Handmade Flour Tortillas

Handmade Flour Tortillas

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  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (see note)
  • 2/3 cup warm water


In a bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Add oil and water, stirring to bring the mixture together to form a soft dough (it will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes (you can do this step in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 2 minutes).

Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 to 20 minutes. (You can make dough the day before and refrigerate. Then proceed as follows.)

Divide dough in to golf-ball-sized rounds, rolling them around to create a smooth surface. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.

One at a time, place a ball of dough on a well-floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll it out to form a semblance of a circle. It works best to roll a couple of times in one direction, turn the dough or your rolling pin a quarter turn, roll a couple more times, and continue this until you have a fairly round tortilla, 6 to 7 inches across, and quite thin.

As you roll out each tortilla, tap off any excess flour, place it on a clean towel and top with another towel, until you are ready to cook.

Heat a cast iron pan or a classic Mexican tortilla grill over medium-high to high heat. Place a tortilla in the dry pan and keep a close eye on it. Within seconds it should start to form bubbles. Give it 20 to 30 seconds and flip: it should have little brown dots all over. Cook for another 20 seconds and remove. Don’t overcook tortillas or they will get tough.

Repeat with remaining tortillas. You can keep your tortillas warm and serve immediately or let cool, wrap well and store in the refrigerator for a couple of days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Special notes:

Note: Traditionally lard is used in making tortillas. It makes a delicious and tender tortilla. Another option is vegetable shortening. PCC carries an excellent non-trans fat shortening made by Spectrum. If you choose to use either in your tortillas, use 2 to 3 tablespoons and cut it into the dry ingredients until it resembles the texture of cornmeal, then add water. Proceed as directed from that point.

Now, this part is very important: there is absolutely no need to attempt perfectly round tortillas. (Unless you’re like that….) The more rustic and avant garde your shapes, the more convinced your fellow diners will be that you have made these from scratch!

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