Making fresh tortillas is an art form

1 of 4

Step 1 Olivia Jones, family and consumer sciences agent for N.C. Cooperative in Currituck, demonstrates steps for making tortillas. First, she rolls the dough into a log and uses a pastry cutter to make equal strips that can be formed into balls or thick pancakes.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

 Making tortillas is an art form and I am sure you will have as much fun as I did experimenting with this recipe. I have added some of my own tricks to help make your flour tortilla making process a success.

First gather your ingredients and equipment.


3c white flour or a mix of 1c wheat flour and 2c white flour

½ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup vegetable shortening

1 cup of hot water


griddle or cast iron skillet

large bowl for mixing

wax paper

rolling pin,

knife or pastry cutter

spatula for flipping

Next mix flour, salt, and baking powder in the large bowl. Break up and incorporate the lard into this mixture by hand until it resembles small peas. Add the water slowly until you have a soft elastic ball. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Now you are ready to separate the dough into 7-9 equal-sized balls. I found it easiest to roll the dough into a log and use a pastry cutter make equal strips that can be formed into balls or thick pancakes. Place the dough between two sheets of wax paper to roll it out into a tortilla. This keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin or your work surface. The tortillas need to be rolled very thin - almost translucent. This is why the wax paper works so well. I reused the same several sheets of wax paper to complete the whole batch. If you are using a little wheat flour to make your tortillas sprinkle some flour on the wax paper to help it peel off easier.

Once you have rolled all your tortillas out you can cook them in a very hot cast iron skillet or griddle. You do not need to add any oil to your pan or griddle. The top will begin to bubble slightly when it is ready to flip. To check for doneness prior to flipping use a spatula to lift the edge and look for a golden brown color. Tortillas do not taste as good if they are flipped several times, so try to flip them only once. Do not worry about a few brown spots they actually add flavor. When the tortilla is ready, flip it from the bottom. You can keep cooked tortillas warm by covering them with a damp paper towel.

Making tortillas is a lot of fun. You may need to practice a little before you get the hang of it, which makes it a great activity for your kids to help you with in the kitchen. They will love mixing the dough which is all done by hand, as well as cutting and rolling the tortillas. Because such high temperatures are used in the cooking of tortillas, I recommend leaving this part to the adults. Including kids in the cooking process is a surefire way to get them to try something new.

If you would like some hands-on experience with tortilla making and Mexican cooking, join us at the NC Cooperative Extension, Currituck County Center on Thursday, November 16th for our Mexican Cookery Class. For more information or to register please visit currituck.ces.ncsu.edu or contact Olivia Jones via email at olivia_jones@ncsu.edu or phone 252-232-2261. Make your next Taco Tuesday a family event that wows the taste buds!

Fill your tortilla the with the healthy alternatives!