Authentic Mexican Tortillas

My grandparents own several properties in our small town back home in Tennessee and during the summers a lot of Mexican families would move in while they worked at the local Strawberry fields. I was probably about five or six and had made a great friend named Maria who was a few years older than I was. We had been playing all day and she said lets go to my house and I will make us some tortillas. I had no idea what they were but I was excited to try something different that my friend ate. We went into her house and she whipped up a stack of tortillas and we ate them all up.  I loved them and for years went on and on about them. Finally several years later a Mexican restaurant opened up and I was able to enjoy many more dishes that I loved. We have many Mexican Americans in America, we’re truly spoiled because they can throw in down in the kitchen.

Making flour tortillas at home is really simple and all you need is a few basic ingredients. The real Mexican tortillas are made with lard but most people use shortening. I am sure you could use oil if that is all you have but I have never tried it and it’s not authentic. Making tortillas is a lot like making Arabic Pita Bread, it’s actually identical in terms of how you shape but the tortillas are rolled very thin. Letting your dough rest after kneading is mandatory to keep the gluten in check also if you find your dough retracting it’s because you did not allow it to rest or you’re not using enough flour on your rolling board. Make sure you use a cast iron skillet (a Southern and Mexican must) when cooking your bread. For storage use a plastic bag, it keeps them soft and bendable.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup hot water

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With your hands cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. If the mixture looks more floury than crumbly, be sure to add just one or two more tablespoons of shortening till it is crumbly. Add about 3/4 cup hot water to the mixture, or just enough to make the ingredients look moist.

2. With your hands knead the dough. In a plastic bowl add the dough into a ball and brush top with oil and cover with a dish towel. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

3. Take the dough, and pull apart into 10-12 balls. Lightly flour your rolling area, and roll each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness.

4. Place each tortilla on a medium hot cast iron skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Yields: 1 dozen

17 Responses to Authentic Mexican Tortillas

  • meeso says:

    I love homemade tortillas, after making them, It’s too hard to buy them from the store… Yours look awesome!

  • Summer says:

    i made those not too long ago and they turned out great…true, you just do not know how easy they are to prepare at home until you try….and they are more delicious than the store bought ones too.

  • Melissa says:

    I’ll have to try this. I made, or tried to make, corn tortillas a few weeks ago, but they were hard to make, and fell apart.

  • Noor says:

    I like corn tortillas only to make home made nachos with not alone. :) . I should make some for that alone.

  • Tammy says:

    Assalamu Alaikum

    I usually make my sambusas with store bought tortillas. I am wondering if this would work as well!

    PS awesome site!

  • Noor says:

    Tammy, thank you. I have never used tortillas to make samboosas but wow that sounds hard. I used to use eggroll wrapppers when we were in the states. Here in Saudi thank God we have samboosa leaves, it makes it so much easier. When I was in the states, it was so work and time to make them here its a snap with these babies.

  • davemx says:

    Hi there,

    I’m a big fan of your blog!

    Just wanted to let you know that tortillas, both corn and wheat, are a traditional food of Mexico and not of Spain…

    There more common in the north, I guess that’s why they’re so popular in the U.S.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Jess says:

    hi i was wondering if you could substitute vegetable shortening with samna? thanks :)

  • Noor says:

    I have never used it and never heard of it but Its like butter right? I looked it up :)

    I guess you could try it I have heard people say they used oil and that worked but not as well..

  • Shobha says:

    Thanks for sharing…
    Authentic Mexican food is really good.I went in Mexico a few yrs ago and really enjoyed all the delicacies.

  • From Yeast to Zest says:

    O’ they look amazing! 5 de Macayo made you crave Mexican? lol. :) I made two who corn tortillas yesterday then ended up giving up, what a waste of my maseca flour.

  • Noor says:

    Oh girl you know me to well lol. I have another Mexican drink coming up tomorrow :p Can you believe they have a tortilla press here in a store.

  • From Yeast to Zest says:

    No! Where at? I need one, the tortillas at Hyper Panda (in store made) break easy, I don’t think they’re adding shortening? They must just make them like lavash bread..

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