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Pati Jinich Flour tortillas

There are so many ways that you can have and enjoy tortillas de harina at home. You can make them the traditional way, the fast-track-modern way (if you have an electric tortilla maker such as the REVEL…), or buy them ready made at the store. Different from corn tortillas, which rule Mexico’s south and are made with a base of nixtamalized corn, flour tortillas rule Mexico’s north and are wheat flour based. The latter also have an element of fat (either lard, vegetable shortening or oil) and are milder, sweeter and softer.

Sometimes both kinds of tortillas, flour and corn, work interchangeably for a dish, say cheese quesadillas or chicken tacos, and may depend on the preference of the eater. However, beware, there are other times when either the flour or corn tortilla should be the prime choice. Take Chilorio, it needs to be tucked in a flour tortilla. Yet any kind of enchiladas, enfrijoladas, or casserole must, REALLY MUST, be made with corn tortillas because they withhold the sauce much better than wheat flour ones, and sweetness may be uncalled for.

I have been surprised with how many requests I’ve received from people on how to make “good tasting,” “authentic homemade,” “white flour” tortillas, being both, that one can find them already made at the stores practically all over the US, and that it is time consuming. That, being said, the feel and taste of a homemade tortilla de harina does happen to be a galaxy away from a store bought one. So, if you can spare the time, and you like playing with your hands, give them a try.

As you will see, the trick is not only in the right amounts of ingredients, it’s also in the kneading and mostly in the cooking: don’t over cook them or they will lose ALL their appeal.

Of course, once you master the technique, you can flavor them with ingredients like fresh or dried chiles, tomatoes and even nopales. You can also experiment with making them using whole wheat flour. Though, I do prefer the plain, original taste.

Homemade flour tortillas


Homemade Flour Tortillas
Tortillas de Harina

Serves: 18-20 tortillas

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Tortillas de Harina" />


1 pound all purpose flour, or about 4 cups

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

½ cup vegetable shortening or lard

1 cup lukewarm water

To Prepare

Traditional Version: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and vegetable shortening with your hands until incorporated. Slowly incorporate water to the dough, until it can come together into a ball. Transfer to the counter and knead for about 2 to 4 minutes, until it is smooth like play dough. (You may do the same process in a food processor, pulsing until dough is incorporated!)

Divide into 18-20 ball shaped portions. Set them on a floured board or plate, cover them with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for 25 to 35 minutes.

Heat your comal, or ungreased cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. On a floured surface roll out one of the balls with a rolling pin, rotating 5 or 6 times until you get a 6 to 7 inch circle. Lay tortilla on the already hot comal or skillet. You will hear a faint sizzle. After 30 to 40 seconds, when there are brown freckles on the bottom side and there is some puffing up in some areas of the tortilla, flip over. Cook for 30 to 40 seconds, until the other side is freckled and the tortilla puffs up, again, like pita bread. Don’t overcook, or they will become crisp and stiff (and lose all their appeal).

As they are ready, place in a tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel. If you will not eat them within the hour, wrap them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Reheat in a hot comal or skillet.

Fast-Track-Modern Version: If you have an electric tortilla maker, such as the REVEL, instead of rolling them out with a rolling pin, place your flour dough balls in the tortilla maker, press for 1 to 2 seconds. This will roll and precook them; you will hear the hiss. Finish them off for about 30 seconds on each side on the comal or skillet, where they should also puff.

Easiest version: Buy them already made at the store!



Thank you Patty for the recipe I have been making flour tortillas for about 30 years, when I first got married I tried to make them like my mom. Without measuring just feeling the dough, you can imaging all the tortillas that went to the trash. Finally I got the right measurements for 500grams of flour 125 grams of shortening. The problem started when we moved to the United States the shortening is lighter here. Reading how bad is the hydrogenated fat I switched to olive oil or grape seed oil. I make my tortillas with whole wheat flour King Arthur is the best. The tortillas puff up when I’m cooking them and they are soft and playable. For 500 grams of flour 1/2 cup oil 3/4 approximately
Of warm milk.

Will have to try them, thank you Maggie!

Patty can I use rice flower? I don’t like using bleached flower for healthy issus.Thanks

Give it a try Claudia!

Maggie – How many tortillas does your recipe make? Do you use salt or baking powder? I am trying to recipe since I had some extra milk on hand, any more details on your process?

Patti, is there anyway you can do a video of how to make flour tortillas? I see many recipes but I tried it and it was so messy and sticky that I haven’t even attempted it again. Maybe I’m doing something wrong that you can show me. Thx.

I will make one for you! Stay tuned…

Thank you for this smaller recipe version. I have been making tortillas like my Mamieta taught me as a little girl. She actually showed me how to cook them on hot rocks in the back yard, really the authentic way she learned. I have always used a 5 pound sack of flour, and “felt” the lard and water part, so this will be a God send. I don’t need to make 200 tortillas any longer. Again, thank you very much. Can’t wait to start making enchiladas again, just smaller batches.

When I make flour tortillas,the recipe I use calls for baking powder,I see your recipe does not. Which recipe would make softer tortillas?

Well, I like mine :)

thanks for an answer to my question.

