Fresh Flour Tortillas

Post image for Fresh Flour Tortillas

by Amber on April 10, 2011

There is nothing more divine to me than a warm and fresh tortilla. When I am in San Antonio, it is one of the things I look forward to most – stepping foot in a Las Palapas or Casa Rio and being served with a tortilla warmer full of steamy, perfectly pillowy flat breads to go with my carne guisada, migas, or fajitas.

That I spent years buying in-store tortillas for home use kind of depresses me, now that I know how easy they are to make. You don’t need much: flour, lard, salt, water, and a food processor or your own two hands.

You might think I’m crazy to cook with lard, and before I’d read Robb Walsh’s Tex-Mex cookbook, I might have agreed with you.

Cooking with lard is actually much better for you than say, margarine. It has absolutely no trans fats, and stacks up gram for gram equally on total fat to vegetable oil. And Crisco? It’s got genetically modified soy bean oil in it. No thank you!

Besides all that, I am putting my hand on the Good Book here and telling you: You will only make a superior tortilla if you make it with lard.

I’m not asking you to cook with lard every day, and I’m certainly not asking you to make fresh tortillas every day of your life (though hey, if you want to join that party with me, it’s kinda fun) – but for the good of your tortillas, I am asking you to pick up that box near the butter that says LARD on it.

I promise, if I see you in the grocery store, I’ll give you a thumbs up. I will not judge. And if someone else starts giving you those judgy eyes? You send ‘em my way. I’ll set ‘em straight.

Robb Walsh tells me in his book that San Antonio has superior tortillas because of the hardness of the water there. San Antonio water comes from the Edwards Aquifer, and I’m here to tell you, it’s some of the best tasting water in the world. The Edwards Aquifer is an underground cavern made of limestone, filled with water. The limestone imparts minerals into the water that give it such a fresh perfect taste, and oh man.. I miss it now.

So if you ever make to San Antonio, you’ll have to taste the water and the tortillas, and tell me what you think. In the meantime, make some tortillas of your own, and throw some carne guisada or breakfast taco fixins in it. It’ll make your day, I promise.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, instead of just griddling your tortillas for use in tacos, visit Bake at 350 – a blog started by my fellow Texan and dear friend, Bridget – where she teaches you how to french toast tortillas and FILL THEM WITH NUTELLA. Did I mention she’s a freakin’ genius?


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Jamie | MBA April 10, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Oh dear…I think I need to re-bid on another tortilla press! These look so amazing!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 5:53 PM

I think it’s definitely time to do that. You need a tortilla press in your life, darlin’.

Cookbook Queen April 10, 2011 at 8:57 PM

When I was younger, I had a Mexican friend who’s mom stayed in the kitchen cooking all day long. I had never seen anything like it!! And there was ALWAYS a stack of warm, homemade tortillas on the counter.

I still dream about that stack of tortillas.

And now I can make my own. WOO HOOOOO!!!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I had a friend like that too, Kristan. Her momma didn’t speak a word of English, and it really forced me to learn some Spanish. Especially things like, “Arroz con Pollo, por favor!”. LOL.

Brenda April 10, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Oh my, this sounds heavenly. Talk about taking your meal to the next level with homemade goodness!! I think I could eat very happily at your house.

Amber April 11, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Would love to have you come visit to be sure, Brenda :)

Kristen April 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM

So do you use a tortilla press? I’ve been thinking about getting one… is it worth it?

Amber April 10, 2011 at 11:17 PM

I DO have a tortilla press, made of cast iron. I love it! I got it on eBay a while back, but Amazon has them too.

Robyn | Add a Pinch April 10, 2011 at 10:59 PM

I can’t wait to try this recipe!!! These look gorgeous!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I look forward to hearing how they turn out for you, Robyn!

Sylvie@GITK April 11, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Just the thought of a stack of warm homemade tortillas is making me hungry!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Sylvie, I try not to think too hard about it, or I’ll be in the kitchen whipping up a fresh batch every few days. It’s just that easy!

JenniferA April 11, 2011 at 8:31 AM

I’ve only tried house-made tortillas once – we don’t have a lot of authentic places where I live. But that one time – WOW! I could have eaten a whole stack of them. Now I can. Hee hee!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Jen, they’re so scarily easy. It’s going to turn into an addiction, I swear.

Wenderly April 11, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Gorgeous! I think that I see a tortilla press in my near future!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Yes’m. Amazon and eBay have great deals on them. And they’re fun to do with the kids too.

Melissa April 11, 2011 at 9:54 AM

I absolutely LOVE flour tortillas. Warm, a slathering of butter, rolled up and quickly eaten. Living in between SA & Austin you could only imagine how hard my water is! Thanks to Edwards!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Oh man, Melissa, isn’t that just the perfect snack? A buttery tortilla. You don’t need anything else. No filling.. just butter and fresh tortilla. Pure heaven.

naomi April 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

I love homemade tortillas. They are so much better. In fact when we go to my favorite Mexican restaurant, I always order some to go. Thanks for the great post-I’m so trying this soon!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM

If we had a decent Mexican restaurant nearby, I’d have done the same thing, Naomi!

Aimee @ Simple Bites April 11, 2011 at 11:19 AM

I SO need to make these. I’ve got beans planned for tomorrow night. Hmmm, now I need to track down lard.

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Yes, yes you do. Tortillas and beans are a match made in heaven!

Shaina April 11, 2011 at 11:29 AM

There’s something so rewarding about homemade flour tortillas, and it’s not just that they taste 10,000 times better than store-bought.

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:04 PM

I completely agree, Shaina. I think a lot of people get that feeling from baking basic bread too.

Maris (In Good Taste April 11, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I have’t tried this yet but will definetly boolmark this recipe! These look superb!

