The Night I Made My Own Flour Tortillas

I had this brilliant idea that I would make my own tortilla press by covering my iron skillets with plastic wrap and place a ball of dough in between and squish down hard, giving me perfectly rounded and flat tortillas. I chuckled to myself at my own smarts. Wanting one of those nifty little presses from the store for years, I knew this idea would make needing that press completely unnecessary.

Pretty confident of my plan, I carried it out according to what I saw in my mind.

And guess what? I didn’t work. I pressed my face off and I didn’t even come close to the flatness of a regular tortilla press. I ended up using the bottom iron skillet as a stand to roll the dough out using a regular rolling pin. I did like using the bottom of the skillet as it gave me more height, didn’t budge, and made a good guide as to how much to roll out the dough. With my smarts dashed across the rocks, I picked myself up by the boot straps and made the best tortillas ever. These flat cakes are tender and tasty, not like the dry ones I usually find in the store.

These are easy to make and with a cooktop grill, simple to bake. We love them hot off the grill with butter and they keep well for a few days on the counter top in a ziptop bag. My kids love having cheese quesadillas as an after school snack. I enjoy these tortillas from a healthier point of view because they lack preservatives and hydrogenated oils. You are welcome to experiment with other flours and liquids as well due to the simplicity of the recipe. I am not the best roller outer but I think it just adds to the character of homemade tortillas.

Flour Tortillas
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup water
3 T. canola or vegetable oil
pinch Kosher salt

In a mixing bowl, using a dough hook, blend all ingredients until they just come together. Do not over mix or the dough will be tough. Remove dough and knead gently. Wrap in plastic and let rest at least 15 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Heat a cooktop griddle or skillet to medium high heat. Roll out each ball, using extra flour for rolling, until very flat and cook on each side for about 30-45 seconds or until the tortillas puffs slightly and the bubbles brown to a golden. You may cook them crispier if you want but we like ours soft. Makes 12 tortillas.

Did you ever have a night like this when your brilliant idea flopped but it seemed to work out ok anyway? Or not.

Who needs a Tortilla Press when an Iron Skillet does so much more?


  1. Lisa
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    I don’t consider this a flop. They are great and you didn’t hav eto throw anything out. I once tried to make cookies out of brownie mix and it ran all over the oven because I added too much liquid.

  2. Rob
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Brilliant ideas? Maybe not brilliant, but my disasters/recoveries seem to revolve around duck. I can’t even remember what I was trying to make on my first attempt at duck-something-or-other, but the result found itself in a gumbo that was quite good. Now, the time I tried to smoke/barbecue duck? Yikes. This was one of those two day recipes– so you’re really building the anticipation of the end result– which found itself in the trash. Day one, the smoking, made it seem like it was going to be amazing, a beautifully smoked duck on a bed of sage. The color! Day two, the grilling of the post-marinated duck in a marinade that looked to be brilliant, produced what I could only describe as smoked medicine meat. Yum!

  3. Arika
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    I love the way your tortillas look Very rustic!

    My Yummy Life

  4. Nicole
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Okay! My next post I was planning on doing the butternut squash soup I made just over a week ago. And then pretty soon thereafter I was intending to do my own first ever homemade flour tortillas! Are you spying on me or is it just great minds think alike? 😉

    My tortilla rolling skills weren’t the best either.

  5. Tanya
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think it was necessarily a huge flop. You still got some great tortillas out of the deal. At least you didn’t waste any food or tools. I think your tortillas look great. I love how irregularly shaped they are. I used to love cheese quesadillas after school as well!

  6. Alexa
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    You are a genius… It doesn’t matter that it didn’t work. I love the creativity here. You know they say that every successful entrepreneur has failed 3-5 times before succeeding. You have what it takes, keep the spark going Robin Sue!

  7. Robin Sue
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    Lisa- I have been there too! I hate making those kind of messes!

    Rob- I remember Duck-Gate! Oh the pain in that one. I even had high hopes that it would be good. Some other time.

    Arika- Thanks for stopping in! Thanks for saying you like the look of my tortillas, as crooked as they were!!

    Nicole- Yup I am sending little faeries to peak into your kitchen window to see what you are making. Heh-Heh! Naw I think great minds think alike!! I think we have done this before too! I can’t wait to read how yours turned out!

    Tanya- I have had worse disasters, way worse. Like burning whole pies and cakes. Awful!

    Alexa- You are so sweet to think I am a genius! I think I fall into the category of failing over the 3-5 times but I keep on keeping on!!

  8. noble pig
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Hey they look beautiful, I give you an A+ for trying so cleverly to make this happen.

  9. grahamstravelblog
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    I’m a little slow on this one but I’ll comment anyway. I’ve made tortillas before and as long as they taste good then you are golden. I’ve used very nearly the same recipe though I used whole wheat flour and olive oil.

    After the dough comes together you can make the balls then cover those and let them rest for between 1 and 3 hours. This will let some magic dough stuff happen (gluten chains or something) and you will have a much easier time rolling out the tortillas.

    I’d encourage you to try this again as they will keep 1 week in a zip bag in the fridge and they do freeze well. They also beat anything you can get in the store and you know what’s in them.

  10. Robin Sue
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

    noble pig- Yeah I get and A+, thanks!

    Graham- I’ll have to try letting them sit longer like you said. Mine tasted great and they are much healthier. Thanks for stopping in. What are some of your plans for Boston? Any time for exploring?

  11. Lori
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    Bravo to you for trying that!

  12. That Girl
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Your problem is definitely weight. What if you put bricks in the skillets?

  13. Robin Sue
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Lori- Thanks!

    That Girl- I practically sat on it. I think it needs the hinges like the real press. I’ll keep rolling.

  14. grahamstravelblog
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    For Boston I’m going to do my best to make it out to Mike’s. Anything more than that I’ll call a bonus. I’ll be out at Boston College but I’ll make something work.

    I’ve never seen a Mexican grandma with one of those presses, they have magic powers though and can will the dough flat with their hands. I’ll stick to my rolling pin.

  15. Larissa
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    Yum! Making your own tortillas is a great idea!

  16. Kate
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    What a great idea! Hmm. How big / wide are pasta rollers? Has anyone ever fed a tortilla through a pasta maker, or are they too narrow? Either way, they look fabulous.

  17. Robin Sue
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Graham- Have fun in Beantown. Hopefully you will get to do more than Mike’s!

    Larissa- Thanks it was a lot of fun too!

    Kate- Never thought of a pasta roller. Hmm- might work but they are pains to get out then clean. I haven’t made pasta in a while, need to do that soon.

  18. grahamstravelblog
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    I forgot to mention that these can be made with any flour and any fat. Supposedly the best tasting ones are made with all purpose flour and lard.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Tortilla presses are actually just for corn tortillas, it’s a much more mailable dough and lacks the gluten development of wheat flour tortillas.

  20. Robin Sue
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

    Anon- You know that makes sense to me now. Well I’ll stick to rolling then!!

  21. theafricanqueen
    Posted January 7, 2010 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    My husband is very sweet.

    The few times I've made flour tortillas, they have been anything but perfectly round. He has told me on each occasion, that tortillas need not be round to taste great. And he's right!

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