Very rude response to L.Dl inquiry – “I like mine!” ¡Hay por favor mujer!
I was looking for an honest and educated response, as my mamita also used baking powder in her tortillas de harina. I kid you not, my mom made the best tortillas in the hood… people would comment on the smell of her wonderful tortillas every day as she prepared dinner for us. Her tortillas were not pure white like yours, I’m sure it’s the lack of baking powder that makes yours look white. I miss my mom’s tortillas and refried beans so much, but I’m gonna keep trying to make them igualitas que las de ella and one day I may surprise myself! Btw, my mom was born in San Antonio and maybe your style tortillas are estilo mejicano? I really think it’s a tex-mex thing. Mexicans from across the border make the best tortillas de maiz but I don’t care for those.

Would you or anyone else know how to make GF tortillas? I am from NM and have Celiac Disease so you can imagine how much I miss eating tortillas. Thank you.

Marie, have you tried my recipe for making corn tortillas?

Patti, I was wondering if you have a recipe for what is a white salsa? I’ve tasted it in NM and its really good but I don’t know how to make it. I think it has tomato, onion, jalapeno, garlic, avocado and half-n-half. Could you help me? Also a recipe for all-purpose

It sounds delicious Marie! Let me look into it…


Hi there… I guess my question is about the availability of a product in the here in the US. Masa de trigo or Harina de trigo. There are only a couple brands in my area in Colorado. Doesn’t the reference of trigo being wheat describe it as a wheat based or in general if it says Harina is that sufficent? I remember purchasing Masa de trigo for my grand mother. I don’t remember a brand name however. Would you clarify this for me please, as I can find it in Mexico, however I don’t know enough Spanish to order. I never learned Spanish or Basque from my grand parents sadly.

Also, I am wondering if and when you will choose to do DVD’s of your shows starting with the first season, as I have missed almost all of them. I would love to have you as a great library and historic reference because you cover so much information.

Thank you for your time.

Hi Pati

I just wanted to say I love watching you on Create TV. You make mexican cooking easy and enjoyable.

Thank you.

Thank you so much for watching, Patty!

Thank you for a flour tortilla recipe that does NOT use baking powder. My mother always told me the best flour tortillas did not include it, but she didn’t know how to make them. (She never made her own tortillas.) I had looked in many, many cookbooks & could only find recipes WITH baking powder. I can’t wait to use your recipe. Thank you, again.

Con gusto!

Hi Pati,

My tortillas shrink after I roll them out (before I cook them on the comal). What am I doing wrong?


Hola Tricia, Try letting your portioned dough balls rest a little longer before rolling them out. Sometimes if they haven’t rested long enough, they will shrink. I usually let mine sit 25 to 35 minutes.

hola pati!!!!!!!! love your show !! can you make flour tortillas masa in a food prossesor ? i just bought a cuisinart and i would like to know your opinion , keep up the good work !! lorie

Hola Lorie, Yes! Pulse slowly until all the ingredients are combined and the dough comes together.

I’m confused…. says “wheat flour tortillas” but then calls for all purpose flour. I wanted a wheat recipe, so I made this with wheat flour since that’s what they’re called, and the dough was so crumbly and stiff. Had to add more water. And I feel like they got all messed up. This is a very confusing recipe.

Hola Dana, Sorry to confuse. Wheat flour is to differentiate from corn flour tortillas.

How long can you store them in yhe fridge?

Hola Misty, They will stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator.

We freeze them. They last for a few weeks in the freezer. Then we just use them as needed and keep the rest frozen.

Hola,Miss.Pati: I cannot have Shortening/Lard is Butter able to “sub” out? Same amount? Flour Tortillas. Gracias,(=^_^=)

I eat flour tortillas, but now I want to change to wheat cus more health for me , is wheat better than flour tortillas doctors wanted me to lose weight,

Hola Josefina, These are regular flour tortillas made from all purpose flour. I was trying to distinguish them from corn masa tortillas! I’m changing the title to make it more clear. 😉

Is wheat flour better tge regulqr flour

Has anyone tried using coconut oil for the lard or oil ingredient? I purchased big jars of it to cook with and like the taste, but haven’t tried coconut-y flavored tortillas.

I haven’t tried coconut oil, but you’re welcome to try it. You’ll have to let us know how it turns out!

I made a small batch of tortillas using coconut oil. I used two cups of flour, one spoon of sea salt, a pinch of baking powder, 3/4 cup water, and two tablespoon solidified coconut oil. The dough had a different texture than the one with manteca, I made a batch with Manteca simultaneously too. It had a nice aroma of coconut. It puffed up bigger than the other batch. My husband was tasting as I cooked them and gave me a taste of the coconut oil one. I thought he had added butter it was so buttery in taste. I wI’ll definitely make sone again.

Love your show and the way you present your food. When I make my flour tortillas, I add a little dried cilantro, chili powder, or cilantro or all three which adds color and flavor to the tortillas.

Yum!! Great idea!

I followed this recipe yesterday but I I added 1/4 tsp of baking powder. They were delicious!! I had to make another batch because my nieces and nephews wanted bunuelos. Thanks so much. Love your show Pati’s Mexican Table on PBS.

Thrilled that they were a hit!!! Thanks for trying the recipe!

I made your flour tortillas this past Sunday with my family, they were so delicious! I did add a 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder to your recipe 😉. Thanks for posting your recipe.
I love your show always watch on PBS!!

Thanks so much for tuning in! I’m happy you liked the tortillas!

Do flour tortillas need baking powder?

Nope! Just flour, salt, vegetable shortening or lard, and water! Let me know how it turns out!

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