How to Make Homemade Tortillas
I’ve heard that “necessity is the mother of invention”, and that is definitely true when you get home from your third trip to the supermarket in a day only to find that you’ve forgotten to pick up tortillas for taco night. Again. I suspect we’ve all been there. I used to be the kind of person who would head right back to the store and keep my fingers crossed that the cashiers didn’t comment on my frequent flyer status, and then one day in a fit of desperation (and embarrassment) I googled what ingredients I would need to just make the dang things myself. Lo and behold, tortillas are no more complicated than making pancakes!! Less so, even. And that is why you will never find me running through the tortilla aisle in a fit of rage ever again. Now when we have taco night, it’s DIY tortillas all the way, all the time, and today I’m going to convert YOU to a DIY tortilla-er as well!
In order to make twelve 8-inch tortillas, which are the perfect size for tacos, you need to combine 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 heaping teaspoon of salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add 5 tablespoons of vegetable shortening or softened unsalted butter to the food processor and pulse until crumbly. You can also do this by cutting the butter or shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter or two forks, as you would when making a pie crust.
With the food processor running, add 3/4 to 1 cup of water in a slow stream, adding just enough so that the dough starts to come together into a ball. I do this by adding just a little bit of water at a time and then pulsing to see if it’s there yet.
Next, remove the dough from the food processor and divide it into 12 equal pieces. You can use a kitchen scale to make sure they are all exactly identical, but I usually just eyeball it. Cover the dough balls with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working with one dough ball at a time, pat the ball into a disc and then roll it into a very thin circle, about 8 inches in diameter. You can also buy a tortilla press, which will press it into the perfect size for you. If you plan on making tortillas frequently, this is probably a good investment and time saver.
Transfer the pressed tortilla to the hot skillet and cook each side for 30 seconds, or just until bubbles form and the bottom is lightly browned. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining dough balls. The finished tortillas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, so definitely feel free to make them in advance. Just reheat them on a skillet before serving!