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Maris, you just must do it. It’s so simple, and you’ll wonder what took you so long.

Barbara | VLS April 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM

My idea of homemade is warming up storebought ones…which never really satisfy. I can just taste these with butter, cinnamon and sugar; one of my fave things to do with tortillas.

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM

I do that too, Barb. Sopapillas are pretty much my favorite Mexican dessert.

Tracy April 11, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Oh man, I’m totally drooling over the thought of these, nice and fresh, filled with breakfast taco fillings. YUM.

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Seriously. They were lunch today, and OH so good.

bridget {bake at 350 April 11, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Haha….laughing at your comment at the end…and drooling at your tortilla picture. (People in Starbucks are staring.) ;)

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:08 PM

LOL. Well show them the tortillas, Bridget, and then they’ll get it. Oh gosh, imagine if Starbucks did breakfast tacos? Total World Domination.

kellypea April 11, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Oh my. I was just thinking of these. Could be dangerous having fresh, warm flour tortillas around. I’ve made my own corn tortillas, but not flour. Thanks for posting this :)

Amber April 11, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Kellypea, that’s interesting – I’ve never made corn tortillas because I’ve always read that you don’t really get it right unless you have freshly made masa with corn meal that’s different from what we can find at the grocery store. I’d love to see a recipe if you have one.

Tickled Red April 12, 2011 at 1:15 AM

High five for the lard :) !! I can’t wait to make my own tortillas now.

Amber April 12, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Haha, Red! Lard high five!

sweetsugarbelle April 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

One Texas girl to another, YOU MADE me proud! This is my super secret hidden skill! My high school sweet heart’s mom worked for the burrito stop in our town and she taught me well. I LOVE surprising people with my super secret skill.

and THANK YOU for saying it outloud. Lard is the only way to go if you are making tortillas. It changes the flavor not to use it. Anything else, and you have a wrap!

This is the most exciting post of my day!

Amber April 12, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Seriously – I took fresh tortillas to a potluck once. People thought I was a genius.

You are very welcome for the Lard props! I will preach to the church of Lard until my dying day. :)

Sweets by Vicky April 13, 2011 at 10:36 AM

MMM, If there was a way to make tortillas better it would be to make them from scratch! Thanks for sharing!

Amber April 13, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Truer words were never spoken. Thanks for stopping by, Vicky!

Jen Schall April 13, 2011 at 2:11 PM

These are amazing! I have never made homemade tortillas before… Can you believe that? Time to fix that :)

Amber April 13, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Jen! How is that even possible, you naan making fool? You must resolve this problem immediately, missus!

Unrivaledkitch April 14, 2011 at 2:40 PM

I’m making these. Lard is the way to get amazing texture in lots of things. When it calls for it have it occasionally and its so wonderful. I think people just see the word and have a bad connotation of it but seriously anyone who eats pork has a little lard in them :) thanks for sharing

whatmegansmaking April 14, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I totally agree with you on lard! I use it in my pie crusts now too – crisco doesn’t compare. :) I love homemade tortillas – these ones look great!

Nate @ HouseofAnnie April 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I need to get a tortilla press.

Pork fat rules!

Amanda May 11, 2011 at 8:45 AM

These look absolutely perfect. I agree with you on the lard too, it’s not as bad as its reputation leads it to be.

Daniel May 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Fresh made tortillas is just one of the many things I miss about living in Texas. I’ve tried to make them, with mixed results, but your photos and description make me want to take another stab at it. Maybe with a press, I can keep mine from coming out shaped like Florida!

Daniel June 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Finally got around to getting a small press and I’m totally sold on it, and your recipe! I made half a batch with baking powder for fluffy, soft tortillas to eat with butter and honey and another batch without to use for tacos. Thanks so much!

Daniel June 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

And did I mention they’re ROUND? Round tortillas! Who knew I could ever make such a thing?

Karen N. July 8, 2011 at 10:11 AM

There’s not much better than homemade flour torts! They just make whatever you put inside taste that much better. Mmmm!

Brenda Kempf July 11, 2011 at 8:01 PM

So excited to find your blog! I live in Castroville which is right outside of San Antonio and totally understand all of the memories you have from the area… My mom learned how to make tortillas when I was very small. I learned at a very early age…We use shortening instead of lard and they are heaven…you just can’t beat a homemade tortilla!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 1:58 AM

I am from San Antonio and agree with everything she wrote above. I have looked for recipes on the net and it always leads me to your site. What a great site you have. I am also looking for a good carne guisada recipe, something like the one they serve at las palapas. Do you know where i can get one?

Amber September 6, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Chris, you made my day with this comment. I have a recipe for “Carne G” here on the site, a sort of bastardized version that my brother-in-law makes at the station (he’s in the SAFD), but I’ve never posted my “real” carne guisada recipe because I’m still playing with it. It’s not perfect yet.

I’ll email my somewhat perfect recipe separately, and see how you get on with it. Let me know what changes you make, maybe we can post it here together with dual credit!


Erica December 24, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I am so glad I found this! I am from Corpus Christi but I live in California (the hubs is in the military) and tortillas here are absolutely NOT even close to what Texas is .

Rose August 30, 2013 at 8:54 PM

After years of practice, I can throw together a batch of tortillas in no time flat. Nothing better than fresh roasted & peeled green chili wrapped inside a warm tortilla right off the griddle :)
Great secret to soft tortillas – instead of warm water use warm milk. Never use cold water as called for in some recipes I’ve found.
I never use a tortilla press. Like all else, rolling round tortillas takes practice. The first ones I ever rolled look like some of the 50 states:/

Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories August 30, 2013 at 11:29 PM

Agree with you. Lard is way superior. And the manteca from Mexican markets is even better. It has gotten an undeserved bad name. Just gorgeous.

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