Flour tortillas are a staple of Mexican cuisine, providing a versatile base for all manner of delicious fillings.
You can cook a flour tortilla in a number of different ways, but a stovetop skillet is all you need to achieve really impressive results.
Even better, the instructions for cooking flour tortillas this way are simple enough that even the greenest of cooks will find things very easy!
In this article, I’ll explain how to prepare the perfect batch of flour tortillas, and then cook them to perfection.
A couple of important tips I want to share before we get started though:
- Be very careful not to overcook your flour tortillas, or they’ll dry out extremely quickly.
- Make sure a generous amount of oil has been added to the skillet to prevent the tortillas from sticking to the surface.
(Want to learn more about cookware? Take a look through my archive for more guides and reviews.)
Flour Tortilla Recipe
Let’s start by making our dough. You only need the following simple ingredients to make a batch of around 10 flour tortillas. Adjust the quantities if you need to make less or more.
- 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- ⅔ cup of warm water
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons of melted oil or butter
- Mix the salt and water together until the salt has fully dissolved.
- Add the flour and oil to a bowl, then use a fork to combine the contents into a crumbly texture.
- Add most of the salt water and mix the ingredients. Add a little more of the water if the mixture appears too dry.
- Dust a worktop surface with flour and transfer the dough. Use your hands to knead the dough for a few minutes. It should be smooth when you’ve finished.
- Cover the kneaded dough with a clean cloth and then leave it to rest for at least 15 minutes, and preferably an hour.
- Separate the dough into ten portions, then roll each one out into an 8 inch tortilla. As a rule, it’s better to make them a little larger – and thinner – then have them too thick!
- As you finish rolling out each tortilla, add them to a stack with a sheet of baking parchment between each one to prevent them from sticking.
Skillet Cooking Instructions
Once you’ve prepared your flour tortillas, just follow these instructions to cook them quickly in your skillet.
- Heat your oiled skillet over a medium heat on the stovetop.
- Add the first flour tortilla once hot, and cook for 30 seconds.
- When the tortilla starts puffing up, turn it and cook the other side.
- After a minute or so of cooking, transfer the tortilla to a plate and cover.
- Repeat the process until all the flour tortillas have been cooked.
If your tortillas are browning too quickly and are in danger of burning, cook the next one on a lower heat.
If the cooking time is longer than two minutes (at most), increase the heat of your stovetop instead.
This is a simple recipe with simple cooking instructions! Still, there’s no substitute for mastering this with your own skillet and your own unique stovetop conditions.
There you go! A foolproof way of both preparing your flour tortillas, and then cooking them perfectly in a skillet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before I wrap things up (no pun intended…), here are the answers to some common questions people have about making and storing flour tortillas.
Are Flour Tortillas Vegan?
Not so long ago you’d have been hard-pressed to find a commercially made flour tortilla that didn’t contain lard or tallow.
Nowadays though, the vast majority of store-bought tortillas avoid this ingredient and are vegan-friendly.
As is often the case, you’ll need to check this on a case by case basis.
Are Flour Tortillas Gluten Free?
Only if you’re working with gluten-free flour. This is the only ingredient you really need to worry about.
Gluten-free wheat tortillas are readily available from stores these days. Just check the packaging carefully if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making them at home.
Alternatively, consider making corn tortillas instead. Personally I prefer flour tortillas, and I think it’s worth experimenting to find a recipe that works for your dietary requirements.
Are Flour Tortillas Dairy Free?
If you’re making your flour tortillas at home, then it’s obviously easy to ensure they’re dairy-free!
The core ingredients you’ll be working with contain no dairy at all, although you’ll need to be mindful of the oil you use for skillet-frying your flour tortillas.
As for the tortillas you purchase from the store, the usual advice applies. Check the ingredients carefully, and make sure there’s no dairy included.
Can Flour Tortillas Be Frozen?
You can absolutely put your tortillas in the freezer, but as with all such things you get diminishing returns over time.
Here are a few tips that will help preserve the quality of your frozen tortillas:
– Always lay the tortillas down flat in the freezer, to preserve the shape and make them easier to work with after thawing.
– Store them in a resealable bag that’s designed for freezer storage. Make sure you press down hard and eliminate as much air as possible before sealing the bag up.
– If you’ve made your own tortillas, make sure they’ve cooled down completely before you put them on ice. The sudden change in temperature in the freezer can cause the tortillas to break apart.
– You might consider adding sheets of parchment paper between each tortilla. This will help avoid tearing when you come to separate the individual tortillas from the stack.
As for thawing your frozen flour tortillas, make sure you take them out of the freezer 24 hours before you want to use them. Either leave them out in the refrigerator, or let them thaw at room temperature.
As for how long your flour tortillas will last, I recommend storing them in the refrigerator for no longer than 10 days.
Frozen flour tortillas should be OK for up to two months in the deep freeze, but they’ll really start to degrade after that point.
Can Flour Tortillas Be Baked?
Flour tortillas can definitely be baked in the oven, but it’s important to make sure you don’t overcook them, or use too high a temperature.
Make sure they’re separated on a baking sheet, and then bake them in the oven at 350F / 176 C for 8 minutes or so.
Check how they’re doing at that point, but don’t cook them for more than a couple of minutes after that.
They’ll very quickly go from baked to burnt if you’re not careful!
How Long Do Flour Tortillas Last?
I’ve talked about refrigeration and freezing further up the page, but here’s how I recommend storing flour tortillas in all scenarios:
Pantry – 7 Days
Refrigerator – 10 Days
Freezer – 60 Days
What Makes Flour Tortillas Soft?
If you’re struggling to achieve that vital softness from the flour tortillas you’ve prepared, here’s a useful tip.
Place a slightly damp piece of kitchen towel between each tortilla as you finish cooking and start stacking them on the plate.
This will help preserve the moisture and softness of the individual tortillas while you’re finishing the batch.
It’s also fine to store that stack in the refrigerator for the recommended maximum storage time of 10 days.
Why Are Flour Tortillas Better Than Corn?
Corn tortillas definitely have their place in any cook’s repertoire, but flour tortillas are more popular due to their versatility.
As they’re typically larger and thicker than corn tortillas, flour tortillas are much better suited for making sandwich wraps or burritos.
As you can use them for more meal types, they’ve become more popular and commonplace, and are considered by many to be “better” as a result.
That should be everything you need to cook the perfect batch of flour tortillas in your own skillet!
Don’t forget to experiment with the cooking temperature. Everyone’s skillet and stovetop is different, so tweak things until you hit that “30 second each side” sweet spot.
Mark’s a lifelong food fanatic and spent ten years working as an entertainment journalist. He now combines his love of food, drink and writing as the founder and editor of Viva Flavor. Read more