But there are many of you out there who won’t go near that recipe because, well, it uses lard!
Luckily you can still make an incredible batch of flour tortillas by substituting olive oil for the lard, so consider this recipe a great alternative for anyone with lardophobia who is tired of lackluster store-bought tortillas.
Flour Tortillas Made With Olive Oil
The other advantage of this recipe is the simple ingredient list. You probably already have everything you need to make it:
3 cups all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
Start by adding the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.
Combine these well and then add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 cup warm water.
And regarding the baking powder… sometimes I use it and sometimes I don’t. It will make them a little bit thicker and fluffier. That works great if you want the tortillas to double as flatbread or pita. If you want a thinner, traditional tortilla then you can omit the baking powder.
I like the hint of flavor that olive oil gives these tortillas, but you are welcome to use a more neutral-flavored vegetable oil if you want.
Use a spoon or spatula to combine this as much as you can in the bowl and then dump it onto a work surface.
Knead this for 4-5 minutes until you have a cohesive ball. (You could use a mixer to knead the dough if you want.)
Cover this with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-60 minutes. This will help it settle and make it infinitely easier to roll out.
Once the dough has rested, divide into golf-ball sized chunks and roll them between your hands.
These will make tortillas that are 5-6 inches wide. If you are feeling patient, you can let these rest for a few more minutes before rolling them out but it kinda depends on how long the initial batch settled. If they are springy and difficult to roll out then they are candidates for an additional resting period.
Okay before we cook them I want to mention the two things that can potentially drive people crazy when making tortillas for the first time. Trust me I’ve been there and it can be super frustrating to see the potential for a warm batch of homemade tortillas go up in flames.
First, if the dough is sticking to your hands or the work surface then you’ll need to add a bit more flour to the mixture (or the work surface). When the dough is balanced properly you’ll be able to roll it out and pull it off the cutting board with no sticking whatsoever.
And second, it takes some fiddling to get the temperature on the stove right. I’ll list some tips below on things to watch out for. Once you’ve got the stove temp right it makes the cooking process easy.
Okay, start by rolling out one of the dough balls.
I roll them out super thin, to the point of being transparent. Of course, you are welcome to make them a bit thicker but I like them best when they are light and thin.
You’ll need a dry skillet or comal to cook the tortillas. Cast iron is a good option but you can use just about anything.
Add the rolled out tortilla to the heated pan.
If it starts to bubble in about 30-45 seconds then you’ve probably got the temp right. Flip it over and cook the other side for the same amount of time.
When it’s starting to bubble it usually means there are some light brown spots forming on the underside. Perfect!
For this stove/pan combo I set the heat to medium. But keep in mind that your setup will vary. If the tortilla is getting black spots within 30 seconds then lower the heat. If it’s taking longer than a minute to form light brown spots then raise the temp.
Don’t sweat it if you have to offer a few sacrifices to the tortilla gods to get the temp right. Once you’ve got it down you’ll be able to move through the remainder of the batch quite easily. I usually drop one into the pan and quickly roll out the next one so that you’ve always got one on standby.
You’ll end up with 12-16 light, delicious flour tortillas that just might knock your socks off!
They are good enough to be eaten on their own (or with butter!) but of course there are all sorts of uses for them.
I guess the main reason I like to make these super thin is that it makes them a great candidate for tacos. When the tortillas are too thick they will tend to dominate the taco and that is no bueno.
One of the advantages of using olive oil instead of lard is that it opens up these tortillas to be used in a wider range of dishes. You can use them in any recipe that calls for flatbreads or pitas, or even make little mini pizzas out of them.
Once you try them you’ll start coming up with all sorts of ways they can be used.
Okay don’t forget that there is some requisite fiddling the first time you make tortillas at home. Don’t sweat it!
Once you get familiar with the dough and nail down that stove temp then you’ll always have the option of whipping up a batch of these beauties.
Let me know if you have any questions about the process. You can use the comments section below or send me an email.
Flour tortillas are so easy to make at home! You probably already have these ingredients on hand as this version uses olive oil instead of lard. So good!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup warm water
In a mixing bowl combine 3 cups all purpose flour, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (optional), and 1.5 teaspoons salt.
Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 cup warm water. Use a spoon to combine the mixture as much as you can and then dump it onto a work surface.
Combine and knead for 4-5 minutes until you have a cohesive ball of dough. Cover and let rest for 30-60 minutes.
Divide the dough into golf-ball sized chunks and roll them between your hands to form little balls.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough balls. I like to roll them out super thin, to the point of being transparent. If the dough is sticking to your hands or the work surface add a sprinkling of flour.
Heat up a skillet or comal to medium-ish temperature. Add a rolled out tortilla to the skillet and cook each side for approximately 30-45 seconds. A good indication of when the side is done is light brown spots forming.
If black spots are forming quickly you'll need to lower the heat. If it's taking longer then a minute for light brown spots to appear then you'll need to raise the heat.
Continue rolling out and cooking the tortillas. I usually add one to the pan and then quickly roll out the next so that you always have one on standby.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge where they'll keep for at least a few days.
Regarding the baking powder... sometimes I use it and sometimes I don't. It will make them a little bit thicker and fluffier. That works great if you want the tortillas to double as flatbread or pita. If you want a thinner, traditional tortilla then you can omit the baking powder.
Keep in mind that the dough balance and the stove temp are the two potentially frustrating aspects of making tortillas at home. If the dough is sticking to your hands then add more flour to the mixture. You should be able to handle the dough and roll it out without any sticking issues.
While cooking the tortillas, if black spots are forming quickly you'll need to lower the heat. Conversely, if it's taking longer then a minute for light brown spots to appear then you'll need to raise the heat. My stove/pan combo needs about 30-45 seconds for each side to cook.
If your tortillas are springy and reluctant to roll out then the dough probably needs to rest a little bit longer. I let this batch rest for about 45 minutes before rolling it out.