrilled to see this one. This is my go-to tortilla recipe now, thank you!

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