We eat a good bit of Mexican food – I have a CSA meat subscription, so every month I get pork shoulder for carnitas and ground beef for tacos or enchiladas. 

All the local Mexican restaurants make their own tortillas, and they’re always so much better then store-bought, so I figured I’d try my hand at making my own.  I’m not sure exactly where this recipe came from originally, but I’ve been using it for a while.

It’s very simple – mix flour, baking powder, and a bit of salt in a bowl.  Add lard.  I’ve done them with shortening, but they don’t come out nearly as good – I’d recommend getting the lard.  Here, I can buy it in buckets, but I’ve seen it in blocks next to the shortening, too.  I use it mostly in tortillas and tamales, so a big bucket lasts me a very long time.

After you’ve worked in the lard, add enough water to make a dough.  Knead it enough to work in all the flour, then split it into a dozen little balls.  Let them sit on the counter for 10 minutes.  If you don’t let them sit, the dough will be springy, and when you roll them out, they’ll just shrink right back to the size they were before and they’ll end up too thick.

Roll them out:


I usually roll them out one at a time, while the previous one is cooking, but that’s mostly because I’m usually in a hurry. You probably don’t want to do it that way until you’ve made enough batches to have a good feel for how long they take to cook – it’s easy to get distracted and burn one.  If I have plenty of time until dinner, I’ll roll out all 12, and just stack them on a plate until I’m ready to cook them all.

The recipe says to use a comel, but I just toss them in my heavy-cast iron skillet:


They’re done when they have nice brown spots on both sides – depending on how hot my pan is, anywhere from 30 seconds to 90 seconds a side:


They’re great wrapped around almost anything, or by themselves with just a bit of butter (or butter and cinnamon-sugar!).  I haven’t had much luck keeping them until the next day – they’re best eaten within half an hour or so.

Try them.  You’ll never buy another bag of tortillas at the store again!

( see the recipe )