Following yesterdays Crispy Cauliflower Tacos, I thought I’d share our favorite recipe for homemade flour tortillas. This is one of those situations where store-bought simply can’t compare to homemade. Seriously, make a quesadilla with these babies, and you’ll see what I mean. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The taste and texture are unlike anything you can buy in a (normal) grocery store; they practically melt in your mouth with a buttery softness not unlike a pie crust.
We found some really nice lard at a hip local butcher (if you’re local, you know the place). If you can find good quality lard, use it: you’ll end up with a richly flavored tortilla and not one that tastes like bacon. Although that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but lesser quality lards do have a pronounced porky flavor. If you can only find gigantic containers of lard, divide it up into 1/3 cup portions and freeze it, that way you always have some on hand when the tortilla-craving hits.
If you can’t find or would rather not use lard, unflavored vegetable shortening is your next best bet. While the flavor might not be quite as robust, it’ll still beat a store-bought tortilla any day (honestly, those things are as flat in flavor as they are in shape).
The process of making flour tortillas is actually easier than corn, because you don’t need any gadgets or presses other than your hands and a rolling pin. Also unlike corn (which are better fresh), flour tortillas keep quite well and can be made a day or two ahead of time.
The dough does need to rest for 30 minutes before you roll and cook, so give yourself enough time. There’s nothing worse than a last minute scramble to get dinner on the table. But once you get the hang of it, you may find yourself hesitant to buy store bought tortillas again. It’s well worth it, I promise.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
- 1 3/4 cup (9 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup lard
- 1/2 cup cool water
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add the lard, in chunks, and cut in with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the water, and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead, adding more flour as needed (up to 1/4 cup) until the dough is smooth and pliable. Using a scale, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (for large tortillas) or 10-12 pieces (for smaller tortillas). Shape into balls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly flour your work surface, and roll each ball into a thin circle (about 8-inches in diameter for large, 6-inch diameter for small tortillas). Keep unused dough covered with a tea towel until ready to use.
- Cook the tortillas for 1 to 2 minutes per side until light golden brown in spots. Transfer to a plate or serving platter and cover with a tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Tortillas will keep, refrigerated and sealed in an airtight bag, for up to 3 days. Microwave for 30 seconds under a damp tea towel to reheat.
Recipe from Alton Brown.All images and text ©Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
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I am confused – this recipe calls for flour tortillas calls for “all purpose four” and I thought this website was for healthy food – and at least gluten free – so why the wheat? Can you recommend other ingredients to make these flour tortillas actually healthy?
I think you might be confusing me with another blog, as I’m most definitely not gluten free. But if you are looking for an alternative, give these corn tortillas a try:
Naturally gluten free. :)
I know I am late to the party here. I did make these tonight, with coconut oil (the solid kind)…results were great! PS I would have made with lard, as I have NO FEAR, but had no lard in the house. Thanks for the recipe.
Vegan version please?
Can we freeze the dough before rolling them?
It could be nice to have them on hand when I need some…
Will this work with rice flour or other gluten free flour? Would you add xanthum gum or ???
Yum. Ever since moving to London from LA, I’ve really been missing good Mexican food! I just mixed the dough up for these tortillas.. can’t wait to roll and cook them in 30 minutes!
Gotta try this! Hubby and I prefer natural fats, even lard to things like Crisco and margarine. Thank-you!
I cannot wait to try these out – we always buy tortillas at the store and end up not using them all before they get stale. They also tend to lack in the flavor department. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
Impressive! I never think to make these and always buy them. NOW I have a great recipe to use. Thank you! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
Ok, you have convinced me…I have always had such trouble with flour tortillas…trying lard next time. Also, that’s the worst word :)
i’ve always been incredibly lazy and purchased my tortillas from the store, definitely inspired to make my own now!
Looks amazing! I make all of my families bread at home, I have made homemade pitas and I agree they are much better! The lard does make me a tad nervous but it’s only a once in a while treat. Thank you!
Great..step by step photos. It makes it easy to follow :) Thank you
Good for you, Lindsey! The word lard got my attention. I’ve been troubled that genuine lard tortillas are so hard to find in Mexican food grocery stores even! There’s just the two of us so don’t know if I’ll try making them myself but I guess you could have used that excuse, too! Thanks for a rare, basic flour tortilla recipe!
I absolutely love burritos, tacos & quesadillas, so I’m pretty sure I’d use this recipe ALL the time! Perfect!
Lard is the secret to my dad’s pie crusts too! Although most of the time he uses butter. But when he had some lard leftover from cooking he makes sure to use it in a pie. I gotta try making my own tortillas sometime. It’s been on my list for a long time.
Wow you make it look easy. Having them homemade is such a difference. We have a local restaurant and they make them right out front in the restaurant. Of course they make it look easy. Apparently it is. I pinned this too.
When I read your recipe the other day and it said preferably use homemade tortillas, I had a feeling these were coming! Pinned your collage – the step shots are so helpful!
I am so going to try this soon! Love the step-by-step photos. :)
Just wondering if you tried these with anything other than white flour? My hubby is boarderline diabetic so a lower GI option would be great!
This has been on my to-try list for way too long – they even look so much better than the store bought version!
Looks perfect, Lindsay! Never tried making tortillas at home. Now I’m convinced!
1/4″ thick? Isn’t that going to make these too bready and heavy? The last time I made these using another recipe, I rolled them 1/8″ thick and they were still too thick.
How thinly do you think you can get away with rolling these to get a lighter end result?
It’s really personal preference, you can definitely roll them as thin as you’d like!
Thank you for the recipe, I was looking at a homemade flour tortilla recipe that had fat but not lard and I have bee looking for more recipes other than pie crust that I can use my grassfed pastured lard on. For those who do do not have a local rad butcher, here is where I bought mine. They also give out subscriber coupons is you sign up. I am looking forward to making these! And no, I do not work for them, I just buy their products. :)
Definitely going to have to make these!! And I’m pretty sure I know which butcher you referenced! ;-)
I’m local, but I guess I’m not hip!! Can you tell me the local butcher where you got the lard? Or at least a BIG hint? Thanks. Love the blog.
Porter Road Butcher. Found this at the Charlotte location but guessing the east side version would have some as well. :)
I’m vegetarian, so I don’t use lard. I’ve found that by reducing the salt & adding approximately 1/2 tsp of baking powder works well, as the baking powder helps lighten them.
Do you use the vegetable shortening then??
Vegetable shortening can be substituted directly for the lard if you prefer. We tried making recipes that called for baking powder and did not like the results, but could be that’s just us.
Is there a substitue for the lard by chance? I cannot wait to try and so true re: making without a tortilla press since every recipe calls for one. They look great!!!
Unflavored vegetable shortening will work as well. :)
They look awesome and do sound rather easy. I’ve also been waiting to borrow the tortilla press from my friends. It’s awesome that these can be made without one. Perfect! Now I’m craving Mexican! :)
This look perfect and I never would have guessed lard is the secret ingredient. Must try this!
This is such a great tutorial! I’ve always wanted to make my own tortillas!
I’ve been wanting to try homemade tortillas but was holding off since I didn’t have a tortilla press. Now I don’t need it which is great news because that seemed like a silly purchase, even for a food blogger! Happy Friday.