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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Grandma Mercie's Flour Tortilla Recipe
Yield 18 Tortillas
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!
- 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)
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Courses Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Taco Tuesday
Cuisine Mexican, Mexican-American, Tex-Mex
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ESSENTIAL MEXICAN RECIPES
If you enjoyed Grandma’s flour tortilla recipe, you’ll love these other recipes too!
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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