Simple Tortillas

Recipe by Frank Tegethoff

This recipe for soft flour tortillas is quick and easy. Soft and tender, with just a little bit of "chew," you can have these on the table in under an hour. The dough can also be made the day before and allowed to rest in the fridge overnight.

15 mins
20 to 25 mins
35 mins
8 tortillas
Simple Tortillas


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  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Add the lard (or butter, or shortening; if you're using vegetable oil, add it in step 3). Use your fingers or a pastry blender to work the fat into the flour until it disappears. Coating most of the flour with fat inhibits gluten formation, making the tortillas easier to roll out.

  3. Pour in the lesser amount of hot water (plus the oil, if you're using it), and stir briskly with a fork or whisk to bring the dough together into a shaggy mass. Stir in additional water as needed to bring the dough together.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly, just until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is very sticky, gradually add a bit more flour.

  5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Round the pieces into balls, flatten slightly, and allow them to rest, covered, for about 30 minutes (see tips, below). If you wish, coat each ball lightly in oil before covering; this ensures the dough doesn't dry out.

  6. While the dough rests, preheat an ungreased cast iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat, about 400°F.

  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a round about 8" in diameter. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Fry the tortilla in the ungreased pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Wrap the tortilla in a clean cloth when it comes off the griddle, to keep it pliable. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

  8. If there are leftovers, allow them to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in an ungreased skillet, or for a few seconds in the microwave.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Although traditionally made with lard, these tortillas are equally delicious using butter, shortening, or vegetable oil as the fat. If you choose to use oil, add it with the water in step 3.
  • The resting period improves the texture of the dough by giving the flour time to absorb the water. You may extend the resting, or skip it altogether if you don't have the time; the recipe is pretty forgiving. The tortillas will roll out more easily if you include the rest, though.

  • Join King Arthur baker Martin Philip and his family as they bake Simple Tortillas together, start to finish. Watch now on Facebook.

  • Looking for a gluten-free version of this recipe? Find it here: Gluten-Free Simple Tortillas.